Raise Your Brand

Raise Your Brand is an interactive information session for UNCW student organizations who want to bring more awareness and action to their organization. Join us for FREE pizza and discuss recruitment strategies, promotion, ways to work with the media, and planning your events. In just one hour, your organization will have the knowledge and tools to be bigger and better on campus and in the community.  If you’re interested in attending, please RSVP to raiseyourbrand@yahoo.com or check us out on Facebook at Raise Your Brand Information Session.

The Most Glamorous Night on Television

The Academy Awards of 2011 were full of heartbreak, happiness, and the “F- word”.  The award ceremony is one of the most prestigious of the year. Oscars are passed out to actors and actresses, animators, directors, sound engineers, costume designers, and many other people from the film industry.

The “Oscar” brand is respected in the acting and movie world.  . The décor in the Kodak Theater is extravagant and shines with gold. The background of the stage is glimmering with gold and richness. You can tell that the award ceremony is important because of the giant gold Oscar statues perched at the edges of the stage. Not only are the statues and decorations gold, but the Oscar trophy is gold. Gold is a color of royalty. The people winning these awards are royalty to their competition. After winning an Oscar, the recipient is always known and introduced as “Academy Award Winner”. Anne Hathaway and James Franco even joke about his mother possibly having to call him “Academy Award Winner James Franco”. These winners are the best of the best.

The Academy voted on the winners of each category and there were twenty four awards received.  The Academy is professionals of the motion picture arts and sciences. There are 6,000 motion picture professionals that choose the winners of each category. Invitations are required to be on the academy. The Oscars is a black tie affair. People wear tuxedos and ball gowns. The brand of the Oscars is much more significant than the brand of something such as the MTV Movie Awards. This award ceremony is more casual than the Academy Awards. People dress nicely but the attire is less formal. Nominees have even worn sneakers with their suits.  The category winners are chosen by the movie viewers, by us.

Oscar is double branded as both The Oscars and The Academy Awards.  There are multiple theories as to where the title of the Oscar award came from, but we do know this: Oscar is gold. Oscar is prestige. Oscar is class.

-Allison Day, Jessica Berinson, Megan Canny, Melissa Gagliardi, Scott Burgess

The White House Appoints A Man To Do A “Woman’s Job”

The White House is breaking social norms by appointing the first male social secretary.  Not only is he male, but he is also gay.  Jeremy Bernard will be in charge of planning seamless social functions for the White House.  Bernard was previously the United States ambassador to France and was chosen because of his view that the White House is the “People’s House”.

His sense of humor and infectious laugh reinforces the Obama’s vision of how they want the White House to be portrayed.  Not only this, but the liberal ideals of Obama match up with Bernard’s homosexuality and involvement in homosexual rights efforts.  Obama has also been called a “groundbreaking president”, and this reinforces that title.

Bernard’s duties include reporting to Michelle Obama, although most decisions are trusted to the social secretary.  Event planning is often thought of as a woman’s job and requires diplomatic skills and a sense of production.  Even so, people close to the White House think that a man in the position is perfectly acceptable and that Bernard can do everything that previous women have done.  This position is said to be one of the most important in the White House because social secretary’s report to the president and first lady and is one of the best jobs someone could have in Washington, D.C.

It may seem that President Obama is trying to rebrand the White House image to make it very gay-friendly to increase his votes for the reelection.  It can also be seen as stereotypical that a gay man would be appointed as an event planner, especially since men in the position is already uncommon.  Regardless, the Obama’s have stated that Bernard is most qualified for the job and that he will enhance the young, modern image of the White House that our first family represents.

bernard454.jpg

Bernard, left, and his recent ex-partner.

-Brie Golden

Social Networking- A dictator’s worst enemy

At this point, social networking sites are no new phenomena in the United States. Facebook gets more hits daily than even Google, and Twitter is becoming more and more popular by the day.  With the ability to follow, like, and friend people from around the world, news outlets have learned to use the social media sites of people involved in the recent revolutions to get minute to minute updates about protests around the world. Because of these quick updates, in both Egypt and more recently Libya, dictators clinging to power have quickly tried to shut down the country’s internet access in order to slow down anti- government protest information.

In Egypt, Wael Ghonim, the marketing manager for Google in the Middle East and North Africa tweeted about different protests by the hour which eventually led to his arrest by the Egyptian government.  This only furthered his following and helped spread the word faster about his anti- Mubarak movements.  In the United States, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton participated in an online discussion with young Egyptians who were involved in the riots.  By answering their questions in an online interview which were eventually posted on an Egyptian social networking site, Clinton assured the citizens that the United States supported their democratic ideals.

One of the many western journalists who have been following the chaos in the Middle East and Africa, National Public Radio’s Andy Carvin has been updating his twitter page constantly to keep people around the world up to date of current protests and government decisions. 

With millions of people around the world participating and actively using several different social media sites, it allows information to be passed around at a greater rate than ever before. With the capabilities to follow sites from smart phones, laptops etc. it will be hard for any dictators over staying there welcome to keep ahead of the actions of their irritated citizens.

-Chad Graves

Catch more Libyans with sugar than with gunfire

Tripoli, Libya. (Abdel Meguid al-Fergany/Associated Press)

Around the world it seems that there are few who have not heard about the latest wave of protests going on in Africa, the most recent being the widely covered being in Egypt. The latest wave of protests have come to the Libyan front, where citizens have been fueling a need for freedom and asserting their displeasure with the high unemployment problem as well as their support for the Libyan people, not for Gadhafi. The Central Intelligence Agency estimates about one-third of Libyans are currently living in poverty despite being an oil-rich country.

However, Gadhafi, the current leader of Libya, is not willing to budge. He even went so far as to vow that the only way that he would step down from his position would be to die “a martyr” in his country and according to CNN, he blames the unrest on “rats” who are “agents” of foreign intelligence services and that people found to be cooperating with said services will be executed. Human Rights Watch stated earlier this week that at least 233 people have been killed during the unrest from random open fire by Libyan forces.

It seems that although Gadhafi has vowed to stand strong in his position, he has still lost support in a large portion of eastern Libya. Even the Interior Minister, Abdul Fattah Younis al Abidi, has resigned, aligning his support with the Libyan people’s revolt. It is becoming clearer daily that the brand that Gadhafi has created for Libya and for himself is one that is being morphed by the people into a whole new concept. The current brand associated with Gadhafi’s politics is that of regime and repression, including an iron fist on outgoing communications within the country.

We will have to stay tuned to see if Gadhafi steps down, and takes with him his regimented governmental identity and/or what new identity that the Libyans will create for themselves with or without his leadership in the future.

-Heather Cornman

On Wisconsin! The Protest Continues

Starting last week, up to 25,000 peaceful protestors have surrounded the Capitol building in Madison, Wisconsin.  It isn’t a matter of what they want, but what they don’t want.  Republican Governor, Scott Walker, proposed a bill that many union members are viewing as anti-union.  The bill requires state employees to pay a larger share of health care costs and pensions.  It also diminishes some of their collective bargaining rights and no longer would require state workers to join unions or pay membership dues.

With Democratic State Senators fleeing Wisconsin to avoid voting on the bill, doctors writing sick notes for teachers to protest, and President Obama calling the bill an “assault on unions,” Madison’s liberal brand and activist reputation are giving the Governor a run for his money.  So why are other states watching the clash anxiously?

Wisconsin is not the only state dealing with an extreme budget deficit.  With no easy way to fix the problem, they must consider some very tough budget cuts, many of which are opposed by organized labor.  Unions across the nation have successfully rallied and won many such battles, such as in Oregon and Arizona last year.  However, as seen in New Jersey and New York, governors from both political parties have reached out to business groups to form political action committees to advertise and put out messages to counteract unions.  If Governor Walker is also successful, he will be paving the road for many more states to stand up against government employee unions.

These unions get their power by charging dues, these dues are used to run their daily operations and support political campaigns or individuals for elected office.  For example, in the 2008 elections, $400 million dollars were given by unions to elect Obama and other Democrats.  With Wisconsin threatening to remove unions’ rights to require state workers to join and pay dues, the unions’ relationships with members and political figures will no longer be one offering as much financial reciprocity. 

How does this relate to IMC?  Government employee unions have large budgets to advertise their political views on bills, candidates, campaigns, etc.  They also survive knowing their membership will not diminish and their relationships with members and elected officials will remain productive.  However, if Wisconsin approves this bill it has the potential to reduce the financial power and sets up a pattern that could be followed by other states.  

To learn more, click here to view a video on the protests:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IFU7mn9pOhA

-Carissa Niederkorn, Tiffany Evans, Deji Adeleke, Anna Kate Babnik, Katie Eagle

Alaska’s sweetheart or America’s nightmare?

Seeing as today is Presidents Day, where the nation comes together to honor our past great leaders, we see it fitting to look at the latest political figure and “reality superstar”, Sarah Palin.

This self-titled “maverick”, at first branded herself as a strong political influence with ties to family values, motherhood, main street U.S.A, and conservatism. After her failed run as Vice President during the 2008 Presidential election, she has since morphed into a celebrity.

With her daughter partaking in Dancing With the Stars, and herself being the star of TLC’S Sarah Palin’s Alaska, she has been capitalizing on her celebrity status with a book tour, speech engagements, and recently, Fox News contributor. Do politics even play a role in her brand anymore?

While her views haven’t changed about how the government should be run (if she even can even articulate her views without having to beat around the bush), she has basically destroyed her political brand. In several interviews, she has lost her credibility by not being able to answer simple political questions.

Here is an example of her failing to brand herself as a knowledgeable politician.

Below is a video of her dropping the ball in Politics 101.

According to The Huffington Post, her reality show received $1.2 million in tax credits, a third of what it took to film the series. While other series filmed in Alaska do take advantage of the tax credit, Palin’s show profited the most, angering many citizens. With her stance on outrageous government spending, it is odd that she would partake in something that takes advantage of government funding This further harms her political credibility because she is profiting off the government that she previously lead.

So what’s your take on her brand? Will this affect her future in politics, with a possible 2012 Presidential run? Is she still a positive political figure or simply a public nuisance?

-Allison Day, Jessica Berinson, Megan Canny, Melissa Gagliardi, Scott Burgess