Monthly Archives: October 2010

A Brief History of the Livestrong Wristband

If you have wondered how the Livestrong wristband came to fruition, I came across some interesting insight into its history. The now famous yellow bracelet is an American icon for endurance through adversity that has become much more than a promotional item for Lance Armstrong.
“In 2004, the Lance Armstrong Foundation hired Jones and Austin-based Milkshake Media to redesign its online resources center for cancer survivors. “It was this tiny corner of the site,” she recalled last summer. While interviewing a number of survivors, her team learned that they wanted to share intensely personal stories and talk to people who’d had similar experiences. “We thought they wanted medical resources,” says Jones, Milkshake’s founder. “They wanted to talk about how cancer had changed their lives emotionally, physically, and practically.”
She suggested creating a distinct brand for this passionate community, and the foundation gave her the go-ahead. Initially, she proposed called it This Point Forward. “This is what you were about to be,” Jones told the Livestrong staff with a laugh. She wanted a more visceral name, something that reflected the survivors’ determination. So she returned to Armstrong’s memoir “It’s Not About the Bike,” where she found this line: “All I wanted to do was tell people to fight like hell.”
That attitude, pure Lance Armstrong, was what she was after. Fight like hell. Nobody in the cancer community was talking with such blunt, gritty, and defiant language. The foundation could give survivors a new voice, that of a combatant determined to maintain some control over his or her life, not a victim of the disease” (http://www.fastcompany.com/1698037/how-the-lance-armstrong-foundation-became-livestrong).
Judging by the sheer volume of Livestrong bands that have been distributed worldwide, I would say that the message is getting out.

What’s in a Name? A Vote for Senate

A few days ago, I reported on a story happening in Alaska. Lisa Murkowski (spelling?) is running for Senator as a write-in candidate. But the spelling of her name may be just too much for voters to deal with come election day. So, in a somewhat strange attempt to get votes, much of the money she has earned for her election campaign has been spent on promotional items (like t-shirts and silicone wristband ) to help people get the spelling right.
“In some states, write-in candidates are allowed to distribute name stickers for supporters to place on their ballots. Not in Alaska, though. Ms Murkowski, who frankly did not help herself by spelling her own name wrongly in her first television ad, has been forced to spend some of the $3.8 million she has raised on name-branded leaflets, t-shirts and rubber wristbands.
And while other candidates go on the attack over the economy, healthcare and other big issues, Ms Murkowski has been releasing a rather eccentric series of clips aimed simply at making voters remember how to write her name.
It all looks rather like a legal battle waiting to happen. In a rare show of bipartisanship this election season, lawyers for Mr Miller and Scott McAdams, the Democratic candidate, are already suing the Alaskan authorities over a plan to hand out lists of write-in candidates to voters who ask for one” (http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/jonswaine/100060979/lisa-murkowskis-name-could-spell-defeat-in-alaska/).
I am interested to see how this one plays out…

“I [Heart] Boobies” Bracelets Hits Wyoming

The national frenzy among teenagers over the “I [Heart] Boobies” wristbands has just his small-town Wyoming. And they are reacting no differently there than in schools across the nation. The controversy has been ignited and the silicone wristband have been banned.
“A $4 rubber bracelet meant to raise breast cancer awareness has done that and more: Students nationwide are wearing the “I boobies” wristbands — and running afoul of school administrators.
Schools from California to Florida to Omaha have banned the bracelets because they believe the “boobies” language is inappropriate.
The bracelets are marketed by a California-based nonprofit created to raise breast cancer awareness among young people.
The Keep A Breast Foundation has sold 2 million of the bracelets so far, with the money going to breast cancer research and education programs.
Locally, officials at Westside Middle School asked students not to wear the bracelets and T-shirts to school but to instead show their support for breast cancer awareness in other ways, said Peggy Rupprecht, a Westside Community Schools spokeswoman. The reason for the school’s request?
The distraction the items create with middle school students, she said” (http://www.omaha.com/article/20101025/LIVING/710199952/601).
At $4 apiece and by selling over 2 million bracelets, I would say that the Keep-A-Breast Foundation has succeeded in their attempt to raise money and awareness. Is it worth the distractions that educators are dealing with?

Wear the Band, Stop Complaining

In what seems to be an effective way to lighten the mood of those involved, a pastor has called on people to stop complaining. The idea is that we can try to avoid saying any complaints for three weeks. Think that sounds easy enough? Listen to this anecdote of a woman struggling to keep the not-so-simple message of the rubber wristband :
“Two Sundays ago, our pastor handed out purple rubber wristbands with “A Complaint Free World.org” stamped on them. By slipping it on, you pledge not to complain for 21 consecutive days. Each time you grumble, the band switches to the other wrist and 21 days starts over. As of this writing, I’m still on day one after wearing this darn bracelet for nine days straight.
Rats. Switch that silly band again.
When you’ve been a wife and mother as long as I have, you think your immune system has built up a resistance to sulking. But I’ve learned if you complain a lot in your mind (all quiet to yourself with no one the wiser), before the sun sets a self-pitying thought slips out. And you’re back to day one.
The confluence of 7 p.m. soccer games, hotdogs for dinner (again) and a bed looking as like it did when you left it that morning seems to be a band mover.
Last Friday night, I was home-free toward eclipsing a complaint-free day one. Then, at 8:18 p.m., a referee at the Morgan County High School football game signaled touchdown on a fourth-and-one attempt by the visiting team.
There should an exemption from having to wear them during football games” (http://www.morgancountycitizen.com/?q=node/15672).
This campaign is inspiring me to try it. How long do you think you could make it?

Wristbands, Spelling, and Voting

In Alaska, as the senate race heats up, one candidate is coming up with as many was she can to encourage voters to put her name on the ballot. One of the ways she is promoting herself is by distributing rubber wristband which, she hopes, will help people know how to spell her name.
“Among the ways Senator Lisa Murkowski’s campaign is trying to encourage people to write in her name on the ballot — and spell it correctly:
• Rubber wristbands that read, “Lisa Murkowski. Fill it in. Write it in.”
• A jingle that spells out her name and features the words, “Fill in the oval, write it on the line.”
• Campaign posters made to look like ballots with her name written in and the oval beside “Write-in” filled in.
• Small handheld signs depicting a hand with her name on it.
• T-shirts depicting a ballot with her name written in.
• YouTube videos intended to appeal to Alaska Natives” (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/26/us/politics/26alaska.html?src=me).
T-shirts, signs, and jingles. I’m not sure if this sounds like a senate race or a high school junior class president race, but the tactics are sure to resonate with some voters.

The LeBron James Superstitious Outfit

I guess every star athlete has to have a small superstition. Karl Malone used to whisper secret phrases as he shot free throws. Many high school football players will shave their heads or, like it or not, not clean their underwear for a season. So, why not LeBron James as well? Apparently, he lays his jersey out on the floor, in front of his locker, rubber wristband and all:
“The Heat locker room at AmericanAirlines Arena has seen its share of surreal in recent seasons, from the concealed “15 Strong” tub that once sat in the center, to the huge center named Shaq who cracked jokes from the corner.
It’s never seen anything quite so surprising as this.
Walk through the door Tuesday night, and there he was. Really. Here. The King.
And his clothes.
His Miami Heat clothes. Shorts. Jersey. Warm-up. Wristbands. Headbands. Rubber bands.
Spread across the floor, in front of his stall.
“Always, always,” LeBron James said of this strange, not-necessarily sanitary tradition, before scoring 18 points in 27 minutes in the Heat’s 105-89 exhibition win against Detroit. “Guys know, ‘Please don’t step on it.’ My last seven years, I’ve always done that. Just how I am, man. Just a little superstition, I guess” (http://www.palmbeachpost.com/sports/heat/commentary-miami-officially-becomes-the-kings-court-for-956114.html).
And, apparently, it works.

Wristbands for Sustainability

An event was recently held at UC Santa Cruz as a sort of fall festival. One booth, represented by a senior student gave away recyclable rubber wristband to help promote the cause of sustainability:
“The Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems is a research, education, and public service program at UCSC dedicated to increasing ecological sustainability and social justice in the food and agriculture system.
The center operates the two-acre Alan Chadwick Garden and the 25-acre farm. Both sites are managed using organic production methods and serve as research, teaching and training facilities for students, staff and faculty.
UCSC senior Ellen Bartow sat at a table handing out literature from the chancellor’s Sustainability Office, which promotes energy efficiency and waste reduction.
Bartow was giving away green wristbands made of recyclable rubber that had “simply committed” stamped on them, similar to the Livestrong wristbands made popular by cyclist and cancer survivor Lance Armstrong.
Taking a wrist band meant committing to various sustainable practices such as taking three- to five-minute showers, using a tub to wash dishes, not running the tap, turning off computers not in use and not driving a car as much as possible (http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/localnews/ci_16183623).
This sounds like a great idea to spread a message that is gaining a lot of strength in recent years.

An event was recently held at UC Santa Cruz as a sort of fall festival. One booth, represented by a senior student gave away recyclable rubber wrist

Fashion shows are known for their wild styles, demonstrating the newest ideas in fashion sense. Recently, in Paris, a plus-size fashion show exhibited celebrities with exotic tastes. One celebrity used cut-up rubber tubes to show rubber wristband style.
“Space-age bodysuits met fairytale bridal gear, outsized bell hats and rubber jewellery on Wednesday as veteran designer Pierre Cardin took Paris on a four-season tour of his fashion universe.
Returning after a long absence, the 88-year-old offered day two of Paris Fashion Week a ready-to-wear look for men and women largely stamped with 1960s pop and sci-fi futurism.
But Cardin’s classical styles also got a look-in with floaty evening wear, earthy tweed jackets, and pastel patterned frocks that seemed more fit for an English wedding party than a trip to the galaxy’s outer rims. Opening the show just off the Champs Elysees, Cardin sent out twin his-and-her full-body suits in bold pink, with wire rings defining the knees, that looked plucked straight out of Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey”.
Followed a series in thick wetsuit-like fabric, also coming as his-and-her variations, in black, silver and purple and worn with visor-like shades and headbands studded with black rubber bolts and spikes. Other bodysuits were worn loose and flowing, in shimmery bright pinks or silvers, gathered only at the ankles and wrists.
Wristbands, necklaces and ankle bracelets fashioned from bunches of rubber tubes — in eye-popping pink, orange or green – sprouted from the edges of black tops and pants, while the men’s boots were studded with metal at the rim” (http://www.emirates247.com/lifestyle/fashion/in-paris-fashion-embraces-plus-size-women-2010-10-03-1.298405).
Will this be the new trend?

A Bit of Wristband History

You have seen the rubber wristband and ribbons: yellow Livestrong wristbands for testicular cancer awareness; yellow ribbons for hope that your loved one will return home (usually from war); pink ribbons for breast cancer; red bracelets for AIDS. So what started all of this? A fantastic article just came out reporting a brief history:
“The awareness ribbon phenomenon became hot in the 1990s, but it got a start during the Iran hostage crisis (1979-81) when Penelope Laingen tied a yellow ribbon around a tree while waiting for her husband to be released as a hostage. Laingen was inspired by the song Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Old Oak Tree, which was inspired by a folk tale about a released prisoner looking for a sign from his family that it was OK for him to come home.
Yellow ribbons as symbols of waiting for loved ones to return became popular again during the Gulf War in the early 1990s. Magnets shaped like yellow ribbons were popular on cars during Desert Storm.
In the Reagan years of the late ’80s school kids started wearing red ribbons during special weeks to just say no to drugs. But in the early 1990s, acquired immune deficiency syndrome activists chose red ribbons as their symbol for the fight against AIDS and HIV” (http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/life/main/7235037.html).
With every new cause comes a new color and slogan. Time will only tell which cause shines through the rainbow of awareness.

PowerBalance Hype

Trend? Gimmick? Superstition? What is this PowerBalance band that has superstar athletes (like Shaquille O’Neil and David Beckham) touting them as necessary? Michael Jordan did his Wheeties gig back in the day, but he never claimed that they made him actually perform better. Joe Montana wore Hanes t-shirts, but did that make him throw touchdowns? The newest endorsed craze is a small rubber wristband that ostensibly improves balance and performance. What do you think? Gimmick? Or is this the real thing?
“They are talking about a body’s energy fields and natural frequency with the same enthusiasm that you might once have only heard around the stalls of Glastonbury festival or during summer solstice at Stonehenge.
It is because of sport’s latest fad, a rubber wristband with a small hologram attached that, according to the manufacturers, helps to optimise the natural flow of energy around the body, and so improve an athlete’s strength, balance and flexibility.
Footballers David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo have been seen wearing the Power Balance bracelets, which have supposedly been designed to “resonate with and respond to the natural energy field of the body”. Basketball player Shaquille O’Neal and racing driver Rubens Barrichello are so convinced by the wristbands that they endorse them. “I don’t do a lot of testimonials, but this works,” claimed O’Neal, while Barrichello said: “I will never take the Power Balance off my body.”
This year’s final of the pre-Wimbledon Queen’s Club tournament was an all-Power Balance affair, as both Sam Querrey and Mardy Fish took to the court with the rubber accessory. In addition, several players at Wasps rugby club wear them on the training pitch, in the gym and on match-days. A spokeswoman for Power Balance said that sprinter Mark Lewis-Francis and England cricketer Kevin Pietersen had also worn the bands” (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/8065032/Power-Balance-bracelets-source-of-energy-or-just-a-gimmick.html).
I’m not one to jump on the bandwagon, so I want to hear what you think. Can these little bracelets really make us do better?