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Archive for April, 2010

PETA AD GONE WRONG!

For an ad to be unethical or offensive is unacceptable. Advertising it is something that should get your attention. However, that attention should be in a positive light. Unethical and offensive advertising is a disgrace to our industry. That’s exactly what crossed my mind when I came across the new PETA (People of the Ethical Treatment of Animals) ad. The beloved late actress, Golden Girl, Bea Arthur (1922-2009) was staring me right in my face telling me that “she is going to roll over in her grave” over McDonald’s chicken. This is going way too far!

To Whom It May Concern At The PETA Organization:

I am writing to you regarding your newest PETA advertisement showing our beloved and respected Bea Arthur. Bea Arthur will forever be best known as the lovely and eccentric Dorothy Petrillo Zbornak on Golden Girls. However, she also was a lover of animals and an advocate of PETA

Bea Arthur before she passed away had left money for the animal rights organization in her will.  I understand that PETA decided to use Bea Arthur’s gift to mount a campaign against McDonald’s factory-farming practices.  I understand that you stated that “We’re using it to pressure McDonald’s to switch to a less violent, USDA-approved chicken-slaughter method,” and that the ad reads. “With this new system, millions of birds would be spared broken legs and wings and being scaled to death in defeathering tanks.”

What I don’t understand it taking Bea Arthur’s money and making a gimmick out of her death to influence the public. To hear that she would be “rolling over in her grave” to prove a point is disgraceful and disrespectful. Bea Arthur left PETA money because she believed in your organization. She respected you. PETA believes in not being cruel to animals. How could you be so cruel to Bea Arthur? PETA should have known better and put something in their ad that was “classy” like she was. Bea Arthur will forever be a great name in the media and in society. To see her in the type of advertisement in clearly unethical and offensive!

Sincerely,

Allison Wachtel

In conclusion, I am not saying that PETA and all their advertisements are offensive and unethical. I actually believe that the type of ads they usually do are very ethical and really show the cruelty to animals that people like Bea Arthur are so against. This is why many stars endorse PETA, which really does catch the public’s attention. But to use Bea Arthur’s death to promote “McCruelty” was just wrong. The ad agency needs to do what’s right for their company but this time they did not do what was ethical and they went too far. Even Perez Hilton, the queen bee of gossip finds this ad insulting. If that’s not telling you that this ad is wrong I don’t know what is?

Jon and Kate: Take 2

Kate and Jon Gosselin have been portrayed recently as the “Worst Parents of the Year.” With Kate being known as the “Absentee parent” due to Dancing With the Stars (Kicked off Week 5) and Jon being off at bars flirting with the new girl of the week. The Gosselin couple has become a Public Relations nightmare. The most important question is and will always be, how will this affect their eight children? When the hit TLC show Jon and Kate Plus 8 ended due to the ugly separation of Jon and Kate it all “hit rock bottom.”

Now say I was a Public Relations professional and I wanted to create a campaign to restore the “disastrous duos reputation” into the once beloved couple and amazing parents they used to be. You may think impossible. But I think anything can be done if you work hard (very hard in this case) and have a plan. To reverse the absentee mom and the bar hopping dad’s reputation, I would try and have the paparazzi catch them both acting like parents. Not such a novel idea, but obviously not something Jon and Kate have been doing on their own. In this case, both Jon and Kate would have to be committed to this or it wouldn’t work. They would also have to stop going on reality shows, doing interviews and going to bars. They would have to go back to being parents.  Jon and/or Kate separately and together would need to be caught /or have it “leaked” that they were doing fun and appropriate activities with their children. These activities don’t have tobeanything special. They can be simply playing in their yard, going for ice cream even going grocery shopping. As long as the activity is seen as wholesome and happy it is a “win – win” situation. The children win and Jon and Kate’s reputation improves.

By using the PRSA Ethics Code, which includes, truth, accuracy, fairness, and responsibility to the public you demonstrate that Jon and Kate are both being there for their kids. You show that they are not off doing something crazy. The strategies that I would use to meet this goal of both parents being with their kids, is making sure the public can finally see the Gosselin parents caring about the bringing up of their 9 year old twins and their 5 year old sextuplets.  I would need to send the family out into the public eye just to show how well they can do when they are not dancing on the ballroom floor or grinding it up in a bar.

Unfortunately, with all of the best intention this campaign plan can still backfire. First of all we are already dealing with a “broken family.” Therefore, there is an increased risk of a mistake or a slip up. The slip up can be on purpose (to set their spouse up) or purely accidental (human nature).  If Kate goes into a store and the media catches her screaming or demanding her children to do something or go somewhere the media will not take that for just a little slip up. The next time you go into the supermarket Star and/or The Enquirer is going to have the newest headline reading “Kate Gosselin: Couldn’t Control Her Husband, She’s Moved on to Her Kids?” Next if Jon takes a step into a bar or dinner with a “lady” friend. The image of the two parents and the family is the ruined. This could be an easy fix or a Public Relation Disaster.

The bottom line is that Jon and Kate Gosselin just need to learn to be there for their children. They need to put their own agendas aside. They need to be home to take care and watch their 8 beautiful children grow up. It is not enough to say you care if you are never there for them. With their parents always in the spotlight these eight children are going to need some serious help if this insanity doesn’t stop! You can try and try again to make them look good. HOWEVER, they have to learn to do what is right at all times not only when it makes them look good. Only then will they be on the right track back to a “normal” family life for them and their children. Jon and Kate…now we just have to wait.

Spot the Product Placement in “He’s Just Not That Into You”

In the movie “He’s Just Not That Into You”  (2009) there is a product placement that is hard to miss. If you don’t know what product placement is, it is “the appearance of a product or service in a broadcast program or movie, paid for by the manufacturer to gain exposure for the product or service” (dictionary.com). In the film “He’s Just Not That Into You,” the cigarette brand, “American Spirit” is used multiple times. Also online dating with the site “MySpace.com” is used in one scenario. If you didn’t realize it, think back and I am sure you will remember.

“He’s Just Not That Into You” depicts the lives of 5 women as it follows them through their love lives. Each woman is looking for love but has different obstacles and a different perspective on love.

One woman, Janine, thinks she is happily married. Only to find out that her husband Ben finds his marriage a punishment.  Ben ends up cheating on Janine with another woman, Anna. He eventually tells Janine and she initially chooses to forgive him. However, Ben continues to cheat with Anna and by the end of the movie Janine chooses to divorce him. It was interesting that it was not only the cheating but it was mostly because he lied about not smoking. When Janine finds the “American Spirit Cigarettes” she decides that she is done for good. In the end Janine leaves Ben by himself, with his cigarettes and his beer.

Another woman Beth, appears to be stuck in a relationship for more than 7 years. Her boyfriend Neil doesn’t see marriage as important like Beth does. Beth decides that she cannot stay in a relationship if she is not going to get married. So they break up. But when the couple realizes their lives are nothing without one another, Beth chooses to take Neil back. In this relationship, Ben decided to put his own feelings aside and do what would make Beth whom he loved happy. He chose to propose.

Another woman, Mary, chose online dating as her source to find the right guy. She tries to use technology to get into a man’s heart, which is never the way to go. She says,

“I had this guy leave me a voicemail at work, so I called him at home, and then he emailed me to my Blackberry, and so I texted to his cell, and now you just have to go around checking all these different portals just to get rejected by seven different technologies. It’s exhausting” – He’s Just Not That Into You.

By the end of the movie Mary realizes that this isn’t the way to go. She decides that “MySpace” is not the way to find the guy of her dreams. She then realizes that the guy she had longed for was one of her clients, Connor. Connor was trying to find the women of his dream and by the end of the movie they end up falling in love. Mary and Conner got exactly what they wanted…. Love.

The last woman named Gigi only wants a guy to recognize and appreciate her. She doesn’t understand men and the mixed signals she gets. She tries to do everything in her power to find the right guy.  Through out the movie Gigi and her new “friend” Alex have a” just friends” relationship. Alex believe he knows all the ins and out of dating. Alex decides to mentor Gigi on how to attract a guy. They realize as the mentoring goes on that they are perfect for one another. In the end, all of these women just needed to figure out who they are and what they wanted out of life and love before they committed to a relationship.

There is one product placement in this movie that stands out from all the rest. This product was The American Spirit Cigarettes. Ben and Janine’s relationship fell apart. Who would believe that cheating wasn’t the big problem. He was also lying about smoking cigarettes (American Spirit Cigarettes). Janine gave Ben many opportunities to tell her that he hadn’t quit. The cigarettes in the end were a strong reason for the separation. The product placement and the product can be easily noticed by the audience because of the amount of times it was mentioned and seen throughout the movie. The cigarettes were presented in a negative light but they were presented over and over again.  There were numerous shots of Natural American Spirit Lights, easily identifiable by their bright yellow box. These were used as a negative in a movie just to show one worse thing that the husband Ben was doing to his wife Janine. To Ben who thought marriage was a punishment, it gave him one more opportunity to get himself away from what he called a “funeral.” Although cigarettes were shown to be worse than cheating on your wife, it still gave the product a lot of on-screen time.

Another product placement that was put into the movie was MySpace.com. The character, Mary, used MySpace. She used the site as a way to find the right guy for her. MySpace was shown as a dating site as well as a social networking tool. However, her friends told her that MySpace is not the place to be looking for men. Moreover, her closest friends told her that it might be a “Sleazy” platform to meet people in. As the movie ends, Mary closes her MySpace account, an act that gave her utmost liberation and freedom. This placement is easy to remember because before Facebook was around, MySpace was the network of choice. In Middle School I even had a MySpace. It was the coolest thing around and the new way to get in touch with your friends. Hearing the name MySpace years later rings a bell. It is fun to remember what life was like when you had your very own MySpace.

The “American Spirit Cigarettes” and “MySpace” played a role as much as the characters did in this movie. Both of these products were identifiable and easy to remember. Though they both were not put in a good light it was a way to get their name out into the public. “He’s Just Not That Into You” is a great movie with many memorable things for the public eye to see.

“Girls are taught a lot of stuff growing up: if a boy punches you he likes you, never try to trim your own bangs, and someday you will meet a wonderful guy and get your very own happy ending. Every movie we see, every story we’re told implores us to wait for it: the third act twist, the unexpected declaration of love, the exception to the rule. but sometimes we’re so focused on finding our happy ending we don’t learn how to read the signs. How to tell the ones who want us from the ones who don’t, the ones who will stay and the ones who will leave. and maybe a happy ending doesn’t include a guy, maybe it’s you, on your own, picking up the pieces and starting over, freeing yourself up for something better in the future. Maybe the happy ending is just moving on. or maybe the happy ending is this: knowing after all the unreturned phone calls and broken-hearts, through the blunders and misread signals, through all the pain and embarrassment… you never gave up hope.” – He’s Just Not That Into You

There’s Nothing Like a Second Chance – “The Last Song”

There is nothing like reading a book while your feet are in the sand and the background noises are the waves hitting the shore. While sitting under the Aruba sun over winter break 2009, I read the heart wrenching dramatic romance Nicholas Sparks’ novel, “The Last Song” as my heart melted. As the story unfolded, I thought about my own life as it related to the story. The novel was about a girl who got a second chance and a romance all in one book. What could be better?

This fiction novel first came to my attention while I was reading another Nicholas Sparks book, “Dear John.” I was totally enjoying this book and wanted to read another book by the same author, while I went on vacation. I seem to like romance novels that also teach you a lesson. Therefore, when I went to Barnes and Noble, I went to the Nicholas Sparks’ section and “the Last Song” (the newest of his books) caught my eye. While looking through the book I saw a statement the intrigued me. “You have to love something before you can hate it.” – Nicholas Sparks. I was sold on the book and off to Aruba I went.

Now that I have told you that the one and only Nicholas Sparks’ wrote this amazing book, I also must remind you that he is the same author who wrote the infamous novel and tearjerker “The Notebook.” I know that you must want to know what this story is about and if it is a tearjerker too. I will tell you some of the storyline, but I promise not to ruin the ending. The story opens up with a young girl named Ronnie who was being dragged by her mother to spend the summer in North Carolina. She was going with her younger brother to visit their dad whom she hadn’t seen or spoken to in three years (when he left/divorced them). When she got to North Carolina, Ronnie was very unhappy until she accidentally bumped into a “Beach Babe” named Will. Will was definitely NOT Ronnie’s type until she realized that they had similar interests and that Will had a kind heart. The two of them fell in love. In the meantime Ronnie still resented being forced to be with her dad who had walked out on her, her mom and her brother.. But when she learns that her father is sick with cancer she realizes how much she loves him and how much she missed him. She gets a second chance and learns to love the father who had left her and who she is close to losing again. (If you want to learn more go get the book or it is now a 3 star movie in theatres.)

I can’t say that I have ever been close to someone who has been close to dying and needed to fix the relationship before they died. However, I was lucky enough to get a second chance to fix a friendship. You don’t always get a second chance. If you do, I would take the opportunity and run.  I have learned that family and friendships are too important. You can’t waste love or a friendship on one silly thing. “Truth only means something when it’s hard to admit.” – Nicholas Sparks. Therefore, if you have someone you got into a tiff with, call/text them, email them, instant message them. You never knowwhat could happen because in a blink of an eye they could be gone. You might never get that second chance.

The Nicholas Sparks’ “The Last Song” has impacted my own life in the way that it made me think of the people who I haven’t spoken to in a while.  I realized I need to get in touch with them. I have realized that you cannot take anything for granted. You need to learn to love and realize what is important in life. Don’t give up a second chance with something or someone because you’re too busy with something else. Take what you have and appreciate it. “Sometimes you have to be a part from people you love, but that doesn’t make you love them any less. Sometimes you love them more.” – Nicholas Sparks (The Last Song).

Body Image and The Media

Images of beautiful woman and men are everywhere. Turn on your television, go to the movies, read a magazines and just look up on billboards. There is nowhere to hide. Popular television and movie actresses are younger, taller and thinner than ever. Popular actors are muscular and trim. In the media, young girls and boys see people of all shapes and sizes. But the thinner girls and the more muscular guys are always the most popular. We are all being influenced by what you see.

When a person sees people looking at them it affects that person’s own body image and self-confidence. The number of real life women and girls who are underweight and suffer from eating disorders continues to rise. Studies have shown that one in seven young girls have an eating disorder. So just think about your college class, where there are at least 30 teens in one classroom, if half the class is girls than that could mean that two young girls might have some sort of eating disorder.

Advertisements are always showing how and what you can do to be beautiful. There is no such thing as the “perfect ” man or woman. But even so people don’t see it that way. We forget that behind the ads and the “beautiful people” is a computer screen touching up and editing what that person on the cover of “Glamour” looks like. The advertisement companies don’t realize how much their ads may be hurting a person’s body image. Everyone wants to be a “Cover Girl”.

Body image starts at a very young age. Young girls are constantly looking at themselves in the mirror. Make-up is worn at such a young age. The skinnier you are the better. Not only is there a size 0, now there is a double 0. Teenagers seem to be the most vulnerable. The effect that the media has on women of all ages is astounding. I have heard of young girls who have starved themselves, taken laxatives, and or force themselves to throw-up to make themselves skinner. The media is a very powerful tool and is affecting the body image of many young men and woman. No one should be told what to look like. That skinny is good and being “average” is bad.

We all have a certain body type and we should not have to change our body to please someone else. The pressure the media has put on woman to look like a “Top Model” can be unhealthy and dangerous. As a result, many women go through surgeries to change what their appearance is. Medical procedures including liposuction, implants, botox, and other body cosmetic related surgeries such as a tummy tuck, as well as weight loss pills, are as common as taking a vitamin. The long-term side affects of some of these procedure and drugs are still unknown, yet people will do anything to make themselves more beautiful.

No one should be pressured to look perfect. Besides what is considered perfect? The danger of “perfect” is when women try to reach for something impossible to obtain. Even though women appear to be affected by the media more than men, men are starting to feel the pressure of body image as well. Do people look at you differently if you are curvy rather than skinny? Has media has made you feel this way?  Hopefully, the media can learn that it is hurting a whole generation of woman. We should all look at ourselves and pick out our beauty not our flaws.

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