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Snapchat On-Demand Geofilters in Canada

Posted on August 25, 2016 by

Snapchat is a growing goliath when it comes to social media and messaging on mobile phones. Since launching in 2011, it has really resonated with a younger demographic and is said to have more users (estimated 150 million) than active monthly users on Twitter. Even since it launched, brands have been looking for ways to capitalize on the platform.

IMG_2016-08-15 16:37:46Geofilters are a creative way to customize your ‘Snap’ that you send on Snapchat. You can add an image overlay to the image you’re sending or posting as a story. With location services on, Geofilters are often custom to where you are or set up for particular events. Edmonton has a lot of Geofilters for local attractions or just generic Edmonton ones. zag creative first experimented with Geofilters back in 2015 when we developed and got approved a permanent Geofilter for on104th in downtown Edmonton. To this day, if you’re around our office on 104th street, you can see the filter we made! When we wrote that blog, however, Geofilters weren’t available to businesses.

Well now, over a year later, Snapchat has made it even easier for people and small businesses to pay for a custom Geofilter for their brand or event with On-Demand filters. Me, being the social media person I am, needed to give these a whirl as we begin to find strategic places to recommend these to our clients. My friends and I were throwing our second annual “Beer’lympics” and wanted to create a filter for the event, and so below is a glimpse at the process!

Design the Geofilter: A filter should be simple yet memorable in a way that will help it become associated with your event or brand. Because my event had to deal with alcohol, Snapchat rejected my first two filter attempts citing that it encouraged excessive drinking, but approved my third, pictured below. Snapchat’s turnaround time for approval was really fast (under a day) both times. Uploading the filter and positioning it in size and where you want it on the screen was really easy too! When designing, make sure to consider how it will overlay on both dark and light pictures (this was a mistake I made). Other guidelines and tips can be found here, but a major consideration is contact information like URLs, hashtags, and social media handles are not allowed.



Map and time the Geofilter: Once it’s uploaded and positioned, pick exactly when and where you want your filter to run. For the area, you can draw an exact fence over the area you want your filter to show up at. I drew mine over my yard and didn’t have any problems with it showing up where it should. Below is an example of the interface with a fence over our office.

Screen Shot 2016-08-15 at 4.32.38 PM

Buy the Geofilter: Pricing for a Geofilter is a product mainly of the size of the area requested and duration that the filter will run. For mine, I had it run for 26 hours over an area of 120,702 square feet and the total cost was $52.30 USD.

Enjoy the Geofilter and check some analytics: Having a Geofilter at a party is a great little perk that people can get excited about. Just imagine the potential for a brand, to get that kind of natural exposure when people send pictures with your filter overlaid or post it on their story. Snapchat provides some basic (but exciting) analytics after your event on how your Geofilter was used. During the 26 hours it was live, it was used 90 times and seen 4,161 times (accounting for the number of times that people received a Snap with the Geofilter or saw it in a Snapchat Story)!!

Screen Shot 2016-08-15 at 4.33.51 PM

And there you have it! After trying out this process for myself, I’m convinced of the potential for companies to use this as a tool for event engagement and brand awareness around initiatives they’re running. It’s a great way to get the word out about an event in an organic way and reach people through something that’s engaging and personal. We’re really excited to provide recommendations and facilitate the implementation of these filters with our clients and see how this growing social media platform can provide awesome value for consumers!

Even Sweeter Dreams

Posted on January 15, 2016 by

“The real question is not: How many ads do we see? The real question is: What do we have to do to see no ads? And the answer is: go to sleep”
– James B. Twitchell

Nowadays, the potential for brand reach is so expansive, there’s no physical or virtual space that goes untouched (which makes our job really fun). However, there’s one platform that’s yet to be tapped: our dreams. Sounds crazy, but it turns out this idea isn’t so far-fetched.

In the video below, a production company out of the Netherlands fast forwards a few years and envisions what a corporate-infused slumber may look like. The company describes:

We see ads everyday and everywhere. They have become part of our life. While some people try to avoid seeing ads, advertisers keep finding new ways to reach us. However they are unable to reach us when we sleep. Our dreams are the last safe and ad-free place, so it seems. But what happens when advertisers have the possibility to enter our dreams? Based on recent developments in brain science and technology, this might be possible in the near future.

Branded Dreams – The Future Of Advertising from STUDIO SMACK on Vimeo.

Of course, the first brand in line is a company we all know and love. So rest easy; we’re coming for ya!

3 New Facebook Ad Formats You Should Know About to Grow Your Business

Posted on October 29, 2015 by

There have been a lot of changes to Facebook’s advertising platform over the last few months, as Facebook tries to compete with Google AdWords in the display advertising market. The zag creative interactive marketing team is always monitoring and testing the latest innovations in digital advertising to get the best bang for our clients’ buck. Here are three of the latest innovations in Facebook advertising that you should be aware of.

Instagram Ads

Facebook, who owns Instagram, has been slowly rolling out Instagram advertising to select agencies and at the end of September they opened it up to everyone. Instagram integrates seamlessly with Facebook’s existing ad platform, it allows for all of the same demographic, interest and behavioural targeting. Instagram has over 400 million users and they claim that ad recall from sponsored Instagram posts was 2.8x higher than other online advertising.

As an active Facebook agency advertiser, zag creative was given early access to test out the platform with some of our clients and the results were impressive! For one client, engagement through post likes showed a 188% increase compared to likes on similar sponsored posts on Facebook and new followers to the page were also significantly higher. We were able to generate the best engagement and the lowest cost per click with interesting photo creative. Overall, the cost per clicks showed a 64% decrease compared to similar Facebook newsfeed ads. As the popularity and competition of Instagram advertising increases, we expect the cost to go up, but we’re enjoying it while it lasts.

Click to Website Video Ads

Another significant change to Facebook advertising this month was the ability to add videos in a Click To Website ad format. We’ve seen some great results from Facebook Video Ads with videos views costing as low as 2 cents, while this provided great branding for our clients, it did not provide as many clicks to the website as the Click to Website ads. This change brings the best of both worlds, with auto playing video to catch the attention of the user, as well as the easy click to the website for more information.

Lead Ads

Another ad type that was made available to all advertisers this month was Lead ads. We believe lead ads are going to be a game changer in the lead generation industry. The ads make the mobile signup process easier by automatically populating contact information that people have given Facebook, like email addresses. It previously took significant resources to develop a website that would collect the name and email address of potential customers. The Lead ad makes this process seamless and highly effective. If you are a business that collects contact information from potential customers for you to follow up with, we recommend giving this ad type a try. Facebook has built this ad type with the user’s privacy in mind. Users have the option to edit their contact information, which isn’t sent to the advertiser until the user clicks “submit”. Advertisers must also agree that they will not sell or share this contact information to another party.

If you have any questions about Facebook advertising, or if you’re interested in growing your business through Facebook advertising, we’d love to hear from you.

Get in touch with us!

Seeing Red? Feeling Blue?

Posted on October 22, 2015 by

Nothing is as powerful as colour when it comes to branding and advertising. There have been attempts to classify consumer responses to colour, but the truth is that the reaction is mostly dependent on personal experiences. This has never been clearer than recently with our provincial and federal elections.

When starting a branding project we invest lots of time into researching the business, competitors and understanding target audience. This becomes the basis for how we make decisions about colour palettes. In a perfect world this would be it. We would make our recommendations, the client would be happy and smooth sailing would ensue. However in reality, personal experiences take over and suddenly there is no blue, no red and no orange allowed. Sometimes even no green.

Right now, clients don’t want consumers associating their brand with a particular political party and quickly start making decisions on this alone. While I don’t disagree that this should be a consideration in certain sectors, its important to remember the consumer and what will appeal to them and what makes the most sense for your business. Blue may be the colour of the PCs but it can also be useful for calming (think water) or in another context to create a sense of sadness or cold.

In an industry where everything is subjective, it’s hard to be objective. Working closely with your agency or designer and being able to have open conversations about colour is an important step to making sure the result is effective. Otherwise, all the designs you would see from me would be some form of grey. Or black.

International Laugh Lines

Posted on March 12, 2015 by

Even when I travel, I can’t turn it off. I always find myself checking out the local marketing and advertising. I find it to be just so amusing.

Case in point. I came back from a little getaway to Maui in February and there were three things that left me both laughing out loud as well as thinking, “Oh my. Somebody approved that.”

I couldn’t wait to share the front page of the Hana Side News with our graphic designers. Apparently there is a fire ant invasion and it looks like those fire ants are moving awfully close to shore.

Hanaside News

Now what makes this even funnier is knowing that it is humpback whale season and you simply can’t look anywhere towards the water without seeing whale sightings. Perceptively speaking, it appears the fire ants on Maui are the same size as the 50-foot, 30-50 ton whales. Everyone better run for the hills.

Next, we passed a serene ocean side graveyard where the sign on the building noted it to be a “Zen Cemetery”. Then I spotted it; the sign located right on the property promoting an important upcoming event. Immediately I thought, “Huh. Why yes, that is bazaar all right.”

photo 1

The last one I wasn’t able to get a picture because we passed it too quickly but I burst out laughing when I saw a big sign in front of an ocean side house promoting a “Bed In Breakfast.” Now in my experience, I always thought it was a Bed AND Breakfast. I could be wrong.

Well, perhaps the owners were trying to promote breakfast in bed and simply got their words mixed up. I should have gone back to ask.


Posted on February 6, 2015 by

I watch a lot of tv. A LOT.

Now before you go picturing an anti-social hermit, my tv watching of late revolves mostly around Netflix and it’s wide and often mind-numbing children’s programming. One of the greatest benefits of this is that it’s all commercial free! However as someone in marketing, I do find myself missing out on what my favourite brands are doing to push their product.

Enter the Super Bowl.

Every year at this time we are hit with commercials trying their best to win out for favourite amongst all the clutter. Some do a great job of capitalizing on the excitement of the fans by shocking them (I’m talking to you Chevy).

Others aim to make us cry so hard we turn to beer we normally wouldn’t touch for comfort (sorry Budweiser).

Overall I see the Super Bowl as less of a game and more of a reason to watch commercials. Although I’m sure like most I just turn to the internet to see them all without the game to interrupt me.

Here is a link to a great summary of the ones that stood out this year.

Which one is your favourite?

We Are All In!

Posted on October 2, 2014 by

We lifted boxes, we pushed heavy thingy’s around, we flexed all our muscles (including the patient ones) and we worked as the rock star team that we are, to get it done. We are officially in our new space and it’s ah-maaaaaazzzzing!

I can’t believe we’re here; in the heart of it all. Feel free to stop by at #301, 10154 – 104 Street and check out our new digs. All I can say is, if you thought our last office was cool, wait until you see THIS place! (Insert squeal of joy here)

I love this neighbourhood already. Credo Coffee is below us (I anticipate frequenting it even more than I did before). Kelly’s Pub is also our new neighbor and if you haven’t heard, they have jamaoke on Thursday night where you can sing karaoke with the band. Why do I know this? Well, I may have partaken in this maybe one or two times before. Maybe.

There are so many places to eat or grab some wine after work too. Tzin is across the street, which is a lovely little wine bar and Dauphine Bakery & Bistro is a hop, skip and a jump away for fabulous European delectableness. While unpacking boxes last night, we picked up a burger from The Burg just down the way. I’m still full.

We are so happy to be here and can’t wait to discover the rest of our new neighbourhood.

Check out some of the photos from the move below!


Hello, my name is Jamie and I am addicted to Apple.

Posted on September 11, 2014 by

So nothing really unexpected was announced on Tuesday’s Apple product launch which was kind of disappointing. We all still want to be surprised it seems (or at least I do). Even the two versions of the 6 weren’t really all that impressive and YET, I still want a new phone and a watch. I don’t even wear watches. I have a phone (yes, an iPhone) that is rarely more than a meter from my person that tells me the time and yet I want a damn Apple Watch.

As a marketer I know it comes down to the brand and the marketing. Who doesn’t want “bigger than bigger” or “personal and relevant technology” that goes on your wrist? The word nerd in me also likes how features are explained in a way that makes even a dial (digital crown) seem revolutionary.

It seems even Ikea understands this marketing approach…

Storm’s a Comin’

Posted on August 28, 2014 by

For creative agencies, a common practice when developing new concepts for projects is having brainstorm sessions. It is a time when a collective group of the team throw any strategies or ideas they have for how to execute creative for a project on the table, in hopes of fleshing out a single winning concept. Many agencies have their own unique process when it comes to brainstorming, but like all creative processes, there is always room to improve.

Brainstorming sessions should never turn down or turn away from ideas that may seem “outlandish” or “off brand”. As highlighted in the attached article, and a major outlook I took away from the article, was that Brainstorm sessions should be about quantity and NOT quality. They’re about pouring out all of your creative thoughts, in hopes of inspiring ideas in others involved in the session, which really explores more options than if you try to limit your creative thinking. These meetings are great opportunities to work closely together with your team and really dive into each others brains in hopes of coming up with some amazing ideas.









Numbers three and four really resonated with me and are what I believe to be the most essential components of a brainstorm session. They really hammer home the notion that no idea should be overlooked and that creativity should not be hindered by time constraints or pressure to follow a specific, familiar formula. Brainstorms are meant to draw out the best of the creative skills each member of the team possesses, which should be a humbling, collaborative experience that brings everyone together in a positive way.

You can read more about each of those points in the full article on It really highlights the importance of not only what should be done to inspire creativity, but also how to not totally destroy creative thinking.

Marketing Like a Hipster

Posted on July 3, 2014 by

Yahoo Finance recently released an article about the things hipsters can teach us about investing[1]. The article outlines the importance of spotting trends and taking advantage of opportunities before they hit the “mainstream”. As hipsters are quickly becoming a large psychographic segment and masstige consumerism continues to build, I can’t help but think that applying hipster theory can lead to successful marketing as well. Here are a couple examples to illustrate my point:

  • Don’t do what everyone else is doing. People don’t interact with traditional media the way they used to. Young people especially wake up to a music player instead of the radio, check news apps instead of reading the paper, and are so accustomed to media clutter, they barely glance at outdoor signage, let alone notice the messaging. All this means that marketers need to find unconventional ways to reach audiences without relying on mainstream channels, and hipsters can teach us all about the best ways to avoid mainstream, well anything.
  • Start trends. Yes hipsters teach us to spot trends before they catch on, but deeper than that they start trends. This is a trait of a savvy investor, yes, but trend starting is especially relevant to marketing as well. Whatever is different, unique, and never been heard of is not only the epitome of the hipster dream, it is also a description of some of the most successful marketing campaigns of all time.
  • Focus on cultural integration. Now this doesn’t mean we all need to buy a sustainably sourced bamboo t-shirt, but hipsters align all elements of their lives into one cohesive image and maybe there’s something to be said for that. Normcore is one of the latest hipster trends whereby clothing and accessories are purposefully un-stylized and simplified. Solid matte tones often with one distinguishing logo and a classic shape are taking hipster style by storm, and it is hard not to notice the parallel between normcore style and Apple products. If we can more closely observe the ways that style and brands evolve together, we can predict where trends are going to go and ultimately what is going to sell.

So, integration, trend starting, and untraditional messaging are not only all basic components of the hipster lifestyle, they can be key building blocks to innovative and successful marketing campaigns as well.



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