Saturday, August 30, 2008

Girls Gone Green

I thought it didn't get any better than coleslaw wrestling in Daytona.  It does - especially when it has an eco-friendly twist.

At 9pm tonight, it's all about Organic Oil Wrestling.

The event takes place at Orlando Brewing, and it's not too late to sign up to participate!  $200 for the winner (by the way, it's ladies only, in the pit).

This caps off (no pun intended) the 38th Annual Beer Canvention.  Missed the other 37, you say?  Then get your butt over to the Caribe Royale today to get to know some of the top beer can collectors in the country.  Like this guy, (who will not be wrestling).

photo courtesy of ABC Queensland

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Ultimate in Florida Fashion...

Dead sexy, no?  
I guess you have to see them with the bikini ... you know ... to get the full effect.

photo courtesy of High Tide Heels.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Angie Stevens: If you can read this, PLEASE CALL! We are worried sick about you!

It's frustrating being me.  I was born with a gene that makes me ponder thoughts nobody else cares about.  Trust me, it's led to a lifetime of comments like, "Don't you have more important things to think about?" or "WOW! Somebody's got a lot of free time."  

The truth is, I don't have any free time, but I can't help the fact that my mind fixates on things like, "Why would Cracker Barrel put up a billboard showing a plate of carrots? Nobody pulls off the highway for carrots."  

What's worse is when I verbalize these thoughts to other people, such as, "Isn't is crazy the way all the birds line up on attorney Dan Newlin's head on the billboard by the 33rd street jail?"  To which the response is always, "Didn't notice".

So, I've tried lately to care less.  Just yesterday, I didn't care about a misspelling on a Chinese food menu or the fact that Tiki Barber definitely used the mother of all dirty words during Olympic coverage.  

That's why, when I received my first "Where's Angie Stevens from Toyota of Orlando" email, I shrugged my shoulders and said, "Who cares?  She's probably on vacation.  Even car dealership spokespeople are entitled to take vacations.  She and Tom Park and Mr. Unbelievable have probably loaded up Four Runner and they're halfway to the Grand Canyon by now."

But I couldn't ignore it for long.  More emails  - at which point I assumed it was Angie's family or publicist, trying to drum up a little chatter.  With WESH conducting their "Best of Central Florida" contest, I'm constantly getting emails that say "Vote for me for...", so I figured there must be a category for "favorite car spokesperson" and the Angie emails were somehow connected.  Certainly, an attempt to take down David Maus would have to include a serious PR effort.  (As a side note, if there is such a category, my vote will go to the guy in Longwood with the wife in the peekaboo top, and all the kids, and the Ferris wheel.  The best car dealerships ALWAYS have Ferris wheels.  Plus, if you've got $149 and a job, he'll put you in a new car.  How nice is that?)

All the while, the emails continued to roll in about Angie...maybe three a day, maybe 200...I can't be sure. I don't track those kinds of things.  I do have a life you know. 

I decided, at that point, to reach out to my BFF Mitch English.  I let him know about all the emails, and assured him I didn't care about the subject, but other people in Orlando did.  Certainly people with too much free time.  Mitch then confided in me that he and his wife Raquel had gone so far as to Google search Angie to find out what had happened.  Mitch said Raquel was "really bummed out.  She liked Angie a lot."  I chalked that up as crazy talk.  Can you really get attached to someone who is in your life for :60 second spurts, trying to sell you a Camry?  I mean it's not like Sam and Lee from Appliance Direct, who buy 30 minute ads, back-to-back.  That does lend itself to bonding.

If you've tried to Google Angie, then you, too, know that she has left behind no clues.  Tom Park's website simply shows an empty box where Angie USED TO BE. Now it's just Elissa Walker Campbell and Belinda Pettite.  

If Myspace is any indication,  Angie has reinvented herself - moving to Colorado where she headlines a traveling musical road show that couples "Patty Griffin with Janis Joplin."  To answer your next question, "Yes, Angie does sing the national anthem."  I'd TOTALLY go see her if she played locally, like at the House of Blues or something.    

If you were to rely on Angie Stevens LinkedIn profile, we'd have to believe she's working in the customer service department of a Nashville hospital.  

If you were to believe medical reports, Angie Stevens is now a gynecologist living in Indiana.

Or quietly teaching yoga in England.

Or, perhaps, selling real estate in Mississippi.

So, the answer is, I have no answer.  It's as mysterious as Mr. Toyota - or should I say, "Lily, the dead cat sniffer"?  There's definitely more to this story.  Stay tuned.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Hurricane Must-Have's: Media Checklist

Mandatory requirements for any Florida hurricane-related story:

*Reminders about bottled water and flashlights.
*Quotes from experts about "not being on the roads if you don't have to be".
*A picture of someone ignoring that advice.
* A picture of a sign that threats or taunts the Hurricane. The verbiage on the sign must rhyme, such as, "Stay Away Fay".

*A "Concerned governor" photo.  

Not to brag, but this is where our governor kicks ass.  Perfectly executed - Charlie Crist has not smiled in 6 days.  He even went to see the new Will Ferrell movie Step Brothers, with not so much as a chuckle, even when the boys built their own bunk beds.  He just sat there like this:
And not even a congratulatory smile to this hurricane expert, who proudly shows his ability to locate Florida on the map, without any help! 

photos from Gary Green, Colin Hackley, Michel Fortier, Rob O'Neal, and Phil Coale (AP) and Joe Raedle (Getty)

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Do NOT make me take out my Tinkerbell costume!

Without getting into all the details of the protest, let's just say, you've got to feel pretty strongly about the cause to be willing to dress-up as Mickey Mouse and go to jail for it.

Disney character photos: Carlos Delgado/AP

Wanna trade a Pikachu for a Mudkip? I didn't think SO!

The Pokemon Trading Card World Championships are finally here.  Thank God, because I've been waiting all year.  Trust me, this event is synonymous with hedonism.  Expect a huge, unruly crowd do descend on Orlando.  Their tailgating parties are legendary.  "The best Pokemon Trainers from the US and Japan" are set to compete.  What do you mean, "How do you train a trading card?"   If you have to ask, you just don't get it...amateurs.

I'll probably swing by there at some point since I did pretty well this season - ranking 15,357 in regionals, practically earning a premier rating along the way.  You should have seen the look on Tsunekaz Ishihara's face when I attempted the Triple Lindy of trading - putting a Sandshrew, Magikarp, and Kingdra Ex in a fight against a Raichu (Picachu's annoying brother) .  Ishihara was floored.  It's never before been attempted, much less, perfectly executed - Thank you very much!  Take that, team Slovenia.  They are absolute cowards in the world of card training, and everyone knows they cheat. 

So, before you start thinking the event is simply about kids and costumes, understand that there is also this component:
As you can see, the guy to the right of the woman with the furry tiara is ready for some hard core competition - not opposed to breaking a sweat, and ready to go "from none to fun in 45 seconds".

photos from

Friday, August 15, 2008

Not my worst PR idea ever...

True - I've been sucked into Michael Phelps-mania. It's a little confusing to keep track of what each of his medals means in terms of getting to some greater record, so I've chosen, instead, to focus on things like his wing span, bathing suit, and iPod.

I care enough about what's playing on his iPod that I've asked other people their thoughts on the subject. They didn't share my enthusiasm, and most responded with something akin to "get a life".

But I couldn't shake it, so I went online and Googled "Michael Phelps" + "iPod", and found that about 195,000 other people in the world care, just like I do. HA!

But I also found I wasn't the only one with the great idea about Apple sponsoring Michael Phelps. I thought I was a marketing genius when I came up with a concept for a commercial that would play out with video of Michael sitting by the side of the pool with his iPod on, and audio of L'il Wayne's "I'm Me" playing loudly. Then the video would cut to Phelps in the water and the sound of a simple "swish, swish, swish." Then finally, Phelps up on the podium, adorned in gold medals, with the Star Spangled Banner playing triumphantly ... and the words, "What is the Soundtrack of Your Life?" me!

That idea got me thinking about some of my other "less than stellar" advertising campaign ideas. Like the amazing one that stemmed from my friend's child being attacked by a shark.

Well, he wasn't actually attacked, but he was bit by a shark, which counts as attacked by the time it makes it to the news.... and make it to the news, it did! He even got a mention from Matt Lauer on the Today Show. I should probably tell you, also, the shark didn't clench the child in his ferocious jaws, with the boy flailing around and fighting for his life. The kid was actually in two feet of water and thought he'd been stung by a jellyfish, until his Dad saw the blood and the shark teeth imprints, shaped like a big half-moon on his leg.

Yes, I recognize the tragedy of the scar being there for life, but, in the bigger scheme of things, can you imagine the street cred that kid will have by way of markings from a shark attack versus his peers who simply fell off their bikes?

I was working for Universal PR on a TV show at the time, so I approached my boss with a guaranteed, slam-dunk, WIN-WIN, since I had a direct connection to his mom....

"We get the kid and his family, and bring them to Universal Studios - put them in front of the JAWS attraction for a photo op, give them lifetime passes, and send out a press release to the world, talking about how 'Universal Orlando Makes it Safe to Go Back in the Water.'"

It wasn't well received by the suits - something about not linking the brand to tragedy (except for twisters, earthquakes, and alien attacks).

Fortunately, it was only a short time later when I was blessed with another great idea. No, not edible paper or feeding mayonnaise directly to tuna fish. This one tied to the Larry Birkhead-Howard K. Stern baby-daddy saga. Since Disney had cornered the market on the whole sports theme with the "I'm going to Disney" campaign, my thought was for Universal to work it from a paternity angle. So, once Larry Birkhead was determined to be the biological father of Anna Nicole's baby, and he stood outside the courthouse announcing the great news with his attorney, I suggested someone should be in Larry's face with a microphone, asking, "Now that paternity has been established, Larry, what are you going to do?" At that point, Larry would smile proudly and say: "Dannielyn Hope Marshall Birkhead and I are going to Universal Studios!"

Then, the commercial would cut to father and daughter happily riding "One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish" together.

I'm getting chills just thinking about it, but for some reason, my boss thought I was kidding, so it never went forward.

Phelps photo from Clive Mason/Getty Images and Birkhead from AP/Christine Aylen

Thursday, August 14, 2008

You can never have too many sparkles

A few months ago I received an invite to a party, with the dress code listed as "Hollywood Hip".

The party was in Apopka.

At any rate, time share mogul David Siegel and his wife Jacqueline had a party last night at their Isleworth home. The closest I've ever been to their Isleworth home is via my friend who was a bartender at one of their bashes.

The event was billed a "mix and mingle". Miss America was there, along with 300 other people, dressed in "Florida chic attire". David's wife Jacqueline wore a black stretch lace outfit with turquoise crystals. Ta Dah - my kind of girl. You can never be too sparkly, and I would certainly NEVER be outsparkled in my own home, if I had the money to pull it off.

Jacqueline is also doing the pose my friends and I call "The Proly". My neighbor Janet uses that bent leg stance for every picture. If you walk through her house you'll see a picture of her standing like that in a bathing suit in the Bahamas...then one of her dudded up in ski bunny gear on the slopes of Breckenridge...standing backstage at a Poison concert...meeting the Pope... all the same. It's an awesome optical illusion that elongates the legs. It's been mentioned in Cosmo as being in the same family as "always be the person in the back, leaning forward" for a picture, so you aren't the one with a double chin.

Back to my point about Central Florida fashion: It's important to recognize that Florida chic is Miami-inspired, and should never be confused with Orlando chic, which is slightly more "dressed down".

photo courtesy of Stephen Dowell/Orlando Sentinel

Friday, August 8, 2008

Too much information from the Disney Doodie Patrol

My Dad told me about this drinking game all the groovy people used to play "back in the day".  It had something to do with watching the Newhart show and then drinking a beer each time someone said "Hi, Bob".  He thought it was pretty funny.  Ah, the good old days.

I have an Orlando theme park twist on the game, sure to have you rip-roaring, stumbling, blotto in minutes:

Take one drink each time you see a sign at a water park that blatantly or subtly makes reference to poop, including, but not limited to: creating it, playing in it, distributing it or consuming it.


This gem is from Typhoon Lagoon at Disney, where I love the rides, but hate the signs. All 14 of them.

At the heart of the issue - my belief that most people who defecate in pools are not able to read (God, I hope I'm right about that).  But let's just say I'm wrong, and the people who make poo-poo-kaka  in pools are able to read - even big 25 cent words like diarrhea.  Do you really think this sign will deter them?  You know, they'll say to themselves, "Oh, I was just about to, but now that I see it's not allowed, let me use the bathroom."

Thursday, August 7, 2008

What's causing that dead rat smell?

...If you are at Orlando International Airport, the answer is dead rats.

According to a story in today's Orlando Sentinel, we just can't shake that pesky aroma of "deceased pests".

Officially, Customs is calling it a "rodent issue".

There are some bright spots to this story, and if I was the PR person for OIA, I would point out:

1. Deceased pests are better than deceased pets.

2. The money allocated toward rat poison was money well-spent.

3. Customs officials and TSA workers get to go home early - Woo Hoo!

4. Bill Kern, a University of Florida entomology professor and urban pest-management specialist, says "odors from dead rats are not a health threat." Never mind that part about the "flies feeding off the carcasses," along with "parasitic mites, and rat urine/feces leading to problems ranging from chigger bites to the spreading of the salmonella bacteria."

5. Some guy named Zachary Mann, spokesperson for Customs and Border Patrol, got to make a funny haha line about "not making a big stink over it."

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Want to come back to my Teepee?

How is it that the Paradise Motel lives on, and the Magic Castle Motor Lodge is going strong, but we have no Wigwam Village to speak of?  

The Orange County Regional History Center has a new exhibit to spotlight all the cool things in Orlando, before there was "The Mouse".  My first thought was, "if there was an Orlando without a FunSpot, I don't want to live in it".  

Adding to my lack of excitement:  Bok Tower was the first attraction noted on the "Destination Florida:  Tourism Before Disney" press release.  YAWN!

But then, I saw this - the most beautiful, most wonderful, most romantic resort imaginable.  The Wigwam Village.  I've never done it in a wigwam.  Tent? Yes.  Log cabin? Yes.  Igloo? Yes (long story).  Wigwam? No.

The owners were Ma and Pa Hutton - bonus Tacky Fabulous points for that.  It was "a motor lodge, auto service station, gift shop and grill - all in one".  HEAVEN!  Their advertisements boast "cleanliness and refinement".  Speaking of refinement, the gift shop had oranges and Indian Jewelry for sale. Back then, Native American's were called Indians.  (Just a little history lesson for ya!)

Photos from Central Florida Heritage Foundation