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Objects In The Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear

Posted on July 12, 2013 by

When an important and compelling message needs to be conveyed to the public, there are a number of approaches that can be taken.

We’ve all seen many examples of campaigns consisting of strong visuals coupled with static facts, figures and impacts statements.   This appeals to our intellectual side as we process the information and consider whether we want to become involved or not.

Another approach is to place the unexpected consumer in a situation where they are forced to “feel” the message.  The thought being, if one can be impacted emotionally, it is more likely to persuade them to action.

I came across a very strong example of that recently.

The question that comes to my mind is; has this gone too far or is this important enough of a message that it needs to be taken this far?

What do you think?  I’m interested in hearing your thoughts.

Social Media – It’s more than just what you had for lunch

Posted on June 27, 2013 by

So I’m a marketer which means I already know that social media is more powerful than sharing what you had for lunch.  I get it. But not everyone does.

A recent example of how social media actually makes an impact, is the flooding in Calgary. Here’s a few small things I observed.

1)   When politicians and city figures Tweet, the citizens stay informed and they stay calm. Neat-o

2) People want to be part of something and when you leverage the power of many, much good can be done.

A little more on the second point. Let’s take for example, this Facebook page for Calgary Clean Up. The Facebook page was started on June 21, 2013. A week later it has more than 35K  followers. Followers that want to help and are responding, in droves. Now that’s Awesome.

Free Food!

Posted on June 13, 2013 by

Today’s news was hardly a surprise. I’d hazard a guess few food lovers were surprised. Why? Because the still-rising trend of foodie culture, combined with a desire for more interesting food and the resurging interest in cooking were all noted by Sobeys, and their marketers, long ago. While Safeway lagged behind with gluten-ous, salty, high-fat convenience items and executive prices, Sobeys was busy pulling in the health-conscious generation just heading back into the kitchen.

Their marketing staff and service providers have spent considerable hours designing social media platforms and promotions, developing foodie apps, magazines and other content that pushes food porn at consumers from all directions. And it’s good food porn. I’m such a food snob that clipping a recipe is beneath me –  I write recipes, I don’t clip them – but even I admit to being Inspired a time or two. The Moodie Foodie app is a testament to understanding the strange, food-centric logic that thinks the right meal, like the right astrological omen, will cure anything, including the irritation of the age old question: what’s for dinner?

Moodie Foodie App

What are you in the mood for?

Sobeys has tapped into their market by responding to trends in food quickly, and by keeping a cook’s staples on rotating specials, allowing the economizing new mother, or large family, to keep on-budget. They’ve figured out that if we have to be a part of the loyalty program, then we better be getting paid for it, and oh yes, paid in groceries is just fine, thank you.

Of course, my admiration might just be because I’m smack dab in the middle of their demographic, or maybe it’s because my local Sobeys is a small, bordering on quaint, franchise that’s run by a friendly group of people that are always willing to listen, bring in a new product, or bring back one they didn’t realize I loved. The store feels local, a feat that other chains in my neck of the woods haven’t managed, despite the large images proclaiming them “Alberta’s Own.”

What the Sobeys marketing team has accomplished is a testament to what listening to your customers can do for you. They listened. They actually heard. They built the content and promotions that applied to their target demographic. They were consistent and constant in the application of their brand. They’re buying out the competition. I say well done, let’s hope the trend continues – because I’m really not above free food. Ever.

Gassed Up!

Posted on May 24, 2013 by

We’re not strangers to fluctuating gas prices – we’ve seen the highs, we’ve seen the lows and we’ll continue to pay both.

With a national average of 133.265 and a provincial average of 129.367, you’d think that Edmonton’s below average prices of 128.639 would help to take the sting away. Not the case.

If you’re like me, you will do what’s necessary to ensure you are getting the best price possible. If you’re not like me but want to be, please see below for a list of gas stations in the Edmonton and surrounding areas with the lowest fuel prices:




And when all else fails – make your money back with a BIG-GAS marketing campaign.

Striking a Balance

Posted on April 18, 2013 by

Work in the creative industry always requires a unique balance between subjective and the objective. It’s always a mistake to put too much of your personal preferences into a collaborative process, but at the same time if you don’t bring a strong piece of yourself into the picture the project will lose some of the passionate spark that could take it from standard to spectacular.

Last week I had the opportunity to see Ian Anderson of The Designers Republic speak at Grant MacEwan University. He talked about the history of The Designers Republic, from their humble, counter culture beginnings to their rise to working with huge brands like Coca-Cola. What was fascinating about seeing the process and progress of The Designers Republic was how effectively they managed to capture the voice of the brands that they were working with while retaining their commitment to their rather anti-establishment style they have established.

It was refreshing to hear Ian Anderson talk so frankly about his design philosophy, and I think I can take a lot away from his absolute confidence in the power of a distinct vision.


Today is Valentines Day (who knew right?)

Posted on February 14, 2013 by

Whether you celebrate it or not, it’s hard to avoid Valentines Day. It seems like as soon as we shove Santa back into his basement box the stores start to fill with pink and red, heart shaped, chocolate covered items galore. Personally I am neither for or against this day but I do appreciate the abundance of chocolate covered everything that tends to appear.

While it’s pretty well known that I fear anything hug-related, my gift to you are these three facts to give you a better understanding of how today came to be.

Plus, its cheaper than buying you all chocolate.

1. The holiday is created.

The medieval English poet Geoffrey Chaucer often took liberties with history, placing his poetic characters into fictitious historical contexts that he represented as real. No record exists of romantic celebrations on Valentine’s Day prior to a poem Chaucer wrote around 1375. In his work “Parliament of Foules,” he links a tradition of courtly love with the celebration of St. Valentine’s feast day–an association that didn’t exist until after his poem received widespread attention. The poem refers to February 14 as the day birds (and humans) come together to find a mate. When Chaucer wrote, “For this was sent on Seynt Valentyne’s day / Whan every foul cometh ther to choose his mate,” he may have invented the holiday we know today.


2. The date is declared.

In 1537, England’s King Henry VII officially declared Feb. 14 the holiday of St. Valentine’s Day.


3. The gift is selected.

From the moment chocolate was discovered it was considered valuable, divine, and decadent, so what better gift to give a woman? The first chocolate candies (as we know them today) were invented in the 1860s by Cadbury, who was also the first to market them in a heart-shaped box for Valentine’s Day that same decade.


| February 2 | Uncategorized
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Capitalizing on the Cause

Posted on November 29, 2012 by

If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em – at least for the month of November, that is.

The past few weeks have facilitated the utmost of physical efforts for males everywhere. What started out as a novel idea amongst a group of young men in Australia over a decade ago has evolved into a bonafide brand worldwide. More and more companies are starting to utilize Movember as a platform for cause marketing, and for good reason. This approach allows businesses to contribute to a commendable cause while simultaneously garnering positive exposure. It’s win-win.

Case in point: Gillette. To avoid losing face, the prevailing razor maker introduced the eMo’gency Styler Tour – a campaign fashioned around the strategically launched Fusion ProGlide Styler. Enlisting the ever-suave Andre 3000 as its ambassador, the P&G subsidiary turned men into gentlemen by providing free ‘tashe trimmings in several cities across America. Mo-reover, Gillette vouched to donate $1 to men’s health initiatives for each duster documented on their Facebook page.

It has been said that “mo money [amounts to] mo problems”. I disagree.

| November 11 | Uncategorized
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The Content Experience

Posted on November 8, 2012 by

Because I’m a habitual reader, (ok, maybe I’m a pathological reader, I was sounding out the French on cereal boxes before the English even made sense) I find myself drawn to words. I see them and I have to decipher them, roll them around my tongue and decide if they have just the right texture for the circumstances.

In very dry, jargon-like ways sometimes the words fail to capture the magnificence of possibility inherent to a situation. Advertising jargon has been failing me a lot lately. We’re all talking about the value of the content experience – in social media, in person and and in human terms. We’re trying to Make Something Edmonton and we’re discussing the ways we concoct these amazing happenings in the hopes that being open about the process will encourage more people to try.

But the words Content Experience do no justice to the moments they describe. We’re talking about the carefully considered, strategic creation of an emotional experience relevant to the life you’re living. It’s about reaching down deep into the parts of us that tickle, or cry, or opening up and wondering what if? (And yes, that sentence just made me a little ill. That’s how comfortable I am talking about it.)

But I know what it is and I know we do it everyday. So now I wonder – if we can do this work, that pushes us in directions that we didn’t know we had, and pulls from every skill we’ve ever learned while forcing us to stretch just that little bit further… can’t we at least come up with a name that doesn’t feel like I’m choking on the remnants of that dusty cereal box from 1983?

You want the truth? You can’t handle the truth!

Posted on October 18, 2012 by

I was going to blog about Halloween (typical, I know). More specifically I was going to blog about costume ideas and how it might be funny to dress up as someone’s Facebook profile. Could be interesting…

Just as I was about to post this clever costume idea and my suggested do’s and don’ts that come with pulling it off (ex. DO: be bold enough to be your boss’s profile, DON’T use the picture from last years Christmas party as the profile picture), until I was shown something that made me stop in my tracks. I just knew I had to share it.

What you are about to see is the beauty of social media in marketing and a company’s ability to really engage and connect with the public on a very personal level. It’s honest, it’s funny, it’s unexpected and it worked.

The rant

The retort

A tip of my hat to Bodyform… Well played.

If You Don’t Know, Now You Know

Posted on September 27, 2012 by

Last Friday rendered an introduction other than the much-anticipated weekend. Yes, September 21, brought about something I have long been dreading: fall.

Now, it’s not as though I dislike the season itself. For instance, observing my Instagram feed blow up with photos of luteous-coloured, lo-fi-filtered leaves, anticipating the most delicious dinner of the year (no, not Thanksgiving – Hallows’ Eve, duh) and witnessing Starbucks inaugurate the Pumpkin Spice Latte are all enjoyable parts of fall in my eyes (and tummy).

Rather, it’s the significance of this tease-like time of the year that makes me grimace. It’s an indication that summer has passed; a reminder that winter is imminent.

To alleviate my anguish and counteract my cynicism, I put together a few unconventional reasons why the next few, chillier, months are better than the warmer ones that now rest out of sight until 2013.

The deficiency of UV rays means sunburns are no more. Let’s face it (permission granted to give me a swift kick for that one), crimson pigment serves as nothing other than a public declaration of sun-safety ignorance. This, in turn, causes embarrassment, which only perpetuates the rosy hue you have on display. No good.

The reduced amount of skin shown provides an opportunity to put grooming habits on the back burner. Note: grooming habits are not the same as hygienic practices. Please don’t regard this as a proposal to stop showering. What I’m getting at is that autumn is forgiving when priority is placed on an extra five minutes’ worth of sleep instead of mitigating stubble.

Along the same lines, the increased amount of clothing we wear facilitates a rationale that we need to buy more garments. Perhaps it’s some sort of subconscious notion from our childhoods that September correlates with back-to-school shopping. Whatever it is, keep up the frivolous spending and stimulate the economy people! Let’s keep this province prosperous.

The shorter days are beneficial in that bouts of FOMO, (close relative of YOLO) are less frequent. You know the feeling when you receive an invitation on a nice summer evening, and not possessing the better judgment to decline, you go? It’s as if every set of plans has the potential to turn into the most epic time ever. However, patios shut down, and the constant need to relish every ray of sunshine, goes with them.

An aside: if anybody knows how to appropriately dress for the 20-degree difference between the morning and the afternoon in Edmonton, let me know. I’m not complaining; I just can’t keep up with the laundry!

| September 9 | Uncategorized
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