Category Archives: Opinion

Roger Ebert and the Age of Influencers

Last week marked the beginning of the 38th annual Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). Award-winning film critic, Roger Ebert once called TIFF “the most important film festival in North America.” It’s fitting that before the opening film, the late journalist, and screenwriter was celebrated for the key roles he played in the film community, and how his influence expanded the significance Toronto holds in the cinematic world.

Ebert was the film critic that had as much or more celebrity than those he reviewed thanks to his global platform, credibility, and his passion for film. He was the definition of an influencer in the cinema industry.

After his death on April 4, 2013 the question of who would assume the position of the most trusted film critic emerged. If there were a critic as trusted and celebrated as Roger Ebert today, would we look for the thumb up or thumb down from them to make a decision?

Everyday, there is a new way social media is reshaping the landscape of how people in developed and emerging markets react to the world around them. Now, more than ever we see it putting an end to the visibility of elitist opinion leaders.

If you’re looking for an opinion on a recent film release, it becomes a show of hands of Facebook friends and Twitter followers to decide if you will be heading to the movies, forcing the educated journalist to become a blurb on the back of a DVD case.

Less and less, influencers are made up of big-ticket celebrities that endorse a product or a call to action, and more often, influencers are now those that are close to your own social networks; family members, friends, people who look like you, talk like you and those that you feel you have a personal connection with, in real life or not-so-real life.

In the slow destruction social media has caused to celebrity influencers as we know them, it has also created platforms of strong, underground communities built for specific areas of interest, like cinema. The diplomacy of online writing allows for more focused discussion, and perhaps a greater comfort zone for niche writers.

In charge of finding influencers for a brand, I might look to somewhat established bloggers. They are the ones who have built an audience from doing what they enjoy. However, there may be a risk of mid-level bloggers gaining a celebrity status that causes them to lose charm, and authenticity. If the next Roger Ebert is among them, a blogger that gains celebrity from a skill-set, doing what they love instead of being flashy for the sake of it, is an opinion leader that might be worth listening to, but that’s just my opinion.

For more on TIFF visit

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Skyhigh Box Office

Skyfall opened this weekend to a near $90 million dollar box office take; the highest opening for a Bond movie in the franchises 50 years.

Skyfall is the third Bond installment with actor Daniel Craig as the man with a license to kill. His first outing reinvigorated a double-O fan base with Golden Eye director Martin Campbell, but the next picture Quantum of Solace, while strong at the box office ultimately disappointed. James Bond fever was cooling rapidly.

So how does Skyfall have such a strong showing? It relies on an old-school cool factor with references to old bonds films and a theme song by Adele that harkens back to the songs of the 1960s. Visions of girls, guns and martinis.

The biggest change however, might be in first-time Bond director Sam Mendes (2000 Academy Awards Best Director for American Beauty) he is a veteran of stage directing and infuses his motion pictures with character development and storyline that is required for the stage. This juxtaposed with intelligent action scenes may be what sparked a frenzy at the box office.

I think popcorn movies that let you shut off any thought process will never go away and are necessary, but the highbrow action films like The Dark Knight Rises are proving you get a little further when you realize the audience is an intelligent crowd and look for a premium product when paying that premium price to get inside the cineplex.

For more on Skyfall click here

Fashion Backward

Attack of The “Manne-thins”

Public Relations is what it says it is; A relationship with the public, In most cases, an organization’s relationship with the public. A lot of what an organization stands for and how they want to be perceived is part of it’s communications department responsibilities.

So why is H&M, the major clothing store, sending an image to costumers that has been long fought against?

Take a look at the new mannequins for H&M storefronts. They seem like they have gone a few days (weeks) without a good meal.

H&M Mannequin

Mad Men’s Christina Hendricks

In this new millennium, it’s becoming more socially accepted to be… who you are; something a lot of people have spent decades fighting for. We might not all be models, but healthy living is a major trend.

I honestly can’t believe H&M would showcase ultra-thin mannequins as their welcoming committee, when in store their sizes reflect every body type on the spectrum.

Is the next trend going to go backwards or is this a case of mistaken identity in high fashion? In today’s world when most red carpet photographers and praise land on women like Christina Hendricks of AMC’s Mad Men, you would think we’ve seen the last of the “Manne-thins” to sell a product.

H&M Canada