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I've been getting up a little earlier than usual these days, because it's the only time I can walk my dog without killing her in the humidity (and she is used to a longgg daily walk)....

. So, it happens that I was awake and listening to Marketplace's Morning Report at 6:50 a.m., when I heard this interesting piece on summer blockbuster movie sales.
Host Mark Austin Thomas was interviewing Daily Variety managing editor, Michael Speier, about "the unexpected crossover appeal and staying power" of the film, "The Devil Wears Prada." It has, in fact, been the surprise hit of the summer, even though it never made #1. What gives?
Broad appeal. Apparently it is not only a "chick" flick.
I'll let Speier explain:
"Broad appeal and how it became a broad appeal is pretty amazing, because it is a movie about fashion. You'd think it would be just for women, it was based on a book that was pretty much just for women, and all of a sudden it becomes the hottest date movie of the summer. And a lot of that of course has a lot to do with the performances, because Meryl Streep is someone who elevates this movie from just kind of a sitcom-y feel to something that makes it important and something vital and a compelling watch and that is kind of the old-fashioned Hollywood, which is how one person can elevate a movie by a performance."
This caught my attention because, earlier in the interview, Thomas had mentioned the fact that Superman had had a huge opening a few weekends ago, but that the interest had since faded away.
Yes, this is Hollywood, so they are really stuck on the glamour, buzz and over-hype-ification (my word, obviously) of the first weekend. Still, you figure/hope that at some point they'll put less money into that and start making good movies again. But, I digress...
Again, having not yet seen it, it sounds as though "The Devil Wears Prada" movie (based on a book) was written and marketed based on what resonates with a summer audience of male and female movie-goers, and how they may choose to see a movie - rather than being developed and marketed according to what the studio imagines or hopes the audience will get excited about for one minute on a specific Friday night. Hmmm.
Sooo.. you can appeal to a broader audience by improving quality of product and service, and striving to reach the highest standards in your industry. Slow and steady wins the race.
Who'd have thought a Prada-wearing devil could beat out The Man? It's raining outside and I'm pondering an afternoon matinee just thinking about it.
In the meantime, I want to take note of the very helpful Marketplace web site. What they've done seems so obvious, but it really struck me that they'd paid attention to details usually forgotten. Those include:
* It's easy to find audio for previous shows.
* Clips are quickly uploaded (same day, within hours of original broadcast).
* It's easy to find and listen to that one particular teeny, tiny story.
* There's a text transcription option!!! (This is hugely helpful when you randomly hear something, it "marinates" in your brain for a few hours or days, and THEN you decide to go find it and write a blog post about it, but want some direct quotes, for example.)
The site truly anticipates the way its viewers/listeners/users will want to use it. Does yours?

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image of Andrea Learned
Andrea Learned is a noted author, blogger, and expert on gender-based consumer behavior. Her current focus is on sustainability from both the consumer and the organizational perspectives. Andrea contributes to the Huffington Post and provides sustainability-focused commentary for Vermont Public Radio.