small businesses help give back to the community

Wilmington, a beautiful coastal town that receives a big portion of its annual revenue from tourism. During the hot summer months, the city is full of vacationers from all over the country hoping to soak up the sun in this southern beach town. It’s safe to say that tourism is a big piece in Wilmington’s economy. 


Picture of Wrightsville Beach from Cape Fear Visitors Guide

Some of the largest employers in the town are the New Hanover Health Network, New Hanover County Schools and the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Wilmington is a city that balances both big business and a laid-back lifestyle, including many locally owned businesses.

In a coastal city with a large amount of tourism, small businesses often thrive during the summer months. Still, for many of Wilmington’s local businesses it is important to give back to their community year-round. 

Island Passage, a local clothing boutique located in Lumina Station, Downtown and on Bald Head Island, prides themselves on giving back to local organizations whenever there is an opportunity to do so.

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Island Passage located off Eastwood Road in Lumina Station

Not only do they participate in small business Saturday during the holiday shopping season, they also donate to local charities all year round. For example, during the month of December Island Passage is collecting food items for Nourish NC, a local 501(c)3 non-profit organization whose mission is to “Provide healthy food to hungry children, empowering them to succeed in the classroom and in their community.”

Island Passage has dedicated the month of December to collecting dry-food items for Nourish NC. The boutique invite its customers to kindly bring in four items for Nourish NC, and in return receive 15% of a clothing item. 

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Picture from Island Passage of food collected for Nourish NC

The idea is for local to support local, since small businesses are an important part of every community, including ours. Small locally owned business are not only vital for the economy of the country but for many individuals as well.

In these small businesses, employees usually work closely with consumers and learn firsthand about their needs and wants. Personal connections are often established and people find their favorite local spots to shop at. Residents of the community often pride themselves on supporting local businesses. 


In the end, everything comes together full circle. Local business such as Island Passage who donate to local charities such as Nourish NC, and also give local and loyal customers a discount for their contribution. It’s a win win for everyone! 

If you want to learn more about local charities in Wilmington please visit, and search for Wilmington, NC.


– Olivia Nilsson


Five Tips to get through Finals Week


1. Get your Required Sleep in

While studying is important, so is getting in your eight hours of sleep every night. As much as we want to stay up all night studying, it’s actually better for us to get in our sleep. So study hard, and then rest up for your final!

2. Stay Active

Many people don’t know, but excersising actually boosts blood flow to the brain, and sitting in one place for too long can lead to a tired, ill-minded brain. Staying active is important for your brain power, so go workout or even take a quick walk in between study sessions.

3. Eat Well

Everyone needs brain food. Good food can lead to more energy for your body, and a clear mind. So during finals week, pass on the fast food and pick up some power bars and fruits and veggies!

4. Don’t Procrastinate

No one enjoys studying, but in order to do well on our finals it is vital. Don’t push it off, for Netflix or going out with your friends. Just do it! You will thank yourself later.

5. Stay off Social Media

We millennial have a bad habit of checking our social media every few minutes. During final week though, try staying off of it for a bit and spending that time studying instead. Grab a textbook or notes, instead of checking your news feeds. It will be difficult, but it will be well worth it.

Small Business Saturday



The Saturday after Black Friday, after all the big corporate stores are picked over, small shops across the country open their doors for Small Business Saturday. In 2010 American Express launched Small Business Saturday to promote locally owned and operated shops. This yearlocal shops all around Wilmington opened their doors in hopes of drawing in customers who are less focused on getting the best deal possible, and more focused on getting quality Christmas presents and supporting local small businesses. Many stores in the Wilmington area called it, “Shopping with your Hearts”. Bigger stores are taking over, and it is important to also contribute to the growth of local smaller businesses because they are the ones who give back to the community, and the economy. Help bring a little more Christmas spirit to Wilmington, by shopping small!

Your Best Friend for Exams – Starbucks

This exam week, two things are in short supply – sleep and coffee. After you down your triple-shot vanilla iced cappuccino, you eventually have to go back to the barista to get a fill-up. Where do you go? Bespoke? PCJ? Grinders? Bitty & Beau’s? No matter what shop you name, I can guarantee that shop was influenced by the one and only coffee juggernaut – Starbucks.

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Starbucks is a champion in all things IMC. From branding to messaging, everyone’s favorite barista bistro has built itself on the backs of everything we study in IMC. Starbucks has transformed itself, its coffee, and even its industry in order to work effectively in IMC.

1: The Coffee Industry

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Starbucks has less branded itself and more branded the entirety of its marketplace. Coffee shops before Starbucks weren’t necessarily the places of social progress and revolution that we see in today’s coffee shops. During the 60’s and 70’s, the coffee industry realized that its young buyers weren’t resonating with their work-focused “buy to caffeinate” message. In order to win the demographic back, Starbucks and other chains focused on the social justice and environmental trends in the late 60’s and early 70’s, and promised that buying their coffee would (somehow) help the environment, or help veterans and homeless people find jobs. It worked, and business soared to peak levels, and influencing coffeeshops forever. Now, it’s hard to go to a coffeeshop that doesn’t have some sort of socially progressive message, from single-sourced, organic grounds, to events that promise to donate 50% of the profits to non-profits.

2: The Unicorn Frappuccino


Let’s take the infamous Unicorn Frappuccino as our example. Starbucks announced this wacky looking drink earlier this year, garnering a massive amount of attention. Its uniqueness caused quite a stir. Consumers flocked to their nearby Starbucks to try this once-in-a-lifetime drink for themselves to immense disappointment: it tasted terrible. This only worked in Starbucks’ favor though, as sales continued to skyrocket due to people telling their friends how absolutely terrible the drink is, only solidifying everyone’s need to try it for themselves. “There’s no way it’s THAT bad”, and “I wanna try it, maybe I’ll like it!” were some of the thoughts on people’s minds that day, only to lead to bitter disappointment. The fleeting nature of the event was perfect for something like this, where the drink doesn’t affect Starbucks’ brand too much, and the messaging and virality can bring in more customers than any flavored latte ever could.

3: Viral Beverages


Besides the Unicorn Frappuccino, Starbucks comes up with other, better, beverages and products. Pumpkin Spice Lattes and Puppuccinos are some of these. Pumpkin Spice Latte season is something that coffee lovers celebrate every year. The first day of Pumpkin Spice Latte is a veritable holiday, with customers rushing in to welcome the flavor back. For precision, this year’s Facebook post on the return of pumpkin spice got 78 thousand likes, 11 thousand comments, and 7.4 thousand shares, compared to their post on the Holiday Spice Flat White, which received 33 thousand likes, 1.5 thousand comments, and 1.3 thousand shares.

Besides that, Starbucks Puppuccinos (a FREE small cup filled with whipped cream offered to dogs) are a successful marketing tool for the company. The much loved treat for our four-legged friends have been a smash hit for Starbucks ever since their inception. Starbucks’ Puppuccinos generate adorable (and often viral) snapchats, videos, and gifs, like this one:


Starbucks has built itself on its brand and IMC principles, allowing it to soar and claim its place at the top of the coffeeshop heap. Only time will tell if it stays there, but as long as Starbucks stays true to IMC and its base, I believe Starbucks will be around for good.

-Eli Jenkins


Finals Week: Tips for Making it Through Exams

Well it has arrived. The dreaded home stretch of the semester where you have officially moved in to the library, your caffeine intake is at a concerning all time high, and you are on the verge of a breakdown.


Only two weeks stand between you and freedom from academic responsibility, yet it feels like an eternity.  Until then, the only thoughts your brain can process are term definitions and APA formatting guidelines.

Although it may seem like stress and anxiety are inevitable during this time in the semester, here are a few tips to follow during finals to help you keep your sanity through the final exam period:


  1. Plan out your study schedule:4

By assigning separate slots of time for your exam studying and essay deadlines,  you can feel like your life is less of a whirlwind, and devote your attention to one thing at a time. You can check your to-dos off as you go, and maybe even start to feel less weight on your shoulders as the list gets smaller and smaller.

2. Put your phone on “Do Not Disturb”:

The last thing you need to break your focus and send you down a deeper hole of procrastination is the distraction of Twitter threads and group Snapchats. The virtual world won’t forget about you if you go M.I.A. for a few days, and keeping your phone on “Do Not Disturb” will make your notifications unnoticeable, which will make it less tempting to distract yourself from your work.


3. Reward yourself:

Even though minimizing non-school related distractions during final exams is important, keeping your sanity is essential. In order to do this, taking breaks is crucial to make sure that you don’t burn yourself out. Set studying goals, and once you achieve them, do something like go to the beach for an hour or go out and have dinner with a friend, because you have earned the right to pick your head up out of a book for at least a little while.

4. Make time for sleep:


Okay, I know this tip seems virtually impossible when you are timing out your day by the minute, and there is physically no second to spare that you are not studying. But, you HAVE to make time for this. Even if its not the full 8-10 recommended hours, making sleep a priority is crucial if you want a functioning brain. Skip the cup of coffee that you are about to pour at 1:00 am, and make peace with yourself that a few hours of snooze will refresh you enough to input more information in the morning.
I know that it seems like your life seems like Hell on Earth right now, but I can assure you that all of your hard work is going to pay off. Follow these tips, just keep breathing, and open your eyes to see the light beaming ahead at the end of the tunnel!


-Jordan Flaherty

CMT’s Nashville Integrates New Ad Technique


Several months ago, I sat alone watching a TV show on CMT called Nashville. I will be the first to admit that it is not the type of show that I would normally watch; However, that is besides my point for today.

(Disclaimer: The following content discusses events that have occurred in CMT’s Nashville, if you wish to watch the show unspoiled, just beware of what you read.)

One Thursday night over the summer, I was in the middle of watching the newest episode of Nashville when I came across something very revolutionary pertaining to advertising. Before I tell you what that is, let me first define something for you. What is Native Advertising?

According to Sharethrough, “native advertising is a form of paid media where the ad experience follows the natural form and function of the user experience in which it is placed.”

Ordinarily, native advertising comes in the form of in-feed ads, promoted listings, content recommendation widgets, and custom content units. However, what you are about to see is very different in style, but the core concept is relative to native advertising. The form that this example has taken is in the form of video.

If you are not familiar with the TV show Nashville, it is a heartwarming drama surrounding the lives of various musicians trying to make it in the country music business. One record label has invited Zack, a tech mogul who has an interest in the country music business, to help keep things running smoothly. Zack and his team pitched an idea of artist-brand partnerships, much like athlete-brand partnerships. Will Lexington, one of the artists on the label, was the first one approached by a company – the brand being, Budweiser. Now that I have given you a brief background, I will let you just watch the scene, then I will continue my train of thought.

Okay, you are wondering, “So what?” Well, as streaming becomes more relevant and commercials become ever more unwatched, I realize a demand for new techniques in presenting ads in streaming services. The catch is, however, they will not be presented in the usual we-will-be-right-back-after-this-quick-break fashion. The key is to implement advertising within television shows themselves. Essentially, viewers will not realize that they have just watched a commercial, which is almost, if not exactly, a type of native advertising.

Consequently, there are several issues surrounding this approach, one of which being that the show Nashville just happens to be the perfect platform for that kind of rollout. But, the concept does seem to have some potential. For the folks interested in advertising and innovative ways to communicate them, this is definitely something to keep your eye on in the future.

Ben Yerby

Movie Marketing Mayhem

‘Tis the season for family, fun, and… advertising. With more time to fill than any other point in the year, companies amp up their marketing strategies to tell us just what to do to pass those hours. The movie industry utilizes this time in its full extent to release films that continuously break box office records. If a film has a high anticipated success rate, releasing it around the holidays will ensure that the amount of money the film is bringing in is maximized. Let’s analyze the most anticipated films and the trends they share.

Blasts from the Pasts

Jumanji and Star Wars: The Last Jedi are classic films that can bring in a wide range of audiences, but particularly cater to the family dynamic. How are you going to get dad into the theater with his family? Bring back a movie from his past so that he is just as invested in the film as his pop culture-concerned family. Star Wars and Jumanji are highly anticipated films because they are reinventing classics, making the following of the past combine with the following of the present to bring in the most revenue as possible.

Everybody Needs a Hero

In the past few years, the film industry has taken a liking to super hero films. It makes sense; there’s action, comedy, attractive people, the good conquers all mentality… there’s something for everyone. With high anticipation for these films, a holiday release means rolling in the big bucks. Similar to the blasts from the past, these films cater to the family dynamic and is something that everyone can agree is worth watching. Films such as Thor: Ragnarok and Justice League have the hype to bring in a large crowd and catering their release to around the holidays where families are together and looking for something to do makes their success escalate that much more.


 The holidays are a time to break from the chaos of life, and what better way to do that than through laughter? Films such as Pitch Perfect 3 and Daddy’s Home 2 offer an escape from reality without being too much for the brain to process. Comedies are a great film to watch with a friend you haven’t seen in a while or with your cousins to lighten the mood during the holiday season.

-Nia Crerar