I produced this quiz to use with my EM Normandie students as part of a lesson on the U.S. election. There are 15 multiple choice questions. You can find a version with answers after the initial quiz on slides 17-52.
TRANSCRIPT REPORTER: When it comes to Halloween, it seems consumers won’t be afraid to dish out a little extra cash this year. The National Retail Federation estimates the average American will spend $79.82 on costumes, candy, and decorations for the holiday, up from $72.31 last year.
Every fall, specialty stores like Spirit Halloween move into their temporary locations and get ready for holiday shoppers. Although Halloween is still weeks away, they’ve already seen a steady stream of customers and say it will only go up from here.
CHASE LOFTI, STORE MANAGER, SPIRIT HALLOWEEN: “Our business next week will triple and it’ll just keep going that way until we get to Halloween.”
REPORTER: And it’s not just specialty stores already seeing the traffic, Target clears out a number of aisles and fills them with candy, decorations and of course costumes.
So just what are the hottest costumes this year? Movies like The Avengers and Batman have made superhero costumes fly off the shelf.
Lofti says another hot trend for both kids and adults are skin suits that come both puffy and skinny. 10-year-old Dominic seems to agree with that choice.
DOMINIC, 10: “I’m wearing a morph suit. I’m wearing it because I’m going with my friends as it.” REPORTER: Traditional decorations like skeletons, ghosts and pumpkins continue to be a top seller, but at Spirit Halloween, it’s their creepy animatronics that they can’t seem to keep on the shelves.
CHASE LOFTI: “The number one seller that we have this year is the jumping spider which is new, and it’s a big spider, it sits on the ground and when it’s activated it jumps up at you and they’re very popular and another item that we have trouble keeping in stock.”
REPORTER: While some people are getting in the Halloween spirit, others are skipping ahead a few months and getting ready for the Christmas season. They don’t have the entire selection out yet, but Target already sells a few winter holiday classics.
The National Retail Federation expects winter holiday sales to rise 4.1% this year.
LESSON MATERIALS I used this video with my EM Normandie final year marketing students this morning and produced a questionnaire which you can find here. I also did a PowerPoint with Halloween images, statistics, and a data presentation activity, which you can download here. Happy Halloween!
This cartoon by Paul Thomas from The Daily Express relates to news that The European Commission has proposed a £826bn (1.025 trillion euros) budget ceiling for the period up to 2020, equivalent to 1.03% of EU gross national income (GNI). That is a 5% rise compared with the 2007-2013 budget.
A science teacher is teaching his class about gravity. He tells them, "What goes up must come down—unless it's the EU budget ..."
VOCABULARY Isaac Newton defined gravity as a force that attracts all objects to all other objects. Every time you jump, you experience gravity. It pulls you back down to the ground. Without gravity, you'd float off into the atmosphere -- along with all of the other matter on Earth (source: HowStuffWorks).
IDIOM The expression 'what goes up must come down' is often used figuratively to convey the point that you can't always be on the up and up, no matter who you are or what you are doing. Eventually you will fall back to the ground. • I come around like what goes around, what goes up must come down. Anyone who comes up must go down, might as well go for the gusto. ('Despicable' by Eminem).
New York City grinds to a halt in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Deborah Gembara reports.
TRANSCRIPT REPORTER: Grand Central Station, which is almost synonymous for bedlam, was an echo chamber a day after Sandy slammed into the East Coast. The superstorm swamped New York's subway system. Inches of water could be seen near the turnstiles, and in major corridors. It also had some wondering how long it might take for New Yorkers to get back to regular life. Those who chose to walk, had to negotiate buckled sidewalks, downed trees and flooded streets among other things. And there was also a problem few have ever encountered in New York --- money to spend but no place to spend it. Stores and businesses were closed throughout the city. TOURIST: "Well, I suppose it's safety, you know, for the people who work in them really. They can't get them in, but frustrating for people like us that want to spend money." REPORTER: Even in the superstorm's aftermath, there was element of supsense—most it having to do with this collapsed crane which dangled precariously above midtown. The United Nations also fell victim to Sandy as did the recently-installed Space Shuttle Endeavor at the Intrepid Air, Sea and Space Museum.
The Daily Mail reports energy minister John Hayes saying wind farms should not be "peppered" around the country. Full story >>
VOCABULARY A wind farm is a place where wind turbines are used to convert the power of the wind into electricity. • Dozens of neighbors of a $200 million wind farm sued the companies behind it, claiming noise and lights give them migraines, make them nervous and keep them up at night.
Romney and Obama are portrayed as boats being tossed about on the stormy ocean. The cartoonist makes a play on the word 'surge'. A surge can be a sudden powerful movement of a physical force such as wind or water, but the word 'surge' is also used to refer to a sudden rise in the polls. • Obama's top strategist David Axelrod wants the public to know he wasn't rattled at all by Mitt Romney's surge in the polls after the first debate.
COMMENT As the incumbent, Obama looks better placed to experience a surge in the polls as a result of Hurricane Sandy, as it gives him the opportunity to appear presidential.
President Barack Obama canceled campaign stops, returning to the White House to handle the storm that has already added a new uncertainty into a very close race. Deborah Gembara reports.
TRANSCRIPT REPORTER: Bowing to Sandy's fierce winds and potential for damage, President Obama scuttled campaign stops in Florida to return to Washington to monitor the storm. U.S. PRESIDENT, BARACK OBAMA: "I'm confident that we are ready". REPORTER: He warned Americans to expect power outages that could last for days and to heed evacuation orders. Asked about the election which is just eight days away, he said. U.S. PRESIDENT, BARACK OBAMA: "I am not worried at this point about the impact on the election. I'm worried about the impact on families and I'm worried about the impact on our first responders. I'm worried about the impact on our economy and on transportation. The election will take care of itself next week. Right now our number one priority is to make sure that we are saving lives." REPORTER: Republican Mitt Romney held a rally in Avon Lake Ohio and then cancelled some but not all of their events. MITT ROMNEY: "I want to mention that our hearts and prayers are with all the people in the storm's path Sandy is another devastating hurricane by all accounts, and a lot of people are going to be facing some real tough times as a result of Sandy's fury." REPORTER: In a virtual dead heat, both candidates are acting cautiously to avoid coming across as tone deaf to the physical and economic danger facing millions of Americans. Sandy has already claimed 66 lives in the Caribbean and some analysts predict economic losses could be near 20 billion dollars.
VOCABULARY A Frankenstorm is a hurricane and winter storm hybrid, involving a "monster" combination of high winds, heavy rain, extreme tides and snow. A Frankenstorm carries with it a risk of fatalities, power outages and severe property damage (Urban Dictionary). • Sandy is forecast to combine with two other storms in the coming days, creating what the weather service has called a “Frankenstorm”.
NOTE Frankenstorm is a made-up portmanteau word combining 'Frankenstein' and 'storm'.
This cartoon by Paul Thomas from The Daily Express relates to news that hairdressers will be banned from wearing high heels and jewellery under proposals being drawn up in Brussels. A health and safety directive orders stylists to wear ‘non-slip soles’ when they are cutting hair and bans wedding rings and watches as unhygienic. Read more >>
The scene is a hairdressing salon. A hairdresser is cutting a customer's hair under the watchful eye of an EU official with a clipboard. She tells her client, "He's here to make sure that I don't slag off the new EU hairdressing directives ..."
VOCABULARY To slag someone or something off means to criticize them in an unpleasant way. • All bands slag off their record companies. It's just the way it is.
Amazon, the world's largest internet retailer, has started selling more fashion and clothing, and expressed a desire to attract luxury brands to its site. Analysts say some high-end labels may want to retain control over where their products are sold. But after Mulberry became the latest luxury brand to warn on profit, labels may look for new ways to reach consumers. Joanna Partridge reports.
TRANSCRIPT REPORTER: Buying luxury used to mean visiting boutiques. Now even high-end products are just a click away. Amazon is best known for its low-priced books, DVDs and toiletries. But it's looking to get a piece of the fashion market. The world's largest internet retailer started selling more fashion and clothing this year. Amazon.com says it has signed up hundreds of high-end brands - like U.S. designers Calvin Klein and Trina Turk. But analysts say it would need to persuade more prestigious names on to the site to entice big-spending consumers. Shannon Edwards is Managing Director of Vestiaire Collective, a website which sells second-hand luxury fashion. SHANNO EDWARDS: "Amazon's a very smart company and an efficient platform, so if they want to go into different areas, luxury being one of them, I've no doubt that they can. What luxury brands are looking for is quality, authenticity, and an environment that allows a user who is going to spend thousands of pounds or dollars, the opportunity to feel comfortable doing so. So if they can achieve that, then the opportunity is there." REPORTER: Fashion is one of the fastest growing retail categories online - making it an enticing prospect. Amazon just reported its first quarterly net loss in five years - due to heavy spending and the economic slowdown in Europe. Exclusivity is key for luxury brands. Louis Vuitton has been reported as saying they're the only ones who will sell their products. But Shannon Edwards thinks luxury brands would be wrong to completely dismiss selling on Amazon or elsewhere online. SHANNON EDWARDS: "Online is an inevitable opportunity for luxury brands, they have to embrace it, and they have slowly, they've embraced social media, they're doing their best to embrace that opportunity within the confines again of an environment that doesn't necessarily allow them to control the product and the brand the way that they should." REPORTER: Amazon's desire to sell high-end brands may be mutually beneficial. On Tuesday, Mulberry became the latest luxury firm to issue a profit warning. As firms like Burberry, Louis Vuitton and Gucci say sales growth is slowing in Asian markets, top brands may increasingly embrace online.
The Daily Telegraph front page carries a story about girls as young as 13 being given the birth control jab at school, without their parents' knowledge. Full story >>
VOCABULARY A jab is an injection of something into your blood to prevent illness (or unwanted pregnancies!). • The flu jab may ward off heart attacks as well as offering protection from the infectious disease.
This cartoon by Adams from The Telegraph relates to news that a 'desperate fight has begun to save a third of Britain’s trees from a killer fungus which threatens to bring devastation to the country’s forests'. Read more >>
COMMENTARY The Hundred Acre Wood is the fictional land inhabited by Winnie-the-Pooh and his friends in the children's stories by author A. A. Milne. Adams' cartoon, featuring Pooh and Piglet, recreates the style of E.H. Shepard's famous illustrations for the Winnie-the-Pooh books. The joke is that the original Hundred Acre Wood has been reduced to the One Acre Wood because nearly all the trees have had to be chopped down on account of the 'killer fungus'.
VOCABULARY An acre (rhymes with 'maker') is an area of land measuring 4840 square yards or 4047 square metres. The acre is often used in the United States, Canada, and in countries where the Imperial System is still in use. As of 2010, the acre is not used officially in the United Kingdom, but just like pounds and ounces, gallons and pints, and feet and inches, it is still in everyday use. In the metric system, the hectare is commonly used for measuring areas of land. An acre is about 40% or 0.405 of a hectare.
It was a big news week for tech with a beat by Facebook, disappointing iPad sales from Apple and the unveiling of the iPad Mini. Microsoft was also in there with the launch of its Surface tablet and Windows 8. Jill Bennett reports.
TRANSCRIPT REPORTER: The Apple soured with weaker than expected numbers - due to weak iPad sales; meanwhile a new iPad Mini debuts. Amazon posted its first quarterly loss in five years. Facebook, however, beat earnings thanks to an increase in mobile ad revenue. It was one of the few bright spots in the tech sector. Rick Sherlund, Managing Director at Nomura Securities: RICK SHERLUND, MANAGING DIRECTOR, NOMURA SECURITIES: "There weren't a lot of huge disastrous quarters reported that you might see as you are going into recession but it was probably more than a few cuts and bruises in the knee. It seemed to be a lot more concerning with the degrees of a slowdown you are seeing here in the U.S." REPORTER: Sherlund believes worries over a fiscal cliff - which could lead to severe belt tightening in the federal budget by year's end - has had a dampening effect on technology spending across the entire U.S. economy. RICK SHERLUND, MANAGING DIRECTOR, NOMURA SECURITIES: "Particularly because it's coming in the 4th quarter which is seasonally the strongest quarter of the year for cap spending for tech, it could have more grave implications for spending in Q4." REPORTER: Already, recent results out of IBM and Intel revealed weak PC demand. But demand may get a boost from a new player on the market. Near the tail end of the busy week in tech, Microsoft launched Windows 8 and its new Surface tablet as it hopes to step up its game against Apple and Google. Michael Dell, head of Dell, sees only upside potential for the new operating system. MICHAEL DELL, CEO, DELL INC.: "With Windows 8 we now have the best PCs in the world and with Windows 8 it brings a whole new range of capabilities with touch; the ability to scale across from a 10 inch platform to a 27 inch platform, tablets, that is extremely important to our customers." REPORTER: The Surface tablet sold out in pre-orders. Still, customer sales won't be enough to remove the cloud hanging over tech spending....that will require compromise in Washington.
TRANSCRIPT REPORTER: Muddy terrain may have deterred a few racers from taking on the British Grand Prix for lawnmower racing, but competitors like Daniel Jones hoped to prove that they were a cut above the rest. But no matter what the conditons, the grassroots-level sport can be a close trim to the finish. DANIEL JONES, RACER: "The wetter the better, but yeah it's a skill to ride in the mud. It's not as fast, and obviously it's a lot harder to control the machine in the wet." REPORTER: And with a rev of the engine, the mad mowers skidded down the track. The course isn't your average backyard. Equipped with sharp turns and some slight inclines, it's easier than you think to get left in the dirt. Some of the engines certainly appeared turbo charged, but rules say racers can only make slight modifications to the mowers. It was a close shave, but after a few heats, Ian Ratcliffe proved to be the legend of the lawn. IAN RATCLIFFE, WINNER: "It's competitive, but it's all good-natured and everybody gets on with everybody else, and basically it's just good fun, good healthy sport." REPORTER: With a rainy racing season coming to a close, competitors are hoping for a little more sunshine in 2013.
COMMENTS How many lawnmower-related puns can you spot in this report? Here are some I spotted: • a cut above the rest (better than the rest) • mud, sweat and gears (a play on the expression 'blood, sweat and tears') • grassroots-level (made up of ordinary people) • a close trim to the finish (a close race) • get left in the dirt (get left behind)