Big Red: Time to be Dead

So while I said this would a be foodie blog, I’m also very interested in marketing.  And there is a marketing campaign out there right now that I absolutely do not get.  To the point where the commercials annoy me.  So I figured I’d complain.

There are new Verizon commercials that call Verizon Big Red and sing about the advantages of their great 3G coverage.  These are a spin off from the late 1980’s commercials for Wrigley Big Red chewing gum.  The original commercial is pretty great.  A catchy jingle (this was a jingle I recognized and these commercials were only common in the late 80s and early 90s when I was very young), a cute premise, overall a great advertising campaign.

Sadly, I cannot say the same thing about Verizon’s attempt to duplicate a previously popular commercial.  Verizon’s song is… okay.  But my big problem with the ad is the connotations of the song compared to the connotations of the product.  Usually an ad can do a lot in terms of positioning a product.  American Apparel is positioned to be sexy, the Droid was positioned to be a male product, All State insurance is positioned to be reliable, etc.  Now in general, technology should be positioned to be cutting edge, new, forward thinking…  Verizon is definitely a technology company and 3G technology is for the more tech savvy.  But this song brings you back 20 years.  It doesn’t give the connotation of new and cutting edge at all.  So why did Verizon make this move for positioning their product?

My sole hypothesis for Verizon’s positioning is to make you think they are wholesome and good despite the potentially dirty battle going on between Verizon and AT&T and the misleading depiction of each company’s 3G networks.  Now Verizon is just a wholesome little company, similar to chewing gum 20 years ago (although ironically enough,  a chewing gum commercial filled with people kissing).  But I can’t say this commercial does that to me.  They still show the Verizon vs. AT&T misleading 3G map.  I’m not convinced this is the reason they choose this song for their advertising campaign but it’s all I’ve come up with.

Note: I have Verizon and am a huge fan.  Just, apparently, not of their marketing department…  I’ll keep using their phone service of course but I cannot wait until they come out with a new advertising campaign.

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Fresca: Fancy Jello Shots?

A few nights ago, Jon and I met my parents for dinner at Fresca, a Peruvian restaurant in Noe Valley.  We arrived a few minutes late (thank you AT&T tech support).  When we get there, we each had bright green jello in little paper cups.  My parents informed us it was jello… with some sort of alcohol in it…  So we took some jello shots with my parents.  Just your regular old Thursday night!  I’m guessing it was a St. Patrick’s day leftover rather than the regular meal starter at Fresca, but regardless it was a rather strange experience.

The meal itself was fabulous.  We started with a 6 ceviche sampler (the restaurant is known for its ceviche).  We went with the waiters recommendations and he steered us right.  All of them were great.  There was one that resembled tuna tartare, one that was Asian and tasted as if it had soy sauce, some were spicy.  The sauces were extremely good.  All of them were great so I would say any ceviche off the menu is probably fabulous.

For main courses, I had the salmon.  The salmon was just okay.  The sauce was good but the fish was a little undercooked, in my experience.  The rice under the salmon, though, was really tasty- a citrus sauce with some seafood and vegetables mixed in.  The only other dish I tasted was the fried avocado in my mom’s salad.  It was interesting but my take is avocados are great on their own; there is really no reason to fry them.  I would definitely go back, but I would just try a different entree this time.

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Travel: it’s good for the mind

I recently came across this article on the cognitive effects of travel.  The first half is kind of slow, but the second half is fascinating.  It’s actually a pretty obvious concept.  Through travel, you see new things and thus it opens your mind.  It increases creativity because seeing different things make you aware of different options.  The article even cites some formal studies with numbers about this… ooh numbers… oooh studies…

As an avid traveler and a liberal arts college alum, I found this article fascinating.  I love seeing new places, having new experiences, trying new foods.  I don’t think anyone should need to realize the cognitive effects to want to travel, but they’re interesting!  As St. Augustine once said, “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”  Sometimes the increased awareness of options can come up in minor ways.  When I studied abroad in Budapest, we would go to this awesome pizza place that had 4 foot pizzas.  No exaggeration!  But in Budapest, they put corn on their pizza- this was a common topping that none of us had previously had in the US.  Just last week, someone was telling me about this pizza place in Berkeley where they put corn on the pizza and wasn’t that just crazy?!  Well… no… it’s not very crazy… they did that in Budapest…  Corn on pizza now seems totally normal to me because I’ve traveled some place where it they eat corn on pizza but to this other girl it was an insanely creative concept.  It’s a minor example, but it is definitely the case that travel shows people experiences that increase creativity.

I strongly believe that this comes from more than just travel.  To keep with my stated theme of food, I was raised eating all sorts of different foods.  My parents cooked all types of food — Greek, Japanese, Chinese, Israeli, Italian, Mexican, Polish… you name it, I’ve tried it.  Whenever we traveled, my dad always made an effort to buy random foods that were not common back home.  Diverse experiences can come from anything — reading books, meeting new people, trying various activities.  I think that it’s all sorts of experiences like these that lead to creativity and an open mind.  They build a person.

I haven’t left North America in about a year and a half now.  That’s a long time for me.  I have gotten to see a lot of new places in North America over the last year and a half, which have also been important, eye-opening experiences.  And of course I started working, living on my own, and “being an adult” in the past year, which are also important experiences.  But it is getting time to see something different…

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Thus begins another experiment

So as much as I love a good cheap kebab, I’m a serious foodie.  Be that tasting something new and different at the farmer’s market to trying the “it” restaurant to attempting a new recipe, I’m interested.  This is a theme that has permeated my life.  When I was younger, I wanted to be a food critic or a farmer or a restaurant manager or a nutritionist (in addition to, of course, a math professor, a lawyer, a travel agent, as well as a million other options, yet somehow now I’m a business consultant).

Recently, I’ve taken my boyfriend Jon along in my food explorations and he has encouraged me to find an outlet for them.  That and he’s become obsessed with creating internet content, be it a twitter account, a website, or a blog.  After a fabulous dinner tonight at Alamo Square Seafood Grill (more on that another time), I decided to try it out.

So here I am, starting a blog.  I imagine this will be a place to write about restaurants I like or recipes that came out well.  Granted I do have other interests so there may be a weekend trip recommendation as well as book and movie reviews.  And I’m sure I’ll post pictures from time to time.  Now, I recognize I am a serious dabbler in the sense that I get excited to do something but am often over it within a few months so we’ll have to see how this goes but thus begins another experiment!

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