This Superhero Duo Needs Their Own Film – Now

dynomutt

It seems like every comic book superhero has now been featured in a movie. There was once a time when movies only portrayed top tier super heroes on the big screen. However with the success of Iron Man in 2008 every Hollywood studio has been lining up to capitalize on this craze. Just look at the facts, Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, a comic most never heard of, earned over $300 million at the box office this summer (with heroes that featured a tree and a raccoon).

At least 29 superhero movies will be coming out in the next six years. Warner Brothers, featuring characters from the DC Comics universe (Superman, Batman, Wonder Women) has slated 11 upcoming movies. Marvel Comics (Spiderman, Hulk, Avengers) has 10 movies slated over this timeframe.

Here is a link to a great infographic that highlights these superhero films.

With so many upcoming movies slated, DC and Marvel both are tapping the well to feature secondary and tertiary heroes in these films just so that they have a product to push.

Upcoming Movies Featuring Secondary Heroes
Ant Man – Marvel
Black Panther – Marvel
Shazam – DC
The Sandman – DC

Dynomutt 2There is one superhero duo that I feel is getting shafted in this frenzy of content creation, the Blue Falcon & Dynomutt the Dog Wonder.

Dynomutt & the Blue Falcon were brought to life by the creative team of Hanna-Barbera (Yogi Bear, Scooby Doo) and was a spin on the Batman and Robin tag team. What made these characters special was their dysfunctional approach to crime fighting. Their relationship also kept the show’s pace on the lighter side.

Dynomutt, a robotic dog, would always mess up an already sticky situation by bumbling along and giving the villain the upper hand. In the end Dynomutt would always save the day.

On several occasions Dynomutt allied with Scooby Doo and the Mystery Machine team to fight crime. In fact, they had their own show, the Scooby Doo/Dynomutt hour back in the late 1970’s.

Though Dynomutt & Blue Falcon were cartoon characters, with today’s technology this duo could easily be transformed into a live-action movie. I could easily see Ben Afleck in the role of the Blue Falcon, though unfortunately he is now cast as Batman for the upcoming Superman versus Batman movie. Perhaps Jason Bateman or Bradley Cooper? Anyway, this is a movie that needs to happen now!

Tale of the Tape: Product Pitchwomen

You can thank Flo from Progressive Insurance commercials for this post. Both Flo and Progressive had such success from this advertising campaign, originating in 2008, that has spawned many other brands to launch their own version of Flo as a product pitchwoman.

The characteristics between Flo, Lilly from AT&T and Jan from Toyota are uncanny. All are brunettes, all have a whimsical side and all do a fair job as company spokeswoman. Since Flo is clearly the cream of the crop and has the legacy we will go to the tape to see how well Jan and Lilly fare.

Jan Lilly pic

Jan Lilly chart

Monday Morning Burn

1. I think I may have almost lost my lid on an outbound flight to Vegas. Fur coat wearing, airline booze drinking chatter box. BTW- haven’t heard this asked of a flight attendant in thirty years or really ever: “You got any cigarettes?” Excellent flight. Yeah me.

2. I think I appreciate Bose Noise canceling headphones and a hoodie like never before. Both are great Xmas gifts.

3. I think the opening sentence from the book The Martian by Andy Weir is classic yet simple. “I’m pretty much f$&@ed”. So far it’s a good read. Sort of Castaway meets Mission to Mars. The movie staring Matt Damon hits theaters November 2015. Gotta love that the main character is a Cubs fan.

4. I think long flights are a good time to read a book.

5. I think I am interested in understanding how suspension bridges work and the engineering around them. Guess I will spend some time researching over the next few weeks. Just because. Or perhaps find an old episode of How Things Work.

6. I think headaches suck. Excedrin is good, but there needs to be a super, duper fast acting version. Ouch, blah, yuk.

7. I think I should have gone into chemistry R&D and could have invented super acting Excedrin and made millions. Who am I kidding I sucked at chemistry.

8. I think after the success of the Fall Harvest Post I am going to campaign for the Key Lime to dominate the summer months. Key Lime Oreos, Key Lime beer, Key Lime mustard, Key Lime latte (KLL, hint, hint Starbucks). First order of business creating a key lime shirt and possibly promotional web site.

9. I think Mountain Dew’s latest test flavor Dewitios (a mash-up taste of Doritos meets Mountain Dew) sounds disgusting. I think it may actually sell well.

10. I think the toughest holiday decision this year will be Thanksgiving Turkey or Christmas Ham. Who am I kidding, it’s the ham, it’s always the ham.

11. I think it is impressive to run a 5k in very cold weather. I think it is impressive to run a 5k and play a soccer game in cold weather.  I think it is impressive to play two soccer games in cold weather.  Congrats all!!

 

Top 7 Pumpkin Beers

It has been an underwhelming year for pumpkin beers this year, to the top list is going to be a little light. Unfortunately I couldn’t try the more 600 pumpkin beer varieties out there but I did have a good run.

Most pumpkin beers taste simply like a regular ale, but on occasion you may come across a few that have spice, taste and aroma. I try to taste a mix of breweries that I have never tried before and breweries such as Sam Adams that I have tasted often. Editor’s note: I am open to both known and unknown varieties, I don’t hold ratings back just because the barrel output is large. I judge simply on taste.

Hopefully this list saves you a few dollars. Ratings are based on a 1-10 pumpkin scale.

fat jack

Sam Adams Fat Jack – 9 pumpkins

sam adams

Sam Adams Harvest Pumpkin – 8 pumpkins

tampa

Tampa Bay Brewing Company Gourds Gone Wild – 8 pumpkins

devious

Allentown Brew Works Devious Imperial Pumpkin – 8 pumpkins

terrapin

Terrapin Pumpkinfest – 8 pumpkins

weyerbacher

Weyerbacher Imperial Pumpkin – 7 pumpkins

smutty nose

Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale – 7 pumpkins

2 to Avoid
These are rated well by others, put I found them terribly disappointing.

Brooklyn Brewery’s Post Road Pumpkin – 4 pumpkins
Schlafly Pumpkin Ale – 2 pumpkins

You may notice a slant toward beers produced in the Northeast. No basis, it’s just a matter of distribution. Many great micro beers in the west don’t make it out east.

Enjoy.

Orange is the New Green

pumpkin-spice-everything

It seems like every company is producing some type of pumpkin spice product? Why? What is our obsession? And what is the incentive for companies to manufacture products based off of a once unappealing fruit? For companies there is a huge financial upside. Americans are craving this autumnal delight and are willing to flash the green to get the Orange. And for us Americans it is simply the wisdom of crowds and that trends dictate our likes and wants. If someone says Pumpkin Spice, we all say give me the Venti size.

So when did America’s fascination with Pumpkin products or food items begin? I would say that Starbucks kicked this into a full trend when they launched the Pumpkin Spice latte ten years ago (now rebranded as PSL). Since then we have gone crazy for this gourd.

I do enjoy the occasional PSL but just look around your local grocery store.  The number of pumpkin spice products continue to increase, ranging from the pretty good to the ridiculous. Every aisle has numerous products:

Snack Aisle – Pumpkin Pringles
Bread Aisle – Pumpkin Spice Bagels
Milk Aisle – Pumpkin Dairy Creamer
Drink Aisle – Pumpkin Vodka
Frozen Aisle – Pumpkin Ice Cream
Refrigerated Aisle – Pumpkin Yogurt
Can Aisle – Pumpkin Puree
Fresh Fruits & Veggies – Pumpkins

Can you even remember that before this madness that the Pumpkin Pie was only product you could get.  Plus it was only served at Thanksgiving (or at the occasional diner). And it was typically the last dessert selected, behind Apple Pie and that weird marshmallow sweet potato dish your great Aunt Nellie made.

Times have clearly changed, though for most people, they do feel that the Pumpkin Product is more about fitting in than it is about the taste. Hipsters like to set the trends and say things like “Oh you have to try the pumpkin fish sticks.  They’re delicious.” Or they will say “The Pumpkin Seltzer is to die for, bubbly, spicy and worth the $5 per bottle.”  Whatever.

I mean, I get caught up in this craze. I have tried numerous pumpkin beers, Oreos, chips, etc. You name it, I most likely tried it.  But I also tend to try the latest food fads that have come and gone. Remember green ketchup or pink butter? No? Well I do, since I had to get them to see how they tasted. Yeah, gross. But I had to sample. Hey, it’s the marketer in me.

Fun Facts

  • Sales of pumpkin spice products increased 14% in 2013 (source: Bloomberg)
  • Starbucks has sold 200 million PSL since its introduction (source: Starbucks)
  • Sales of pumpkins increased 34% in the past 5 years (source: Dept. of Agriculture)
  • Largest Pumpkin weighed in at just over 2,000 lbs

Where’s the Beef, I mean Pumpkin?
Most pumpkin products contain no actual Pumpkin only spices associated with the fall harvest gourd. These spices include cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, sugar, etc. But no actual pumpkin.

The Good
Entenmann’s Pumpkin Pop-Ems
Cliffs pumpkin pie ice cream
Pumpkin Oreos
Sam Adams Fat Jack
Quaker Pumpkin spice instant oatmeal

The Bad
Brooklyn Brewery Post Road Pumpkin ale
Dairy Queen Pumpkin pie Blizzard

The Ugly
Royal Scoops Pumpkin ice cream
Dunkin Donuts Pumpkin latte

The Best
The original oven roasted pumpkin seeds straight from the gourd. Lightly salted these pumpkin originals are not only good but good for you. Fiber, protein and magnesium make up some of the nutrient packed benefits.

Try some as a salad topping, include in your granola mix or simply go OtoM (oven to mouth).

Pumpkin Products I Need to Try
Pumpkin Jell-O pudding
Pumpkin Peanut Butter
Pumpkin M&Ms

Pumpkin Products I wish were Invented
Pumpkin Mustard
Pumpkin Coca Cola
Pumpkin Cheerios

So what is the next fruit or goodie to tantalize our taste buds? Watermelon flavors have peaked, and the traditionals, apples, oranges and bananas are no longer in flavor. Personally, I think that the key lime still has tremendous upside and I also think that the black cherry will make its way back to our cabinets.

Bonus: Want to meet friends and influence others? Or increase your profile rank on Tinder? Simply change your name to Pumpkin and you will have a new fan base waiting in line. So say goodbye to the likes of the Cinnamon moniker, the red hot wonder and move over to the calming glow of the orange gourd.

The Influence of Commercial Real Estate on Sports Logos

This is why I love my job.  How many people can talk and write about sports logos and commercial real estate in the same blog post.  I originally drafted the below post for my company’s blog but figured that since it covers sports logos that I would post to Squirrels as well.

Commercial real estate and sports have always had a symbiotic relationship.  Build the stadium first, then the CRE sector will fill in with retail (shops, restaurants, etc), nearby apartment buildings, and offices to serve up demand.  But rarely if ever have CRE and sports logos collided.

Recently the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks announced an alternate team jersey that would feature the Dallas city skyline on its uniforms.  A brilliant marketing idea, in my opinion, as it further establishes a connection between team and city.  A city’s skyline is the epitome of its office sector showcasing easily identifiable buildings of its host market.

The Mavericks’ skyline jersey approach got me thinking, what other sports teams from the four major U.S. sports (NFL, MLB, NHL and NBA) currently have or have previously featured commercial real estate on their logo or jersey?  Let’s take a look.

New York Mets

image

The longest current design to feature real estate.  The Mets logo was created in 1962 and has stood the test of time.  The logo depicts the New York skyline and prominently features the Empire State Building, the Woolworth Building and the United Nations Building.

Dallas Mavericks

image

Kudos for the Mavericks for revisiting the skyline approach and highlighting the Dallas commercial real estate market.  The logo on this jersey was inspired by the designer’s love of the team and the city.

Denver Nuggets 

image

Say what you want about the dated 1980’s logo that looks similar to a game of Tetris.  This logo does a great job of visually depicting the city of Denver and the majestic Rocky Mountains

Seattle SuperSonics

image

The SuperSonics moved to Oklahoma City in 2008 and the logo suffered as a result.  In the mid-1970’s the SuperSonics introduced their logo that famously features the downtown and the prominent Space Needle.

Sports and commercial real estate are so intertwined with a city that I am surprised this approach has not been used more often.  Several teams have included city relics into their logo such as the Golden State Warriors featuring the Golden Gate bridge and the St. Louis Cardinals featuring the Gateway arch.  But featuring the office sector of your city?  Simply powerful.  Imagine the Sears Tower (now called Willis Tower) and Hancock Building on the Chicago Bulls logo or Baltimore’s Inner Harbor on the O’s road uniforms.  One can only wish.

Monday Morning Burn

I think the Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream Challenge was a bust.  There was no contest.  The Pumpkin Pie at Royal Scoops in Bonita Beach, FL lacked creaminess, taste, color and appeal.  Plus the lack of not knowing what chocolate jimmies are is an auto DQ.  Cliff’s Pumpkin Pie is much superior in every way.

I think Tampa Bay Brewing Company restored my faith that there are a few quality Pumpkin beers out there.  The Gourds Gone Wild is tasty, with a nice pumpkin spice aroma that finishes smoothly.  Good to the last drop.

I think the Willy Wonka post was a hit.  Lots of good feedback and traffic.  Something about that movie that gets everyone excited. I guess everyone loves the Oompa Loompa’s.  Similar posts are in store.

I think the Top Snacks at Magic Kingdom post made me hungry for another Dole Whip.  Almost drove to Orlando for a taste.

I think I find it odd that it odd that a hotel’s room key software can be down for several days.  Not sure I liked the personal escort up to my room after a long day of meetings.

I think with King James slumping and Kevin Durant hurt, there will finally be a different NBA MVP this year.

I think that a few of my recommendations last week were implemented during several office visits.  Most interesting, remove filing cabinet from men’s bathroom.

I think December 2015 is too long to wait for Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens.

I think I am not sure whose voice I prefer as the voice of Mr. Peanut.  Robert Downey Jr. (2010-2013) or Bill Hader (2013-present).  Both are good voices for the character. Thinking I am slanting toward Downey Jr.  You Decide.

Robert Downey Jr.

Bill Hader

Top 5 Snacks at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom

This is the first in a series of what to do and what not do while visiting Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.  I have been fortunate enough to have visited Disney way too many times and will share my insights, thoughts and observations with the casual fan.

Today we are discussing the top 5 treats to snack on while visiting the Magic Kingdom.  The goal is to gorge on each of these items in one visit.

Enjoy!

Turkey-Leg5. Turkey Leg

More than a snack, it is a meal to most.  The smoked turkey leg, located in Frontierland, can feed a family of four, though most eat it themselves.  It is a great treat when watching a parade since the kiosk is located along the parade route.

Tip: Just don’t eat the turkey leg while watching the late night parade.  The tryptophan kicks in and you will hit a wall, therefore potentially ending your visit early.

4. Citrus Swirlcitrus swirl

Located at the Sunshine Tree Terrace in Adventureland next to Aladdin’s Magic Carpet ride, the citrus swirl received a rebirth when Disney re-launched the beloved Orange Bird.  The bitterness of frozen orange juice mixed together with the creaminess of vanilla ice cream make this treat to beat the heat.

Tip: Get your photo taken next to the Orange Bird while eating the Citrus Swirl.

olaf apple3. Olaf the Snowman Candy Apple

Do you want to eat a snowman? You can find your $10 candy apple at Main Street Confectionery when you first enter the park.  My recommendation is to get the Olaf apple around 2pm when you need a little break from the crowds and are hungry for a snack. Don’t wait until after dinner, that’s when Main Street Confectionery is the most crowded.

Tip: There are actually many variations of candy and caramel apples to eat, most in the shape of Mickey Mouse.  However, how can you deny the happy face of Olaf?

2. Mickey Mouse Ice Cream Barmickey on stick

The most classic sweet treat at the Magic Kingdom.  The Mickey on a Stick is a chocolate cover vanilla ice cream bar in the shape of Mickey Mouse.  This treat is fun and easy to eat and epitomizes all that is Disney.  This treat changed over the years as it used to be a vanilla bar with its ears covered in chocolate dip, this version would rank #1 on the list.

Tip: Be careful and eat your Mickey in the shade as the ice cream easily melts.

dole whip1. Dole Whip

As the lines indicate, this is the most popular and delicious treat at the Magic Kingdom.  Similar to the Citrus Swirl, though much creamier, the Dole Whip is a mix of Pineapple and vanilla soft serve ice cream.  You can find the Dole Whip at Aloha Isle in Adventureland.  If you try only one snack be sure to make it the Dole Whip.

Tip: Be prepared to wait.  Lines as long as 30 minutes are common.  You can also find the Dole Whip at Captain Cook’s in the Polynesian Hotel.

Bonus: avoid the LaFou’s Brew at Gaston’s Tavern located in the New Fantasyland.  The taste is a bitter, frozen apple cider concoction that is trying to compete with PotterWorld’s Butter Beer but is unsuccessful in its result.

7 Lessons Learned From Willy Wonka

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory could perhaps be one of the most influential movies of the 1970’s.  Yes, this decade brought us such classics as The Godfather, Taxi Driver, Annie Hall, Star Wars and Jaws, but have we ever learned as much from one individual, from one movie in the 70’s?

 I submit to you 7 Lessons Learned from Willy Wonka

 7. Passion

Did one person ever exude as much passion as Willy Wonka?  His products were revered all throughout the land with children rushing to their local candy store to get their sweets on.  From innovation, to quality control to distribution, his methods were the most creative.

Lesson: Find what you love an give 100%.

6. Trust No One

The movie is as much a 100 minute joyride as it is about the test of faith in humankind. Willy seeks a successor to his power plant of happiness but being burned many years earlier from spies he just didn’t know how to go about it.  His brilliant idea; give the factory to a child as they would not have any hidden agendas.   Little did he know the world consisted of Veruca Salt.

Lesson: Are humans inherently good or inherently evil? Tough question, so be extremely cautious, find a strong and tight circle that you can trust.

5. Drugs are not needed

“What a long strange trip it’s been” – Truckin’ by the Grateful Dead.  How appropriate for both Willy Wonka and the movie is this line from one of the great bands of our era.  The visuals in this movie, from the rooster getting its head cut off (I’ll cut your neck off), to the wavy gravy graphics to the Oompa Loompas singing and rolling a giant blueberry around.  There is no need for any mind altering substance.

Lesson: Drugs are not needed to look at things differently.  Try and  take a different perspective, look at a problem from a unique angle, stand on your head, go for a hike, talk it out with the other voices in your head.  The solutions are not always cut and dry.

 4. Candy Can Cure All Ills

Is there any wonder that Europe had some bad dentistry problems in the 70’s?  Look at all of the candy that was eaten.  I don’t blame them, the satisfaction of the sweet sensation does make one feel better especially if living off of cabbage water.  And with all of those choices, you needed to eat sweets everyday to use every day just to keep up.

Lesson: Tough day? Tough problem? Take a candy break and remove yourself from the situation. Take a few minutes to energize. The mental break and sugar high will get you refocused in no time.

 3. Things are not always what they seem

Willy Wonka: “Try some more. The strawberries taste like strawberries. The snozzberries taste like snozzberries!”
Veruca Salt: “Snozzberries? Who ever heard of a snozzberry?”

We all laughed at this joke in the movie but no one really ever knew what a snoozberry was.  Still don’t? Look it up.

Lesson: Do your due diligence before hoping into action.

2. Sing a little, or actually a lot

Willy Wonka sure sounded tone deaf and his lyrics most often made no sense.  But that did not stop him from singing, singing and singing some more.  And every so often he delivers a quality song such as the song pure imagination.

Lesson: Singing is a creative outlet that lets you share your thoughts in melodic fashion and perhaps sell a little product along the way.

 1. There is nothing wrong with being crazy

Mad Hatter, Willy Wonka, Olaf.  What do these characters have in common? They were a little crazy but much beloved.  They knew to “let it go” and focus on the big picture, making people happy.  I am saying crazy here not psychotic.

Lesson:  Have a little fun. Act silly, sing weird songs (“tiny like a butterfly, feisty like a bee”), befriend a cardinal.  People may think your odd, hell they already do.

Still want more Wonka? Have questions? Maybe  this video can help.