Emilio’s Confession

The Breakfast Club is undoubtedly one of the most iconic and classic movies of the ‘80s. Five mismatched students, the athlete; the brain; the princess; the criminal; and the basket case are forced to spend the day together in Saturday detention.

Breakfast Club

The Social Penetration Theory explains how individuals grow closer to one another in their relationships. There is a public layer of a person that everybody has access to. It is simple things that can be told in the early-stages of relationships, like favorite food or their college major. However, as the relationship begins to progress, the layers of an individual progressively get deeper. This is typically illustrated as peeling back the layers of an onion, each layer revealing more information. At the very core of an individual is their most deeply held beliefs and convictions.

The theory states that in a normal process of building relationships, people begin at the top layer then slowly dig deeper and uncover more layers of an individual. The law of reciprocity creates equity in a developing relationship. One person is open which leads the other person to be open as well. Reciprocity is a give-and-take exchange which allows people to progress equally as they reveal more personal information.

There is a famous scene in the Breakfast Club where this band of misfits use the Social Penetration theory to learn more about each other and build unlikely friendships. In this scene, all five students are sitting in the library talking to one another. They have learned a lot of peripheral facts about one another throughout the day and this scene really shows the wedge being driven into the onion. The students are having a light-hearted conversation when one of them asks Emilio “How are you bizarre?”.

Emilio, who is a star athlete, begins to tell everybody why he was in detention that day. He begins with some basic facts about how he ended up in detention. However, as his story progresses, the topic quickly switches to a serious tone as he explains why he did what he did and it reveals personal information about his relationship with his father. As he is telling his story, he is slowly peeling away the layers of onion as he self-discloses more information. By the end of the story, he is almost in tears and the others are silenced by the depth of penetration that has been reached. Emilio’s story allows the other members to be open with him and also reveal personal information about family relations. When Emilio ends his story, Judd, the criminal kid with a bad background, comments that “I think that your old man and my old man should get together and go bowling”. This reciprocity opens the door for Judd to reveal personal information about his relationship with his father.

The social penetration theory helps us to understand how the scenes in the Breakfast Club play out and how the relationships develop among the students. By using this theory to understand the behaviors of the students, we can better prepare to determine behaviors in our own relationships.

- Anna Joy Zima, Kaitlyn Russell, Hannah Rodgers, Malia Swift, Spencer Brenes

The Dark Symbol Rises

Hi everyone! This week’s theme is influential movies in pop culture!

Mead‘s (1937) theory of Symbolic Interactionism explains the process of interaction in the formation of meaning for individuals. This is one of the main reasons why the movie Batman has been so successful.  Not only is the Batman symbol recognized within the context of the movie, it also has become a brand for the audience as well. When the symbol is shown in the sky in the movie, it represents hope.  The audience that follows the Batman series recognizes the symbol as a part of their childhood.  Batman has been a huge part of pop culture due to its wide berth of media touched.  These include comics, cartoons, movies, and more recently, a new television series. By interacting with the Batman brand in a multitude of ways, viewers create meaning related to the image.

Marketing practices make or break a brand.  Due to the fact that Batman is able to be marketed to children, adolescents, adults, and parents, it has a wide range of influence. The meaning we attribute to things, according to the theory of Symbolic Interactionism, is a product of our social environment. By parents sharing what Batman means to them with their children, it formulates their perspective towards the brand.  The generational aspect of Batman along with continued popularity contribute to its meaning and explains why people view it in different ways depending on their experience.


However, since we live in an individualistic society, people, no matter what age, seem to create their own perceived meanings of objects and symbols in life. Through this perception, we carry out certain behaviors when we are faced or encountered by these objects or symbols. In this case, the behavior desired by those who create and promote Batman movies is that that people continue to want to see them and share them with others.

If the symbolic interactionism wasn’t so easily defined, do you think the Batman legacy would not have reached the degree that it has?

-Margaret Cafasso, Kierstin Geary, Connor Gold, Olivia Sadler, Hannah Zeskind

“Are you excited to see The Obesity Clinic play?”

Flower headbands, Indian headdresses, body paint, and glowing hula-hoops. What do all of these things have in common? As interest in music festivals has skyrocketed over the last decade, these are some of the common stereotypical trends that now characterize music festival culture. Every year people from all over the world will travel hundreds to thousands of miles just for the chance to listen to good music, make new friends and create life-long memories. This phenomenon can be described through the exploration of the Communication Accommodation Theory.

Coachella_outfits_web_t540Fifty years ago the world became consumed with the ideas of free love, peace, and the common bond over music. Woodstock redefined the way we looked at social interaction and the evolution of trends. As the desire for individuality and self-expression has moved to the forefront on modern day culture, festivalgoers have now been defined as modern day hippies. According to Howard Giles’ Communication Accommodation Theory, “people in intercultural encounters who see themselves as unique individuals will adjust their speech style and content to mesh with others whose approval they seek. People who want to reinforce a strong group identification will interact with those outside the group in a way that accentuates their differences”. While many people who attend music festivals are actual “die-hard” fans, others seem only to join the masses for the sheer desire of experiencing the culture. The communication accommodation theory is evident in these interactions and is accentuated through media portrayals of the stereotypical pseudo-fan like in the video below.

Video clips such as this show how the communication accommodation theory is so heavily applied in the music festival culture today. When people attend music festivals they want to integrate themselves in the modern day culture, whether this remains in line with their true individual identities, or not. While the Woodstock generation came together through music festival culture as a united front to fight undesirable political tastes and symbolized freedom and idealism, music festivals today have become the runway for fashion statements, social inclusion and non-conformist attitudes. The unfortunate reality of identifying music festival culture through the communication accommodation theory is that this once safe-haven for eccentric outfits, unconventional personalities, and atypical tastes in music, has become a popular breeding ground for socialites looking for the opportunity to convert themselves into modern day hippies, even if just for one weekend. So are you excited to see the Obesity Clinic?


-Angelica DiPaolo, Morganne McIntyre, Anderson McNaull, Madeline O’Connor, Rachel White

Embrace the Madness, with the Press of a Button

Tomorrowland has always been known for being the best of the best when it comes to the festival world. This event, which takes place in Belgium, just celebrated its tenth anniversary by going above and beyond expectations. While the Tomorrowland bracelets are a piece of artwork in themselves, this year they were more than a keepsake. Tomorrowland just created the perfect way to market the festival with the press of a button. Not only do they serve as a memento but the bracelets also give you the ability to connect with Facebook so that you can find and add friends that you make at the festival. When you meet someone at the festival that you want to keep in touch with, each of you can simultaneously press the heart shaped button on your bracelet and it will send you a “Friendship email” with all the contact information of the person you just met. Later you can log into Facebook and finalize the connection.

Festival tech has advanced in recent years to give attendees a better experience by using them to enter the festival, pay for food and beverages and now connect with social media. Now that attendees can connect with each other instantly, from all over the world, Tomorrowland can take their online presence to a whole new level and use their fans to create free Word of Mouth Marketing.

The company ID&T, based in Belgium, is responsible for a variety of festivals including Tomorrowland and now TomorrowWorld, in the United States. This is the first company to create such high tech bracelets and could be the beginning of an entirely new festival experience. As more people press the heart shaped button, all of their posts, photos and videos can be shared around the world and used by ID&T to promote themselves without lifting a finger. Word of Mouth Marketing gives the attendees control of the message. When the information is coming from a third party source, people tend to trust it more than coming from the company itself. While WOM marketing is not always the most reliable, social media has increased communication and results.

This year, the second TomorrowWorld will take place in Georgia and based on the success of the bracelets in Belgium, they will also be used this year in the US. People are already excited to use this new feature and it appears to be working based on the five million Facebook followers and the limited number of tickets left.

ID&T is paving the road for how festivals should operate by remembering to focus on the attendees experience while still using this new technology to their advantage.

The Social Media Music Festival: Music Midtown

The month of September gives music lovers a run for their money. Well, maybe not a run for their money but definitely something to spend it on. With the iHeartRadio Musical Festival and Music Midtown Festival this past weekend (September 19th) and TomorrowWorld coming up this weekend (September 26th), it creates a dilemma for music festival participants. Which one is worth the money? While iHeartRadio Festival may have had over 10 headlining performances packed into two days, 100,000 people chose to attend Music Midtown in Atlanta, Georgia. Granted Music Midtown is at least $500 cheaper.
While Bonaroo and iHeartRadio have created a brand for themselves due to being around for many years, Music Midtown is just beginning to make its mark. According to “The Value of a Twitter Follower” presented by @TwitterSmallBiz, 72% of followers are more likely to make a future purchase. Music Midtown has a strong presence on social media, before and continuing after the festival. The countdown began on Twitter seventy days before the event up until the day of. The countdown featured pictures of the festival in past years and of the venue.

Bxvpn-JIUAExdIi.jpg-largeThe Twitter page provided ways for followers to win tickets to the festival, weather forecast updates (the event has had terrible weather in the past), and engaged with not only attendees of the festival, but artists and other organizations on Twitter. With the expansion and popularity of social media, organization members with social media skills have a leg up to those who don’t. Shiffman (2008) refers to the shift of fundamental marketing theory and practices, the “age of engage.” According to Shiffman, “the age of engage is a new era of marketplace and marketing communication grounded in widespread socio-cultural movement characterized by people engaging and being engaged in more participative, collaborative, user-generated ways.” Basically, the marketplace has changed into an interactive practice. It is normal now for companies to talk directly with consumers through Facebook or Twitter. Music Midtown took advantage of social media knowledge and interacted with both attendees and hopeful attendees. On September 16th, three days before the festival kicked off, @MusicMidtown tweeted “TELL US: Who are you most excited to see at #mm2014? The tweet received multiple responses with 115 favorites and 117 retweets. The people in charge of the Music Midtown Twitter account can also be seen interacting with other brands who are promoting the artists performing at the festival. Rolling Stone Twitter account tweeted the vine below with the Tweet ”#GrumpyCat is bummed she isn’t the cat on our #LanaDelRey cover.”

The attendees of Music Midtown were also engaging with the festival on social media. The most recent “Bachelorette” Andi Dorfman and her fiance/winner from the show posted multiple Instagram pictures throughout the weekend of their experience at Music Midtown.


Engagement from both consumers and organizations is crucial in today’s marketplace. Companies receive feedback from consumers on social media and consumers are informed about companies they are invested in. Since Music Midtown was able to utilize social media to increase the engagement with their attendees before, during, and after the show, this may have contributed to their overwhelming ticket sales.

-Kelli Hall, Morgan McCleaf, Danielle Walters, Stephanie Jordan, and Shawn Rause


From The App To The Stage: The iHeartRadio Music Festival

The fourth annual iHeartRadio Music Festival took place this past weekend at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in fabulous Las Vegas. Thousands of fans packed the arena for the two-day musical extravaganza to see the stellar performances of their favorite musical icons. This festival is unlike any other music festival because it is more Vegas style. Not only do they have the nightly shows, they also have day performances in the iHeartRadio Music Festival Village so attendees can party non-stop throughout the day and on into the night.


This day in age, we are living in a period known as the postmodern period. The Postmodernism Theory focuses on the belief that our realities are what we make them to be. Our reality is constructed by our individual selves or social groups and are subject to change integral to time and place. In relation to IMC, Postmodernism illustrates that consumers are buying into a certain lifestyle rather than an actual product. This theory sheds some light on why consumers are willing to pay such extravagant amounts of money to attend this festival. It’s not so much about the music but more about the Vegas lifestyle that they are able to be a apart of, even if only for a weekend. According to Forbes, it costs a pretty penny to get in on the action. The average secondary market price for Friday’s shows was $766.09 and $651.28 for Saturday’s performances. If this was too steep of a price, you could still view the show from afar with an average get-in price of $182 on Friday and only $100 on Saturday. More than 25,000 people flock to Las Vegas every year for the musical gathering. You may be wondering how all of these people hear about the festival. The answer is simple: radio.

According to the Uses and Gratification Theory, users select mediums that give them the most satisfaction. Once the medium is chosen, the user actively integrates it into their lives. In a study appointed by the Radio Advertising Bureau in the U.K., it was discovered that happiness and energy levels were increased by 100 percent when the subjects listened to the radio. The Users and Gratification Theory alongside of the study explains why radio has been so successful. However, iHeartRadio supplies the proof.

Before the music festival, Clear Channel Communications launched the iHeartRadio music app in April 2008. Since then, the app has been downloaded 97 million times. Aside from the app, iHeartMedia (the new name for the iHeartRadio franchise as of September 16, 2014) owns and operates 840 broadcast radio stations across the country. Between iHeartRadio and the broadcast radio stations, iHeartMedia reaches a whopping 240 million listeners per month and 53 million people via their social media pages making iHeartMedia’s outreach the largest in America. With a reach like this, it really is no wonder that the festival creates so much hype and has record-breaking attendance each year.

With proof like this, it makes sense that iHeartMedia has been so successful with their outreach. It is clear that they have used this to their advantage to market the annual festival. With millions of listeners being reached daily, iHeartMedia has been able to promote the music festival with ease. This simple tactic is obviously working as this year’s festival sold out in a mere 10 minutes. This goes to show just how powerful radio can be.

-Malia Swift, Kaitlyn Russell, Hannah Rodgers, Spencer Brenes, and Anna Joy Zima

Creating a Culture at Bonnaroo

Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival is an annual four-day music festival that is produced by Superfly Presents and AC Entertainment. Every year it is held at Great Stage Park in Manchester, Tennessee. This past year Bonnaroo celebrated its 13th anniversary and was held from June 12th through the 15th. They hosted an impressive lineup, with artists including Elton John, Kayne West, The Avett Brothers and Skrillex.


If you know anyone that has ever attended Bonnaroo, they most likely explained to you the culture that forms during the experience. This could be seen through the theory, Cultural Approach to Organizations. Geertz (1973) explains through this theory that organizations and attendees at large events form their own culture. The groups formulate a culture where experiences are shared between the individuals. Bonnaroo exemplifies this. During the festival, fans live together for four whole days. They share their space and integrate into each other’s lives.

In the video above the culture and comradery of the events are visualized. The short film speaks on how the “eclectic” group of people there forms a community during their time at the festival. However, it raises the question:  is the “community” really formed from unity and love or is it a method to keep people committed to returning to the festival?

Bonnaroo attracts 75,000 to 85,000 fans a year, many of whom are dedicated returnees. By taking advantage and promoting the idea of a community at the festival, the owners work to create clear brand image in order to keep and gain customers alongside making revenue. Looking through the  Cultural Approach to Organization helps us to understand how groups that share nothing in common other than taking part in a similar activity can become a distinct culture. Have you ever felt loyalty to an event or product because you feel as if you are part of a community of patrons?

-Olivia Sadler, Margaret Cafasso, Hannah Zeskind, Kierstin Geary, and Connor Gold