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Captain Kirk set to beam down to Comic Con Africa

Science fiction icon William Shatner, who played Captain Kirk in the Star Trek series and movies, will be brought to Comic Con Africa 2019 in Midrand this September.

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Trekkies and the rest of Africa are about to lose their minds Reed Exhibitions Africa and ReedPOP today announced that acclaimed Emmy Award winner, actor, author, producer, director, and singer William Shatner is appearing at Comic Con Africa in September 2019. Shatner became a cultural icon for his portrayal of Captain James T. Kirk of the USS Enterprise in the Star Trek franchise. 

Shatner’s Captain Kirk  was charismatic, moral, just and headstrong. Brave enough to save a planet under attack and charming enough to win over the most  stubborn dissenters. Kirk stubbornly took matters into his own hands, often disobeying orders, but was an inspirational leader who pushed his crew, his ship and most of all, himself, to the limits of what they could accomplish. He was also something of a womaniser, and in line withStar Trek’s fight against the status quo of the time, he featured in one of television’s first interracial kisses.

The science fiction series created by Gene Roddenberry only lasted for three seasons yet thanks in no small part to Shatner’s portray of Captain James T Kirk, the seriesdid not die. In fact, the opposite happened. The show continued to live on in syndication and became evenmore popular. Star Trek became a Saturday morning cartoon that ran during the mid-1970s, and it was resurrected in a live action film in 1979. Returning to the role of Kirk, Shatner starred in Star Trek: The Motion Picture. The film’s warm reception by film-goers showed how much affection the public has for Shatner and the series. Shatner continues to lend his star power to Pop Culture this this day, and appeared in the final season of The Big Bang Theory.

The show was also the benefactor of one of the most successful fan-organized letter-writing campaigns in TV history. 100,000 Trekkies wrote letters demanding the show to stay on air, and 200 students marched to  show their support for the franchise which was retained for a further season.  

Another of Shatner’s most successful shows was Boston Legal, where he played the character Denny Crane. Confident, crude, irreverent, and stubborn, he elicited strong feeling in whoever met him. He founded the law firm Crane, Poole & Schmidt featured in the show. He was flexible with his principles at work, but fastidious with his personal scruples. Denny was very sure of his capabilities, and stated he had won over 6,000 cases and would never lose a single one. He was a maverick, and at the time of the show he was something of liability, yet always retained his legendary status.

Before encountering all sorts of unusual aliens and challenging situations, Shatner started his career as a child performer in radio programs for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and continued to pursue his acting career while he was a student at McGill University. 

Shatner made his film debut in 1958’s The BrothersKaramazov with Yul Brynner. That same year, he returned to Broadway for a two-year run in The Secret Life of Suzie Wong and in  1959 won the Theatre World Award for his performance. After a few successful acting roles on the  big and small screen, on the 8 September, 1966 he landed the role of Captain James T. Kirk of the USS Enterprise in the Star Trek that franchise, the role that made him synonymous with all things Sci-Fi and pop culture. 

He has written a series of books chronicling his experiences playing Captain Kirk and being a part of Star Trek, and has co-written several novels set in the Star Trek universe. He has also written a series of science fiction novels called TekWar that were adapted for television.

But only a ticket to Comic Con Africa will give you the opportunity to meet the Godfather of Sci-Fi. Tickets to this must-attend pop culture festival of the year are selling out fast. Tickets will get you access to all areas, except for William Shatner’s dressing room! Follow Comic Con Africa on Facebook, @ComicConAfrica on Twitter and @comicconafrica_official on Instagram, or visit https://www.comicconafrica.co.za/en.html.

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Millennials turning 40: NOW will you stop targeting them?

It’s one of the most overused terms in youth marketing, and probably the most inaccurate, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK

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One of the most irritating buzzwords embraced by marketers in recent years is the term “millennial”. Most are clueless about its true meaning, and use it as a supposedly cool synonym for “young adults”. The flaw in this targeting – and the word “flaw” here is like calling the Grand Canyon a trench – is that it utterly ignores the meaning of the term. “Millennials” are formally defined as anyone born from 1980 to 2000, meaning they have typically come of age after the dawn of the millennium, or during the 21st century.

Think about that for a moment. Next year, the millennial will be formally defined as anyone aged from 20 to 40. So here you have an entire advertising, marketing and public relations industry hanging onto a cool definition, while in effect arguing that 40-year-olds are youths who want the same thing as newly-minted university graduates or job entrants.

When the communications industry discovers just how embarrassing its glib use of the term really is, it will no doubt pivot – millennial-speak for “changing your business model when it proves to be a disaster, but you still appear to be cool” – to the next big thing in generational theory.

That next big thing is currently Generation Z, or people born after the turn of the century. It’s very convenient to lump them all together and claim they have a different set of values and expectations to those who went before. Allegedly, they are engaged in a quest for experience, compared to millennials – the 19-year-olds and 39-olds alike – supposedly all on a quest for relevance.

In reality, all are part of Generation #, latching onto the latest hashtag trend that sweeps social media, desperate to go viral if they are producers of social content, desperate to have caught onto the trend before their peers.

The irony is that marketers’ quest for cutting edge target markets is, in reality, a hangover from the days when there was no such thing as generational theory, and marketing was all about clearly defined target markets. In the era of big data and mass personalization, that idea seems rather quaint.

Indeed, according to Grant Lapping, managing director of DataCore Media, it no longer matters who brands think their target market is.

“The reason for this is simple: with the technology and data digital marketers have access to today, we no longer need to limit our potential target audience to a set of personas or segments derived through customer research. While this type of customer segmentation was – and remains – important for engagements across traditional above-the-line engagements in mass media, digital marketing gives us the tools we need to target customers on a far more granular and personalised level.

“Where customer research gives us an indication of who the audience is, data can tell us exactly what they want and how they may behave.”

Netflix, he points out, is an example of a company that is changing its industry by avoiding audience segmentation, once the holy grail of entertainment.

In other words, it understands that 20-year-olds and 40-year-olds are very different – but so is everyone in between.

* Arthur Goldstuck is founder of World Wide Worx and editor-in-chief of Gadget.co.za. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram on @art2gee

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Robots coming to IFA

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Robotics is no longer about mechanical humanoids, but rather becoming an interface between man and machine. That is a key message being delivered at next month’s IFA consumer electronics expo in Berlin. An entire hall will be devoted to IFA Next, which will not only offer a look into the future, but also show what form it will take.

The concepts are as varied as the exhibitors themselves. However, there are similarities in the various products, some more human than others, in the fascinating ways in which they establish a link between fun, learning and programming. In many cases, they are aimed at children and young people.

The following will be among the exhibitors making Hall 26 a must-visit:

Leju Robotics (Stand 115) from China is featuring what we all imagine a robot to be. The bipedal Aelos 1s can walk, dance and play football. And in carrying out all these actions it responds to spoken commands. But it also challenges young researchers to apply their creativity in programming it and teaching it new actions. And conversely, it also imparts scholastic knowledge.

Cubroid (Stand 231, KIRIA) from Korea starts off by promoting an independent approach to the way it deals with tasks. Multi-functional cubes, glowing as they play music, or equipped with a tiny rotating motor, join together like Lego pieces. Configuration and programming are thus combined, providing a basic idea of what constitutes artificial intelligence.

Spain is represented by Ebotics (Stand 218). This company is presenting an entire portfolio of building components, including the “Mint” educational program. The modular system explains about modern construction, programming and the entire field of robotics.

Elematec Corporation (Stand 208) from Japan is presenting the two-armed SCARA, which is not intended to deal with any tasks, but in particular to assist people with their work.

Everybot (Stand 231, KIRIA) from Japan approaches the concept of robotics by introducing an autonomous floor-cleaning machine, similar to a robot vacuum cleaner.

And Segway (Stand 222) is using a number of products to explain the modern approach to battery-powered locomotion.

IFA will take place at the Berlin Exhibition Grounds (ExpoCenter City) from 6 to 11 September 2019. For more information, visit www.ifa-berlin.com

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