Sunday, 18 November 2012

Misuse of the Australian brand

Maybe imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but I've noticed something since I started travelling in 2007. The Australian "brand" is used with complete disregard. Products that have no affiliation with Australia, but instead use Australian themes to promote their (usually American) brand. This is a pet peeve. A huuggeee pet peeve. You know me though, I hold in all my anger and never rage at people about these things.... maybe.

These are my least favourites.

UGG Australia
If you're Australian, you should hate this brand. Not just a little bit of hate, but heart racing, blood boiling fury. If you don't, here's why you should.

Ugg Boots have been an Australian staple for years. Called Ugg Boots because they were so damn freaking ugly. They were used by surfers to keep their little footsies warm after getting out of the ocean. The story goes that Pamela Anderson thought these boots were pretty bad arse and wore them around in the US, thus making them fashionable by celebrity association. Why Pammie was making anything fashionable is completely beyond me though.

In 1999 Deckers registered their trademark for 'UGG' in the US and in 2003 they sent a nasty little letter to all the local stores in Australia telling them they'd trademarked the word UGG and they'd all be sued if they didn't stop calling their sheepskin boots 'Ugg Boots'.

Now in Australia, sheepskin stores aren't massive. They don't have huge profits or legal departments to fight against a big multinational. However one brand also wasn't stupid (like Deckers) and realised that their legal case was bogus. They did the big UGG THIS and eventually beat them in court.

If you are in Australia and don't get Uggs made in Australia, I hate you
The reason? Ugg Boots are a generic name for a shoe. It's like Havianas trying to trademark 'flip-flop' or 'thongs'. Or Adidas trying to stop Nike calling their sneakers, sneakers. Fools. There's even a nice little Wikipedia article about the trademark disputes they've had.

I was in Nordstrom the other day and the lady told me I should buy a pair of UGGs. I gave her my best "Bitch PLEASE" look, and said "as I am actually Australian that is offensive as that brand is my nemesis". Or something along those lines.

The worst part, is that all over North America UGG Australia has that brand awareness.

Me: "Cute Ugg Boots, but I'm going to judge you for wearing them to the pub."
Friend: "Oh these are Emus not UGGs"

The Outback Steakhouse
Ok, I've never actually been here and I've heard they do a lovely steak, but my issue is with their ads (adverts). The Outback Steakhouse is an Australian themed American restaurant chain. Most people would have seen it or heard of it on their travels, also there are a few restaurants in Australia. Has anyone seen the ads on TV? They are so annoying.

First they have this dodgy fake Australian accent, which makes my brain get all sorts of confused. It's close enough that you recognise that it's supposed to be Australian, but also that it's not quite right. Also they have this weird didgeridoo music that is so not PC. I don't think Australian Aboriginals ate a lot of steak. Plus, it shows all this footage of places I haven't even been to in Australia. Rude.

Aussie (hair care)
The ad has a purple kangaroo jumping around, and another fake Australian accent. Don't really need to say more, BUT they also don't even pronounce Aussie right. Way too much emphasis on the 's' rather than pronouncing it like it's a 'z'.

Guys, 'Aussie' and 'Ozzie' are pronounced the same way. No one in Australia uses 'Ozzie' or 'Oz'. Gross.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

A is for America vs Canada Rivalry

This relationship is like a little reminder of home. I think it's pretty similar to the rivalry between Australia and New Zealand, except guess what? I'M IN NEW ZEALAND!

I honestly think that in 90% of sports followings, New Zealand would be my second team. If they were playing against any country other than Australia I would go for them. The 10% of hatred comes about if they'd just beaten Australian and I was feeling particularly hard done by, or if them losing meant Australia was more likely to win. Also I think NZ is great, because people always say Tasmania is NZ's third island and everyone knows how awesome Tas is. I don't think NZ feels the same way.

Remember when the Rugby World Cup was on, and Australia was playing Ireland? There was all this talk about how much NZ hated us. Most likely it was an exaggeration by the media, but hey they don't go for us.

From what I've seen, Canada feels the same way about the US. While Americans do make fun of Canadians (HIMYM and South Park are hilarious examples) they also seem to be quite fond of them, and it's more of an "awww bless 'em" opinion. Not so much in Canada. They have the anger, the "ughhh stupid Americans", and the win or die attitude.

There was a segment after the CTV news a couple of weeks ago, where they interviewed a bunch of people in America about what they thought about the First Lady debate. There was obviously no First Lady debate, but there were people that had a bunch to say about it. "Hmmm yea, well I think Michelle was very confident, but Ann had some better ideas". Crap like that.

It was almost as funny as the Chaser going around with a "map of the world" and asking Americans who they should bomb next. They had messed up all the locations, I think Australia was labeled Iraq... you get the idea. Funny right?! The Chaser was a comedy show though, not the 5pm news!

So now I've got the inside scoop on what it's like to be on the hater side, I want to know if NZ makes fun of us in the same way? I kinda hope so.

An interesting side note, I was listening to Canada vs USA in cricket on the CBC the other day. Apparently cricket is one of the oldest sporting rivalries between Canada and the USA! Bring back cricket!!

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Sleepless in Seattle

It wasn't necessarily sleepless for the reasons you may think. It was mostly because we were in a room with 4 people and 2 double beds. The room was huge, so it was completely unnecessary to have doubles but that's how it was.

Canada celebrates Remembrance Day with a public holiday, so we decided to head to Seattle for the long weekend. Kamloops can get a little stranded during the winter as the Coquihalla Highway is a death trap, so there won't be many more trips westward until next spring.

Poor Wheels (our bad arse car) bore the brunt of the trip even worse than our credit cards. Someone shredded a tyre before we came through and it was obviously still on the road. The person in front of us flicked it up and it smashed the front of Wheels! Luckily the car still ran fine and we didn't crash but it was scary and sad.

Seattle was so fun! We were busy little bees and packed our days with tourist activities. So what did we learn?

1. A brewery tour that only has three stops will be plenty to get you wasted.
The second stop...
2. Seattle was able to build it's downtown streets up at the second level on prostitutes taxes.
We can be happy underground
Underneath and on top!
3. College football is ridiculously extravagant. The $80 for my nosebleed ticket paid for some pretty fancy marching band shapes. Watching this performance as an outsider was entertaining, does anyone know a country that is as patriotic as the US? North Korea perhaps? It was a little much for Canadians and Australians who rate patriotism alongside boganism.
Trying to stay warm and awake
4. The Tutankhamun exhibition will not let you walk in off the street at 10am, instead you need to buy tickets for 5pm. Even then it'll be chock a block with people. Ancient Egypt was cool.

5. $2.99 for bar snacks during happy hour isn't dodgy. Instead they will be delicious!

6. Don't give drunk people weapons and let them eat crab. Neighbouring tables may get more than they bargained for. It's also totally possible to over eat crab. Hammer Time!
Hammer Time!
7. I tire out from shopping way too fast. O'Hara makes me look good, but with girls I'm the first to need the man seat.

8. Driving the Coq at night time when it's snowing is the scariest thing I've ever done in my life. You know when they travel at light speed in Star Wars? It's exactly like that. You can't see that you're moving, in fact it looks like you're going backwards. You can't feel that you're moving and the car doesn't move right. Cue sobbing "I don't like this, I don't like this!!!!!"

America, thanks for showing us an awesome weekend. See you in a month!

Monday, 5 November 2012

Trick or Treat!

Just in case you still don't know, we do NOT celebrate Halloween in Australia. Yes I know, it's your favourite, and our childhoods must have been lacking something special. Similar to the fact we don't get snow at Christmas, and the whole red and white thing invented by Coke doesn't seem quite as magical. LUCKILY I survived and moved to a country that has both snow at Christmas AND Halloween. Luckiest girl alive? I think so.

So, Australians generally have something against Halloween because it is perceived as an "American" holiday. Since apparently we're the most racist country, it could be that. I think it's more likely that America just isn't "cool" in Australia. I don't know why, I love the place, but it's true.

An interesting fact however, Halloween isn't an American holiday at all. According to Wikipedia, Halloween is widely believed to have originated as a Celtic/Pagan harvest festival. Wikipedia says (which is obviously a reliable source) there's no evidence of Halloween in America until the mass Irish and Scottish immigration in the 19th century. Guess what Australia? Ireland and Scotland are cool! Embrace Halloween, it's really fun (though possibly the least healthy and worst influence on children).

So Halloween was last week, and we dressed up for work and had a delicious scary lunch. I made the mistake of having a costume that Canadians just didn't get. I thought it would be funny (and in Australia it would have been hilarious. Honest). I was a Wallaby. As in wearing Wallaby rugby gear... and ears. When I went out at night I also had whiskers... cool right?! Yeaaa, someone when I was trick or treating (I was escorting some kids) said he thought my accent was Kiwi. RUDE. I said that was offensive given what I was wearing, like asking someone in a Canadian hockey jersey if they were American. Yeaaa, how do you like them apples?!

I wana be a Wallaby!
Also, remember those awesome pumpkins we carved? Don't do that 2 weeks before Halloween. They go mouldy. It's not a good look. We made a new one.
Pumpkins and the cold misty Halloween night