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Archive for February, 2013

FebWall

Someone recently asked me, “what’s the best thing about February, what most inspires you about this month?’ Strange question, I agree. Well, it got me thinking as I gazed out the window at the snow-covered streets. The best thing about February in Toronto?  The thing that keeps me going? It’s only 28 days! (At least ¾ of the time)

I’m not a big fan of winter. I’ve never embraced the great outdoors. I guess there are some things I should love about February. It’s bookended by two of my favorite television viewing events, The Super Bowl and the Academy Awards. But in general, unless you’re fascinated by weather prognosticating rodents or caught up in Valentine’s Day hoopla, February is just another drab winter month.

February Drive

A typical drive on a February day in Toronto.

Growing up in Canada, I always envied my American relatives at this time of year. I’m referring mostly to New Yorkers and certainly not the third of the US where winter is a season in name only. All my cousins had actual “snow days”.  Imagine waking up and learning you had no school that day. You had the whole day to just stay home and do whatever you pleased. In all my years of living in Toronto, and there were some really dark, cold, snowy ones, the schools were never closed. I never had a snow day. Plus, the third Monday of February is Presidents Day in the USA and the start of another week off school. Those kids just came back from Christmas holidays about six weeks ago and they get another week off school. Sure a few years ago they created something called “Family Day”,  but what’s one day compared to a whole week off. That’s something to make February inspiring. What do we tell the kids here in Toronto, many of whom trudged the storm last week because they didn’t have a ‘snow day’? “Wait to March kid, that’s when you’ll get a break”

March, now there’s a month to get excited about; March Break ,March Madness, Daylight Savings Time, St. Patrick’s Day, the first day of spring, the return of all those who wintered in Florida. I guess that’s what inspires me about February. It’s that short month that serves as a bridge between the darkness of winter and light of spring.  Hey, it’s the 15; February is more than half way over. The Valentine’s candy will be marked down. Things are looking up already.

How do you feel about February? Take the poll below and leave me a comment if you feel inspired.

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Social Media has ruined my annual Super Bowl viewing tradition. I still have the big game, the half time entertainment and great food. But, what made it stand out for me personally were the commercials, or I should say my commercials.

Living here in Canada, it used to be that most of these commercials were never seen until after the game. When Canadian cable companies simulcast an American program they’re allowed to insert their signal over the Canadian one. Meaning, even if you tune to the American channel, you will receive the American one. Unless, you watch TV as I do, with a rooftop antenna, thereby receiving your American signals pure and untouched.  My very first blog posting here dealt with this very topic. (Read Posting)

This was my special time of year- my chance to say ha to all those cable bound Canadians. But now that has changed. These days many of these ads are released days prior to Super Bowl Sunday on various social media channels. You no longer have to wait and they are viewable regardless of where you live.

I try to avoid this temptation. Call me a traditionalist. Call me old-fashioned. I still want to watch them as they unroll during the game on my couch, popcorn and root beer in hand. I just can’t watch them beforehand. I would liken it to peaking at your presents before Christmas morning, if I actually celebrated Christmas.

So what did I think of the commercials this year? As usual they never seem to match the build-up. Some made me laugh, at least a little, like Amy Poehler at Best Buy or some of the Doritos ads . Some disgusted me, like the Go Daddy ad. And some just confused me. But my favorites are always the ones that pull at my heartstrings and this year there were quite a few, particularly the Budweiser Clydesdale returning and remembering the trainer who made him who he was. I also love the ones that touched on Americana such as the Oprah voiced over Jeep ad featuring military families waiting for loved ones to return or Dodge Ram’s God made a farmer.

Did you see them all yet? What was your favorite?

I can understand why brands would want to release their ads before hand: the ability to grab attention and generate conversation, building a social media campaign around it, continuing up to and during the game. I get what Oreo did on twitter after the stadium power went out.

I guess times are changing faster than I would like them to. But I think I can still hold to my traditions. As Charlie Brown might say (I seem to paraphrase him a lot) ‘I won’t let social media ruin my Super Bowl watching’. I will still wait for those ads to reveal themselves during the game. I won’t watch them before on social media channels. So, don’t ask me how I liked them until after Super Bowl Sunday. Then I’ll gladly tell you on twitter and Facebook.

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