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Do Unto Others As You Would Have Done To You

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Different companies use different tactics to lure customers to their websites. Some use ads on other pages, some use deals that are only available online, still others use tactics that can prove to be detrimental to the images of celebrities.  The website, Ashley Madison, is running a contest through the end of the 2012-2013 football season that states: if any woman can submit proof that they have had sex with Tim Tebow, the website will give that woman one million dollars. Here is my letter to the founder of the website, Noel Biderman.

Tim Tebow

Dear Mr. Biderman,

I’m sure you get a multitude of letters from various people complaining about the contents and intent of your website. I am not one of those people. I believe it is truly your choice to have the website of your desire and if that choice is to encourage infidelity, well, that’s your prerogative.

I’m writing to you in regards to your recent contest. In your contest, you are advertising to women that they will win one million dollars if they can prove they’ve had sexual intercourse with Tim Tebow. Tebow has previously gone on record stating that he is a virgin and is saving himself for marriage. I find it absolutely deplorable that you are not only calling him a liar but encouraging women to exploit his private life.

I understand that you have your own opinions on whether a popular athlete would be able to abstain from sex as you clearly stated, “Sports and sex (and of course, infidelity) go hand in hand…I guarantee that no man of Tebow’s stature could survive a season in New York without succumbing to the temptations of the city.” I neither agree, nor disagree, with your statements.

The part of this contest that I find so frustratingly wrong is that you are encouraging young women to essentially ruin another person’s career. Tim Tebow has built his career not only by his talent, but by his personality and likability. By offering one million dollars, you are encouraging women to befriend Tebow, seduce him, and exploit him.

I strongly encourage you to take down your contest because it is an awful thing to do. Why should you care so much whether or not Tim Tebow is having sex or not? It shouldn’t be any of your, or the public’s, business. How would you feel if somebody that you trusted, ended up exploiting your image?

Obviously, I am not famous, but I have been told that it is incredibly hard for famous people to completely trust anyone else because they always have to worry about this exploitation. You, sir, are doing nothing to help their cause. If for no other reason, take down the message so Tim Tebow can keep what little peace of mind he has left.

Thank you for your time,

Amanda Mencik

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Rockin’ the Red – The Cool Thing to Do

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It doesn’t matter what the sport is, when it gets to playoff time – everybody gets excited. The regular season games are fun, but the playoffs are when the no-holds-barred games come to play. This is the time where tickets sell out within minutes and everybody dresses in team merchandise.

In 2007, the Washington Capitals started an incredibly public relations strategy. The team emerged at the start of the new season with new uniforms. The older uniforms were black, white, and gold. The new uniforms were predominantly red with blue and white accents. The jerseys were made to be reminiscent of the original team jerseys. With the new uniforms, came a new slogan.

Old Jersey

Rock the Red

Ever since the new uniforms were released, everything regarding Washington hockey has been Rock the Red. You can buy red shirts, pants, bathing suits, socks, shoes, head bands, beanies, caps, and pretty much anything else you can think of.

Rocking the red has sort of become a mindset in the Washington D.C. It is not only all over the Verizon Center, but it has carried over to advertisements throughout the city to local restaurants aiming to attract fans. For the fans who can’t get tickets to the games, there are a couple of restaurants who have viewing parties and give discounts to customers wearing red.

Walking through the Verizon Center, you are inundated by the color Red, all as a way to pump up the fans and get them ready to cheer for their team.

New Jersey

The Capitals public relations group has even included rocking the red in advertising. This season, they released a commercial that used the snob-appeal that insinuated: if you are at the game and you’re not wearing red, you just don’t belong.

In order to kickstart the campaign in 2007, they had the players release a music video which, admittedly, is definitely not a showcase of supreme musical talent, but it was a very cool idea.

Has it worked?

I certainly think that this particular strategy has been incredibly successful. The best thing it did was to unify all of the fans. Not only that, but now when somebody thinks Washington Capitals, they automatically associate Rock the Red. Places all over D.C. are embracing the color red to try and reel in Caps fans and giving the hockey club some pretty awesome free advertising.

Nothing Refreshes Like a Diet Pepsi

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It’s no secret that, in the media, sex sells. Pepsi has come up with a great ad campaign to utilize that fact while advertising for Diet Pepsi.

Sofia Vergara, who actually got her career start with a Latin American Pepsi commercial, has been the face of Diet Pepsi for the last two years. She became incredibly popular after landing a role in the show Modern Family as the sultry Colombian woman with a sexy accent. Pepsi decided to use her as the face of the campaign because she appealed to the demographic they wanted to reach. Before Sofia Vergara, Diet Pepsi was never the soda that was considered cool. It was generally only consumed by older people and people trying to lose weight.

Now that they have Vergara, Diet Pepsi is being consumed by the younger generation as well. Vergara is cool so the product is cool by association. Men want to be with her and Women want to be like her. Pepsi definitely utilizes the famous-person testimonial well.

The main component of the campaign is a commercial with Vergara dancing her way through possible suitors in a club in order to find the waiter with a Diet Pepsi.

To branch off from that, there are several other ads that use Vergara to advertise Diet Pepsi. For instance:

Magazine Ads

Internet Banners
and even ads in Times Square

This campaign does a good job at keeping the ads sexy by being fun and flirty. This is good because sometimes food or drink campaigns that try to be sexy end up being lurid and creepy. For example, Paris Hilton’s Carl’s Jr commercial.

Obviously, we all eat burgers while washing our cars, too.

Another thing that contributes to the success of these ads is the air time. Generally, the commercials are played during prime time television when everybody is watching. The magazine ads aren’t just thrown into any magazine – they’re deliberately placed in magazines like ESPN, Cosmo, People, Vogue, and Maxim. You won’t find them in the less popular magazines like Good housekeeping and Better Homes and Gardens. The Pepsi company was smart when choosing how to spend their money to reach the people they wanted.

The Diet Pepsi ads make me (and most of my generation) want to buy Diet Pepsi. The campaign has been very successful and it is likely that Pepsi will continue to use Vergara’s image for years to come.

Hogwarts: A Home Away From Home

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Growing up, I was one of the few kids, in my generation, who was an avid reader. Because of this, I have read a lot of books that have made some kind of impact on my life. When I decided to do this blog – it was hard to decide which book to choose. When I finally did – it seems like an obvious choice.

The book I chose may seem cliché but the book that made the biggest impact on my life was Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.

The first time I read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, I was in kindergarten. It had just been released and my grandpa thought it would be something that my sister would enjoy reading. The first few chapters of the books are kind of dry since it is going over Harry’s back story. It was because of this that my sister, who was 8 at the time, said it was too hard to get through and she didn’t want to read it.

I have always been incredibly competitive and open to new challenges so when my big sister told me that it was too hard – obviously, I needed to conquer it.

After I read the book, I was pleasantly surprised to find that not only had the little sister beaten her big sister at something – but I found a book that was awesome. All of the action in the later chapters and the storyline itself was exciting.

The Harry Potter series has a lot of lessons to teach everyone. It teaches you to persevere and overcome adversity, it teaches you to believe in yourself even when no one else does, and it teaches you that sometimes a small group of best friends will help you more in the end that a large group of acquaintances.

*May not have actually been said by Stephen King but a good quote, nonetheless

I think this book has had such a big impact on my life because it became a series of books and movies that basically consumed my time. Every couple of years there was another book that came out and eventually – the movies were added into the mix. Harry Potter became such a powerhouse that all of my friends started reading it and it was something we grew up with. It led our discussions and changed the way we thought. It helped us to overcome our differences and led us to believe in ourselves.

Until writing this blog, I didn’t think that Harry Potter necessarily influenced the books I read today but when I started thinking about it – it kind of did. Nowadays when looking for books, I still read stand alone books but I really love the series. I’m always hoping for another series that I’ll love just as much as Harry Potter (or at least one to come close. Sometimes the series I read, I’ll positively love (Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich) but sometimes I’ll think it’s a dud (Twilight by Stephanie Myers). I really can’t wait for the semester to be over so I can finally have time to read The Hunger Games. But really, who am I kidding? Nothing will ever take the place that Harry Potter holds in my heart. (Plus, I’m still secretly waiting for my Hogwarts letter. But shh!! Don’t tell anyone)

Disney Culture: Good or Bad for Children?

Disney, in terms of its cultural messages, has become a topic of controversy of the past couple of years. Parents are afraid that their children will absorb this subtle message and grow up to be un-accepting people. People are claiming that Disney movies force ideas into children’s heads that will cause them to think one way or another.

Different people are saying that Disney is pushing white supremacy because until just recently – they did not have a diverse set of Princes and Princesses. Another thing they have been claiming is the racism involved in Disney movies. People have said that all Latinos are portrayed in Disney movies as hyenas, like in the Lion King, or as chihuahuas, like in Lady in the Tramp. They have also said that they movie Beauty and the Beast is inappropriate because it shows how abusive the beast is and that it teaches little girls to just stick it out through abusive relationships.

I find all of these arguments to be very frustrating. I was a kid who grew up completely immersed in Disney. My sister and I grew up watching all of the movies, we had princess dolls, Disney character bed sheets, lunchboxes, you name it. We were absolutely surrounded by Disney characters. Even considering that, neither of us have ever shared the thoughts that the naysayers have. When I watched the movie in my class, I was a little appalled because I hadn’t considered any of this that way.

Growing up, I never considered the racial factor because, to me, they were just fun animated movies. In reference to the Beauty and the Beast movie, their claim in particular never resonated with me at all. If anything, I learned that it didn’t matter what you looked like on the outside, everybody is worthy of love on the inside. In reference to the “no diversity”, Jasmine from Aladdin is Arab, Pocahontas is Native American, and Mulan is Chinese.

After taking some time and thinking about the movie, Mickey Mouse Monopoly, and considering the opposite side of the story, I realized that one of the most important things involved with all movies, not just Disney, is that it’s important to talk to your children.

My parents screened all of the things we watched or listened to when we were little. If we wanted to buy a CD, they looked up the lyrics and listened to the songs before we were able to purchase it. If we wanted to watch a new TV show, they had to watch and episode or two before we were able to watch it.

If parents just take some time out of their busy schedules to talk to their kids and make sure they understand the meaning of the movie, we wouldn’t have this issue. Yes, corporations have effects on the way people think. Yes, corporations are able to sway customers to buy this way or vote that way. But I don’t think that happens until a little later on in life when people (adults) are more able to understand the goings on in the world. So my message, let the kids enjoy the Disney movies. If you want to go after Disney to make more diverse movies, fine. But don’t make claims that kids are being brainwashed when they really just want to hear a bunch of African animals sing about The Circle of Life.

Hockey: A Common Obsession

To those who know me, it is absolutely no secret that I love hockey. The Washington Capitals are my favorite team but if there is a hockey game on, I’ll watch it, regardless of the team.

I think it is by far the most exciting sport and I can’t get enough. It has almost gotten to the point of obsession. I love following the standings, which teams are in the playoff race and which aren’t, which players are placed on Injured Reserves and which players are coming back, which players are ‘Shanabanned’* and which players have their contracts renewed.  And…I guess it also doesn’t hurt that quite a few players are attractive 😉

Brendan Shanahan during a Shanaban

That brings me to the first blog I enjoy reading which is called What’s Up, Ya Sieve?. It’s a blog written by women, for women. It is a very informative blog that still has a fun side so I would say that it is a combination of both a news blog and a personal diary. There are two main writers who go by the names of Pants and Chuck and they are very knowledgeable of hockey, having been fans for some time. For the women who like hockey, for the sport, but don’t understand what happened in a certain game or why a player was Shanabanned, they are able to explain it. For the women who are dragged to games by their significant others, they have the playful features like ‘Foxy Fridays’ and ‘Mikey Mondays.’

Henrik Lundqvist is one foxy goalie

Foxy Friday is a weekly feature where the authors choose one of the “foxy” hockey players from around the league and post a write up of their achievements and fun facts, while also including some gratuitous pictures.

Mikey Monday is their other weekly feature which focuses solely on Mike Green from the Washington Capitals. Pants and Chuck both admire Mike Green’s hockey abilities and facial features so he gets his own day of the week. Plus, the Washington Capitals are one of their favorite teams so every Monday, this is a blog post dedicated to the progress of the Washington Capitals in the season or just a picture that they liked of Mike Green.

Mike Green

To me, this is mostly just a fun blog to read but it is also a credible source of information. Whenever the girls make the informative posts, they take (and cite) their information from credible sources – such as NHL.com. The target audience for this blog is clearly female, which is probably one of the reasons I like it so much. You would be hard-pressed to find a blog that is dedicated to female hockey fans because it is generally such a male dominated crowd.

The next blog that I’m fond of reading isn’t one that is directly devoted to hockey, but it is on a topic that is very prevalent in hockey. The blog is called “The Concussion Blog” and it is (mainly) written by an athletic trainer with quite a few years worth of experience dealing with concussions of his own and those of his athletes. (There are a few guest writers as well). This is more of a news blog that covers all there is to know about concussions in every sport; including how to prevent them and how to treat them.

The Concussion Blog reports on all of the concussions that occur in both professional and college sports and it acts as an interpreter to explain, in layman’s terms, what is being said. The blog also includes various articles written by different medical professionals. The main purpose of this blog is to educate the masses on the severity of concussions. It is to explain what can truly happen with second impact syndrome and explain that all of this concussion talk is not leading to “the wussification of sports”.

Concussions have, especially in the past few years, become significant problems in the NHL. In fact, it was the rise in concussions that led to Brendan Shanahan’s position being created. The NHL needed to find a way to prevent players from taking illegal hits and they are hoping that suspended players will help that.

Crosby discussing his concussion during a press conference.

The most well known concussion throughout the NHL was the one that Sidney Crosby was diagnosed with. Sidney Crosby was dubbed “the next Wayne Gretsky.” He has a multitude of accomplishments including being the youngest Captain to win the Stanley Cup and he scored the gold medal winning goal for Canada at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver. Last January, he took an elbow to the head and was improperly diagnosed.

Crosby developed a concussion from that hit but was allowed to keep playing. A couple of games later, he took a standard hockey hit and the concussion was made worse. After that routine hit, Crosby was out of play for approximately 10 months dealing with concussion symptoms. It is thought that because Crosby is “the face of the NHL”, his concussion is what led to the supplementary discipline to illegal hits and the emphasis on educating people on how to properly handle a concussion. The NHL does not want something like this to happen again.

The third blog I’ll be writing about is called Puck Daddy which is a hockey addition to Yahoo Sports. Puck Daddy has several regular contributors but the main contributor and editor is Greg Wyshynski. Wyshynski uses humor to give readers a unique insight to the going’s on in the National Hockey League. Puck Daddy is the considered the number one hockey blog on the internet based on number of readers.

This is another news blog, but its use of humor gives it a more personal feel. Where What’s Up, Ya Sieve? is a mostly humorous blog, and The Concussion Blog is a mostly teaching blog, Puck Daddy is a perfect blend of both. Wyshynski and his writers are able to teach you about hockey without making it seem like teaching. Admittedly, some of The Concussion Blog, while very informative, can be a little boring to read. Puck Daddy on the other hand effectively uses humor and video examples to explain things. They walk you through the explanation so ‘regular folk’ can understand the sports mumbo jumbo.

While comparing the three blogs – I would say that, in terms of interactivity, What’s Up, Ya Sieve? is the best. All three blogs have the ability to let users leave comments, but What’s Up, Ya Sieve? is the only one where the writers regularly respond to readers’ comments. The Concussion Blog occasionally does but more often than not – it is just the readers talking with each other. I was hard pressed to find a Puck Daddy article where the writer responded to readers’ comments. That, though, could be attributed to the volume of readers and comments on Puck Daddy.

Puck Daddy logo

Of the three, my favorite blog is Puck Daddy, but What’s Up, Ya Sieve? is a close second. I like Puck Daddy because it has the most information about everything around the league and it’s almost never a boring read. What’s Up, Ya Sieve? gains the runner up because I’m biased and I appreciate a good Foxy Friday, every now and then.  😉

Should I continue blogging after this class, I don’t think my blog will be very similar to any of these simply based on the fact that I will most likely not be writing about hockey very frequently. If I were to compare my blog based on their writing styles, I’d say that mine would be most like What’s Up, Ya Sieve?. That blog has the most relaxed writing style and I highly doubt that I would be teaching my readers things very often. Mine would most likely be like a personal diary.

*Shanabanning – when Brendan Shanahan, the Vice President of the Department of Player Safety and Head Disciplinarian, suspends a player for a length of time due to an illegal hit on the ice.

All of the Excitement Without the Overpriced Beer!

It is very infrequent that I miss a Washington Capitals hockey game. Generally, the only time I miss a Caps game – it is being shown on the NHL Network and Towson doesn’t get that station. Luckily, the Capitals website is very helpful for those fans that are unable to watch the game AND even for those who are. Now, regardless of whether it’s on TV or not, you can enjoy all of the excitement of the Caps game without dealing with the crowds and the dent in your wallet.

Helpful Tools

All of the blogs and writings on the website can serve a double purpose. On top of being informative to returning fans, they can also be used as teaching tools to new fans. That is just one way the website is helpful.

The Caps website has many other helpful  features, including but not limited to: a preview that fans can read before the game, game notes that have the stats for both teams, headlines so that fans can keep up with some of the Caps off ice activities, and blogs that promote the Capitals but are not directly written by Capitals employees. These blogs are helpful so you get the take of somebody who doesn’t work for them (meaning they won’t have the sway of corporate ownership). The website even has the ability to listen to the radio call of the game if you cannot watch it.

Interactivity

For a sports website, the National Hockey League does a pretty good job at making the site interactive. The fans have the opportunity to participate in polls, upload fan photos, buy memorabilia, and watch videos from various practices, games, and behind the scenes events.

Another thing the website does well is its overall ease of functionality. You don’t need to be a computer genius in order to navigate the website and the highlight reel on the front page makes it even easier to find the latest and greatest information. There is a search bar in the upper right corner that adds to the ease in finding things on the website. After typing in a few key words – the search bar takes you to a page that has news, image, audio, and video results.

Visual Appeal

The site is visually appealing. The teams’ colors are red, white, and blue and their slogan is “Rock the Red.” Because of this, the majority of the website has those colors but it is done in a way that is classy and not overwhelming.

Overall, the website has something for everyone. There are the game notes and in depth analysis for the super fans, the Scarlet Caps designed specifically for the ladies, and even a kids zone so you can start the fandom in your children early. The only thing that I’d like added would be the video streaming of the game. Unfortunately, the NHL got smart and made that available, but only if you pay for it.

***Side note, the game I watched while writing this was the Washington Capitals- Montreal Canadiens game. It was nerve-wracking, but the Caps won in the shootout! 🙂 Two more points for the Caps and they stay in the playoff race.

8th is last place, but they are still in the playoffs!!