Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Deck the Halls

As the semester is winding down and the holidays are drawing closer, I'm beginning to embrace the Christmas spirit a little more each day (despite the cold weather we've been experiencing). Keeping with the theme, I read an article tonight about a PR blunder involving a Hallmark Christmas ornament.

Article found here:

Out of all the Christmas and holiday songs, Hallmark happened to choose "Deck the Halls" to be featured on a holiday ornament... and out of all the lyrics in that song, they chose the line, "Don we now our gay apparel". Only, they took out "gay" and replaced the word with "fun".  I suppose the  backlash could have gone either way; Hallmark may have been attacked for using "gay" on a Christmas ornament, but I think the backlash received from flat-out removing the word would be even stronger, as it draws attention to the fact that they actually removed it. Hallmark could either be labeled as homophobic or they could get attacked by the homophobes. Why risk either?

This is a blunder that could have been so easily avoided. There is such a vast collection of Christmas music that Hallmark could have chosen to use instead of these lyrics from "Deck the Halls". It astounds me that a product like this could actually make it through the brainstorming process and into production. It just causes unnecessary controversy for the company. Hallmark is already an extremely established company; they don't need any additional media attention - especially negative.

Here's hoping that Hallmark scraps this idea before it hits shelves this holiday season.

On a lighter note, stay festive Ottawa!

"Is it time to replace the golden arches?"

I recently read an article about how fast food brand logos make people less happy.

Found here:

I find it interesting that these brand symbols which are meant to convey joy and pleasure ultimately cause consumers to not be able to savour things or to enjoy "pleasant" experiences as well as they would without the influence of these logos. At the end of the article, the question is asked whether these logos should be changed, or if the context is the problem attached to people's general unsatisfaction. Personally, I don't think that changing how a fast food logo looks will change the stigma attached to its brand image.

We live in a world saturated with fast food chains; it's not wonder that people associate these logos with  our "impatience culture". Fast food is just that - quickly served and convenient. Sure, these qualities might be nice, but it takes away from the idea of waiting for a high-quality meal - the ability to execute patience and delay immediate gratification. Unfortunately, seeking immediate gratification is a telling sign of our times; when people want something, they want it now. It's no surprise to me that the high exposure to fast food causes people the inhibited ability to savour things. We become too familiar with immediate gratification and it changes our ability to fully appreciate anything... be it food or pleasant moments.

With that, I don't believe that fast food will ever be able to shake a stigma that it essentially embodies. Changing a logo of a fast food company will do nothing to change the influence it exhibits upon it's customers. Even with strong public relations, marketing, and advertising, the underlying themes of fast food will be experienced by the consumer. Even if commercials or events are produced in order to give off an image of relaxation, quality, and pleasure in a fast food brand, the reality is that fast food will always maintain the image of speed and convenience, no matter how unhealthy (both physically and mentally) this may be.