Tag Archives: Lauren LaCascia

Minerva competition: coffee houses vs. food trucks, please explain

Coffee houses: the line in blue.

Food trucks: the line in red.  

One is falling gently (according to this picture from Google Trends).

The other rising sharply.  

The question: why?  

This is an official Minerva competition.  


One thousand words.

Point form ok.

Be imaginative, concise and interesting. Find your assumptions. Show off your knowledge and mastery of popular culture.

Winner gets a Minerva (as pictured) and a place in our Hall of Fame.


one month from today, i.e., September 19.

Submit to grant27[ATsign]gmail.com.

Judges for this contest:

Martin Weigel, head of planning, W+K, Amsterdam.

Linda Ong, President, Truth Consulting.

Piers Fawkes, Founder, Editor-in-Chief, PSFK.com.

Sam Ford, editor/author, Spreadable Media, Director of Digital Strategy, Peppercom.

Eric Nehrlich, Google, and author, The Unrepentant Generalist.

Cheryl Swanson, founder, managing director, toniq.  

Leora Kornfeld, Research Associate, Harvard Business School


The Minervas were created to encourage people to ask cultural questions and craft cultural answers.

Winners so far:

Juri Saar (for the “Who’s a good doggie woggie?” contest)
Reiko Waisglass (for the “Who’s a good doggie woggie?” contest)
Brent Shelkey (for the “Who’s a good doggie woggie?” contest)
Daniel Saunders (for the “JJ Abrams vs. Joss Whedon” contest)
Tim Sullivan (for the “Karen Black vs. Betty White” contest)
Lauren LaCascia (for the “Showtime vs. USA Networks” contest)
Diandra Mintz (for the “Showtime vs. USA Networks” contest)
Mark Boles (for the “Antique Roadshow vs. Pawn stars” contest)
Indy Neogy (for the “Nordic Noir” contest)

Judges so far:

Debbie Millman

Pamela DeCesare

Dan Formosa

Tom Guarriello

Scott Lerman

Richard Shear

All of the above are from the SVA branding program.


Rick Boyko, Director and Professor, VCU Brandcenter

Schuyler Brown, Skylab

Bryan Castaneda, Attorney At Law

Ana Domb, C3, MIT

Mark Earls, author, Herd

Brad Grossman, Grossman and Partners

Christine W. Huang, PSFK, Huffington Post and Global Hue

Steve Postrel

Minerva Contest

Squint your eyes, and the two shows look virtually identical.

In both, a stranger arrives bearing an object of uncertain provenance and, with cameras rolling, an expert offers an assessment of value.

Stop squinting, and the differences flourish.

One show is the Antiques Roadshow, the pride of the PBS system.

The eight-time Emmy® Award-nominated ANTIQUES ROADSHOW marks its 14th season in 2010. PBS’s highest-rated series, ROADSHOW is seen by almost 10 million viewers each week. In each episode, specialists from the country’s leading auction houses — Bonhams and Butterfields, Christie’s, Doyle New York, Skinner and Sotheby’s — and independent dealers from across the nation offer free appraisals of antiques and collectibles. ANTIQUES ROADSHOW cameras capture tales of family heirlooms, yard sale bargains and long-lost items salvaged from attics and basements, while experts reveal the fascinating truths about these finds.

The other is Pawn Stars,

At the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop on the outskirts of Las Vegas, three generations of the Harrison family–grandfather Richard, son Rick and grandson Corey–jointly run the family business… The three men use their sharp eyes and skills to assess the value of items from the commonplace to the truly historic, including a 16th-century samurai sword, a Super Bowl ring, a Picasso painting and a 17th-century stay of execution. It’s up to them to determine what’s real and what’s fake, as they reveal the often surprising answer to the questions on everyone’s mind, "What’s the story behind it"? and "What’s it worth?"

Your assignment: to write an essay of 1000 words or less that captures the culture similarities and differences between these two shows.  Be exhaustive.  Be exacting.  Be brief.  Point form is perfectly ok.

Your essays will be judged by a panel of experts (and value will be assessed, no cameras rolling).  The winner will get a Minerva (as pictured).  One hint: what are the cultural worlds from which these variations come?  Another: what is value and how is it being assessed in each case? A third: Please examine stylistic differences.

Deadline: December 15.

Previous Winners

Juri Saar (for the "Who’s a good doggie woggie?" contest)

Reiko Waisglass (for the "Who’s a good doggie woggie?" contest)

Brent Shelkey (for the "Who’s a good doggie woggie?" contest)

Daniel Saunders (for the "JJ Abrams vs. Joss Whedon" contest)

Tim Sullivan (for the "Karen Black vs. Betty White" contest)

Lauren LaCascia (for the "Showtime vs. USA Networks" contest)

Diandra Mintz (for the "Showtime vs. USA Networks" contest)


Members of the faculty of the SVA (School of Visual Arts) ‘masters in branding’ program, including Debbie Millman, Pamela DeCesare, Dan Formosa, Tom Guarriello, Scott Lerman, and Richard Shear.