Donald Drumpf

John Oliver, host of “Last Week Tonight,” absolutely destroyed Donald Trump after launching the social media campaign #MakeDonaldDrumpfAgain. The English comedian rolled up his sleeves and criticized the presidential candidate for a solid twenty minutes in this special segment.

Until last week, Oliver avoided discussing Trump on his show. “At this point, Donald Trump is America’s back mole,” Oliver said on the episode. “It may have seemed harmless a year ago, but now that it’s become frighteningly bigger, it’s no longer wise to ignore it.”

The political commentator thoroughly addressed various aspects of Donald Trump’s image. Supporters of the candidate often appreciate him for his ability to “tell it like it is,” but Oliver deconstructed this ideology. The talk show host expressed deep concern for Trump’s major inconsistencies on several policies, including abortion rights and where he stands with Syrian refugees. He reminded us of Trump’s extreme tactics like murdering families of terrorists to defeat ISIS. Donald’s wavering acceptance of support from a former Ku Klux Klan leader also raised some eyebrows.

All of this research led John Oliver to his final and most successful conclusion. Donald Trump is a facade and more of a brand than a credible presidential candidate or true businessman. Based on Gwenda Blair’s book, “The Trumps: Three Generations That Built An Empire,” Trump’s family name was actually changed from the less impressive-sounding last name “Drumpf.”

Oliver proudly exclaims, “Drumpf is much less magical. It’s the sound produced when a morbidly obese pigeon flies into the window of a foreclosed Old Navy. Drumpf: It’s the sound of a bottle of store-brand root beer falling off the shelf in a gas station minimart.”

These findings officially sparked a movement. Oliver plans to trademark the “Drumpf” name, and launched the website DonaldJDrumpf.com, which is nearly identical to Trump’s official site. Customers can purchase a “Make Donald Drumpf Again” hat online, a perfect play on words from Donald Trump’s popular slogan “Make America Great Again.” Visitors can also download the Google Chrome extension that replaces “Trump” with “Drumpf” whenever it appears in your browser.

Since the segment’s debut, “Last Week Tonight” garnered even more attention in the past two weeks. Oliver’s campaign is a massive hit to Trump’s ego and a good laugh for nearly everyone else. Now fans can’t seem to get enough. He is taking advantage of this information to put the Trump, or Drumpf, name to shame.

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Kanye West: The man, the myth, the legend

All eyes are on Kanye West with what is certainly a huge PR stunt. Recently, the rapper announced his damage in debt: $53 million. That’s no small number, but I’m not sure we should really feel sorry for the guy. His wife, Kim Kardashian, is worth $88 million alone. So why all the fuss, Kanye?

West’s album, The Life of Pablo, was set to drop on February 14th. He performed on Saturday Night Live and used Twitter to promote his new material. Things became slightly confusing when he announced that the album is only available on Tidal, a paid subscription music service. Then, Kanye didn’t hesitate to ask millions of Twitter followers to subscribe to Tidal if they wished to hear the new release. Finally, he chose not to sell the album for another week, which has everyone scratching their heads.

In pure Kanye fashion, that wasn’t the end of it. “Please pray we overcome,” West tweets regarding his $53 million debt. Next, he tweeted Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, asking for a $1 billion dollar investment in his work. If you think it couldn’t get any more random, it does. His following revelation tweet says, “After realizing he [Kanye] is the greatest living artist and greatest artist of all time.” Take a look at his humble words below:

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In September of last year, West announced his decision to run for president in 2020. The majority interpreted it as a joke, but the news arrived when there wasn’t much buzz about the rapper, signifying that it was definitely a PR stunt. That being said, asking Zuckerberg for such a favor via social media isn’t completely out of character, but it is an odd choice. Understandably, Zuckerberg has yet to respond. If Kanye truly needs the money, I assume a close celebrity friend would be willing to help out. While calling out Facebook’s CEO is a bizarre stunt, he has successfully grabbed everyone’s attention during a convenient promotional moment.

The Beygency

Beyoncé strikes again. Everyone is talking about her new single, “Formation,” her upcoming world tour and the 2016 Super Bowl halftime show alongside Bruno Mars and Coldplay’s Chris Martin. The world nearly lost its mind with the Queen Bey overload. With a recent 33 percent increase in sales, Red Lobster is also happy about her mention of the seafood chain in Formation’s lyrics. There’s no doubt that this well-organized chain of events has both Beyoncé and her PR team patting themselves on the back.

Beyoncé’s music video directly addresses the #BlackLivesMatter movement, the Hurricane Katrina aftermath and her own racial identity. She proudly embraces her southern background while recognizing her Creole roots. One lyric reads, “I like my Negro nose with Jackson 5 nostrils.” The video features flooded, abandoned houses in New Orleans. Bey stands on top of a police car submerged in water, symbolizing a lack of help from authorities within the community. An African American boy boldly dances in front of armed policeman. She references police brutality with the graffiti written on the wall: “Stop shooting us.”

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Sadly, some people couldn’t wrap their heads around all of the references. (Surprise, Beyoncé is black), and Saturday Night Live beautifully articulated this initial shock with a satirical skit. As expected, many conservatives weren’t crazy about Beyoncé’s gesture toward the Black Panther Party in the Super Bowl show. She wore a vest nearly identical to Michael Jackson’s during his 1993 Super Bowl performance, and her dancers were dressed in similar BPP attire. This is a nudge to the Civil Rights Movement of the mid-1960s and the ongoing racial tensions between white and black Americans. Some labeled the performance government propaganda, or “unfair to little white girls,” as one news anchor expressed.

However, the post-performance response was largely positive. Beyoncé strategically used her status and recognition to present extremely relevant cultural topics. Twitter and Instagram were immediately buzzing with non-stop praise for the artist. She expected her song and show to spark controversy, which is exactly what happened. Nonetheless, her fan base and overall presence in the world trumped the negativity. The Beygency always wins.

The Kost of Keurig

Oh, sweet coffee, how we adore thee. There’s almost nothing better than that fresh cup of joe in the morning to get you going. Pop a coffee pod into the Keurig, and you’re on your way, right? Not exactly. Unfortunately, these single-serve cups are wreaking havoc on wallets and the environment.

According to the Washington Post, Keurig Green Mountain dominates the market for coffee pods and coffee pod machines in the United States, but sales are quickly plummeting. The company recently announced its sixth straight quarter of declining sales this year, despite their extreme popularity between 2011 and 2013. The coffee pods are non-biodegradable, which means the plastic goes straight to a landfill. In fact, 9 billion K-cups ended up in landfills last year. Keurig also produced more than 8.3 billion non-disposable cups in 2013, enough pods to wrap around the equator 10.5 times. That’s a lot of K-cups.

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Since its release, biodegradable versions of the K-pod have come forth, such as Ekobrew and San Francisco Bay OneCup. Environmentally conscious consumers appreciated their compatibility with the Keurig machine. As a result, Keurig thought it would be a good idea to launch the Keurig 2.0 in 2014, a machine that only works with company-approved pods. Needless to say, it wasn’t one of their best ideas, and now they’re paying for it. Consequently, Keurig’s sales dropped by 22 percent within the first three months of 2015.

Naturally, activists are speaking out about Keurig’s insensitivity toward the environment. A campaign called “Kill the K-Cup” produced a “Cloverfield“-esque video that dramatically emphasizes the negative impact of plastic coffee pods, and you can watch it here.

Now cue damage controlKeurig’s public relations team swooped in, pledging their commitment to sustainability. They consider it a “critical priority,” and promise to have a completely recyclable K-cup pack by 2020. By that rate, it doesn’t sound like Keurig is in a big rush. The creator of Keurig himself, John Sylvan, told The Atlantic how wasteful the Keurig concept is. “No matter what they say about recycling, those things will never be recyclable,” he admits. Ironically, Sylvan doesn’t even own a Keurig machine.

Lastly, let’s not forget the large dent that Keurig makes on your money. The average American drinks about 2.1 cups of coffee a day, spending approximately $190 per year for regular house blend coffee. The Keurig, however, costs four times as much at a whopping $800 per year. Financially and environmentally speaking, the Keurig just doesn’t make sense.

 

Women, Not Objects

They are used to sell food. They are used to promote cars. They are used to create fashion hype. What am I talking about? Women’s bodies in advertisement. There’s no question that sex sells, but at what cost?

A new campaign called #WomenNotObjects is criticizing the ad industry for its constant objectification of women. The video comes from an all-women advertising company called Badger & Winters, and their goal is to reframe the messages sent to girls and women that can have a permanent psychological effect. They highlight specific ads while women sarcastically comment on these ridiculous, yet harmful, depictions.

Media constantly reminds us what is “sexy” in society, and how women should maintain the perfect body and beauty ideals that simply aren’t realistic. We fail to forget the endless amounts of photo manipulation put into advertisements, but still strive for this supposed “perfection,” resulting in self-esteem and self-confidence issues. When women’s bodies don’t live up to advertising standards, they are easily dismissed. Additionally, these ads leave very little to the imagination, and could otherwise be considered soft pornography. It’s evident that behind the fragrance bottle or tiny bit of clothing lies a scandalous body part. This commodification narrative tells us that women shouldn’t be seen as living, breathing human beings, but as products.

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Objectification unveils another major issue. Since we only view women’s bodies in a sexual sense, it immediately comes as a shock to see their biological, primary use. Breastfeeding mothers, for example, are continuously scrutinized for “indecent” public exposure. The criticism doesn’t solely come from men. Some women also seem to find the idea perplexing. Actress Alyssa Milano appeared on the Wendy Williams show, defending her right to publicly breastfeed her baby. Williams disagreed, arguing that breasts should be referred to as “fun bags,” and only represented for sexual purposes. Milano reminded her that this is exactly how society has over-sexualized the female body. While public breastfeeding is certainly one’s own choice to make, it was interesting to see how one woman could shame another for an entirely natural act.

Will these forward thinking movements change how advertising agencies and PR representatives function? Maybe so, and campaigns like #WomenNotObjects are a good start. They’re shifting the conversation by stating that this ideology has a negative impact. This way of thinking affects how men view women and how women choose to see themselves. Conscious advertisements should empower people, not demoralize them. Posters like this one from Burger King have been pulled in the past due to public outrage. If an audience makes it overwhelmingly clear that hypersexualization and distasteful advertisements are undesirable, then agencies should follow suit.

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#OscarsSoWhite

If you’ve glanced at Twitter recently, you probably noticed the uproar surrounding the Academy Awards’ absence of racial diversity. Tweets with the hashtag “OscarsSoWhite” are flooding Twitter, and sadly this isn’t a huge surprise. The awards show has been scrutinized in past years for its exclusivity. However, more celebrities are speaking out this time around.

George Clooney believes that Hollywood is “moving in the wrong direction” regarding all-white Academy Award nominations. The actor has been in the business for several years, and his credibility is well-established. Clooney notes that the problem runs deeper than just nominations. At the root of the issue lies an inaccessibility for people of color to be cast in prominent roles, especially non-stereotypical roles. Thanks to his position of power in the industry, his words might open some eyes and ears on this heavy subject.

African American actress, singer-songwriter, mother (and goddess) Jada Pinkett Smith is choosing to skip the upcoming Oscars ceremony in February. Prominent filmmaker Spike Lee stands by her side, boycotting the Oscars to make a statement. Saturday Night Live and the New York Post recently made playful jabs at the situation, mocking the Oscars’ severe lack of diversity. Ironically, African American comedian Chris Rock still plans to host the awards show despite the lack of overall representation for people of color.

The backlash buildup may help transform award show standards for the better. The Academy Awards is finally listening to the criticism, and they vow to make distinct changes in their nomination process for the future. Regardless, there’s no quick and easy way to smooth over the damage that’s been done.

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So Here We Are

What makes a topic relevant in mainstream culture? What makes something or someone so interesting that we consider it “newsworthy”?

When we think popular culture, we immediately think celebrity news and the latest gossip about the Kardashians. I hope to stray away from these types of discussions in my blog. I want to get a deeper understanding of everything that popular culture encompasses today. I wish to explore the reasons why a new brand relates to millennials, or how a movie simplifies a complex message. I’m interested in which television shows are creating a positive shift for marginalized communities, and what makes Lena Dunham’s newsletter a success. At the end of the day, public relations plays a major part in the execution of these strategies.

More importantly, my writing will NOT be the same embarrassing blog attempt from middle school. My goals are to remain relevant, relatable and honest.

Lastly, since I couldn’t help myself, I’ll leave you with a truly inspiring quote from Kylie Jenner’s recent interview:

“Like, I feel like every year has a new energy, and I feel like this year is really about, like, the year of just realizing stuff. And everyone around me, we’re all just, like, realizing things.”

Her words are pure poetry.

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