Monthly Archives: May 2013

That’s Just Rude

Advertisers these days seem to be pushing the limit.  They are producing ads that objectify women, poke fun at racism, and make fun of certain people.  It’s obnoxious and tasteless as far as I’m concerned.  They are getting away with offensive advertisements, well kind of.  Many companies have had to pull numerous ads that were considered offensive by the public. I don’t understand how these horrible ads get created in the first place. I know that the companies are trying to be funny but in actuality they are not funny.

What those advertisers don’t realize is people take those ads very seriously, I mean very seriously.  Not many people in this country understand sarcasm nor can they take a joke.  That’s the unfortunate truth but knowing that you would think advertisers would be more careful with what they produce.

o-ADVERTISING-FAIL-570It’s really interesting that in all of those ads women are the one being objectified the most.  The advertisement I find the most disturbing is the Belvedere’s “Go Down Smoothly” poster.  The poster depicts the scene of a man grabbing a woman from behind while she’s trying to get away with the caption: “Unlike some people, Belvedere always goes down smoothly.”  I find this advertisement atrocious. I mean come on, this ad is basically promoting rape.  It’s giving people the idea that it’s all right to go out, get drunk and take advantage of someone.

This ad is offensive to women.  It makes them look helpless and weak.  The woman in this advertisement looks scared, defenseless against the man with the creepy smile, thinking that he’s going to get lucky tonight.  The message this advertisement gives is inappropriate.

But who do we blame for this irresponsible act?  Is it the advertisers, creative department, the board of the company, or the owners? Who’s to say it isn’t all of them?  Someone needs to take responsibility for the ad, but most of the time when something like this occurs; it’s mostly pointing fingers at each other.  Whoever is responsible needs to understand the toll this has on women.   It’s especially rude to women who have been victims of rape.  Could you imagine seeing an advertisement poking fun at a traumatic event you went through? No, that is unacceptable.  I would suggest to anyone who in charge of those advertisements to make sure what they are putting out there won’t offend too many people. It’s nearly impossible to please everyone; Belvedere-vodka-rape-ad-apology-twittersomeone will find an issue with your product but don’t attack a group, particularly women.

I give Belvedere props for sending out an apology after the ad was published.  Someone was obviously on top of their stuff, but not close enough to prevent the ad from running in the first.  It was the right thing to do.  The public is willing to forgive but definitely not willing to forget.  The main thing the company should be concerned with is losing business.  From reading multiple articles, the comments from people are pretty brutal. A lot of commenters stated that they would never buy the vodka again.  I guess that’s the risk you’re willing to take when running an offensive ad like Belvedere.  Is it really worth it though? In the end you’re only hurting your product and reputation. Now whenever I hear the name Belvedere I am going to think negatively, they’re the people who had that horrible poster.

You Can’t Escape It

2012_21_jump_street_005Have you noticed a specific brand in a movie you were watching?  Maybe you’ll see it once or maybe you’ll see it a few times.  Maybe you’ll say “Hey, I have that.”  But what you might not know is those products are strategically placed in movies, this is called product placement.  Companies do this gain to recognition for their products, to get their name out there to attract potential customers.

One movie I personally enjoy is 21 Jump Street (2012).  It is hilarious; I was laughing the entire movie. The film is a remake of the original series that aired in the 80s.  The film stars Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill as two unlikely friends working together as cops. The opening scene depicts Jonah and Channing in high school.  Jonah’s character is the typical “nerd” and Channing’s character is the “dumb jock”.  A flash forward to a few years later, both characters are seen joining the police force and are reunited once again.   Somehow the two characters become unlikely friends. The two goofyjump-street-2 characters end up botching some of their police work, screwing up their chances of being taken seriously. The two cops are relocated to a branch called the “misfit toys”, where they get assigned an undercover job at a high school looking for a new drug that is being distributed there.  As the movie progresses it proves to be a typical teenage comedy with some partying, drug use, alcohol use, sexual content and profanity.

This movie hosts a number of
product placements: Adidas, Chevrolet, Chevrolet Camaro, Desert Eagle Pistol, Disney, Doritos, Evans, Facebook, Fila, Ford, Ford Mustang, Glock, Hyundai, Jansport, Lincoln, Mercedes, Porsche, Quiznos, Red Bull, Smartwater, Smith & Wesson, Sony, Sony Ericsson, Sony VAIO, Springfield Armory, Taco Bell, Timberland, Twitter, University of California, Berkeley, Urban Outfitters, Volkswagen, Volkswagen Beetle, just to name a few. 

I noticed something about the product placements.  I’ve noticed that they are targeting a certain audience: young adult males.   The movie has multiple car advertisements, as well as junk food.  It is clear from the placement of the products the companies were trying to get the 21_Jump_Street-Slider1attention of the younger guys.  It makes sense to use these products, like Facebook, Chevy, Taco Bell, and Doritos, because younger people are familiar with them. Boys do love trucks and food after all so that was the right call to put them in there.

The idea of a product placement is pervasive.  They are put into movies to be blatant, guaranteeing the audiences’ attention drawing their eyes to the product.  Most of the time the character of the movie actually uses the product to get that attention.  The idea behind it is to make someone crave the product, to make them think about the product later and have it in the back of their mind.  It’s another creative way by advertisers to get brand recognition and to get new customers.  It’s also another reality of advertising proving that it is literally everywhere, no matter where you go you can’t escape it.

A Lesson for Amanda Bynes

Many of us know Amanda Bynes as the Nickelodeon TV star we grew up with in the nineties.  She appeared as a cast member of All That and hosted he own show, The Amanda Show.  She also appeared in a number of movies; most notably She’s The Man, Hairspray, and Sydney White.  She had quite a successful career so it was shocking for me when she announced her retiremuntitledent from acting in 2010.  That’s when things started to unravel for this child star. She’s had trouble with the law. She was involved with hit-and-runs as well as a DUI. Within the last few months she’s been on Twitter writing these bizarre tweets about herself.  It’s a little concerning that she states she has an eating disorder, having a weight goal of 100 pounds when she is 5’8’’.  Does she realize how unhealthy that goal is, let alone impossible for someone that tall to be that thin and look normal.  She’s even resorted to getting cheek piercings.  Why may you ask?  My speculation is for the media attention.  She constantly complains on Twitter about how the media is attacking her and giving her a bad image.

Has she thought that maybe she should do something to put herself in a positive light to get rid of the negative publicity? Perhaps not, but if I were her publicist I would try to put her out of the negativity as soon as possible.

Amanda Bynes has expressed that is not happy with the media because they keep saying untrue things. My piece of advice to her is if you don’t like what is being said then change the conversation. Amanda Bynes needs to put herself in a better place. If I were here publicist I would get her ahead of the media curve.  I would try to encourage her to stop bringing bad publicity to herself.  Suggest to her to think twice before posting a tweet or picture of herself, reflect how that’s going to make herself look to the world.

I honestly would get her awamanda-bynes-cheeks-lips-splash-twitteray from twitter.  I would try to get her involved in other activities to promote a positive image of herself.  I would kill the eating disorder proclamations by getting Amanda involved in a cause for eating disorders like Hey U.G.L.Y. This would give her an opportunity to make peace with her body and hopefully change the public’s opinion about her own eating disorder, that she will no longer make it a joke.  I would also get Amanda included in some sort of anti-drunk driving campaign, to correct her previous drunk driving incidents last year. I would also give her a proper make-over.  I would encourage her to dress less risqué, I would encourage her to dress more age appropriately, more like a normal 27 year old woman should dress.  She also needs to get rid of the bleach blonde hair, maybe dye it a darker blonde or even brunette. Her new hair would make her look more sophisticated. I might even send her to a therapist just to make she is actually rs_300x300-130415172103-600_ab_cm_41513mentally stable, or to get her to resolve her personal issues that may be hindering her ability to live a normal life. Of course I would need to convince her to go; hopefully she would agree to go.

I also would try to get to the press before they could write anything negative about her; I would push for the positivity. As soon as they get wind of something good about her, something other than the nonsense that has been posted recently, maybe that will change their opinion about her.

Amanda needs to have someone on her side.  Someone who is not going to judge her, but someone who will guide her in the right direction again, put her back on the right path.  Everyone goes off track every once in a while, but we all need to get back on track eventually and regain our composure.  Amanda is another victim of fame.  But Amanda cannot focus on the past, she needs to move forward. She needs to give herself a chance, not to lie down and take the beating from the media.  Amanda needs to put her life back together. She may not claim that there is anything wrong, but sooner or later she needs to wake up and smell the coffee.  She is heading for self-destruction; she needs help to correct the damage that is already done. Maybe one day the original Amanda Bynes we know and love will return…. We can only hope.

Finding Where We Belong

Have you ever read something that has touched your heart? Something that has made you think about what you’re doing with your life and where is it going? I have.

The novel, Water for Elephants written by Sara Gruen, made me realize that everything is meant be, that we have to find out place in this world, and sometimes we have to go through some wild adventures to get there. This story is not a typical love story, there is so much more to it than that. Not everyone’s story is the same. We all have our life experiences that make us who we are.water-for-elephants

SPOILER ALERT! If you have not read the book and wish to read this book, please do not read this paragraph, you might want to skip to the next. Again just a warning: spoiler alert!!! Jacob Jankowski had to grow up fast when he learned that his parents suddenly died, leaving him with nothing, nowhere to live, and nowhere to go. So where was this poor young Polish man supposed to go with no job in the Depression?  Leave Veterinary School finals to join a circus of course!  Jacob courageously, spontaneously, hops a board of a train coming his way. To his surprise he hopped onto the train of the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth.  In order for Jacob to stay on the train he lies that he is a veterinarian. He is assigned to take care of the animals.  During his stay with the circus, he falls in love with a young woman named Marlena.  She is the sweet, beautiful, equestrian star that steals Jacob’s heart. The only problem is that she is married to August, the animal trainer.  August is no man you want to mess with either. He is ruthless, manipulative and will stop at nothing to get what he wants and keep what is his, including Marlena. August has Marlena under his spell but Jacob’s arrival begins to unravel her love-struck world.  She realizes August is not that man she really wants and she begins to fall in love with Jacob.  August takes all his anger out on the animals and Marlena.  Jacob and Marlena plan to run away together with Rosie, the elephant, who is one of the animals under August’s control.  Rosie becomes Jacob’s main reason for staying on the train. She brings Jacob hope when he thinks he’s lost it all. Rosie is smarter than anyone thinks she is, and she proves that at the end of the book, leaving everyone asking the same question.  Of course, I’m not going to tell you the whole story that would be silly of me.  Go get the book and read it for yourself to find out what happens at the end.

I’ve never heard of this book until about two years ago, during my senior year of High School, my AP English teacher assigned it to my class. At first I was like oh great, here’s another boring book that I’m not going to read and I’m going to end up looking it up on Spark Notes. But, my teacher was excited about this book, more than usual I would say; which caught my interest. She told us a basic summary and for once I thought I might enjoy reading this book. Now, don’t get me wrong, not all of them were a snooze-fest, I did enjoy other books I read in that class as well, but Water for Elephants was by far my favorite of the year. I loved reading that book, beginning to end. It was torture reading it for school because I couldn’t read ahead for the class, so I patiently waited for my teacher to assign the next few chapters.

Once I was finished the book I was sad, yet I was thrilled about how good the book truly was.. I love that this book is portrayed as a love story at first glance. But it is so much more than that.  There are many underlying themes that really bring into the light what Gruen wanted her readers to gain from this book.Gruen070910-Small

This book touches on animal cruelty, spousal abuse, the understanding of good and evil, doing the right thing, and countless others that tie the book together.  I think that’s why this book kept my interest because there are a lot of factors about life to consider.  It’s a thought provoking book that makes you think about what is really important in life and to follow your heart. And even sometimes to make crazy decisions, like join a circus. Now, this is not, and I repeat not, one of those instances to say “YOLO”. No ladies and gentlemen, sorry to burst your bubble, but this book is not all about the YOLO status. Water for Elephants is much deeper than that.  This story tells the tale of a man who finds his life at a circus, he finds where he belongs. The story of Jacob Jankowski was touching and amusing. His adventures were inspiring. His journey was about his self-discovery.  He found the love of his life, a passion for animals and he learned to fight for what he wanted.

I can take away from Jacob to never give up on something that I want; whether it’s love, a job, or to live the life I want by my own rules.  The novel has influenced how I look at my own life and how I read books. I read for the adventures and for the realistic story of a true character.  This type of novel has reminded me that everyone goes through their own problems in life. We all face obstacles and how we deal with those obstacles determine where are going and who we will be in this world.