Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Please stop using pink to sell sports apparel to women.

Before I begin, an announcement: I graduated. Against all odds! People keep building up barriers, I keep breaking them down! I'm from the wrong side of the tracks and this kindly old professor must take me under his wing and teach me how to believe in myself. And when everyone said that I couldn't, I banded together a group of young toughs like myself and we put on a musical to raise money for "the arts" that just don't get any funding these days.

Nope, wait. That's not me. That's the plot to every movie ever. I went against zero odds, and graduated exactly when everyone thought I would.


But really. Excitement. I shouldn't be downplaying this. I truly and sincerely thank my parents, my family and my friends that helped me, guided me and stuck through these last four years with me.

The thing is... I don't really want to talk about graduation. Being a recent alumna has left me quite emotionally raw. I'm to the point that I tear up when someone hands me a pitcher of beer that I won't be able to buy outside of Wisconsin.

Spotted Cow, I think I'll miss you most of all.

So instead of talking about any of that, I'm going to talk about something that has bothered me for quite some time: How sports apparel is marketed to women. 

I will start this off by acknowledging that women are not the primary target market for sports memorabilia distributors. Their main consumer is men, so most of their efforts go into men's clothing. Whatever. Whole other issue.


Just because I am a woman does not mean 

1) That I like pink
2) That I want baby sleeves
3) That I need cleavage showing at all times

I would gladly buy a men's style jersey if it was just sized to fit me.

Lets have a little slideshow, shall we?

Why yes, that is Alyssa Milano.
Yes, apparently she designs Cubs apparel.
No, I don't know why.
No, I don't want to dwell too long on it.

Lets focus on the sleeves. Why? Why are the sleeve frilly? This is not a time for frills. This is a time for sports. It's a time to throw on a t-shirt and jeans and--

--oh. Oh I see. A white dress. A see-through white dress. Actually what I don't see is the Cubs logo anywhere or any indication of the team... no wait there it is!! At the bottom right. Next to the awkward blue swirl. It's like Where's Waldo up in here, up in here.

My biggest issue with women's style sports apparel is that for some reason the people in charge of manufacturing them (I'm gonna go ahead and assume it's mostly men) have decided that all women want is pink. Just make it pink Then the women-folk buy it. Which couldn't be further from the truth for me.

If pink isn't one of the team's colors, it doesn't need to be in my jersey. The Cubs colors are blue, white and red. I don't need pink. Don't make special concessions for me because you don't think I'll buy your jersey if it isn't girly enough.

After all, no one expects the Minnesota Vikings to make blue jerseys for guys just in case men don't want to wear purple. You know what color jersey the Vikings do make, though?

Because nothing spells Viking Pride like wearing a color & logo that has nothing to do with your team. Apparently I'm wrong though, because pink jerseys keeps getting made. I have to assume someone is buying them.

I guess I'm alone in my principles. And I'm also off to write the hit song, "alone in my principles."

^That was a reference from the movie That Thing You do. You should go to your nearest Netflix and watch it right now.

But first, watch this amazing GIF. I would like to give it the title: What I do to people who take too much time deciding what flavor Frappucino they want but all I want is my coffee, dammit.

Yikes. This post was extremely scattered. These are the connections my brain makes. I'll work harder at being more organized next time. 

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Haaaaave you met Ben Weber?

I was minding my own business the other day, just sitting around eating dry fistfuls of "Joe's O's" cereal and watching a Say Yes to the Dress Marathon, when a commercial popped up for CiCi's pizza.

I'm not certain if everyone knows what CiCi's Pizza is, so let me explain: CiCi's pizza is terrible. In a lovable way. It's a pizza buffet, with the pizza flavors varying from Mac n' Cheese to buffalo chicken. And it's super cheap. And it's super gross. It's a very popular place for "men of a certain age." And that age is 15.

CiCi's Pizza is the reason I was so hesitant to try Ian's pizza here in Madison, because they are hauntingly similar. Except Ian's pizza is good and definitely not cheap. Okay I got really off track here, but anyway. The commercial featured THIS GUY:

Ben Weber. A man amongst men, if you will. By that I mean... no one ever seems to recognize him, so he can continue being every guy in every commercial.

I can't find the CiCi's commercial but I swear it's him! And he's in every single commercial ever. I have to wonder... how is he doing it? Ben Weber has been on several TV shows and movies. Sex in the City, Everwood, Twister, The Secret Life of the American Teenager. And once you're in TV and movies you don't generally slide back to commercials, or you aren't casted because you've become too recognizable. But Ben Weber cannot be stopped!

GasX Commercial:

Some might say that was embarrassing for ol' Ben. But he took it all in stride. And moved on to...

Chevy Malibu "Feel That" Commercial

He didn't even make it to be "front seat" guy in this commercial. He was downgraded to "one-line backseat" guy. Better than "no-line backseat girl" I suppose. 

Harrah's "Come out and Play" commercial

I hate everything about this commercial except for the guy in the tan suede-looking suit who just keeps nodding, approvingly. 

Clorox "clean-up volcano" commercial

If I was a teacher and a kid came in with a volcano for a science project I would fail them for unoriginality.

One of the Geico Cavemen

Did I just blow your mind? It's true. 

I think he's the one that says "that is really condescending." But I'm not positive. He's one of the original Geico cavemen, that's all I know. 


I can think of about four more commercials that he's in, but I can't find the videos on YouTube and I think the point has been made. Ben Weber, my hat is off to you for being able to star in so many commercials, movies and TV shows but still be so much of an "every man" that no one seems to notice. You just slip through the commercial, completely undetected.

Ben, I think you would relate very strongly to John C. Reilly in Chicago. You actually even look a lot alike. 

Did you two just become best friends? YUP.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Ad campaigns that won't stop mimicking Old Spice

Everyone remembers the Old Spice commercials with "The Man Your Man Could Smell Like" right? This one:

The Original: Old Spice

After Old Spice released this commercial their sales increased 107%. So... you know. It was successful I guess. If you're into making billions of dollars. Anyway, if you're as obsessed with this ad campaign as I am, check this out immediately.

If you're too lazy, just look at this graph because it's blowing my mind right now:

The Old Spice campaign response videos received DOUBLE the views of Susan Boyle. DOUBLE. Does anyone remember how overexposed that Susan Boyle video was? Now double it. Thats the realm we're dealing with here. 

Of course, since Old Spice was so massively successful, every company wanted their ads to be just like the Old Spice ads, and then their sales would also double... I guess.

You can't put all the blame for these copy-cat ads on the ad agencies. If the client asks for an Old Spice knock-off... agencies kinda have to make them an Old Spice knock-off. Or lose the client. This makes me very bitter and forces me to scream at the computer screen when any of the following commercials come up:

1) Dairy Queen

Here we have some manly-type guy who is talking directly into the camera and performing things that would not normally be in the realm of commercial possibility. He's so cool and his company is so cool that he can SIT ON SUBTITLES?! What a world! He does all this while breaking the fourth wall, and speaking directly to the audience. Sounds familiar.

2) Edge Shave Gel (This one is so obvious that the video is lovingly titled "New Edge shave gel commercial rips off Old Spice")

**Sorry the audio is bad, this is the only video available. Edge must have deleted the others in shame**

I just... I have nothing to say about this one. Except that it is exactly like Old Spice. 

3) Pledge

Breaks 4th wall, looks at camera, one long camera shot, scenery changes behind him, all while he keeps one long conversation going. Also familiar.



And that's all I have to say about that. 

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Madison Bucket List: Episode 3, Revenge of the List

What do you think of that incredibly creative post title, 1980's Carrie Fisher?

Oh, Carrie. You flatter me.

Anyway, as the semester comes to a close I've been pretty busy, and it's going to get worse this next week. So I've been a little lax on my Madison Bucket List. But I have some new ones to share! They are... quite average activities.

Madison Bucket List

Day 13) Cupcake from Madison Sweets Cupcakes and More 

So I don't think that this cupcake store is actually a Madison staple, but I have never been there and it tempts me every time I walk to work.

Flavors from the left: "The favorite," Oreo and red velvet

They look delicious, right? RIGHT?! wrong. These cupcakes were not excellent. But that didn't stop my roommates and I from eating all three. That would have been a truly depressing scene to walk in on. Three girls stuffing their faces with frosting while quietly whimpering over the fact that the cupcakes are actually terrible. And then they pick up another cupcake.

Day 14) Get a flower from the Farmer's Market

The Madison Farmer's Market is awesome. But pretty much the only thing I ever buy there is cheesy bread and various scones.

One day I want to buy a nice gourd, perhaps some home-made noodles, or maybe those fancy mushrooms. That's when I'll know I'm at a financially stable point in my life. When I have enough money to spend it on decorative gourds. But that day is not today.

So I decided that I'll have to settle on some pretty flowers. The problem is that most of the flowers sold at the Farmer's Market have to be planted in the ground. And my only lawn space is claimed by the raccoons and the rabbits. They have their territory, we have ours. So I bought one singular tulip.

And I realized that this photo is super sad and pathetic so I Instagramed the crap out of it.

Ahhh yes. Much better. Much hipster-ier. After I did this I felt a lot like Britta from Community.

Day 15) Shuffleboard

Shuffleboard was a whole new concept to me. I think I'd vaguely heard of it before coming to Madison, but I'd definitely never played. It's like Cornhole/baggo/bags but it's on a table. And it's also kind of like air hockey. And curling, I suppose. I approve. So if anyone is too good at shuffleboard and you're looking for a terrible player to balance out the team... hit me up.

Day 16) Ultimate humiliation at the Bookstore

I have wanted to buy a particular Wisconsin quarter zip from the bookstore for about 4 years. And every time I go to get it, I'm thwarted. This time, I swore to myself that I would leave the bookstore with that quarter zip. Nope.

I stood there and went through about 40 quarter zips looking for my size, but it was not meant to be. The people who work there seemed very concerned for my mental stability because I spent a lot of time standing in a pile of strewn quarter-zips, getting visibly upset and muttering to myself.

Then I saw a guy that looks exactly like what my friend will look in 10 years. I spent about 5 minutes stalking him with my camera. When I followed him into the arts and crafts section he got a little suspicious because I was clearly not interested in buying giant paint easels. So I was forced to run away.

Day 17) Great Dane Chocolates

Beer-infused chocolates? Oh okay, if you insist. My personal favorite was the porter with a bunch of coffee flavoring in it. I'm not certain they're worth $10, but still good. And pretty.

Well thats it. I've pretty much run out of the easy items on my list. I'm going to have to start going out and doing things rather than just buying things and sometimes eating them. I'm nervous.