Wednesday, March 2, 2011


The movie Unknown, starring Liam Neeson, is about a man who wakes up from being in a coma after a horrible car accident to find that another man has completely stolen his identity and his wife seems to be going along with it. Now he has to find out and prove who he really is and why mysterious men he has never seen before are trying to kill him.

We chose this movie because it looked really interesting and it just premiered this past weekend. Not to mention we are huge Liam Neeson fans, so of course, we were hooked by the trailer. He was also the lead actor in the movie Taken which was another amazing thriller that kept me on the edge of my seat. Unknown was similar to Taken in that he is searching for a truth or loved one and kicking ass while doing it.

As for his other films that are relatively well known, such as, Schindler's List, Gangs of New York, Batman Begins and Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom; he was stereotyped as the mentor/trainer/father figure to a younger man. We loved all of these films and completely respect and admire his as an actor. He chooses action packed films that are so intense, you will never forget them.

We enjoyed watching Unknown, even though it is unrealistic in many ways, it was entertaining. And I had the chance to see a lot of Berlin and was introduced to how different people in Germany live. The European style complexes in the ghetto part of town with tiny living/bedrooms and bathrooms and walls that are paper thin. The hundreds of years of history mentioned in the movie when he met a Stazi from WWII I thought was quite fascinating because it made me realize how that could change the way they lived their lives knowing that communism was just 60 years ago, and not forgotten. Not to mention, the reason why Dr. Martin Harris (Liam Neeson) was in Berlin in the first place was to do a Bio-tech presentation and meet with a scientist who introduces an evolutionary crop: Corn that will grow and flourish in any weather. So the technology and scientific advances in the movie are "up-to-date", a long with whatever other explosives and guns they used throughout the movie.

We think the intended audience will be the same as "Taken." They are calling "Unknown" the sequel to Taken in that both movies feature an encounter at a foreign airport, and the main character is on a mission to find someone, while facing an opponent who is both stealth and extremely violent.

We thought the movie was good, but since it was so similar to Taken, it wasn't great. I am not the best at judging or predicting what event will happen next in a movie, but my grandma always knew exactly what would happen next. So was the plot predictable? Yes. Did it keep our attention? Of course it did. We were surprised to find out the director of this film is Jaume Collet Serra was the director to redo the film The House of Wax (2005). I'd say he did much better on "Unknown" and should stay away from scary movies that include Paris Hilton as part of the cast. The strengths of this film would be the suspense, intrigue, and action. The weaknesses would be how unrealistic and somewhat inconsistent it was. A wealthy American scientist who knows how to race cars in and out of crowded streets, and fight/kill without any previous training (so you would think). Personally, we found it a little odd the actress they chose to be Liam Neeson's wife in the movie (January Jones). She seems too young and pretty to be his wife, aside from the lack of chemistry. But the movie moved quick enough that you were taken on a ride and didn't notice these tiny discrepancies until afterwards. Well done, Jaume.

I wouldn't watch this movie again only because I feel like I have seen it all before. It wasn't a great movie and I feel like Taken was a much better version of it. I did tell my friends that I liked it, which I did, but it was only because it was an entertaining movie. It didn't teach me anything, or change my perspective, or make me want to see it again.

Liam Neeson is a great actor, therefore, I will continue to watch all his movies. He is pushing 60 yrs, and continues to kick butt in all his movies. Unknown was fun to watch but it was too predictable to be memorable. I liked comparing the movies he has done in the past to his recent ones and found that I learned a lot about his personal life and how he progressed to where he is now in his life and career. It's funny how a certain actor can get you to watch any movie they're in. Do what ever you want Liam, we will always love you!
-Loyal Fans

About me: Analysa

I am the sum of all my experiences.
My name is Analysa Sanchez. I was born and raised in Southern California near San Diego and just recently relocated to the wonderfully unpredictable weather in Corvallis, Oregon. I have been a lifeguard for four years and currently work at OSU Federal Credit Union. I love warm weather, BBQ's, kittens, family, pink milk and trying something new or learning something new every day. I have always been eager to expand my knowledge and experience new and exciting things. I am very sympathetic to people and their feelings and have seen the lowest low as well as the highest high. I guess you can say I am very cultured in many ways, and because of that, have become an extremely understanding and caring person. I had just recently changed my major to Criminal Justice in hopes of helping troubled teens and adults. Or possibly going into law enforcement and keeping people safe and making sure everyone is abiding by the law. Who knows where my path will lead.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Classic and Modern Versions of The New York Times: Which is Preferred?

The New York Times

I walked up to the newspaper stand inside the door of my local Albertsons to find a selection of 6 different papers varying from local news to national: The Gazette Times, The Oregonian, The Albany Democrat-Herald, The New York Times, USA Today, and Register Guard.  Led by instinct, I picked up the paper with the front page displaying large pictures of fire, protesters and mob lines in Yemen, Bahrain and Iran, all featured in full color. The New York Times won my business with their eye catching pictures and big headlines. Scanning the front page, it is noticeable that this paper is designated to inform on the politics and large-scale happenings throughout the US and around the world with cover stories regarding US President Obama’s budget updates, protests throughout the Middle East and the revolution in Egypt.
The NY Times print edition is divided into topic-based sections with “key interest” articles positioned closest to the front of their respective sections with shorter stories deemed “less urgent” in the middle and back. This formula isn’t unique to the NYT but is a standard practice for most all newspapers. I think it would be safe to say that the succession of articles has a general pattern of lengthy articles starting in the main section (followed in second place by the Business Day section) with brief introductions and continuations later in the paper followed by sorter articles in the specialized interest sections such as The Arts and Science Times (which are also considerably thinner sections in comparison to the front/main section of international and nation news and the business section).
An aesthetic observation that I am slightly confused on is the choice of coloration. It seems uniform that the cover pages of the individual sections are in color while the inner pages are printed in black and white. Flipping through the pages however, I find seemingly random pages in color. Some of these pages are full page spreads of ads while others are article based pages with color photos. Speaking of ads, this poor paper is utterly swarming with ads. The products advertised however are less intended for the poor with brand names such as Chanel, Gucci, Dior, and Tiffany & Co. all found on pages A2 and A3.
The ads presented online however are in far less abundance. This could be accredited to the slide show effect of the advertisements allowing for more ads to be cycled through a designated space while not littering the entire page them. The does provide a handful of the same stories as the print edition but there is a clear distinction between the amounts of articles featured in length online in comparison to those printed. In my opinion though, the displays their ads in a manner that is visually far less sophisticated than the spread of the print edition. Online, the paper provides many links to lead the reader to the different stories where more information can then be acquired but on the main page there is actually very little article content but mostly links, small photos, and video news clips. In contrast, the print version of NYT is very rich with articles although there are sections dense with advertisements. The clear edge that the has over the NYT print edition is the timely posting of stories. As I sit writing this, the stories printed on the stack of paper next to me are not changing while the page after refreshment is revamped with new stories posted 32 minutes ago.  

A strength that can be pointed out for the edition is the ability to update continuously with journalists able to post their stories as they finish as opposed to the short coming of print editions once having printed, there is no room for additions or changes, just future stories or continuations waiting to be printed in the next day’s edition. A second strength that the online NYT has is the endless amount of space available rather than the short coming faced by print editors of needing to fit a certain piece into the puzzle arrangement of the printed papers. On the flip side of things, the printed format of the NYT has the advantage of appearance of sophistication and easy navigation where as online the endless procession of links can be overwhelming and loses the high-end feel that the print edition has. A second strength that the print edition has and a shortcoming of online papers is the tradition of a newspaper. Though we are heading into an age of technology where digital is preferred, the printed paper holds dear memories for many that still receive the paper for the purpose of continuing the routine starting generations back.

Day 325: Newspaper, NewspaperWith high end ads and politically driven interest pieces, it is safe to say the primary target audience is generally well educated business types who have money to be tempted by ads proposing they fly to the Caribbean and stay at the glamorous Atlantis casino. That statement in and of itself is a stereotype but I would say that is as far as they go for this paper. The New York Times knows how to accommodate their desired audiences by providing a plethora of venues for exploration for the more modern, technology appreciative customer and the tradition news source for the generation of traditional morning paper and coffee.

My personal preference between the two options would be the printed edition. I like the layout and having the paper in my hands. I find myself so distracted while reading publications online that I rarely finish an article much less explore and read more articles at length. Plus I enjoy the puzzles that the printed editions always slip in there; both the Sudoku and the Crosswords are fun! The online editions also have interactive qualities such as areas where you can rate or vote for or against a topic as well as link to Facebook and Twitter. All the while, I found doing these comparisons between New York Times print and .com there are so many features available to me and also how much I truly do enjoy time to just sit and read which feels like a rarity in an age of constant tasks and jobs.
New York Times Building Front Photo compliments of Niall Kennedy
Coffee and Morning Paper Photo compliments of Juli Shannon

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Three Modern Families

Photo by Loren Javier
Genre: Comedy
Date: 1/19/2011 at 7PM
This popular comedy titled Modern Family displays a dysfunctional family in their attempts to face real life problems from many different perspectives. Our main characters are Phil and Claire Dunphy are the parents but still kids themselves with their three kids who sometimes do the parenting; Mitchell, who is Claire’s gay brother and his partner Cameron and their adopted Chinese daughter Lily provide a different spin on the new traditional family life; Jay Pritchett (Claire’s father) and his Columbian wife, Gloria with her son Manny show us the third kind of stereotypical American family, the second family. Gloria as the second wife to an older man with her young son from a previous relationship exemplify the family put together from the pieces of ended marriages which are more and more common in America these days.
In a recent episode, Phil and Claire's three kids walk in on their parents in a somewhat intimate moment and are completely mortified. Their solution: door lock. Does it work? Only partially. Watch and see how this American family handles it!

You can watch episode clips like this on the ABC Network Youtube page for Modern Family

Modern Family is a perfect example of television sitcoms or rather a "mock-u-mentary" if you will, mirroring our culture, American culture, today. In every episode there is always a new and/or current mode of technology used keeping the family paralleled with real families today. For example in the episode Caught in the Act, Mac operating software was used in the opening scene and the Toyota family minivan is featured later on in the episode. Another feature mirrored in the show is the controversial gay couple who are quite hysterical but also represent the diversity of where American culture is moving in terms of gay rights, tolerance, and family advancement with adoption. The inability of this family to function logically but still realistically is both hysterical and sentimental. What truly turns this show into a feel good family comedy is the solution or lesson at the end of each episode which prove to be the solutions and lessons that we ourselves as participants in some form of family unit have learned or experienced. Nothing is too great to be hugged away.

My favorite element of the show is how the characters often turn to the camera and talk into it, making the audience feel like they’re both a participant of the family as well as a viewer. These one-on-one times are presented like a confession or an inside thought shared as a monologue creating comic relief in an awkward situation. It gives a feel similar to reality sitcoms such as The Kardashians. As Mr. Lloyd said: “The interviews are a chance to have characters more honestly express things than they might openly do in a scene with someone. So we get a laugh from the contrast between what they’re really feeling and what they were willing to admit they were feeling in the scene.” But this show has become a HUGE hit, for many reasons! Check it out!

The attitude or style of the program portrays a very suburban lifestyle, especially when you realize that the economic crisis and recession we are going through doesn't affect them whatsoever. Here is what Allison Waldman had to say about The Modern Family. When Cameron complained about Mitchell missing too much of their daughter Lily's life due to work overload, Mitchell quit his job without a question. Now, we all know how unrealistic that may be, especially since Cameron was a stay at home dad to Lily and they both depend on the medical coverage Mitchell's job provided. Soon after, they all planned a family trip to Hawaii. Wouldn’t that be nice to take a family vacation during the holidays and not have to worry about being able to eat for the next month? When the iPad came out, Claire rushed off to buy one for Phil without worrying or even so much as questioning the price. I think this show is very similar to other family comedies, like the Cosby show and Full House but also has the clever wit like the Office and Friends. It is a fresh version of an idea that has been recycled throughout the generations but like the ever changing families in America, the shows' plot also changes to suit. The goal is achieved for the true entertainment value with the tongue in cheek comedy, the diverse family dynamics and the relatable mole hill sized problems turned into mountains.

There are many stereotypes in this show: Claire, the high strung wife and over-involved stay at home mom; Phil, the real-estate agent does as he is told and never knows how to discipline his children who are always at each other’s necks; Jay Pritchett, who is the ultimate manly man (somewhat reminiscent of Jack Barns from Meet the Fockers); Jay’s younger Columbian wife who struggles with her English; and her chubby, quiet yet silly son, Manny; Mitchell, Claire’s brother, and his partner Cam are the gay couple who aren’t portrayed like the usual gay couple and don't show excessive P.D.A. but still do possess a few of the definable characteristics that gay men are stereotyped into.

The producer's do a great job at including a variety of stereotypes without being crude or too bold while keeping it entertaining for a broad audience. This show airs on ABC family so the commercials were expected to be family friendly. However, when I viewed the show a second time around online, the commercials ranged greatly from KY Intense to Fill the Cup and All State.

If I was traveling from another country and I viewed this show, I would think everyone was as well off financially as the Modern Family and that every challenge or situation was solved with a hug or a smile. We all know that not all challenges we face growing up can be solved so easily and some situations take time to heal but Modern Family does a great job of getting their point across without making us feel like they are trying to teach us a moral lesson.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

About me: Nichelle

My name is Nichelle. I am nearly 21 years old and currently a student. I will be attending Western Oregon University in the Fall of this year in pursuit of a degree in teaching. I guess that is a story long enough to include most of the details as to how I came to see things the way I do and my motivations to speak up. I am not the only person who has had a more than bland life and I won't begin think I am better or worse or more or less entitled than the next person who reads this because of the experiences I am going to share. I have reasons for my beliefs and I am going to share this so hopefully you can see what those reasons are.

Just for fun, I will start the story like this:
   Once upon a time, when I was a young girl, I was always looking for something to make me feel like I belonged. It would be easy to say that as a younger sister in a two child house hold where my only sister hated me and regularly told me things like I was the reason mom and dad got divorced and how life before I was born was so much better (like she could remember), made me feel like I wasn't wanted, but that would be making a victim of myself and I don't think I can really blame everything on that alone. I don't entirely blame the crap things in life on anything in particular anymore. I feel like they happened for a reason to make me better than what I could have been and unfolded to teach me things that I needed to learn.
    So back to our story, searching as I was for a niche in this world, I thought I found the answer while in middle school (because that is the time of all knowledge and enlightenment of course!). Popularity, drugs, and parties was what I thought my answer was. As many of those kinds of stories go, I wound up feeling lonelier and more lost than before. I was betrayed by my friends, and finally sober in a world I didn't want to face. I used to keep a diary. It really did help when I couldn't tell anyone else. I was raped by my friend's next door neighbor and my friend, well she wasn't quite taking my side when she received a bribe to get me in that position. That diary, I wrote everything in it. My sister found it a few months after and gave it to my mom. I begged and pleaded for my mom never to tell and I couldn't bare for another person in this world to know what happened. She couldn't look at me the same for months. With the shame of what my life turned out to be, depression was a pretty logical road for me to follow.
   High School came along eventually and at one point through a long series of events I told my Parenting and Family Life teacher what had happened and than my school counselor, which then led to a CARDV representative immediately followed by two Corvallis Police officers.
   After the police officers, lawyers, therapists, doctors, victims reps, judges, pained looks and dark places had faded from my immediate memory, I found my way to some friends who are always supportive, a man who knows everything about me and still wants to marry me and to the God who sees my failures and still calls me to rise and rejoice. I have seen how adolescence can be difficult for some and not for others and I want to be there regardless and witness, encourage and inspire those to do more, rise above, and be better. I want to be a teacher. Currently, I volunteer at my church's youth group and am a part of a team working with middle school aged kids. Aside from the time I spend at church and with the kids, I work as a part-time teller in the drive-up at a local credit union, go to school (14 crd hrs this term), and plan my May wedding; I keep myself busy and try to take each day as it comes because sometimes crappy things happen and you never know just how things will turn out.

So my hope is now that part of my story is available, there won't be as many reasons to wonder what I am talking about, how could I think a certain way, or why would I say that. I am a Conservative Christian with passionate views on education as well as an open mind to be taught the things I have yet to understand.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Axe Campaigns: Too Naughty or Smart Advertising?

These videos and others in the Campaign are posted by AXE on the "axe effect" website and the "axe awesome clean" website. You can find them here, here, and more here.

These ads plainly use sexual innuendos in every possibly way. It can be found in the dialogue, characters, and the wardrobe choice for the characters; the list can go on and on. I first came across this ad campaign when browsing through Axe commercials on YouTube after Analysa told me about how kids were lighting themselves on fire using Axe because they thought it was cool. In the "Cleans your Balls" campaign, the ads are extremely forward and Axe in no way is trying to hide the technique they are using to forward their products. I don't know if these ads ever viewed on television or if they premiered as an Internet only campaign. I sure hope they never went on television...

Let’s take a look at the characters, shall we. They are all women (in the first ads in the campaign sequence), and let’s not beat around the bush, are all hot. They wear tight clothing and all represent different male sexual fantasies including the school teacher, the foreigner, the librarian, the dumb blond, the explorer/adventurer, the phone entertainer (girl-on-girl/three some references were also made in one of the ads). Also represented are all the dominating white physical traits such as blonds, red heads, and brunettes. As for the advertising techniques used, it might be easier to say which ones didn't get used like famous-person testimonial, hidden-fear, and snob appeal. That leaves us to identify bandwagon, plain-folks, and irritation.

Bandwagon: "how dirty boys get clean" implies that all the other boys are doing it and they are getting mauled by half naked women!
Plain-folks: usually non-celebrities are used in the commercials. Typically the Average Joe (within the targeted age rage which I believe stops at 24 years old) and a fairly (un)plain female or multiple females are involved in the commercials.
Irritation: Simply, the ads irritates half the population and make the other half roll on the floor with laughter.

At the introduction to many of the ads the “representatives” are described as being very “committed professionals.” Then the ad moves to display risers lined with attractive women acting fascinated and motivated to talk about male reproductive equipment. Of course this draws attention because it isn’t seriously something that can be considered a profession much less realistic. The fantasy is played up heavily in these ads whether it is a woman obsessed with talking about sex or the women themselves being the fantasy.

Here is an interesting thought; Axe and Dove are owned by the same company. Dove, a women’s line, also experienced quite a bit of attention for the Real Beauty campaign and on the other side of the spectrum, Axe advertises with scantily clad females (the very image that the Real Beauty campaign is speaking out against) aimed to attract young sex-obsessed stereotyped men. I read an article about this controversy and you can read it by clicking here. Just read the first seven or so pages and you really get a better understanding on the content and the controversy. When it comes to advertising, I am beginning to wonder if some companies like Unilever that own both Dove and Axe [for example] if they have any general code of conduct of ethics that they follow? I just don't see how these two dramatically different campaigns can be produced and promoted by the same company.

Clearly this series is campaigning to men since it is a men's line that is being promoted. I find it humorous in the context that sex in media is so expressive and prevalent that it solely can drive a campaign where in the past it was controversial to even teach sex education in schools much less talk about it on TV! This is nothing new! We see this all the time! Sexual advertising can drive anything these days and people are so completely desensitized to it that it is common place. These types of messages are memorable only when they are so outrageous that you think, “I can’t believe they went there!” In the film (viewed in class) Frontline: The Persuaders, there is a hurtle that has to be jumped by companies for their advertisements to be successful; breaking through the clutter. These outrageous ads do exactly what they are meant to do, which is to get our attention! We either hate the ad; we love the ad; we find the ad to be completely hilarious or are offended by it. Either way, the company now has been recognized and their name is in our minds. In addition to that, when ads like these Axe ads come out, we serve as a vessel to spread their advertisement! We tell others about it and we post their videos on our blogs or create complaint sites and talk about them! Fortunately for Axe, they have broken through the clutter and have people talking! The down side, they might be taking it too far. There are many ads from Axe that are banned in certain countries because of how tasteless they are.

There are many different things that can be learned from an ad campaign like this one. Obviously, I have found many negative things like the hypocrisy within companies, the lack of class or dignity left in our media, and that society is constantly looking for more and more things to shock them. Honestly, though I found these ads to be repulsive, it hasn't stopped me from buying Axe products for my fiance. Even though I despise the hypocrisy within the Unilever company and the mixed messages they are pumping into society, I still have Dove products in my bathroom right now. I haven't decided if I am a consumer that doesn't solely buy based on advertisements or if I am a consumer who the Unilever Co. already has hooked into the loyalty consumer group.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

See our Blog Roll

Hey! Go check out the blog we just added to our blog roll called Innovative Marketing Techniques! It has some pretty interesting news that connects to what we are doing in class!!!