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The Time Is Now, America

Throughout history, there have been moments in time which have shaped a nation. Think JFK’s speech about sending a man to the moon or Dr King’s speech about race and equality and more recently think the terrorists attacks on September 11, 2001.

Well, now there is a time to make history in the United States and today, Friday, December 14, 2012, is that day.

Today, 26 innocent victims, 20 of which were children aged just 5 to 10 years of age, paid the ultimate price for that nations lack of gun control when a gunman, at a school in Newtown, Connecticut, opened fire and shot them.

I know that the US constitution, written over 200 years ago, allows the right to bear arms, but at what cost? How many more children must die due to a lack of gun control?  Die, due to a lack of empathy?  Die, due to a lack of action?

President Obama is about to commence his final term as US President.  Under American law, he cannot go for a third term anyway.  His presidency has been dogged by financial issues due to the ever worsening economy.  He needs to lead his country into a new era of gun control and this must be his legacy.  It won’t be a popular decision and he alone cannot make the law and amend the constitution.  That will be up to the lawmakers to do so but it must be lead by Obama himself.

It will be a hard sell.

Many of the pro guns crowd, led by the NRA, will argue that they have a right to protect themselves.  Well guess what?  It’s not working? It’s never worked.  It will never work.

I’ve never seen this headline:

 “Armed Citizen Saves The Day At Public School By Killing Heavily Armed Gunman”


“Hero Civilian With The Right To Bear Arms Kills Gunman At School Before He Tried to Kill Everyone”

The reason we don’t see these headlines is because it doesn’t happen. The headlines we do see are like these:

“Madman Kills 28 in School Rampage”




“Another Mass Shooting”

And if the politicians can’t or won’t do it, then it is up to the people of the United States.  If you are a member of the NRA or are pro gun, show some true leadership and set an example that enough is enough and lay down your arms and encourage everyone to do so as well.  People power can be so powerful.

For those who say guns don’t kill people. People kill people. I agree, but why make it so easy to get access the guns?  Make it as hard as possible.

We did it in Australia.  After the Port Arthur Massacre of 1996, then Australian Prime Minister, John Howard changed our gun laws and it wasn’t an easy process.   There were a lot of people who didn’t want to give up their guns, mainly farmers and people from the bush.  But the law was changed and guess what?  Not one mass shooting since in almost 20 years.

This can be the future for the United States.  If enough people are finally outraged by today’s horrific events.

President Obama, it is time to make history.  This is the time when future generations will look back and see that someone was courageous enough to make a change.  That someone was influential enough to make a change.  That someone put their own self interests aside and just made that change.  This is your legacy.  It is your time to make a difference.

A Senseless Death

It’s a tragedy.  The loss of a young life from a terrible, horrible accident.  I’m referring to the death last night of 17 year old, Isabelle Colman.  She was on Queensland’s, Gold Coast, celebrating the end of school in the annual “Schoolies” pilgrimage that thousands of school leavers do each year at this time.

Isabelle Colman – Image Source

Isabelle died last night when she fell from the 26th floor of the Chevron Renaissance Hotel.  The details surrounding the fall are not yet known, though it is believed she was alone at the time.

Earlier in the week, another ‘schoolie’ was photographed sleeping on an 11th floor ledge on the Gold Coast.  Cameron Cox, 18, was also celebrating the end of school on the glitter strip.  He was lucky that he didn’t fall as he attempted to sleep off a drunken night of partying.


Cameron Cox sleeps on a high rise ledge – Image Source

In October, there were three more deaths from balcony falls from Gold Coast high rises and another two deaths since May this year bringing the total deaths to six this year.

Not good news for the owners of the high rise hotels and apartments with a renewed push for balconies to be locked off, especially during schoolies week.

Hundreds of thousands of people holiday on the Gold Coast each year with no incident at all.  They rent the apartments and leave safely at the end of their holiday.  But now because of these incidents it is possible that you will not be able to open your balcony door if holidaying there.

While all of these deaths are tragic, the responsibility ultimately for their deaths, belongs to the person who has fallen.  They are the ones who have gone too close to the edge, or climbed over or whatever other reason.  Sure, some of them may have been dared (and shame on their friends for doing so) and some of them may have been under the influence of drugs or alcohol, but that is a personal decision that that person has chosen to undertake.

Don’t get me wrong.  I am very, very sad about these deaths, particularly of last night’s with a beautiful girl whose life has ended so prematurely, but people need to understand that we are not bullet proof and we are able to be hurt and hurt easily and it can happen to anyone.  We are made of tissue and muscles and bones, all of which can be easily damaged.  If you lean too far over or are sky larking or whatever the reason which caused you to fall, it is your fault.  Don’t go changing laws because a very, very small number of people, push the boundaries too far.  And yes, Isabelle was only 17, which is still old enough to know better.

I hope her family and friends can move on with their lives quickly. I do not want to know such pain as they are feeling now.  It’s just so sad and a needless death.

Die Hard 5: Trailer 2

Hot on the heels of the first teaser trailer, 20th Century Fox have released the 2nd trailer for the upcoming instalment in the Die Hard franchise, A Good Day To Die Hard.

This trailer confirms that John McClane Jr is in fact called Jack!  Snicker. 🙂

Also released is a teaser poster using a play on words of the famous McClane verbal salute, Yippie Ki-Yay Mother F#@er.


A Good Day to Die Hard will be released in Australia on March 21, 2013.

Who can’t wait to see it?

Lara’s Disappearing Trick

She’s a clever one!



The Importance of Social Media at the Local Level


Social media is changing the ways that businesses talk to their customers and in a good way. 

In days gone by (read before the internet) just about the only way to communicate to your customers when they weren’t standing at your front counter, was either through the letter box with a leaflet drop, on the radio or TV.

TV and Radio campaigns were, and still are, broad based and not able to be targeted to individual stores within a group, such as a large franchise group.  The message is generally a national or state one and it is talking to not only current customers, but it is trying to gain new customers as well.  This isn’t a bad thing either and is very necessary.

The letterbox can be localised but can be costly as print runs with only a few thousand leaflets is cost prohibitive.  As with TV and radio, it too is talking to current customers and trying to get new customers as well.

It’s 2012 and there is a way of advertising which is not only very cheap for local businesses (franchisees generally) it is also just about the only way a brand can talk directly to the local customers and potential local customers.

Social networks such as Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare allow local franchisees an opportunity to talk directly to their customers.  The customers who part with their hard earned over the counter.  The customers who the local franchisee gets to know by name and recognises as they shop in the same supermarket.  

I’m not discounting the need for there to be a national presence for a brand.  Far from it.  Quite often the national pages on social media can deliver clear, national messages, like the launch of a new product or advertisement or a national competition or offer.  What the national presence can’t do or won’t do is talk to the customer who has just tweeted that they loved the service at their local store and that customer recognises that the person talking to them online is the same person who talks to them face to face as well.

Quick Communication

The local franchisee can also quickly communicate to their customers about a happy hour special or deliver some great news about something a team member has announced such as getting married or winning an award etc.  You know, stuff that is personalising the message at the local level.  Or for some reason there is a lot of product left over due to a slow day so the local franchisee sends out a status update or email to the LIKERS/FOLLOWERS etc that there is a special being run this afternoon between 4pm and 5pm.  The national franchisor is not going to send out an offer which will only benefit a small portion of their follower counts.

This leads me to an important point.  If a local store wants to run a special, eg a Friday Free Upgrade or a cheap Tuesday, the national franchisor cannot advertise this as it may cause confusion with followers going to another destination asking for the offer which is not available there.  This will not only annoy the customer but also the other franchisee as they feel pressured to honour the deal that another store has going.

The other important factor is local community involvement.  The local page can assist with letting the local community about a fundraiser at the local school or sporting club.  It can even donate to the local fundraising effort by offering a special deal with the proceeds being donated.  The local page can put up a photo of a local student who is representing the local area somehow.  This builds loyalty and community involvement and customers will reward the local franchisee through time.

Through the local store, the overall brand can earn a reputation of caring about the communities it has its brand presence in.  This is so important for ongoing success, no matter the size of the organisation.  McDonald’s, as an example, is still holding McHappy Days each year to assist with the Ronald McDonald House charity.  They still sponsor local sporting teams.  They are one of the biggest companies on the planet yet they still have a very important local presence.  


If a franchisee does have a local page then it is important that there are guidelines set up by the franchisor which will need to be followed.  This may include the banning of obscene language and images, incorrect use of the logo, promotion of non core products etc.  The local pages can be monitored by the franchisors marketing team and the marketing team can send out core messages which they recommend be used on the local pages.  The marketing team should also provide professional food shots for use on local Pinterest pages as well because we all know a picture tells a thousand words.

If after training, the local franchisee is not operating the page as to the guidelines then remedial training or the closing down of the page may be considered.  

It is important that the franchisor rewards those who are doing it right by allowing local pages, instead of implementing policy based on the few who may not.

The End Game 

At the end of the day, the use of social media is to grow a loyal following of customers and potential customers.  If used correctly, social media should assist in growing sales and revenue and therefore profits to the franchisee and royalties and therefore profits back to the franchisor.  

The local page does not replace the national page but together they exist in a symbiotic relationship, both feeding off of each other with the same goal in mind…GROWING SALES.








First Look at the Die Hard 5 Teaser Trailer

Yesterday I brought you the first official photo from it’s A Good Day to Die Hard and now the first trailer has just been released and it promises that February 14, 2013 is that day.  Not yet. For me, today is a Good Day to Die Hard upon my first look of the fifth instalment of the action franchise.

It has all of the elements you would want to see from Die Hard but it’s the soundtrack which is the star of this trailer.  Being a massive fan of the Die Hard movies, I smiled throughout and raised my arms in triumph at the end, but of course, for those who know me well, that is no surprise.

Who is looking forward to seeing A Good Day to Die Hard?  I know I can’t wait.

It’s released in Australia on March 21.  Why oh why, 20th Century Fox are you making the Aussie’s wait over a month to see it?

Enjoy the teaser trailer and you can check out the Die Hard website here.

First Look at Die Hard 5

Since 2007’s Live Free or Die Hard or Die Hard 4.0 as it was known internationally, fans of the Bruce Willis arse kicking series have been waiting for the next instalment, especially considering that Willis said that there would probably be two more movies in the franchise.

Here is the first official image from Die Hard 5, featuring Bruce Willis and Australia’s very own, Jai Courtney.


Plot details are still sketchy but what we know is that the film is set in Russia where John McClane goes to the rescue of his son, Jack.  Yep, Jack McClane! How cool.

The official name for Die Hard 5 is A Good Day to Die Hard and it will be released on February 14 in the US.  We’ll have to wait until March 21 in Australia.

We can expect to see the first trailer next week when Taken 2 hits the cinema.

I can’t wait!  Yippie Kai Yay MF’ers.