Saturday, September 5, 2009

Double Standard

I had to write a short blog about this. It was floating in my head too much today as I was watching TV, the US Open tennis to be in fact.

So I'm watching the US Open tennis and I can't help but notice something during the Dinara Safina, the women's world #1, and Petra Kvitova, her 19-year-old Czech, match. Boy does Safina look like a man. Now I say this with as little disrespect as possible.

But honestly, from her hulking shoulders, down to her slightly overflowing gut, to her heavy cavs, it is hard for me to think otherwise. Even the way she navigates her way around the court after points just doesn't sit all to well to me, lumbering around.

This isn't a personal attack as much as it a piece to enlighten you to the double standard I see here with Safina in women's tennis compared to the most recent and controversial example in track and field and Caster Semenya.

Caster Semenya, is the 18-year-old runner from South Africa, winner of the 800 M finals at the World Championships of Athletics in Berlin this past August. Oh and by the way she looks like a dude according to everyone in track and field.

So much so that the IAAF (International Association of Athletic Federations) is questioning the validity of her win by the basis of Semenya indeed being a man. They have gone so far to request a gender test done on her to support their claims. Her family denies the allegations.

So here we have a world #1 on one side, a dark haired 23-year-old white Russian, vs. the South African Semenya, black and bulging with muscles.

Take a look at both of them and decide. Maybe we're are pointing the finger at the wrong direction...

Monday, August 10, 2009

Back to business

Summer is over. It has been for a while for me. I guess the fact it never even started (not many consecutive days of 20 degrees plus eh?) has helped that thought along. Regardless, although I enjoy my work and workplace, getting back to my peers, my field of study, and graduating this year, are all things to look forward to.

So what to expect? I'm definitely out of the whole PR loop. This blog is direct evidence of that. However things should be looking up. Hopefully since the NFL season is starting up, I will be blogging more on the other site I blog for, This should help me get into the habit of blogging again.

Although summer is coming to a close, school definitely excites me. My last time flies. Should be a lot of fun though. Definitely looking forward to it. Hope you are too.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Bring in the charity...floor hockey style

Today I'm still tired. A lot more than usual. After a Sunday worth of charity ball hockey, starting at 10am in the morning all day, it makes sense that this is the case for me. However, when its all for charity and a good cause like CHEO, it was time to suck up my pride and be like Iginla on the floor.

Trying to be Jarome Iginla, my favourite hockey player, was tough. I mean number one, physically there is no comparison. Iginla is big, strong, and dominant on ice. Ice. At least there would be none of that, so maybe I would have the chance, perhaps.

Ball hockey is fast. The ball can move from end to end in seconds and usually does. The concept of setting up a play is lost (unless your really good and can deke through everyone) and really your main focus is getting shots on net and hoping for rebounds to put in.

At the end of the day though it all comes down to charity. For more information about what charity I'm talking about check out my classes PR fundraiser at

So even though I'm all sore and walking with what feels like a plank up my ass, it was all worth getting to hit the floor running and be like matter how far fetched it may have seemed.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A humble golfer?

I'm amazed at golf players. They truly are top level athletes...swinging a club is so hard ain't it? I kid. I believe golf is not really a sport, but more of a hobby for people, rich people it seems, especially when you get into number of players with multitudes of Roman numerals behind their surnames.

Golf players. They are an interesting bunch for sure. And although I don't get out to the links to talk to them much, have a close relationship with a regular golfer, or am in a country club, the players and their interviews intrigue me. A lot.

The reason for this is their attitude. Now Tiger Woods I feel is the only one who can brag. He is the undisputed world #1. Maybe even the best golfer of all-time. But even he is a typical golfer, and it all shows up in his attitude in the dreaded interview.

For example, Tiger's comments after being 1 under at a tournament last week.

"I hit so many good puts that just didn't go in."

Cocky? Confident? Or typical golfer. I think I'll go with number three.

Whenever I watch a golfer interview, these are the typical responses I listen to. They go on and on about how great they played whether they be +10 and 15 shots off the leader.

It boggles my mind how "confident" they could be in circumstances like that. I mean even I perceive myself as a very confident person, but 15 shots off the lead. Your dreaming buddy. Take the caddy, clubs, and cart and pack it in.

So what is a possible remedy? How about a seasoned PR practitioner who knows their way across the links.They would have a golf partner to give them pointers in more ways than one.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

What's up with all this Blackberry business?

My friends and family envy me. Whenever they see me, they ask me questions about it. They ask me how much it cost, how cool it looks, and if they can touch it. The last one annoys me.

That's because when I say yes, they grab it and pretend to act like its theirs, knowing what they are doing infuriates me as I look on. But how can I say no? The item of their affection and mine is my Blackberry...the phone that seems to do no wrong.

Now let me clarify something. I do not work for or have friends or family who work for RIM (Research in Motion, the makers of the Blackberry if you didn't know).

I'm not pitching it to you as RIM is the one whose job is to do that. I'm just intrigued as to the massive appeal, the massive brand following that Blackberry has created for itself. Let me take you back to last year around Christmas time to explain.

Last December, I was working at an electronics retailer, Future Shop. A great place for me to be. Technology, along with sports and personal finance, are my top 3 favourite things other than PR. To be around this environment of new products, gadgets, and devices was really funny.

It was also around this time that I decided to get a early Christmas present for me, a new phone. I didn't care so much about the latest and greatest, although I did know that everyone in my age group was grabbing the Iphone up as fast as possible. I liked the Iphone as well because of this peer influence, however needed to know more about it.

So I walked into Rogers looking for a new phone. Naturally I asked about the Iphone, feeling inclined to do so because of my aforementioned peer influence. So I did. I asked a lot of questions. I got my answers. But still wasn't 100% sold on the Iphone. Then I saw the Blackbery and I knew that was it for me.

The Blackberry that I saw (later I would know it was the new Blackberry Curve 8900 to be exact) was sleek, stylish and all business. It brought on a complete businessman vibe to me, a lot more than what the Iphone, which seemed more of a less serious, fun vibe.

Probably the key feature for me was that the Curve 8900 had keys, while the Iphone was all touch based. When I realize I use my phone more to text message than make calls, the sell
job was complete. I happily purchased my Blackberry and life continued smoothly...well not quite.

Whenever I have my phone out it gets noticed. I remember back to working at Future Shop. I was in the lunch room and had put my phone on the table. Then some girl grabbed it and just went nuts about it, saying how lucky I was, praising the phone non-stop, and wishing she could switch phone carriers so she could purchase the phone, as this phone wasn't available on hers.

She even went so far as to borrow my phone, bring it on the floor and share it with other people in her department. Sheepishly after a good time without my phone, I asked for it back. Only took her about half an hour to be done with it. No big deal.

When I go over to my friends more of the same. Those with older Blackberry's are glad I joined the "family" and go on about how much I must feel like a "businessman" and "high roller" because I have the newest one, at least for now.

Even my older sister, gushes over my phone. Recently she chatted me for minutes about how much it cost and how she would like to purchase one.

So what does all of this add up to, when looking at it from a PR perspective? Well it tells me that Blackberry's brand is strong. People notice it and are loyal to it...incredibly loyal in the case of my co-worker at Future Shop.

Another thing is that a characteristic of a good brand is one that invokes people to associate a certain lifestyle with it. The Blackberry brand is no different. My friend immediately characterized me as joining the "family", becoming a "businessman" and being a "high roller" all over having this particular cell phone.

Finally, and maybe even most importantly, the Blackberry brand resonates with even the most casual observer, in my case my sister. She just has a basic cellphone, doesn't use it for music, internet or sending e-mails but even she was aware of the Blackberry brand and showed genuine interest in it.

Having a strong brand is important. In Blackberry's case this is no different. It allows the need for less emphasis on massive ad campaigns and generates more word of mouth marketing, among other things. I only wish sometimes it wasn't so well noticed. Because not getting heckled as much about having one, wouldn't be so bad, don't you think?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A crisis with Crisco

Last night was an interesting evening for me. I was just hanging out with sisters, decided to put Halo 3 away for a change, to watch some quality TV (yes such a thing exists...check out How I Met Your Mother or The Big Bang Theory on CBS if you don't believe).

So while the TV was going, we decided it would be a good idea to get some snacks. My sister suggested she would make chocolate chip cookies. Add this to the fact of there being chocolate milk in the house, a great combination was in the making.

However, there was a catch. We had a curious case of Crisco shortening in the fridge. What I mean is we had no idea how long it had been in the fridge and whether it was still good or not. So we decided to check.

My sister hopped on my laptop and searched the Crisco site. It was easy to find the information. But to understand it was a whole other issue. A crisis with Crisco awaited us. Maybe those chocolate cookies weren't going to make it into my stomach tonight.

Now for the PR person, graphic designer, or combination of both who made the website, full marks. It features a nice combination of colours making it look great. But when we came to the Crisco FAQs and needed to know if our shortening was good or not we had more difficulty.

Basically, what you have to do is look at your manufacturing code or the date the shortening was made and find this number on your shortening. So we did that. The following numbers were presented to us: 3 094 201 5361.

Just an aside. In PR, for those of you who don't know, math is not our specialty. Many of us would agree that we cringe when we see a slew of numbers together. It is foreign to us. Well these numbers to me and my sister made us completely lost, more than ever math related problem I have ever come encounter with during my years in PR ever could.

The instructions according to the site would give us the following explanation: the first number is the year it was the first number 3 would be 2003 (go figure)...the next 3 numbers, 094, represent the day of the year the product was the 94st day of 2003 (I'm pretty sure but have no clue).

The second set, 201, are plant codes and have nothing to do with anything (then why are they on the container), and the last four numbers, 5361, is the date the shortening was manufactured in the so commonly used and wonderful...military time.

Needless to say it took a while to decipher the numbers. Were the numbers even deciphered in the first place? I'm not even sure....the cookies tasted good though.

The Crisco crisis gives us a perfect PR example of why your message needs to be clear to your audience at all times. Not just because you could make spoiled cookies. It has more to do with providing your publics with information that is clear, concise, correct, and complete - the Four C's of PR, the pillars of a strong message in PR.

In this case, will most people cooking be able to figure when in fact their shortening expires? Yes? No? Maybe? If you think the answer is not a definitive yes and you have to think about it, make sure it contains the Four C's, and then work on creating a clearer message for the audience you wish to reach.

It isn't worth taking a chance risking it and getting sick over it. Hopefully, I learned my lesson...

Thursday, January 15, 2009

I'm back....

Yes I know it has been a while since I have contributed to this space. The consistency required for blogging can be difficult at times, especially when not part of one's regular routine.

After receiving new video games over the Christmas holidays and into the new year, you can imagine what it was like at my household. (P.S. Halo 3 is incredibly fun gaming online with over 200,000 people worldwide playing at any given games are indeed for the cool kids). Suffice to say there were enough long nights playing various titles online.

However, with school now in full-time swing again, it is time to put the xbox 360 away and focus on my work and the wonderful world of PR, and all I have yet to learn and uncover in it. Time to get focused again. See you soon.