What Are You Wearing?

The history behind your favourite brands, slogans, and logos

Written by: Jocelyn Courneya

Edited by: Patricia Michelena

Have you ever purchased a t-shirt, or liked and reposted an image because you thought, “Hey, that looks really cool,” but didn’t know the true symbolism or meaning behind it? It is likely we’ve all been a culprit of this at one point or another. Liking how something looks is a major part of our reasoning for purchasing or sharing something. However, many popularized brands and organizations come accompanied by logos and imagery that carry a much deeper meaning than “looking cool”. Some of our favourite slogans and brands come with stories containing much greater historical and social meanings than you may have thought.

To give you some more insight on the t-shirt you’re wearing, or last picture you liked on the Facebook page of your favourite organization, uOPRA has broken down the history behind some of our favourite logos, slogans and brands.

Slogan: Keep Calm and Carry On

Keep Calm-And-Carry-On

We use it when we fail a test, miss out on our morning coffee, or are facing a tough assignment at work. “Keep Calm and Carry On” is a prime example of a slogan that has not only been decorating offices, coffee mugs, bedroom walls, and t-shirts over the years, but carries its use into our daily lives.

History: While it may be fairly new in popular use, the beloved logo is actually over half a century old. The white lettering on top the union jack, is a product of the propaganda initiatives of the British government, used during the Second World War.

These posters decorated England in attempts to lower anxieties over the ongoing war and attacks within and outside of Europe. The posters were apparently disposed of entirely after the war had ended, and resurfaced decades later, after one of the historical posters was rediscovered. Instead of just applying to war, the popularized image now encourages calmness in our day-to-day anxieties.

Organization: Anonymous (Guy Fawkes Mask)

Mask

If you’re a fan of their work, or consider yourself a twenty-first century activist, slacktivist, or hacktivist, chances are you have at least noticed the grin wearing masks commonly dawned by many of today’s protesters and anarchists. Often the most recognized wearers of these identity-hiding masks are those members of the online activist group Anonymous. Maybe you’ve worn one yourself, have shown your support for the group through a profile picture or cover photo, or recognize the image from the film V for Vendetta. Whatever the connection may be, many do not know the story of the face behind the mask, or in this case, the face that is the mask.

History: The white anonymous mask is created in the image of 17th century rebel and British anarchist, Guy Fawkes. Fawkes was a member of a group of English Catholics who had plotted to blow up the house of lords, and assassinate and dethrone the Protestant King James, in what is historically known as the Gunpowder Plot. Although the plan was debunked by an anonymous letter of warning sent to the monarchy, fictional stories and images of Fawkes, created long after his death, made the early rebel a symbolic figure of protest and anarchy.

Many moons later, the face of Fawkes, in the form of a mask, was outfitted to the anarchist main character in the Alan Moore and David Lloyd comic V for Vendetta. The comic was later adopted as a popular film. The mask is now worn by many to symbolize their movements in overthrowing and denying current systems of power and control, and can be seen in use online by many hacktivist groups, and on popular websites like 4Chan.

Company: Chanel

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While you may not be in the position to afford one of their designer fashion products, chances are that the logo of this famous fashion line has caught your attention a time or two.

History: Following popularized rumours from within the fashion industry, the designer brand’s famous interlocked CC logo is not just a symbol for the name of the organization’s founder Coco Chanel. Other theories state that the logo actually comes from the original emblem on the Château de Crémat in Nice, France. The interlocking Cs can be viewed on the stained glass window of the chateau, which can be viewed in the image below.

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Fun fact, the font used in the logo was designed specifically for Chanel!

Brand: Obey

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While you may recognize this logo being sported by skateboarders, Tyler the Creator and being stamped across your boyfriend’s favourite snapback, the famous red and white logo goes beyond being just the symbol for a popular clothing company.

History: Shepard Fairey is the man behind the brand, creating the popularized abstract sticker of late wrestler Andre the Giant while studying art in Rhode Island in 1989. Fairey’s sticker sparked a movement of embracing a “do-it-yourself” mindset through street art, which carried on into North American punk and skate culture.

If you’ve ever taken an interest in the street-art culture, take notice of the tag lines and stickers used by some artists to publicly advertise their works. While the Obey logo has greatly grown in recent popularity, being found in stores like Urban Outfitters, the logo symbolizes a large movement within the underground art world. The idea of Obey acting as an oxymoron is that its real messaging is to “disobey” popularized advertisements and propaganda, and instead embrace individualism and freedom.

So, what’s in a brand? Much more than you may think. Those daily symbols and images we may have become almost numb to have a lot more to say than you may think. Have a brand you love or organization you support? Check out their origins, chances are by wearing, sharing, and supporting them, you’re saying more than you thought.

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Spark Creativity this Valentine’s Day

Written by: Pina Capuano

Edited by: Sarah Dean

February is a month where we seek shelter from the dragging winter days and wait for a groundhog to tell us if spring will strike early. It also marks another golden opportunity for companies to show off their branding strategies and strut their stuff on the Valentine’s Day runway. But while the romantics of us swoon over the thought of flowers, poems, and chocolates, Valentine traditions are being broken as companies come up with creative ways to steal our hearts. 

Tea: Valentine’s Day Blends

Tea: Valentine’s Day Blends

Tea, for one, has come onto the scene hotter than ever. With specialty tea shops cropping up everywhere and following the suit of specialty coffee shops like Starbucks and Second Cup, Davids Tea is one company putting their spin on Valentine’s Day. Complete festive Valentine and love-inspired blends, pink tea accessories, and greeting cards, Davids Tea is giving romantics the opportunity to do something a little different, and a little unique this Valentine’s Day.

Arthur George by Robert Kardashian

Arthur George by Robert Kardashian

If you’re not into tea, another way to warm up your Valentine’s heart is by starting feet first. Arthur George by Robert Kardashian has a line of Valentine’s Day socks complete with playful sayings and colourful hearts. Sure, footwear doesn’t exactly scream romance, but these fun socks are a great way to add some personality into your February 14th festivities.

 The best part about these unique gifts though, is that they still leave plenty of room for classic boxes of chocolates and flower bouquets. If you’re really looking to go outside of the heart-shaped box though, why not get creative?

 Glass blowing studios usually offer a variety of classes at different skill levels and give students the opportunity to make anything from vases, to paper weights, and jewelry. It’s a craft that is unique and you’d be surprised at just how many cities have glass blowing studios and artists. Both group lessons and private classes are available and whether it’s a package through a website like Goupon, or one directly through your local glass blowing studio, this one of a kind surprise is sure to melt your Valentine’s heart.

Flo Glassblowing - Pink Vase & Ornament

Flo Glassblowing – Pink Vase & Ornament

 So there you have it, three ways to make this Valentine’s Day your own and surprise that special someone with something as unique as your love.

Find your Passion within PR

Written by: Courtney Saunders

Edited by: Emilee Darling & Patricia Michelena

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For all of my life, the importance of health and nutrition has been prominent within my household. As I got older, my enjoyment and desire to really delve into the health and nutrition world intensified. However, as a student who has never truly excelled in science, but loved the communication and business field, I knew that an education in communication and business was more catered to my strengths than an education in nutrition. Luckily, while I was thinking how I could incorporate my love for nutrition with that in communications, I stumbled across Crave PR. I was so excited to find a local company, that combined two relatively distinct, and separate career avenues together. It was that moment that I realized that everyone’s dream job is out there, ready and waiting to be discovered.

An education in public relations allows for many opportunities to branch off in a direction that allows you to truly pursue your passion. Immersed within program, when I really started to unearth the field and its components, I realized it is a career that offers flexibility in its practices, and it will allow me to pursue my passion for health and nutrition.

Based in Burlington, Ontario, Crave PR is a public relations firm that specializes in food, nutrition and wellness, as well as in lifestyle products and services. At the same time, it also assists clients in areas of business, such as consumer brands in food manufacturing, commodity marketing boards, kitchenware, consumer packaged goods, snack foods, along with health, wellness and beauty brands, pharmaceuticals and family and lifestyle products and services. I personally love how Crave PR works with clients and brands to help develop and explore avenues for PR opportunities while assisting clients in understanding how to fully utilize the range of multimedia communication tools available for their company or organization.

Crave PR acknowledges that reaching the desired audience is more than just simply getting the attention of the media and obtaining news coverage. With a carefully designed “menu” of services, Crave PR is able to help clients who focus on health and wellness gain attention from consumers, media outlets, blogs and social media platforms.

To name only a few of their services, Crave PR combines the love of communications, event management, writing and editing with photography and recipe development, which allows them to offer a very diverse environment to work within.

Crave PR is a great example of how the field of public relations can be the doorway towards an exciting career, and the realization that you can effectively incorporate your passions into said career. A job in public relations allows individuals opportunities to embrace what they are passionate about and apply that passion to their work.

 Crave PR is just one example of a public relations firm that can align with your personal interests. With the vast number of PR firms in a wide variety of areas of interest, you will definitely be able to find an organization that suits you, that is waiting for young, creative individuals to welcome to their team.

SUPER SUNDAY XLIX

Written by: Shanice Atkins-Broome

Edited by: Pina Capuano & Patricia Michelena

 

uOPRA1

Will Tom Brady receive yet another Super Bowl ring? Or will the Seattle Seahawks be back-to-back champions like the New England Patriots?

Before football season approaches, fans already have their top two picks for which teams will make it to the Super Bowl. Right or wrong, the anticipation for the Super Bowl increases as football season comes to a close.

The following three examples illustrate how public relations strategies are used to draw the audience’s attention towards football’s biggest night of the year.

MEDIA DAY

Whether it’s being humorous with reporters, or by granting interviews to gain extra exposure, football players across the country embrace Media Day. Journalists approach the players to gather insights about their game strategies, giving fans the inside scoop as the Super Bowl approaches.

Reporters aren’t only interested in the players though, they also try to capture the momentum leading up to the big match between the New England Patriots, and Seattle Seahawks. Interesting stories are revealed, especially with the Seattle Seahawks participating in a back-to-back Super Bowl championship game.

Fascinating questions arise on Media Day, such as whether the Patriots will stop Lynch, and how the Seahawks will do the same against Brady. Questions about how players handle media exposure, are commonly asked and we can expect concerns to arise about the deflated football scandal.   In all, Media Day garners a lot of publicity and gives us a taste of what’s to come tonight.

Here is an example of this year’s Media Day, stauOPRA2rring the Seahawks own, Richard Sherman.

COMMERCIAL ADS

What platform can grab the attention of more than one hundred million viewers on sport’s biggest championship game of the year? COMMERCIAL ADS! Before Sunday’s big game, countless commercial ads are advertised. Delivering a variety of content, they appear to all propose very similar messages: watch the Super Bowl and buy my product.

From Justin Timberlake, to Kim Kardashian, corporations hire high-profile celebrities to spark the interest of football fans everywhere, in hopes of receiveing an increase in their product sales. Some commercial ads consist of a combination between alcohol, technology, food, cars, and various other products that fans desire.

Fortunately, for Universal Pictures, their timing couldn’t have been better. Their commercial for film, Ted 2, stars Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who’s currently the talk of town just days after he addressed his team’s public scandal about “deflate-gate.”  For Universal Pictures, it’s a chance to turn this obstacle into an opportunity by having Brady’s character perceived in a more positive way.

HALF-TIME SUPER BOWL PERFORMANCE

uOPRA3Remember Prince’s ’07 performance where the skies opened with actual rain during his ‘Purple Rain’ finale? Or Beyonce exploding on stage by having all the ‘single ladies’ tell their men to put a ring on it?

Over the past decade, many talented and phenomenal artists have graced the Super Bowl stage showcasing their versatile musical skills. The significance of the Super Bowl halftime show embodies an essential connection to pop culture the television audience has nationwide. From a public relations perspective, it broadens the brand of the performing artists and helps expand their musical audience as well. From billboard ads, to parody videos, it all builds anticipation and promotion to football’s biggest night of the season.

This year, ‘Katycats’, as Katy Perry calls her fans, will witness Ms. Perry hit the famous Super Bowl stage. With a massive hit like ‘Firework,’ it’s possible Katy may do the unthinkable and just blow the minds of the audience. Will she introduce the song with real fire works?

When the game is done, either the Seahawks will be Super Bowl champions, for the second year in a row, or the New England Patriots will be champions once again. Tonight we will see how the football season concludes and what it means for the upcoming year.