Thursday, February 13, 2014

Blog 2: "It's Beautiful" - A Beautifully done commercial

In case you, for some reason, were not watching the Superbowl (we won't talk about the outcome) then you probably missed Coca-Cola's surprisingly controversial commercial. It is available for viewing below. 

For those that didn't watch, it is a series of clips of people - presumably Americans - living life while "America the Beautiful" is played in the background. The kicker here is that it is a multi-lingual version of "America the Beautiful". This caused a bit of an uproar. 

The message of course is one the Coke has portrayed for years as it is a global company with an American base and it is apparently for the diversification of America. 

I will admit, at the start of the commercial, once the song switched languages, I had a very real problem with it. The first language was Spanish and I thought it was going to be some Spanish heritage commercial but using an incredibly patriotic song. However, once the third language kicked in and it became apparent it was a Coke commercial, all was forgiven. Seeing as I had this knee jerk reaction not 5 seconds into the commercial, I wasn't all that surprised to hear of outrage spreading across Twitter and other social media platforms; #SpeakAmerican was trending. 

I was fine with people being mad about the commercial for singing that particular song in a non-english language, and I was fine with people forgetting that this country was founded by immigrants. After all, being ignorant is what people do. best. However, #SpeakAmerican? Really? America has no national language, so that settles that argument. 

A few of my favorite tweets:

Coca Cola is the official soft drink of illegals crossing the border. #americaisbeautiful

-Todd Barnes (@toddbarnes) February 2, 2014

An american song in like 10 different languages #(expletive)coke #teampepsi
— James Butler (@jbutler6499) February 3, 2014

Actually, this whole DeadSpin page is pretty entertaining. Warning, foul language. 

Although, it wasn't all negative feedback. Many people thoroughly enjoyed and embraced the message of diversity that Coke was conveying. People across the internet praised the commercial with sentiments such as "I haven't loved my country like this in a long time. Thankful for the reminder." and "I am in love with this commercial and don't care who knows!"

This beautiful commercial has exposed the harsh truth that there are still far too many ethnocentric people living in this world. It has exposed that we as a country have forgotten where we came from - we were all immigrants once. It has exposed that people have seemingly given up on the idea of  the"melting pot" society that the United States is supposed to be. It has exposed us to the world as a country of unaccepting, uneducated, bigots. 

On another note, what seemingly went unnoticed at first, and perhaps this is a glimmer of hope for our country, is that the commercial featured what is documented as the first gay couple ever shown in a Superbowl advertisement. So not only did Coke test the water with this commercial, it jumped right in without testing the temperature. Bravo Coca-Cola. Absolutely outstanding. 

Perhaps it is because I go to UNI, which seems to have a "large" LGBT community and an even larger acceptance of it, that I am almost unaware of things such as the couple in the commercial. I know I missed it the first time around and had to actually go look for it once I heard about it. I can only hope that, by being further exposed to other people with different ethnic backgrounds and lifestyles, that our generation will be able to make things like this a non factor in the future. 

This advertisement for Coke is a stroke of genius; it did exactly what is was supposed to do. We are still talking about it 2 days after the fact; how many commercials can say that? 

Monday, February 10, 2014

Blog 1: Concert Review

If you tried to drive down Hudson Road this past Friday night, you probably had a bad time. As you may have noticed, 22,000 people were headed to the UNI Dome for country music star Luke Bryan's 3rd trip to Cedar Falls and the University of Northern Iowa. This time, Luke Bryan was the main attraction, as his previous trips he was either a warm up act or only sold out the McLeod Center; still a respectable 7,000 person crowd, but not quite on the same scale as Friday.

The show was a hit, and as Luke Bryan announced to the crowd that "It was my dream to sell out the UNI Dome!" the stands erupted with cheers. After playing a full hour over his regularly scheduled end time and thrilling the concert goers with a two song encore, he was off to Omaha, Nebraska for another show the next day. Those attending the show promptly left the building, not so much the parking lot, and went home after an evening of excitement. What the average concert goer wouldn't know is how much work went into setting up for that concert, and how much remained to be done post-show.

Here is roughly a 1 minute summation for you. (from Facebook)

If you took the one minute and fourteen seconds to watch that video, you now have an idea of how much work went into setting up the staging, lighting, and floor seating. If you didn't read the description or watch carefully, you probably missed the clock under the scoreboard. Setting up the entire stage and chairs took a total of about 42 hours, or three straight fourteen hour work days. If you counted, there were no less than twenty-five semi-loads of staging, production equipment, and sound gear moved in as well as a full sized crane. Catch all that? How about the upwards of 200 people that assisted in set up? The 5,400 individually labeled chairs on the floor? This set up makes UNI's May Graduation Commencement look like child's play.

During the concert itself, all phases of planning must come together in unison for it to go smoothly. For this particular event, a sort of command post was utilized. It operated as a dispatch center, where someone would radio in with a problem, and the command center would radio to the nearest available person able to take care of it. Workers from all platforms are instructed to watch the crowd instead of the actual concert and monitor for any problems or potential trouble makers. All of this for the safety of 22,000 strangers, most of which have been drinking, some heavily, and some that just want to take a swing at you. I know of at least one employee that left with a heavily bruised jawbone.

Post show, the stage, chairs, lighting, sound boards, video boards, and everything else took a mere twelve  hours to completely tear down and loaded out. When you compare that to the monumental number of man hours that went into planning, setting up, and putting on this type of event it seems ludicrous to even consider doing such a thing. But take a second to consider how much good it has done the community. Money from outside of the community was brought in and spent here, making the university and community more profitable. It brought our university to light for those that were previously unaware of everything our university and the UNI Dome has to offer.