Superbowl Commercials (American Dreaming)

american-dreaming

It’s been a whole year since my last post on here. As I talked about in my last post is the American tradition known as the “Superbowl”. An interesting trend I found in this year’s commercials is the focus on immigration and the diversity found in America.

The current topic of immigration within the United States is a highly controversial one, so it was incredibly surprising to me that so many companies would be clearly showing a particular stance on the issue.

I’ll be doing a quick run through of the commercials that aired this year.

Budweiser “Born the Hard Way”

Budweiser brought attention to  their immigrant origins. This was an interesting way to voice their opinion on the current immigrant issue by looking to the past. It is a reminder that regardless of origin all immigrants have had to face opposition in this country, but the rewards can be great for those who can work past that. It also comes to show you that in some way times do not change and history does seem to repeat itself.

Airbnb “We Accept”

Not a surprising that a company focus on tourism would focus on diversity. Interesting note that the company is hugely against the travel ban put on Muslims in select countries to the U.S.  They have stated that they will offer free housing to refugees not welcomed in the U.S. Link

Coca-Cola “America the Beautiful”

This commercial is an old one and actually came out three Superbowls ago. It does seem that it was brought out due to the political stances going on in the country right now.  It has been stated that Coca-Cola has used this commercial at different big events throughout the years. Regardless it does seem to create a reaction both positive and negative. It was instantly one of my favorite commercials of all time the moment I saw it and I’m sure Coca-Cola decided if it ain’t broke, why fix it?

 Avocados from Mexico”#Avosecrets”

Not really a political commercial, but do find it interesting that they are promoting a product that will most likely be increasing in price due to where they come from. Mexican imports may be taxed higher in order to help build the wall to better divide American and Mexican boarders.

Audi “Daughter”

This one does not necessarily have to do with immigration, but it does highlight the desire for progress. The point of being an American is not only to make a better life for yourself, but a better life for those after you. This is especially true when it comes to your very own family. I am not exactly sure what cars have to do with gender equality, but the commercial seemed to have good intentions on the issue.

84 Lumber “The Entire Journey” 

This will probably be considered the most controversial commercial of the Superbowl. For one the whole entirety of it couldn’t be aired, which meant you had to go to the 84 Lumber site. The sire has been reported to be crashing due to all the traffic it is receiving. This commercial was without a doubt the most captivating out all the commercials I have ever seen at the Superbowl. I had to go check out the full commercial myself to see how it ended.

 

It’s clear that America is not perfect and that there is always room for improvement. I am not sure if these commercials took the stance they did because of profitability reasons or if these companies are clearly taking a stance on certain political issues. My guess it’s a bit of both considering that America continues to become more diverse each and everyday.

 

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

 

 

 

The Top Superbowl Commercials of 2016

 

bronco panthers superbowl 50

Intro

Last Sunday was the Superbowl, which is the American equivalent of the World Cup for American Football.

In the states it is a tradition to gather around the television to watch the game and partake in some favorite snacks. In American football cities have teams that represent them and this year was a big one because my home team, The Denver Broncos won!

One of the most interesting things about the Superbowl is the fact many people go out of their way to watch the game for the commercials. This is funny to me because in general people avoid commercials at all cost, but the for the Superbowl watching the commercials is a tradition.

Years ago marketers got smart and noticed that a large percentage of Americans were watching the game, so they started getting creative with the commercials they air. That is why commercials at the Superbowl became a thing, but unfortunately not all commercials are created equal. Commercials I have seen can be uninteresting or fail to deliver the intended message.

This year I wanted to share my favorite commercials and why I think they were entertaining/effective.

Snickers

This has been an ongoing campaign for Snickers and they always seem to change it up enough to keep it fresh.  It is nice to see that they switched up the gender for once. I mean I am definitely a different person when I am hangry.

In relation to Coca-Cola’s share a coke campaign; Snickers has also began to personalize their products.

Axe

In the past Axe ads have been very groan worthy playing off sort of stereotypical versions of masculinity. It was actually those types of ads that finally got the product off the shelves, but goodness times have changed since the 2000s.

I am sure since Old Spice started dominating the market appealing more to a different type of man something had to change. It was refreshing to see such a progressive ad targeted towards different types of masculinity and not just the established standard. Axe has made a terrific start rebranding themselves.

T-Mobile

I think it can be alright to say ads can be deceiving, especially when they like to use data that is not current. T-mobile decided to tackle the criticism received by Verizon in a creative way.

Using current events like the Miss Universe fiasco, T-mobile took current information to highlight everything in their favor. The commercial was entertaining and effective in the information they were trying to provide. A great commercial.

Domestic Violence

In the past Domestic Abuse commercials were always more blatant, often showing women bruised up. This commercial took a more personal approach and challenges the audience to read in between the lines.

I love that this commercial took a different approach to discuss the issue, but was still respectful to the individuals they are trying to represent.

NFL Superbowl Babies

This was probably one of the most emotional commercials of the night. It’s a great come back to how much the Superbowl has had on American culture and how rooted it is in tradition. Amazing o think it has only been 50 years.

Also interestingly enough the claim of a rise in birth of Superbowl winning cities might be thing. One thing I must ask is “Where are the Bronco babies?”. Oh well suppose we will see some during the 2018 season.

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What were your favorite commercials of the evening and what were your least favorites?

 

Stand With Paris

It breaks my heart to see how hateful people can be after times like this. This is not the case of a whole race, religion, or group of people spreading hatred. This is because a few individuals are angry because others have what they don’t have or can’t have. This is no different than the gunman within American society who decide to hurt others because if they are unhappy than no one else can be happy.
The following quote is German and even though it would be more appropriate in French it’s meaning still stands. After all France and Germany were once enemies and now they are close allies. I originally found out about it in the German History Museum in Bonn it resonates with me.
“Your Christ is jewish, your car is japanese, your pizza is italian, your democracy is greek, your coffee is brazilian, your numbers are arabic, your alphabet is latin… only your neighbor is foreign?”
All our cultures bring something beautiful into the world and we, as citizens can not match hate with hate.

Stand With Paris
Stand With Paris

Photo Creadit @Jean_Jullien for the Paris Imagery.

Landmark Lovemarks: The Dom Cathedral

cologne dom cathedral

I spent my study abroad semester in the city of Cologne, Germany. The city is primarily known for one structure, the epic sized Gothic styled cathedral. Almost every piece of tourist memorabilia in the city revolves around the Dom because of how it has come to symbolize the city.

Here is a list of interesting facts about the Dom to help understand why this Cathedral has become central to the city of Cologne.

1. The Cathedral is rumored to hold the bones of the “Three Wise Men” (That’s why there are three crowns on the Cologne city crest.)

2. It is the tallest Gothic architecture building found in the world (It was also the tallest building from (1880-1884)

3. The construction of the building roughly started in 1248 and ended in 1880, taking 632 years to complete.

4. The Cathedral was one of the few standing buildings in Cologne after air raids during WW II. (Pilots were most likely told to avoid hitting the building for possible various reasons.)

5. The church is dedicated to St. Peter and St. Mary.

6. The original city entrance from Roman times can be found in from of the Cathedral. (There is also a museum dedicated to Roman items found right next to the Cathedral.)

Tip: There are many items outside for display and there is a mosaic that one can see from the outside as well.

7. In 2007 the South stained glass window was redone by Gerhard Ricter in a pixel styled arrangement.

8. The Cathedral is black because of pollution from the train station that is located next to it.

9. When Cologne was seized by France in 1794, the church was used as storage for grain.

10. There is hardly ever a time when the cathedral is not under construction. (It takes painstaking work to keep the cathedral structurally sound.)

11. Only Businesses that have a view of the cathedral are allowed to have Dom in their name.

12. There is a Christmas market that is held outside the Cathedral every year.

13. It is Germany’s most visited landmark, with an average of 20,000 visitors per day.

14. The UNESCO declared Cologne Cathedral a World Heritage Site in 1996.

15. On 5 January 2015, the cathedral  switched off floodlights to protest a demonstration by PEGIDA. (PEGIDA is a hate group that is against Muslims in Europe)

In all honestly, The Dom Cathedral was my least favorite of the Cathdrals I saw during my trip. Cologne would not be the same  without it and it’s skyline certainly would not be as grand. It is a sight to see on the outside and many interesting characters can be found around the Dom Cathedral as well. You can also take a trip to the top as well for a small fee.

Sources: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/292

Photo Credit: biberta (Morgue Files)

Lovemark Landmarks: The Eiffel Tower

Every Iconic city has a landmark that stands out against all others and becomes a representation for the city itself. For London it’s Big Ben, New York has the statue of Liberty, and Paris’s most iconic landmark is without a doubt the Eiffel Tower.

This is the beginning of a series where I take a look at the iconic landmarks of different cities and share some interesting facts about them. I spent two days in Paris, a city filled with many marvelous landmarks, known and unknown alike. Even with so many landmarks the Eiffel Tower seems to stand above the rest.

SOUP & SALAD (2)

1. The Eiffel Tower was built for the 1889 World’s Fair Expedition (Random Fact: My school The University of Northern Colorado is almost as old as the Eiffel Tower to the very day.)

2.Many Parisians found the Eiffel tower to be an eyesore and the tower itself was almost used for scrap metal.

3. In 1909 the tower was repurposed as an radio antenna, saving it from being demolished.

4. Another city that could have been home for the tower was Barcelona, Spain, but the project was declined.

5. It takes 1,665 steps to get to the very top. (Woo that it quite a workout.)

6. A woman married the Eiffel Tower in 2007.

7. The tower is named after Gustave Eiffel. (Supposedly the tower held an apartment for him on the third floor.)

8. The tower also has a nickname called “La dame de fer” which means the iron lady

9. It was the largest building in the world at the time of its construction.

10. The tower is used for numerous marketing campaigns. Most notably the French car manufacturer Citroen used the tower as a giant billboard between 1925 and 1934. (When I was there there was a giant tennis ball in the middle of the tower for the French Open Tennis Tournament.) Source:PastTimeParisian

11. At night the tower sparkles on the hour.

12. It is part of a series of Paris landmarks that are lined up in a roughly straight line

13. It is the most visited paid monument in the world with over 250 million visitors.

14. The actual creator of the tower is Maurice Koechlin.

15. In the summer the heat increases the height of the tower by 6 inches.

16. In the winter the first floor is used as a skating rink.

17.There are two restaurants located on the Eiffel Tower.

18.  It is the most popular spots in the world to take a selfie.

19.  When Hitler visited Paris lift cables were cut to force him and other Nazi’s to use stairs to get to the top.

20. It uses the same amount of Electricity as a small village

Image by me

Top Five Things I Learned While Studying Abroad

Top Five

I recently just finished my study abroad session in Germany. It was only a month, which of course is a very short time frame, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t have enough time to learn anything. Here is a short list of five things that I learn while being abroad.

1.The Most Valuable Lessons are Found Outside the Classroom

There is much to learn inside the classroom, but the best lessons in life are often found in day to day life. Living in a different country can often be a challenging experience and can force you to think fast on your feet. Learning how to get out of bad situations, communicating with language barriers, and learning how to adapt to cultural norms are all examples of this.

2.Cultural Exchanges Are Okay

I think many student studying abroad don’t let the culture they are in make an impact on them. They tend to play it safe and only stick with things that are familiar to them. I have found it is important to do things that you normally don’t get to do at home and to push yourself outside your comfort zone. (Which doesn’t include getting drunk and extra obnoxious because you are in a foreign country) Trying new things and meeting new people allows you to learn more about yourself and gives you a broader outlook. Let the country and the people of that country leave an impact on you, but also share your culture as well.

3. Your Expectations Will Be Shattered 

For me I had a lot of different ideas what being in a different country was going to be like. You grow up having different perceptions all based from what the media portrays. When I finally arrived in Europe I honestly had a lot of different ideas on what the country would be like and the people. A great deal of these perceptions were wrong. For example the French are not generally rude and will hate you for being American/English Speaking. (Note: I was only in Paris, which is quite touristy, mind you.) Since, I was also living abroad being in a place become less exotic if you are trying to live day to day life. As an example I became a little desensitized to the fact many shops were closed on Sundays and made sure to do my grocery shopping on a Saturday or Friday.

4. Kindness is Universal

I had a lot of troubles while abroad. For the first few days I hardly had any Euros because I got locked out of my account, I didn’t have an adapter to charge any of my electronics, my phone didn’t work abroad, and I was constantly getting lost in the city I was studying in. I can honestly say I am pretty sure I made every rookie mistake one can make in a foreign country. One thing I did have to learn is to actually ask for help because there were many times where I was unable to figure out certain things by myself. This was hard for me because I pride myself in being independent. The thing I found is that people are kind all over the world and are more than willing to help you out, even if you are just a confused little tourist.

5.Be Gracious

I am a lucky individual to be given the chance to see and actually be in some of the places I am in. For many traveling is a dream and many don’t even know certain places exist. After so many people have been so kind to me it is important to say thank you and to show gratitude. Saying thank you in another language is one of the most essential skills one can. I made sure to write a thank you note to all my teachers and for those who helped me. (I also made sure to add special candies that you can only find in my part of the globe, this sort of goes back to sharing your own culture.) At the end of the day savor the moment and days you have, especially if things don’t always go as planned.

Image Credit: Eli Defaria

These are just a few things I learned during my short semester. For those who have lived in a foreign country, what things have you learned?

A Day in Liege!

Photo Credit: Koan from Morguefiles
Photo Credit: Koan from Morguefiles

The Trip

My study abroad semester has been pretty limited travel wise, while other students here have booked last minute trips to exciting places such as Amsterdam, Berlin, Madrid etc. I have pretty much just stayed around Cologne and explored the area. This was not quite what I had in mind for my weekends, but when I factored in the time and money these last minute trips required I found it was best to just plan a trip for certain destinations another time.

I did get restless though and wanted to visit another area to see the differences in culture and people. I looked online to see what places my city connected to my choices were Paris (soon to come), Brussels, Amsterdam, Liege,London and some other nearby German cities. After some consideration I chose Liege in Belgium because of how affordable the ticket was and how close it was to me. Leaving me a lot of time to explore the city, but close enough for me to return back to my cozy little room in Cologne.

My train left around 8 a.m. in the morning and arrived at my destination around an hour later. Upon my arrival I discovered I was in the French speaking part of Belgium. (Obviously, I didn’t do much research before I picked my destination.) I spent the next hour or so researching some basic French phrases on the internet, so I could better communicate with the citizens of Liege. I then spent sometime in a cafe inside the train station, where I was offered a cup of coffee and and a sweet apple pastry. My meal was also served with a Belgium chocolate, marking an item off my list of things Belgium is known for. After that I had to learn to navigate the transportation system and to figure out what exactly there was to see and do in a city like Liege. I made my way to the location within the train station that had info on the public transit and tourist information. After that I was ready to begin my adventure into the city.

The Cathedral of Saint Paul
The Cathedral of Saint Paul  Photocredit:Skywalker from FreeImages

The lady at the tourist information counter recommended that I make my way to the city center, which holds many of the historical aspects of the city. The bus I took stopped at the Cathedral of Saint Paul, a cathedral that is truly a sight to see from the inside. I have been to two other well known cathedrals on my trip such as the Dom and Notre Dame and I must say that the interior of Saint Paul might surpass them both.

After my exploration of the church I went out to explore the city of Liege to see the other historic sights and to also see what differences there were between French Belgium and Cologne, Germany. One thing I noticed is that there is a very old time European feel to Liege. In Cologne I do all my grocery shopping in supermarkets such as Lidl and Rewe, places not all that different from the grocery stores I shopped at back home. In Liege I found there were little stores that specialized in selling just produce, meat, dairy, and of course baked goods.

The city of Liege is pretty easy to navigate through and I was able to make my way through the main sights in just a few hours. I realized that there was no need to take a bus back to the train station due to how easy the city is to navigate and how close the station actually was to my location. On my way back I made sure to check out a local cafe/bar called La Pot Au Lait. The place has an awesome bohemian feel to it and the place is like an indy art gallery in itself. I understand why it is so highly recommended. I also made sure to stop by a waffle place to check off waffles on my list of Belgium things. They were delicious and filled with chocolate. The woman making the waffles was amused when I pulled out my French cheat sheet to order. (I am sure me trying to pronounce anything in French is the equivalent of Brad Pitt trying to speak Italian in the film Inglorious Bastards.) 

I was amused
I was amused @ La Pot Au Lait

After that I made my way down to a beautiful a park that was filled with various statues. Someone has managed to climb up to some of the statues in the park and wrap silk scarves around their necks. This of course made them look about ten times more fabulous. The park area also held a beautiful rose garden and small lake that reminded me of a Monet painting.

My day was coming to an end, so I made my way to a place nearby to eat. I  found a burger joint called the Coyote.(It was interestingly enough by a DVD rental place. I guess Netflix hasn’t taken over Belgium yet.) It was there that I had a Belgium beer brand called Jupiter. Then it was time to head to the train station where I had one more Belgium waffle and bid Liege goodbye.

Things I recommend that I didn’t get to the explore: I was of course in the city for a very short time and missed out on some of the wonderful aspects the city has to offer such as the La Batte, a Sunday market that happens on the left bank of the Meuse river. The stores in liege are honestly not all that unique and will be closed on Sundays, but I am told the Sunday market is something to see. I also might add it is supposedly the biggest market of its kind in Belgium.

I have also been told catching a show at the Royal Opera of Willonia, the Churchill Cinema, or the Cinema Sauveniere is also highly recommended.

Carre District is a place to explore that is filled with all different types of trendy cafes, bars, and restaurants.