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How Virtual Reality is Important to Startups and Why Most Consumers Are Unaware of it

November 10, 2017

Guest Article By: Jason Vander Griendt

 

Virtual reality is one of the emergent technologies that is experiencing a fast adoption rate in numerous industries. The entertainment industry was first on the scene. It empowered providers to offer compelling experiences to viewers taking the game to the next level. It’s increasingly finding innovative applications on the business scene. It’s transforming the way businesses interact with customers, market their products and engage talent among numerous other uses.

Besides sectors such as big data and the internet of things, virtual reality is expected to bring in the next big wave of innovation. Let us review some of the advantages of the technology to business.

 

Training and education

The traditional classroom is slowly becoming extinct especially in the workplace. Employees and students will log in to virtual classes with the mentor guiding the lesson. Businesses can fast-track employee training and offer education that achieves a more significant impact quickly. Think universities, driving schools, the healthcare industry and other hands-on learning scenarios that demand the use of expensive equipment.

Cost savings

Industries such as the real estate market are experiencing an enormous reduction in presales costs. It’s leveraging the technology to provide guided virtual tours of properties. The cost of hosting virtual tours does not come close to the expenditure associated with building model show houses, organizing the open house and stocking up numerous finishes for clients to choose from. Additionally, it is enabling realtors to build stronger value-based relationships with clients.

Marketing

Virtual reality offers more productive interactions with customers in real time. It gives marketers a superior platform to showcase their products and services to a broader target audience. The technology makes it easy to prototype different products seamlessly without actually building them.

Niche markets

This includes sectors such as interactive games and amusement parks. Virtual reality presents engaging interactions with users. It makes an excellent case for a game design company. Additionally, you can offer virtual reality versions of popular adventure-based activities such as surfing, rafting, and zip lining among numerous others. Similarly, collaborations with breakthrough technologies such as nanotechnology will narrow the gap between real and virtual worlds.

Events and social networks

The virtual scene presents the new real estate to host events. You can interact with other participants, listen to presentations, and walk through various booths at the event. All this from the comfort and convenience of your home. The same concept will extend to your social interactions. Facebook is already experimenting on this with its VR subsidiary, Oculus.

Why are there so few consumers on the virtual reality scene?

First, I’d have to say price points. Gadget manufacturers are racing to provide the best possible experience from their units. This translates to thousands of hours of research and development as well as high-quality components to realize a commercial product. Similarly, there are few consumer applications on the market utilizing the technology to drive adoption. Virtual reality content, as opposed to the infrastructure, will play a prominent role in driving the consumer costs down. Furthermore, the technology is considered socially isolating and lacking a diverse range of choice of ready content.

Virtual reality is here to stay. The technology is expected to get better, cheaper and drive more penetration. As adoption increases, costs will come down. The technology will also find new applications, as more industries get onboard. Experts argue that the line between virtual reality and augmented reality is increasingly getting blurred. This fusion promises more opportunity for businesses and consumers. The attraction point remains its ability to completely immerse you in a virtual world connecting with your senses on motion, sight, touch, smell, taste and experimentally, emotion.

 

 

Jason Vander Griendt is the mechanical design engineering expert behind Render 3D Quickly, a company specializing in three-dimensional architectural renderings and visualizations. With years of experience in the field of 3D rendering and animation, Vander Griendt has established a global reputation for the exceptional insight and expertise he has regularly provided to architects, builders, contractors, designers, homeowners, and real estate companies from all over the world.

 

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So We’re Spying on You…. But is it Really All THAT Creepy? – Spotify’s ‘Thanks 2016, It’s Been Weird’ Campaign

October 6, 2017

Guest Article By: Michael Swanton

 

By now just about everyone under 90 is aware that the platforms and social media that they use are tracking as well as recording their data and selling it to devious marketers. That’s why that ad for a Cuban vacation won’t stop following you.

But is it really as creepy as it seems? One of my all time favourite campaigns was Spotify’s “Thanks 2016.. It’s been weird”. It totally breaks the stigma and provides a clear example of what marketing ought to be. The concept is simple yet genius, Spotify’s CMO Seth Farbman put it best when he commented on it saying “Utilizing data from listeners led to the idea of reflecting the culture via listener behaviour”.

So Spotify went global putting up massive billboards and trolling local audiences about their listening behaviour, some classics include: “Dear person who played “sorry” 42 times on Valentine’s day, What did you do?” Or better yet; “Dear person who made a playlist called “one night stand with Jeb Bush like he’s a bond girl in a European casino… We have so many questions.”

Spotify also managed to make witty yet insightful comments on popular culture during some of the of the most tumultuous and polarizing times this generation have seen. Comments like “Dear 3,749 people who streamed “It’s the end of the world as we know it” after the brexit vote, Hang in there.”

It’s almost as if the brand is engaging in a literal one on one conversation with you, and they’re pretty damn funny. They took the spirit of the moment and literally said what everyone was thinking… on a 42 foot billboard. This unique style gives the impression that Spotify knows us but stays within the bounds we are comfortable with, never mentioning any names, only commenting on funny and universally relevant insights. The way marketers typically use big data to follow you around the internet with pop up ads, or attempt to sneak in your social media feed has become transparent and tacky. But Spotify’s up front and in your face comments make way better use of this information, by relating to its users in an individual fashion and commenting on their quirks. It isn’t so creepy if they’re just trying to get to get to know you and crack a few jokes.

Spotify nailed this one, the fact that they “showed their hand” while playfully teasing their audience about their most private moments took serious marketing tact and poise. The copy was written in a tone that reminds you of funny twitter memes, or the way that a close friend might bust your chops. And this is what makes the campaign so genius, and a perfect example of proper marketing. Using listener data to mirror the culture to itself and communicating with the audience the way they communicate with themselves literally makes Spotify seem like they’re “part of the squad”, it makes the stigma around big data seem overblown and clarifies that that’s just how they know us. Not only that but it’s also how they can relate to us.

The campaign humanized Spotify as a brand, and got us to laugh at ourselves. It’s a risk to tease your audience, admit you know them a little too well or make political comments but that’s exactly what you would expect from a friend who knows you. And that’s why this is an exemplary example of marketing, they proved they know us implied that they accept us and made us feel as if they were one of us. What if the brands you use continue to try to become your “friend”, would you mind if Nike starts trolling on your Instagram photos if you rock Adidas?

 

Michael is a University of Toronto Digital Enterprise Management student, Freelance E-commerce solutions specialist, web designer and digital marketer. When he isn’t plotting on his next business moves or trying to sell you something, he’s at the gym at ungodly hours or making great memories with great friends. Check him out on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Snapchat @mswanton1

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GoPro Enters the Mature Stage in it’s Product Lifecycle

September 29, 2017

It’s been 15 years since GoPro first entered the action camera industry at the reins of CEO, Nick Woodman and it’s becoming more apparent that the company needs to shift it’s focus away from sales growth and more towards sustained long-term profits. As GoPro enters the mature stage of it’s product lifecycle, market trends are suggesting that it’s continued success will be dependant on it’s loyal customer base and from it’s newly launched video editing apps. It’s no surprise that the action camera industry is experiencing a decline in sales growth due to mobile cameras being so much easier to use. While GoPro products will likely always dominate sales in the sports industry due to it’s wide angle lens and un-contestable durability, it’s becoming clear that for every day users, it’s just easier to use an iPhone.

After a failed launch for the Karma drone in 2016, it appears that innovation for the short term is heading towards a standstill. The key for their continued success during this time (in my opinion) is for them to capitalize on the opportunities that stem from their powerful brand awareness, and already high consumer engagement. GoPro boasts a strong 25+ million followers on social media which includes a focused presence on Instagram which they average 3,000 new followers daily. The opportunity for engagement from partnered advertising isenormous through these channels, which could be a huge boost to their revenue. GoPro entered late 2017 completely debt free which means they can incur debt and grow their business through innovation quite easily. In the mean time, I think it’s in their best interest to not over saturate their market with new less-developed products and rather wait for truly revolutionary products to be formed. In the mean time, their current sales model and strong customer loyalty will prop them up in order to sustain short-term success.

GoPro is currently selling at a stock price, which in my opinion, undervalues it’s intrinsic future earning power. As it currently sits, GoPro is selling at $11.10 per share after a high of $86.97 in 2014 and a low of $7.70 in 2017. Aside from the financials, in which I enjoy so dearly, GoPro is continuing to prove to be an exciting company to watch and likely will continue to be for the years to come.

Brandon Sardelis is a Commerce graduate from Dalhousie University. He is currently travelling abroad for the purpose of leisure and self-discovery. In his spare time he enjoys playing music, volunteering at festivals, playing sports and reading about finance.

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Three’s Company: Snap Inc. vs Facebook vs Wall Street

August 4, 2017

Guest Article By: Brandon Sardelis

Everyone reading this article has Snapchat, right? We all know the filters, geo-tags, chat, and story telling features, but do any of you know about the numbers behind Snapchat and why the slick entertainment app is going through one of it’s toughest tests for stock-market survival yet?

If you have an eye for capitalism you may have noticed that Snapchat’s stock-value has been cut in half since it’s initial IPO in March. Cue bullish investors? You would think so, right? But there’s plenty reason for pessimism in the eyes of a bear investors on Wall Street to short the stock, and here are the reasons why.

More than 1 billion shares are speculated to flood the market in the next few weeks because Snapchat’s 180-day initial public offering lockup will be expired. The lockup prevented any investor who bought in early on Snapchat to sell their shares. Now that the shackles are off and the market is free, investors are speculating that a stock flood could wash away Snapchat’s value.

So what does that mean? We’re all going to still use Snapchat right? Well from a financial perspective it could mean that Instagram is going to try and take another kill shot at Snapchat soon. In the last year, Instagram took a huge portion of the story-telling market and now that Snapchat is treading water, they may try and finish the job.

When Facebook went public, it was much bigger than Snapchat, with more than 500m daily active users against 166m for Snap. Facebook was profitable during it’s IPO, while on the other hand Snap has been burning cash.

 Even as Facebook was falling in stock value during it’s first year on the public market, it was signing up new users at a faster rate than Snapchat, and was actually profiting from them.

So is Snapchat done? No, not yet. There is room for optimism. During the first quarter of 2017, advertising revenues have increased four-fold and that’s what matters. Even though analysts are freaking out about a slowdown in user growth this year from Instagram’s emergence in the story-telling market, I always like to think that competition drives innovation. This battle for supremacy between Snapchat and FB in my opinion will create wonderful things to come for both companies.

At the end of the day there can only be one winner between FB and Snapchat, but in my opinion the competitive natures of the market will force innovation as a survival mechanism. This will ultimately cause Snapchat to thrive in the years to come. So in summary, if you’re a bull investor who’s not frightened by potential share flood and a slow down in new user growth, then now could be the time to invest. Until then get your popcorn get ready and enjoy the fireworks.

 

Brandon Sardelis is a Commerce graduate from Dalhousie University. He is currently travelling abroad for the purpose of leisure and self-discovery. In his spare time he enjoys playing music, volunteering at festivals, playing sports and reading about the world of finance. Connect with him on Instagram, LinkedIn, and Facebook.

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Let’s talk about The Talk – A Look into P&C’s #MyBlackIsBeautiful Campaign

July 28, 2017

Guest Article By: Warren Leslie

 

The depiction is passionate, intensely personal and has left a testament to its campaign.

Repetition can almost be amusing to some extent. The idea of carrying a burden, and the weight of generations is permissible, but to whom. There is a certainty of knowing what will eventuate.

 

Behind the Creative

BBDO New York, Director Malik Vitthal created “The Talk” film for the Procter and Gamble #MyBlackIsBeautifulCampaign. The #MyBlackIsBeautiful community celebrates everything that makes them beautiful, from the inside out. The combination did not settle for less. The advertisements message was in the public interest with the initiative to raise awareness. The dialogue and the divisive issue of racism in America and bias worldwide delivered a sentiment. I perceived it as, yesterday it was unwarranted actions, today it is bailout solutions.

“The difference is”

Socially-conscious issues brands in the past have created advocacy campaigns for gender equality, cultural acceptance and so forth but who’s to that do they really stand by what they’re claiming. For short, Airbnb’s We accept campaign. Do you accept, and why do you accept at such a climax of time, why not 10 years prior? Just a thought.

Sustaining a Broad Dialogue

Everybody is a reporter and the world is observant of this. I couldn’t help but think the actions that can’t be undone. Minorities needing to have the talk with their sons and daughters about conflicts and barriers they’ll face at some point in their lives spells the truth regarding bias, and the campaign addressed this stigma.

“Remember that they will say”

 

Warren Leslie is an Account Coordinator for a digital & marketing agency in Woodbridge. Humber College is his alma mater and If you wish to connect with the man himself; LinkedIn and Instagram.

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Marketing & Hockey: An Inferiority Complex Amongst Fans

July 14, 2017

Written by: Matthew Nafe

Now that all of our favourite and exciting sports have all ended (I’m sorry baseball fans, but just look at that Jays record) it seemed important to put together a musings about Canada’s favourite sport. Hockey is exciting for its mixture of speed, skill, and toughness but when it comes to its marketing , we’ve seen they’ve fallen flat before amongst a positive fanbase. So why is it, when other sports are widely more successful, that the fragile image of hockey is always the one that is taking offence? How many times have you been enjoying your favourite sports memes when you see one centered around hockey, cross comparing injuries from different sports.


My personal favourites being: When Patrice Bergeron (Boston Bruins) played through a cracked rib, a

punctured lung, and a plethora of other injuries comparing him to Lebron James being lifted off the court by his teammates because of leg cramps. Now I know what you’re thinking, these two sets of injuries are on two different seriousness spectrums and I would agree. However when it happened, I couldn’t help but notice the constant and very annoying repetition of NBA player has X injury: out the playoffs, NHL player has Y injury: Played the entire series and won the Stanley Cup. This is not only from the NBA, but MLB, NFL and other major sports. So the question remains: Why is there this overwhelming disdain for other leagues as a hockey player or fan of the NHL that you need to put down other athletes in a last ditch effort to feel important? As a fan of the NHL, I love the compete level of the athletes and what they give night in and night out is incredible, but where does this fragility from fans stem from? Is it because of the elephant in the room that fans don’t like addressing?

That the NHL is the hands down lesser major sports league? Probably-and this stems from it’s marketing. But this is definitely the reason for hockey’s inferiority complex towards other major sports, they can’t insert themselves into markets like the NBA does. This inferiority complex that exists in the NHL amongst it’s fanbase is a direct result of poor and maybe inaccurate marketing. Will there ever be a time that the NHL is on the same level as other major professional sports leagues in terms of success amongst its fanbase?

It’s hard to say, because interest for other sports grows because of the lower cost of league fees for children comparatively to minor hockey leagues. It’s simple, if you get people to play the sport then people will like to watch it. The NBA is an easier league to market because the sport itself is accessible. The NHL isn’t as accessible simply because hockey isn’t an accessible sport amongst a lot of Canadians-brutal reality. This becomes truly problematic as it divides sports fans and creates this inferiority complex or fragility that I had mentioned.

People don’t understand when fans create: crappy meme pages, awful twitter accounts, and uneducated social media comments (just to name a few), and they get picked up like gospel from other fragile hockey fans. Its good to look up to these athletes and appreciate that they want to put out the best product for their fans, but it is 2017 and there aren’t WWE wrestling matches happening on the ice anymore. Its not explicitly advertised as such, but lets just take a look at the Google search results for “hockey is a tough man’s sport ad”. This is a direct correlation of terrible marketing that the NHL does. Inadvertently, the NHL presents itself as the “toughest sports league” or “fastest sports league”, and this causes fans to believe it.  We don’t need a reason to set our sport apart from the others, because the product on the ice does that enough.

Matthew Nafe is currently attending Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario and aspiring marketing professional. When Matt isn’t writing articles, he is a coach for the Carleton Raven’s Ball hockey team, Stopping pucks, singing songs, or making poorly timed jokes. Find him and his humour on Twitter and enjoy his artistry on Instagram.

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NBA Legend Charles Barkley: New Spokesperson for the…NHL?

June 30, 2017

Guest Article By: Shaun Ferguson

 

The NBA has some of the most outspoken players of any major sport, and that’s a good thing… for the NHL.In the past year, current and former NBA players, coaches, and personalities have been some of the most outspoken people in sports. LeBron James formally endorsed Hillary Clinton for president, Russell Westbrook has called Kevin Durant a cupcake, and of course, Lavar Ball…nothing else needs to be said.

All of these crazy personalities all fighting for air time, is usually a good thing for the NBA. People are interested in celebrities and when they do crazy things, people pay attention. This is part of what makes the NBA such a marketable sport, the reality t.v like voices that go along with it. That plan goes a little awry when one of those voices jumps ship however.

Charles Barkley, one of the most outspoken players of all time, has declared his love for the NHL and his pity for the NBA.

That’s right, even Charles Barkley, a man who was paid to play professional basketball and is now paid by TNT to watch and comment on pro basketball, is sick of the NBA playoffs. And the NHL is taking full advantage.

It is no secret that the NBA playoffs where not the most exciting. Besides the finals, the NBA playoffs where a cakewalk for the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors. Meanwhile the NHL Playoffs were filled with excitement, and Charles Barkley took notice.

“I’m just glad to be here because the NBA playoffs have not been great, while the Stanley Cup playoffs have been amazing,” Barkley told Mike Milbury of NBC in a live interview during game four of the Cup finals.

Barkley also told ESPN that hockey analyst Barry Melrose was the “best analyst on television,” said that NBA players are “wussies” unlike NHL players, and in a press conference with Wayne Gretzky said that the best part of his job this spring has been being able to watch the NHL playoffs while in the studio. This was the outspoken voice the NHL had been waiting for.

In hockey, and in the NHL this would never happen. Charles Barkley is well-known for his famous Nike commercial in which he proclaimed “I am not a role model.” Well, that’s the exact opposite of what NHL players are taught to believe. NHL players rarely say anything bad about the league that has given them so much and are taught from day one to be humble.

This is a double-edged sword as the NHL rarely has bad press due to players, but it also means you get the same generic answers from players every night. The same boring answers about teamwork are uninteresting to people. But, when you have people like Lavar Ball in the NBA telling Michael Jordan he would beat him one on one, now that gets people excited. The NBA’s philosophy is more of a “any press is good press” deal.

Gary Bettman and the NHL, forever grateful for a spokesperson like Barkley, personally invited him to game four of the Cup final in Nashville and made sure to get Barkley enough TV time to brag about the NHL playoffs. Between a press conference with Gretzky, and interviews with NBC and CBC, Barkley somehow found time to watch the actual game.

It would seem that the good press from Barkley paid off for the NHL as ratings for the Cup final were the highest ever for a final without any of the original six teams. That seems like an even bigger deal when you consider that Nashville is considered a “non-hockey” market and Pittsburgh is a smaller hockey market.

Hockey may never be as big of a worldwide market as basketball, and may never have the outspoken players like the NBA. But they needed someone to be a spokesperson that is willing to say controversial things to attract attention and press, someone like Charles Barkley.

 

Shaun Ferguson is currently completing his honours degree in Media, Information, and Technoculture (MIT) at Western University. Shaun has worked in various marketing roles since he graduated high school and currently works at an ad-tech company in Toronto. Shaun loves anything sports related and can be found watching or playing sports, writing, or travelling in his free time. Follow him on LinkedInFacebookTwitter and Instagram

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Jordan Brand for Our Native Land

June 23, 2017

Guest Article By: Jerome Cheng

 

With a brand as prominent as Jordan, you would think opening only the second brand store in North America would be all that is needed to create a proper buzz in the city. Just might be, but with Nike and Jordan, you know they’re coming correct on the launch.

Here to stay. @1tylerennis, @MStrooo6, and @mr1LOVETO #RECO6NIZE the 416.

A post shared by Jordan (@jumpman23) on

Let’s start with a bit about me so you know where I’m coming from. My name is Jerome Cheng. I’m a self diagnosed shoe addict. My particular drug of choice is, in fact, Jordan. Opening a brand store in my city is an event, but how do you create the excitement I have in someone who is not a diehard fan?

Here is how Jordan did it right:

The tease.

We already knew what it might feel like. During the 2016 NBA All Star game, hosted here in Toronto, we got a taste of how Jordan brand would exist north of the border with a temporary pop up opened through the weekend. When it was all said and done, we were promised a permanent location to be opened at a time TBD. For nearly a year and a half, 306 Yonge was a tease of interchanging posters and building anticipation.

 

The buzz.

The official open of the 306 Yonge Jordan store was Saturday, May 27th at 6:23am. The week leading in was dedicated to building excitement for what was to come. Through that week, various Toronto influencers were invited group by group to experience 306 Yonge ahead of launch. What’s the benefit of this? This way, Jordan brand doesn’t need any promotional material to tell you how great they are. Instead, for a full week before launch, every important Toronto person you know and are following on social is sharing with you why this store is big for brand and the city.

The experience.

I am no Toronto influencer. But, I have the fortunate privilege of knowing some who brought me along to document their visit to the store. The full experience created by Jordan brand puts you as close to the feeling of being a Jordan athlete without the actual training, physical ability or talent. You start with a tour of the retail space and history of the brand. Immediately you understand how important Jordan has been to sports culture and why having the store in this city is so monumental. Then, you get brought up to Centre 23, the private training facility complete with decked out locker room, personalized gear for our visiting guests and a personal training session. First you get introduced to the gear, then you get to try it first hand. By the end, you feel like a member of the Jordan family and quite frankly, inclined to invest in their brand.

I know I’m coming from a biased spot when I say Jordan just nails it when it comes to brand and experience. Does not take a lot from them to hook me in. But the general steps of building intrigue for your launch, enlisting the city’s best influencers to promote it and providing a top level experience in your store is something every brand should aim to do.

 

Jerome Cheng is a freelance videographer and associate producer at Maple Leafs Sports & Entertainment. He just finished the Multimedia Design and Development program at Humber College. When he’s not trying to create silly videos for the interwebs, he’s engaged in an ongoing search for his next pair of shoes, playing and watching basketball or finding content on the aforementioned interwebs. Connect with Jerome through LinkedIn or Instagram 

Guest

Branded Content Done Right: The LEGO Batman Movie

June 16, 2017

Guest Article By: Carmen Mallia

 

With the recent release of The Lego Batman Movie on Digital HD, available through Amazon Video and iTunes, I think it is important to pay homage to such a spectacular example of branded content.

The film is a spin-off instalment to The Lego Movie, released in 2014, with the plot centered around DC Comic’s renowned Batman character who tries to save Gotham City from the Joker’s latest cynical plan. Doesn’t sound like anything out of the ordinary, right? Well that would be true, but the whole movie is basically one long LEGO ad.

Here, we have two of the biggest corporate entities in the global economy: The Lego Group and Warner Brothers Entertainment, aligning their respective products in order to cross-promote each other and to create an enormously successful contemporary cultural product.

With LEGO cross promoting their brand through Warner Brothers, the company has created an entire movie franchise centered around product placement. Most viewers may not consider the fact that they are watching one long LEGO commercial since the movie is entirely focused on the iconic story of Batman. LEGO simply attaches themselves with the benevolent aura and good connotations that go hand-in-hand with the Caped Crusader. That being said, LEGO has mastered branded content.

Companies have been sponsoring programs since the early days of radio, but the notion of ‘branded content’ takes the idea a step further — instead of just financing the program companies (such as LEGO) actually create the program.

Consumer goods corporation Procter and Gamble was one of the first companies to sponsor radio and television programs in the 1930s, initiating the idea of branded content. With a focus on bringing families together, P&G created the perfect platform for brand messaging through their award-winning soap operas, movies, and mini-series that focused on the good connotation that their products bring to families. While P&G invented effective branded content through the fusion of soap operas and consumer products, it was The Lego Batman Movie that perfected the idea by merging a children’s toy with a celebrated superhero icon.

One advantage of creating their own film rather than sponsoring a pre-existing Batman movie is that LEGO is able to craft the content in order to showcases their brand.

For example, the movie is centered around teamwork, changing the entire landscape of the Batman franchise by taking a light-hearted, comedic approach to the DC superhero story.

This fresh take on Gotham City only means more possibilities for Warner Brothers and LEGO.

Through The LEGO Batman Movie, Bruce Wayne exists in his own unique world, although he is still part of the larger franchise. This film is definitely at odds with the general atmosphere and story plot of Christopher Nolan’s dark and psychologically enchanting Batman trilogy, although LEGO’s spin on the series is still fresh, funny, and fast paced.

The LEGO Group is a brand that maintains relevance within its youth-oriented target audience because of the toy companies’ ability to effectively create content. It is a venture that continues to innovate so that it can keep growing its revenue and brand value, making it no surprise that LEGO replaced Ferrari as Brand Finance’s “world’s most powerful brand”

With modern day advertising becoming so layered and complex, The LEGO Batman Movie has successfully created branded content by integrating with the Batman franchise and opening up a new fanbase for generations to come.

It is the perfect fusion of product placement and art.

 

 

Carmen Mallia is a professional freelance writer from Toronto. He is currently going into his third year at the University of Western Ontario for Honor’s Specialization in Media and the Public Interest with a Minor in Writing. In his spare time Carmen loves to workout, get a coffee with friends, volunteer at local events, and binge-watch Adult Swim series. He is currently putting together a multimedia journalistic company with some friends. Follow Carmen on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Instagram

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Subaru: Looking Forward

June 9, 2017

Guest Article By: Warren Leslie

 

Why the Subaru Impreza? Don’t you wish your car model was equipped with the Eyesight active safety system, and driver assist technology. “Preventive” is the key word here. Now my question to you is, would you own it?

Welcome to the age of driver assist vehicles. The 2017 Subaru Impreza in the eyes of many has made its stamp in the automotive industry. The Sedans crash prevention tested with Eyesight is one of a kind. If you’re wondering how bold can bold be? Well, Subaru had a subtle call to action that immediately caught my attention, and I would assume resonated with viewers who came across the Subaru commercial. In the advertisement, the voice over calmly claims that nobody beats the Subaru Impreza “Not Toyota Corolla, Not Honda Civic, Not Ford Focus”. A statement as such, claiming that their top competitors don’t have the arsenal to be considered one of the safest and most reliable vehicles in the market. I couldn’t get a hold of either manufacturer for any further questions.

I’m not your automotive journalist that writes detailed reviews about the rear-end backside design or dull headlights (not Audi-esque enough). What I can give you is an unbiased non-expert opinion on the car itself. The 2017 Impreza lacks that “I want you right now” appeal, I think we all want that I want you right now vehicle. I’m beginning to reminisce about my once clean cut Mazda 3, if only it had its own Eyesight active safety system.

The ad features a couple who get into a car accident in which they retract the steps that lead to the collision. An intense introduction that legitimizes the ads goal.

 

Who Cares about the Subaru Eyesight commercial?

Consumer psychology is important when determining the social barrier that is existent. I think we often consider cars to resemble our personalities, and brands tend to mold their image to build their personalities in the mind of the consumer. Social status and individual values have played a definitive role into what vehicles are now being purchased. Which brings me to ask, what do consumers want now?

Marketing Capabilities

Subaru managed to create value for society at large, which is a focal point for any sector, in this case the automotive industry. Subaru is communicating that information to customers, by executing the engage customers everywhere or go nowhere principle. The advertisement is a notable example of indirect marketing, in which it resonates with Generation Z ‘s down the list to Baby Boomers. These generations are in the buyers market, whom have previously owned a vehicle, currently own a vehicle or contemplating on purchasing a vehicle. Subaru touches upon a social issue that revolves around today’s society, which is the “distracted driver”. Consumer reports states that A distracted driver may fail to see up to 50% of the available information in the driving environment. You may look but not actually “see” what is happening. Distracted driver can pertain to anything, whether it is your cellphone, radio, looking behind your seat, glaring out the window, drunk driving, the list goes on. Another interesting stat by Consumer reports also stated that “Nearly 3 out of 4 Canadian drivers admit to driving distracted. You are 23 times more likely to crash if you text while driving”.

Social Media

Briefly discussing YouTube, videos have emerged where individuals have provided brand advocacy for the product. MackeyFamAdventures uploaded a video where they live tested the Subaru Eyesight active safety system. Testing its rate of collision impact in terms of km/hr to distance. On each occasion, the Subaru Impreza managed to self brake during each test run. Advocacy-Reliability-Safety at its best.

The Ad isn’t your typical my car is better than your car but better yet, what can our vehicle do for you. Isn’t that what matters, to serve the buyer, retain the customer, and keep the longevity of brand purchases. That is what makes the advertisement even better, Subaru instilled thought behind the creation!

On a lasting note, remember this isn’t a self driving vehicle. We’ve heard the mishaps with the Google self-drive car collisions (unintentionally). I could just imagine myself asking a Google self driving car dozens of questions, and begin to reason, is my vehicle a self driving car, does it have Wi-Fi and is it still a search engine? #covefe

 

Dear Advertising world my name is Warren Leslie. Checkout mmaaccess.wordpress.com when you feel like reading some awesome coverage, updated content on the way. Too many business ventures one failing after the other, why do I embrace my entrepreneurial spirit, because Advertising and Marketing is my fourth love. I am an aspiring account coordinator, and if you wish to connect with the man himself; LinkedIn and Instagram.

Guest

The Social Media Disconnect

June 2, 2017

Guest Article By: Darnell Jones

 

It’s amazing to even think the first email was sent back in 1971. It is even more amazing to try and think of the last time you heard your doorbell ring. Nowadays you just get a text that says “Here” or “Outside”. Millennials are slowly disconnecting from our world today, and it seems our social media accounts have become a top five priority on are everyday to do list.

Social media has created a never ending popularity contest that keeps us constantly interested on what is happening in people’s lives. Or, what all the cool advertising kids are calling it now a day’s, “F.O.M.O “ fear of missing out. Millennials need to be up to date or up to the second on everything that is happening in the social world. Some want to be the center of what everyone is talking about, others just want to start the conversation. Millennials have lost focus on the world in front of them and have geared it towards the one in their hands. Likes, shares, re-tweets, favorites and direct messages seem to be what Millennials find most important. 

Beauty is in the eye of the selfie

Who ever thought a “Like” button could have such an effect on someone. Now, weather that effect is negative or positive, that is all up to the individual themselves. Women seem to be affected on a much larger scale, but don’t let some men fool you, they care about those3 likes just as much as women. The Dove Self Esteem project found that two-thirds of women felt prettier online than in real life and 60% of university students admitted it negatively affects their self confidence (Chemmie Squier). Nancy Colier said it best “ “Likes” are flimsy planks on which to build a house of self-worth and moral structure.” I am sure the big bad wolf’s on social media will have no problem blowing your self-esteem right down. Social media should not determine how we feel about our self’s. We need to build our self worth with bricks of truth, confidence, self-respect and love.

Dinner and a Phone

How many times do you look at your phone a day? The better question might be…when do you look at your phone?  I often find myself looking into space while my friends or date bury themselves into the “social” world. This is just another case of F.O.M.O. We care so much about everyone else’s lives we tend to forget about our own. Some moments need to be remembered maybe even captured, but why shared? They say social media is supposed to be used to share moments but it seems to me that we are competing rather then sharing.

We take pictures of the food we eat, the places we go to and the things we buy just to remind everyone of what we are doing. It’s kind of uncomfortable when you think about it but, it is human nature to actually want to feel acceptance and feel some sort of attention. Millennials make the mistake of looking for these human needs in the social world. The networks that have been created to connect us are slowly disconnecting millennials. Not just from the world around them, but from themselves as well.

I know it seems as if I hate social media. Don’t get me wrong, I have always loved the idea of it and what it’s suppose to do for us. It is suppose to help us connect to people that love the same things we do. Social media is supposed to connect us with our friends and share information we are passionate about. Social media does all of this but, it comes with a price. A price of disconnect from the world in front of us. We have become so engaged in celebrities, athletes and our friend’s lives that we sometimes forget about the one in front of us. Millennials check their phones 157 times per day, that’s ten times an hour assuming they get 7 – 8 hours of sleep a night (Michelle Klein). There is no getting rid of social media and media consumption will rise as the years go by. There is room for balance and hopefully millennials can learn to balance both social lives.

 

Darnell is an aspiring account coordinator with a passion for new and innovative ideas. As a recent graduate of the advertising and Marketing Communications program at Humber College he has fallen in love with all aspects of advertisement, and does not limit himself to one role. Darnell is not done learning just yet. He plans on continuing his education in getting his bachelors of creative advertising in the fall. Connect with Darnell on LinkedIn and Instagram

Guest

Trust me; we aren’t that bad- Reasons for why advertisers aren’t as sleazy as people think.

May 19, 2017

Guest Article By: Carson Sauer

Now I can’t speak for you, but I find that one the biggest perks of being in the advertising industry is the high interest from those who aren’t. It’s fun to discuss current trends and the process of making an effective campaign (it also gives me a chance to talk about myself, and I love to talk about myself.)  However, sometimes with high interest comes high judgement. Questions such as “how do you trick consumers?”  or “are you ready for the cut-throat industry?” come frequently, and I wondered if others shared the view of the “immoral Mad Men”.

 This inspired me to do further research.

As it turns out, the public perception of advertising executives is not overly positive. Regarding trustworthiness, Ad Execs are consistently ranked low compared to other professions. Is this skepticism deserved? Here are some reasons that might help provide the right context for those who don’t trust your occupation.

The Watchdog Effect

 The watchdog effect speaks to the process of making the public aware of inconsistencies and or falsehoods about any significant news happening. Although most commonly used in the world of journalism, the same concept applies to advertising. If an advertisement can be condemned for being boring, insensitive, sexualized, loud, irrelevant or cliché, you can be ensured that a deceitful ad will be ripped apart. A false advertisement often results in a negative brand image for the client and a negative reputation for the advertising agency.

A frustrated consumer, a competing brand or vigilant website, such as The MAD Mix, all work as watchdogs to confirm that advertisements are held to a high and honest standard.

 Uninformed Person: “Advertisers try to trick us.”

 Potential Response: “If you were tricked by an ad would you trust that brand ever again? No? Then I guess tricking you isn’t in our best interest.”

 We are Storytellers.

I’m sure at least a few of you are familiar with the phrase “We are Storytellers”. Not only is it the tagline for Humber’s Advertising and Marketing Communications program, but, for me, it has become the go-to answer for what we do in advertising.

Advertising is exactly that, a story, and like most stories, creative liberties will be taken to intrigue the audience. It is important for critics to understand that the intention is not to deceive but rather provide insight into a brand’s personality. Red Bull doesn’t give you wings, buying a Lincoln won’t turn you in Matthew McConaughey, and there is no such thing as a puppy monkey baby. But that’s perfectly fine.

 Uninformed Person: “Advertisements depict a fake reality.”

 Potential Response: “Was the ad memorable? Did you understand the message? Did it evoke an emotion?  These are all realities.

 Don Draper is not our boss

Let me begin with a confession; I have a man crush on Don Draper. I’ve watched every episode of Mad Men, dressed up as him for Halloween and even proclaimed myself as “the millennial Don Draper” to my Intro to Advertising class.  He is a fascinating character in Mad Men’s setting of 1960’s New York, where he finds consistent success as a creative director navigating the advertising industry. However, he has what most people would consider unflattering traits. He is an alcoholic, womanizer and above all else a pathological liar. He lies at work, he lies to family and oh yes, he lied about his identity.  Don Draper’s persona throughout the series was to drink, lie and then come up with a brilliant advertising campaign.

An excellent formula for a captivating anti-hero but a terrible and unrealistic representation of a what an advertising executive by today’s standards. The truth is, Don Draper’s bad behaviour would overshadow his talent and would certainly end his career. Unfortunately, due to the popularity of the show, people may use Don as a reference to today’s ad executive, and that’s simply unfair. It is also important to note that Mad Men was set in the 1960’s- an era where the advertising industry had an entirely different dynamic. Women and minorities had little to no influence, smoking was advertised without health concern, and overall ethics were questionable. Making a comparison to today’s advertising even more unreasonable.

The Don Draper/Mad Men vs. today’s advertisers is a debate for a future article.

Uninformed Person: “Will you become the next Don Draper?”

 Potential Response:“Yes. In a modern era where I intend to form honest relationships with my co-workers, drink only in appropriate scenarios such as networking events where I’ll adhere to the two-drink max rule and won’t leave the office for weeks at a time. So wait…will I be Don Draper?…maybe not.

 What do you think?

 Do you think that advertisers deserve a better perspective? Or is the stigma is justified?

Carson Sauer is a recent graduate of the Advertising and Marketing Communications program at Humber College. Although, he is not done with education quite yet as he will return to Humber for the Advertising Copywriting Post Grad next fall.  Connect with Carson on Instagram and LinkedIn.

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Black Ops Advertising In the Digital Age: Innovative or Invasive?

April 21, 2017

Guest Article By: Carmen Mallia

As a millennial, I have been surrounded by advertising my entire life; from the large billboards encircling Yonge and Dundas Square, to traditional commercial content on MuchMusic and YTV. I feel as if I have seen it all, so I ignore most advertisements on a day-to-day basis. It is easy to change the channel on a remote control to switch off a commercial, use AdBlock software to hide online banners, and simply look away from public advertisements.

The truth is that traditional advertising does not work in the digital age, especially for tech savvy millennials who have become pioneers of ad avoidance. As a result, marketing experts have moved into what is known as Black Ops Advertising— ads that try to camouflage as non-advertising content.

Traditionally, marketers and advertisers use militaristic terms such as ‘objective’, ‘strategies’, ‘tactics’, and ‘target’ when they are talking about marketing to a consumer audience. And the natural progression in which the military has moved from traditional methods of action into black ops action has also been implemented in the digital age of marketing. Due to the fact that traditional advertisements tend to be ineffective, advertising has revolutionized into covert stealth-mode in terms of how marketers are targeting different consumer audiences.

Black Ops Advertising is trying to get around the fact that people ignore ads. So by hiding advertisements as much as possible, people are not likely to realize that they are engaging in sponsored content.

Sounds pretty invasive, right? Well, it is.

Our digital society has spent an increasing amount of media time on mobile devices and smartphones, making Black Ops Advertising the new norm. As a result, brands are increasingly using subtle and pervasive ways of placing ads. How, you ask?

Take the recent HostelWorld advertisement that swept Snapchat stories internationally and tricked users into engaging with sponsored content.

While looking through your Snapchat stories you may have come across what looked like a recent Charlie Sheen scandal. Most of the HostelWorld ads open with an image of Sheen in a scandalous position with a banner beneath the image that reads “BREAKING” or “LEAKED”.

Intrigued by what looks like a raunchy news story starring the degenerate Two and a Half Men actor, most Snapchat users probably swiped down to see what trouble Sheen has been getting into. Although once you swipe down, you realize it is all a trick. Charlie is seen enjoying all the facilities a modern hostel has to offer instead of participating in some illicit act. What looks like a raunchy news story then becomes a form of Black Ops Advertising.

Through HostelWorld’s sponsored Snapchat ad with Sheen, the brand successfully implemented Black Ops Advertising to trick viewers into thinking they were watching a legitimate news story on Sheen’s illicit behaviour, when it was just an advertisement for the hostel-based brand.

The whole structure of advertising has been completely upended and overturned by the enormous increase and fluency in the use of digital platforms, particularly by young people. The rapid emergence of the mobile smartphone and other communication applications has ultimately replaced television as a medium, and as a result, traditional advertising from older industries is crumbling and we are moving into the age of covert ads.

So, should we be critical of this increasingly invasive form of advertising or should we continue to ignore these ads and be passive users?

 

Carmen Mallia is an up-and-coming professional writer from Toronto. He is currently in his second year at the University of Western Ontario for Honours Specialization in Media and the Public Interest. In his spare time he loves to write, get a coffee with friends, binge-watch The Wire, and volunteer at local events. Carmen is currently looking for work in Toronto associated with advertising, journalism, marketing, public relations, broadcasting, and communication. You can follow him on LinkedIn , Twitter, and Facebook

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And Now We’re Moving to Las Vegas? NHL Marketing in the United States

April 14, 2017

Advertising hockey to Canadians is an easy task. Look at CBC’s opening montage for the 2017 NHL playoffs. Whenever you turn on a television in a Canadian household, you are most likely going to see NHL superstars Connor McDavid, Sidney Crosby or Carey Price in a commercial. Even class NHL superstars like Wayne Gretzky or Mark Messier appear in commercials regularly. This is exaggeration but these marketing tactics have a tendency to stick with Canadians.

How about the United States? Are they as into hockey as us Canadians?  Definitely not. This might have something to do with having teams in Carolina, Arizona, and Sunrise. In addition, the NHL is expanding its product to Las Vegas! Yes, Las Vegas – a city notorious for gambling, partying and tourist activity will now have its own hockey team. Why Gary Bettman (the NHL commissioner) and his advisors decided this is a good idea is beyond the scope of any rational hockey fan.

Furthermore, for those who are unaware, the NHL is banning players from going to the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea. Players like Erik Karlsson and Alex Ovechkin were disappointed at the decision. This is detrimental because it refuses to spread the game worldwide. If you want the world to see your product, you have to send your best players to dress up for their countries.

For hockey, in the warmer climates, the Florida Panthers had the actor Kevin Spacey, a fantastic actor support them with their Spacey Masks. The Panthers were still 24th in attendance last year and 26th this year. They have an active 40 year old veteran that won’t retire playing some of his best hockey in Jaromir Jagr, young studs in Aleksandor Barkov, Aaron Ekblad and Jonathan Hubrdeau. The team still does not fare well.

The Carolina Hurricanes and Arizona Coyotes have also been abysmal with attendance figures ranking 30th and 29th respectively. This article written by Justin Grilliand on the Hurricanes blog illustrates the poor job of how the NHL and Carolina have advertised their product. It does not seem that the NHL cares about the fans of these small market teams. In Glendale, you have the threat of the team relocating, taxpayers becoming infuriated to keep them there and the whole organization aside from general manger and direction, is a mess. If you want more insight into this, I highly suggest taking a look at this article written by Neil DeMausse. Let’s compare how the NBA markets themselves to American fans.

Basketball gets the figures, the attendance and the viewership even when the team is poor. For example, the Los Angeles Lakers are having a historically poor run in the last three years, yet they sell out Staples Center on almost every night. Commercials for the NBA market themselves absolutely brilliantly. Joel Embiid, ‘The Process’ plays for the lowly Philadephia 76ers yet he’s featured in basketballs in his hands for a jolly rancher commercial. Expanding the conversation even further, we can see how smaller markets cater to fans and individuals interested in the sport.

The Utah Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder come to mind. The Utah Jazz had a commercial with Gordon Hayward – the Jazz superstar did with his wife and kid. The commercial promoted feminism, family and the NBA product. Another example is Oklahoma City Thunder. Their team saw Kevin Durant – arguably a top 5 player in the NBA, depart to ball with Steph Curry and the gang in Oakland. Yet, the fans still care about the team. This is because Russell Westbrook is promoted regularly and his jersey sales are extremely high. The NBA actively advertises products which interests the smaller markets and fans.

The NHL should take a page out of their books. If you are expanding teams to sunshine and tourist states, you have to allow for fans to be engaged within the community. In case you were unaware, Quebec City and Seattle are desperate for hockey. They are prepared. If you want money and fans, go there. If you want success in cities, let the fans know you are willing to compromise. Speaking of which, does anyone remember the Atlanta Trashers? Hey Bettman, how’d that go? Nice one, mate.

 

Boyan Antonov is a recent Carleton University graduate currently trying to figure out what to with his life. He has a heavy interest in sports specifically football (soccer), hockey and basketball. With interest comes opinions, and he wants them to be heard. For all things sports, swag, and more, follow him on instagram.

Guest

Placement vs Integration: Why Being Blatant Just Doesn’t Cut It

March 31, 2017

Guest Article By: Regan Bartlett-Green

 

We’ve all had those moments where we’ve been sitting on the couch watching a movie and are struck by cringe-worthy product placement. The obvious, irritating kind where you’re being consistently bombarded with different brands coming at you from all different directions.

Traditionally, product placement has been seen as an annoying aspect of film and television for the consumer. However, its effectiveness can’t be denied. The power of association has become incredibly influential over time. For example, you can’t think of James Bond without also thinking of brands like BMW and Aston Martin. The same goes with Top Gun, the image of Tom Cruise wearing Ray Ban aviators is a prime example of influence.

That said, iconic movies such as Back To The Future where you’re flooded with images of brands like Pepsi, Nike and DeLorean may have been effective back in the day. However, in 2017 an overwhelming and seemingly thoughtless amount of product placement is too obvious for today’s consumer.

This is where the idea of product integration comes in. Viewers today are too aware of products and brands in movies and TV shows. Integrating products in a way that seems natural, organic and almost subliminal is a way to place your brand in the mind of the consumer without seeming like you’re trying too hard. Integrating products into the storyline or placing them sparingly and thoughtfully will inspire brand recall without the negative connotations having to do with product placement. For example, Sex and The City is one of the most notorious shows for product placement. Yet in the Sex and The City movie, it felt branded while maintaining a classy and thoughtful feel. A prominent brand was Manolo Blahnik, which was most integrated into the plot. The viewer likely wouldn’t think about the fact that Manolo Blahnik paid to be a key part of the story, but instead is enjoying the tale being told by style icon Carrie Bradshaw.

Product integration is more important today than ever. With more people getting rid of cable and using streaming services, traditional broadcast space is losing its relevance. Brands are looking for new ways to make sure they’re reaching their target. Following viewer habits and trends will be key for brands in deciding the strategies they use going forward.

Ultimately, the years to come will be extremely exciting to see how advertising strategies are altered to fit into a changing media landscape. Our industry is ever evolving and the textbook idea of product placement is becoming ineffective. Integrating brands and products into the plot resonates better with consumers because it reflects their everyday life. Brands are everywhere so it only makes sense that they play a part in our favourite characters’ lives as well.

Even though many of us can’t afford those royal blue Manolos, Carrie’s style placed the brand top of mind and made us feel like we needed them. Now if you’ll excuse me, my credit card is burning a hole in my pocket.

 

Regan Bartlett-Green is currently in the home stretch of the Advertising and Marketing Communications program at Humber College. She looks forward to starting her internship and making a name for herself in the advertising world. In her spare time, Regan enjoys watching and creating beauty videos on YouTube. She also loves drinking excessive amounts of coffee and occasionally you’ll even find her making some at her part-time job. Connect with Regan on Twitter and LinkedIn 

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Out of the Home & Into the Sky – The Future of Global Outdoor Advertising

March 18, 2017

Guest Article by Courtney Cullen

It’s 2017 and the opportunities are endless for marketers when it comes to reaching the consumer with strong, impactful brand messaging. As people are spending a larger fraction of their day out of their homes and becoming more mobile, marketers have had to become more creative in finding ways to reach and engage with consumers who are on the go. When used strategically, ‘Out of Home’ advertising can be a powerful and relatively cost effective tool.

‘Be where the consumer works, lives and plays.’ -Brent Barr, Marketing Prof

Today, with the help of advancing technologies the medium boasts more than just billboards and transit posters. We’re seeing growth in city smart technology through the use of digital boards, live data, responsive and personalized ads, and 3D specialization. Digital outdoor advertising has opened new doors allowing brands to further hypertarget within niche markets, and as these opportunities are increasing so is the ad spend. In Canada alone, ad spend is set to increase from an estimate of 760 million Canadian dollars in 2016 to 892 million dollars by 2019. So what’s next for the oh-so-promising OOH ad?

There’s a new player in the game. Lightvert LTD is a start-up U.K based media technology company, making waves and sparking global conversation about the recent development of ‘Echo Technology’. Founded by Daniel Siden, an American engineer and entrepreneur, Lightvert LTD came together with the help of a team composed of some of the world’s leading experts in Laser Imaging Systems, and Reflective Optics. Echo Technology will allow advertisers to project hyper-scale digital ads up to a sizeable 200m in height, that will stretch across the city skyline.

This new augmented technology will allow for marketers to step into the world of the untouched, most desirable areas of the city without the need of a standard billboard, and will be rented for less than half the cost of premium boards. It will capitalize on the power of just light and reflection to cast an image into the eyes of the city goers. After seed-round funding has closed, Lightvert LTD plan on launching and operating these installations throughout areas of Europe, North America and the Middle East.

Advertising sprawl in the city sky, what’s next? OOH advertising sees endless possibilities! Whether we like it or not, it’s a technological era we live in and new developments are constantly in the making. As we spend a great portion of our day outside, and commuting around the city, marketers have recognized the opportunity in taking advantage of these spaces. Companies like the new Lightvert LTD are determined to push the barriers.

I have a feeling that the future for OOH is bright, Echo bright! You heard it here first!

 

Courtney is currently finishing up her diploma in Marketing and Advertising Communications at Humber. She plans on working within a creative agency role, and then starting her own business. She has a creative mind and excels in writing, drawing and photography. She currently takes on the role as copywriter, and loves the brainstorming process.  A quote she lives by is, ‘Art is anything you can get away with’ -Andy Warhol. You can contact her at Courtcul89@gmail.com for any inquires, and follow her on Instagram.

Guest

The Effect of Misleading Consumers

March 10, 2017

Allegations, False and Misleading, Full Retractions…can it get any better than this?

Guest Article By: Warren Leslie

 

I habitually pick up the morning newspaper of the 24hrs Toronto edition on my daily commute to school. Perhaps my conscious was telling me that I would be in for a treat finding a good read and yet, immediately following that It just so happened that I came across the headline “Does Subway Contain 100% Real Chicken? And please, I urge you to re-read the quoted phrase, and let it sync in. So you have now read the headliner twice, tell me your initial thoughts?

According to “The Natural Resources DNA Profiling and Forensics Centre in Ontario, it’s been found that the genetic material in Subway’s sweet onion chicken teriyaki strips was only just over 40% chicken while its oven roasted chicken was only about 50% with the rest soy in both cases” reported by 24 hours Toronto.

It’s funny, because it seems like just yesterday that I was devouring a sweet onion chicken teriyaki sub.

As I get into the (meat) of my article I can guarantee you, as I write this I do not find it amusing as to what the reports indicate. The central theme analyzes brands misleading consumers, which is no stranger to the world we live in today; however if it’s that simple to falsely claim a stance on a product or service provided, then just imagine the backlash of the consumer. It won’t sit well I’ll tell you that.

Consumers are the lifeline of a brand, playing a major role in brand awareness, advocacy, and most importantly product sales. To attain longevity, brands must commit to these key criteria’s or you may just have yourself a brand that will ultimately die.

So, now comes the point, how important are consumers?

They are the ones that directly or indirectly affect the profit margin of the company. Customer feedback can lead you to create strategies for customer satisfaction and ultimately, drive your sales.

Brand Perception: Virality can change a brand in an instant, all because of the consumer. Something as simple as word of mouth can make companies be dependent on the consumer voice whether it is through social media or person to person. With incidences as such, brands negate the action of the customer journey process. In 2017, brand perception is everything. Just look at previous misleading representations and deceptive marketing with Naked Juice, and Volkswagen which I will touch on later.

Creative Advertisements: Can you imagine another OOH (Out Of Home) advertisement for a Subway campaign, with the chicken between the buns? It is human nature for people to remember the negative events more than positive ones, causing even more of a rift between consumer and brand.

The twitter hashtag “#Dieselgate” in reference to the Volkswagen emissions scandal which not only hurt the vehicles brand image in which the brand still is in progress to make amends, but on the other hand customers continue to be reluctant to purchase the product or the very least recommend their products.

In short, Customers are the most important people for any organization, complimentary to customer satisfaction which is important as a leading indicator of consumer repurchase intentions and loyalty. What prompts a consumer to purchase a particular product and what stops them from buying it; well, the effect of misleading consumers.

 

To press on a keyboard is one and the same of a stroke of a brush, the creation is what you believe to be a masterpiece”. – Warren. Hello readers, my name is Warren Leslie and I occasionally fiddle with my words, thus being the instrument to my ears. Warren is a Movie Buff, Conversationalist, and Millennial, the whole package if you must! Warren, is a current student at Humber College, studying Advertising and Marketing Communications, and intends to bring passion to the industry he so dearly loves. Let me leave you with this, I’m a man of many words, hopes, and dreams, connect with me on LinkedIn, the home of professionals, Cheers!

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Brand Ambassadors: What They Do and Why You Need Them

February 24, 2017

Guest Article By: Kayla Metcalfe

The rise of social media has given the everyday individual the power to generate endless content. It seems that average people are becoming “Instagram models” or “iphoneographers” and fostering partnerships with different brands. (Hello Triangl girls and Skinny Teatox sellers?) With the excess amount of content floating around, how does a brand differentiate itself from its competition?

Meet the brand ambassador! A brand ambassador is an individual that focuses on creating a memorable experience with consumers, and helps to ensure the brands values are communicated through everything they do. They do this through different experiential marketing initiatives, including branded giveaways, sampling, contests, lead generation, and social media. These brand loyalists have established credibility and authority among peers and consumers. A great brand ambassador is able to cut through all the marketing clutter – and say the right things about a company or brand with more credibility than an ad campaign. The video below from Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) details how the right ambassador campaign can be utilized as a successful marketing tool.

I’ve been working infield as a Brand Ambassador for several months and have seen it firsthand, consumers genuinely trust and believe what we have to say about a product or service because we “humanize” the interaction. A good experiential marketing campaign connects with the consumer through a more authentic and “real” experience than an ad campaign. We are exposed to both the bad and good of a brand, and are able to inspire and educate about a product without sales being the main focus. I once represented an insurance company outside of popular sports games. We weren’t there to sell people on this brand, or even provide key messaging about their services. Our goal was to connect with consumers, give away branded merch and take photos with fans to ensure that when and if consumers were considering a new insurance company, ours would be top of mind due to the positive experience they had at the game.

We have the ability to tap into micro communities your brand may not yet have access to. There are many social media tools available, which give us the power to share content within our different social circles. This allows the ambassador to influence followers and the target audience to want what you’re selling, (from someone they already trust.) Traditional advertisements are being tuned out, but a genuine love for a product or service is hard to fake. I find myself constantly recommending products to friends and family that I have previously worked with. Experiencing the positives and overcoming the negatives of a product creates a devotion to it that can be genuinely communicated to others.

Word-of-mouth may be the most impactful, cost effective form of marketing. The idea is that these brand evangelists honestly love and want to amplify the said brands presence. This happened to me with a popular juice brand. The constant exposure to the product turned my friends as well as myself into brand advocates. While it is common for these types of people to be compensated, often they are paid in “perks”. This can be anything from free gear to branded materials to travel compensation, etc. After each shift I was given leftover product, which meant my house was fully stocked whenever friends would visit. This influenced my friends to try (and eventually love) the brand, generating new business.

Brand advocates are quickly becoming a critical tool for a successful marketing campaign, which can largely be attributed to the shift towards transparency and authenticity in marketing, and the lack there-of in traditional campaigns. However, an opposing argument can be made; as the use of qualified brand ambassadors grows, does their influence, authenticity, and relevancy decrease? Do we eventually just fade into all the clutter and become as generic as any other campaign?

Let me know what you think in the comments!

 

Kayla is a recent graduate of Humber College specializing in public relations, event management and experiential marketing. Based in Toronto, and currently focusing on the world of content marketing and event coordinating, you can find her running around backstage at many of the events in the city. An avid foodie and animal enthusiast with a passion for music, you will find Kayla spending her downtime checking out various restaurants across the GTA, playing at the dog park, or planning her next festival. You can connect with her on Instagram or LinkedIn.

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A Dog’s Purpose: A PR & Marketing Mess

January 27, 2017

Written by: Matthew Nafe

What’s the old adage? There is no such thing as bad publicity? I think the production company of the 2017 film “A Dog’s Purpose” would beg to differ. This past week, a video from the set was leaked onto the web which depicted a dog trainer forcing one of the animal actors into raging rapids. The dog looked distressed and for good reason. So naturally the response was strong; the stance being that the movie should be boycotted. So what does it mean when a film with this much importance has a sudden blast of terrible publicity? It could very well mean that the movie will be an absolute failure due to this public outrage. No matter what actually happened, the perceived animal abuse whether it being as blatant as the video shows or not; has essentially sealed the fate of the film. As we have seen, the film initially seemed to have pulled on the proverbial heart strings; everyone loves dogs. Allegedly the video was taken in 2015 and has recently surfaced shortly before the release of the film itself.

A film like this has high expectations, especially with a heavily focused animal cast and the marketing of the movie used the universal love of animals to pander to audiences. The PR behind the movie needed to be perfect for the simple fact that there were tremendous expectations on the movie by animal lovers. However not doing their due diligence to make sure all animals were taken care of properly so none of them were hurt is very dangerous. It’s essentially a marketing disaster and since the video was released they have had to cancel the premiere of the movie. PETA has obviously condemned the film as well, calling for the boycott of the film completely.

 

With that being said, how does a film come back from something like this? The film itself is almost helpless because at this point, anything they say can only be taken at face value. The film will now have to rely on outside influences to help turn the tide to show the film not being as bad as the video depicts.  Internet personality Philip DeFranco does a weekly video made up of the on goings of that week in pop culture. He recently made a video playing devil’s advocate and saying that maybe everything in the video is not what it seems.

Essentially saying “wait until all the facts are out until you decide to destroy the reputation of the film”. DeFranco raises some good points regarding the video such as odd cuts in the film, correct methods for filming with animals and so on. There is an investigation going on by the American Humane Association (the group that lets movies use the “no animals were harmed in the making of this filmed”). Bad press like this can really make or break a film, what DeFranco does is essentially saying “innocence must be assumed until proven otherwise.” However we live in a click bait world, and those clicks determine whether or not something will succeed. Positive results in the investigation and more positive PR could be the difference in saving this movie from being a blockbuster flop and a marketing nightmare. However it may be too little too late and the film was destined to fail and if it’s any indication early on? The 1.3 rating out of 10 on IMDB doesn’t look so great.

Matthew Nafe is currently attending Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario and aspiring marketing professional. When Matt isn’t writing articles, he is a coach for the Carleton Raven’s Ball hockey team, Stopping pucks, singing songs, or making poorly timed jokes. Find him and his humour on Twitter and enjoy his artistry on Instagram.

Guest

The NHL: An Evolving League with Stagnant Marketing

December 9, 2016

Written by: Matthew Nafe

When a young fan looks at the NHL, they see a growing league where speed and skill have become much more prominent. A lifer NHL fan sees a league transitioning from gladiators on ice and the high scoring affairs. How the NHL has marketed itself to both sides of fans is showing newer players such as the newest generational player and Edmonton Oilers 2015 first overall draft pick Connor McDavid becoming the newest face of the league. But how they market McDavid to the older audience is calling him “the next great one” clearly referring to former NHL legend Wayne Gretzky. Essentially, the NHL is attempting to use outdated marketing and promotional tactics to a newer, younger, and faster league.

What the NHL is continuously doing with any of its analysts, commercials, and so on; has become a clear pattern. That pattern being the inability to let go of Gretzky, his legacy, and the NHL’s past.. Gretzky will always be mentioned whenever it comes to hockey and that is understandable, he is the greatest player of all time; comparable to Michael Jordan in the NBA or Babe Ruth in MLB. However what the NHL does is different because Gretzky is always somehow relevant and is being interviewed about who’s the next great player. How many players have gotten the “stamp of approval” from Gretzky, but why does it even matter? The NBA doesn’t run to Michael Jordan whenever they need to feel a certain way about a player. Its purely click bait for the NHL and their aging audience.

This inability to let go isn’t solely surrounding Gretzky, this also surrounds “Hockey night in Canada” and their poster boy Don Cherry. Don Cherry is easily one of the most polarizing characters in the sport. His thick Canadian accent and his strong Canadian values somehow connect with him. His “hot takes” really just come off as uneducated and borderline racist. So why does Cherry still have a job? Well he’s been there for so many years. Viewers feel a sort of comfort sitting down to watch Ron MacLean try and bring Cherry back to earth after a tangent of why a European player is just okay while saying their name wrong. Cherry was once a coach in a cutthroat NHL and to his credit he was a good one at that but why hold on to an old “guilty pleasure”?

Finally one of the most enjoyable yet still pointless forms of “blast to the past” content that the NHL produces is that of the Alumni game. The Alumni game is exactly how it sounds. They feature past players of the NHL competing against each other.  Ultimately, these Alumni games give the chance for older hockey fans to see players they grew up watching, while allowing younger fans to observe how the game was played back in the day. In the most recent Alumni game, the Edmonton Oilers played the Winnipeg Jets and of course the game was entertaining, but more due the games odd resemblance of Men’s league hockey game.

 

These mediocre hockey games take place on one of the grandest stages of hockey, an outdoor game. These games don’t nearly sellout as much as the featured match, and Sports channels like TSN will still pick up the alumni games. These games are successful strictly on a nostalgia level and that is completely understandable. But to close, the NHL is a reinvigorated league that in the last couple years has turned a massive corner (for the better) with younger, faster, and more skilled players. The NHL continuously has poor showings on all of their social media platforms with good content but bad captions that are oddly focused on San Jose’s star defenseman Brent Burns’ beard. Ultimately, the league needs to make up for their outdated marketing shortcomings and promotional efforts with a good product on and off the ice with a more modern approach that can progress the NHL in the direction we all want to see it going into.

Matthew Nafe is currently attending Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario and aspiring marketing professional. When Matt isn’t writing articles, he is a coach for the Carleton Raven’s Ball hockey team, Stopping pucks, singing songs, or making poorly timed jokes. Find him and his humour on Twitter and enjoy his artistry on Instagram.

Guest

SickKids Is Back And Stronger Than Ever With ‘SickKids VS.’ Campaign

December 2, 2016

Guest Article By: Jocelyn Tran

Last year, SickKids tugged at millions of heartstrings with their emotional campaign:” Bettesick-kids-secondr Tomorrows”, a documentary-style videos of patients spending their days in the hospital for 45 days. The highly unprecedented campaign has raised 38-million of donations last year December. Though that number is a remarkable outcome for SickKids, they mostly came from their existing donors.

This year, SickKids targeted at the untapped audiences, which are younger people since their base donors are aging. Through previous researches and reactions, SickKids learned that younger demographics have now grown more interest and knowledge in donating to meaningful causes, and this “VS” campaign will be the first one that is aimed toward a much younger audience.

In order to attract this new audiences, the tone of this year campaign has been changed greatly. It has become the biggest, boldest and toughest campaign SickKids has ever run. With a solid $2- million marketing investment, we are expecting to see the next 3 TV spots, more streetcar wraps and cinema posters rolling out at the end of this year.

With a short but iconic title:”VS”, the video features the strong rap from the song Undeniable by Donnie Daydream visualizing hospital patients, kicking, punching, running and battling adversaries such as cancer, heart diseases, liver failure and cystic fibrosis. What differentiates this campaign from their previous campaign is not only the tone, but also the innovative idea: the inclusion of 50 SickKids patients, their families, 100 doctors, nurses and hospital staffs. Everyone has done their best to turn sickness and hospitalized kids into the real warriors who never give up. The fierce images, graphics and motions describing the diagnoses and dramatic footage of the life-or-death moments triggers the feelings from the viewers from the first few moments watching the video. The perfect choice of background music is a vital part that brings all the other elements together as a strong and united whole.

 

“The evolution is to a lot of empowerment. This notion that we are winning, but we won’t stop fighting until every kid is a healthy kid,” said Lori Davison, vice-president of brand strategy and communications.

In their VS campaign this year, SickKids has done right again by utilizing their social media platforms to deliver the most to its audience. To generate buzz around “VS”, SickKids posted a series of their patients posing as a warrior, a battler, a winner, and more on Instagram, with the caption describing their tough fighting journey, all topped with a call-to-action. As a person who has never been hospitalized before, this campaign really brought me closer into the everyday battle of the kids and their families and doctors. Moreover, the power of behind the scene photos has been revealed on SickKids’s Instagram latest post (featured below) to help their audience understand thoroughly how hard it is and how fierce these kids had been in the fight. With their huge budget that aligns within their annual spending budget, SickKids has impressed Torontonians with the billboards dominance for the past two months of October and November.

#SickKidsVS Undeniable – Behind the scenes We are incredibly thankful for the support our amazing staff and patient families have given to #SickKidsVS. Did you know more than 100 SickKids staff members helped out either in front of the camera or behind the scenes? And approximately 50 patient families agreed to be filmed. Being able to have #SickKidsVS: Undeniable filled with real staff, real parents and real patients not only allowed this very complex commercial to be shot authentically; it also added a very special component to the entire campaign. Volunteering to be on camera and working behind the scenes to make #SickKidsVS come to life goes above and beyond the call of duty, and for that we say THANK YOU. #SKBehindtheScenes #SKPeeps

A post shared by SickKids (@sickkidstoronto) on

 

Jocelyn Tran is a second- year student from Advertising and Marketing Communications program at Humber. After the journey of learning and practicing, Jocelyn is looking forward to becoming a Copywriter who writes witty, creative and valuable product copies. She’s also keen on doing food blogging and a foodie who are not afraid of trying new dishes. Meet her on her Facebook, Instagram, or check out her blog.

Guest

Mattresses Buying Method Rethought – Casper and Endy Sleep

November 18, 2016

Guest Article By: Jocelyn Tran

 

2 hipster start-ups are trying their best to get rid of the lousy mattress- buying and create a refreshing cool image for the process.

Casper, a New York based online mattress retailer, is not the first retailer to offer this online shopping method, but has now become the most talked-about and the most prominent. The company has received a huge investment from some world-known names: Leonardo Di Caprio, Adam Levine and Tobey Maguire and now they’re heading toward us, their Northern friends.

Casper’s success comes from the fact that they have tapped into the gaps that no mattress retailers have done before. Everyone agrees that buying mattress is a frustrating and most-avoided shopping experience. Having conducted a survey into the Canadian market in May, the retailer figured out Canadian consumers suffer the same problem as American consumers. People have been tired of the typically boring experience when shopping at Sleep Country, having a salesperson giving all the unnecessary information and the ads with people being interviewed on beds that doesn’t help at all.

casper

Casper came and ready to offer a cool, interesting, inexpensive and less-exhausting mattress buying experience. And to optimize the marketing and advertising campaign to their Canadian prospects, Casper has done a good job in having their banner ads on TTC subway trains, the largest transportation system in Canada. If you’re a regular TTC commuter, you would probably have come across Casper banner ads with funny and witty illustrators, emphasizing on the brand’s image and message “The Perfect Mattress For Everyone”.

Here are some brilliant designs that will make you laugh really hard and feel connected to what the brand is bringing. These banner ads were installed on several TTC subway trains that run on the Bloor-University line (Line 1), with the aim to reach the most of their target audience. With the free 100-night trial, and $50 off with the purchase using “TTC” code.

  casper

 

casper-2

 

However, Casper has to encounter ENDY Sleep, a Canadian start-up who is doing the same business as them yet they are selling and delivering mattresses at a lower price. ENDY mattresses are high-quality manufactured, convenient online choosing and paying process and carefully shipped to your door. According to the 2 co-founders of ENDY Sleep, they are making something that is considered the most boring and time-consuming thing into something the consumers will enjoy doing. While as Casper is using funny images to convey their message, ENDY Sleep is using their previous customers’ comments and reviews on their services to attract new customers. It can’t be denied that the word-of-mouth is being utilized cleverly in this case. Moreover, ENDY’s mattresses are produced in Canada and by Canadians, so it resonates more with the Canadian consumers.

Below is one of the best banner ads in TTC subway stations, featuring the company’s solid message and commitment.

endy-mattress

Casper is looking into expanding their business into other categories of bedding products such as pillows, sheets, blankets, etc. And ENDY is not staying still. They are planning for an integrated marketing campaign with the combination of print ads, television and events in Canada’s major cities to generate buzz and get people engaged in their products. Not so sure how the 2 companies’ new ad campaigns are going to turn out, but it’s sure to be worth seeing.

 

Jocelyn Tran is a second- year student from Advertising and Marketing Communications program at Humber. After the journey of learning and practicing, Jocelyn is looking forward to becoming a Copywriter who writes witty, creative and valuable product copies. She’s also keen on doing food blogging and a foodie who are not afraid of trying new dishes. Meet her on her Facebook, Instagram, or check out her blog.

Guest

Battle of the Streaming Services: Apple Music vs Spotify

November 4, 2016

Guest Article By: Laura Hong

 

The rapid growth of streaming services has dramatically changed the way consumers, consume music.  In the last decade, streaming services have grown exponentially to the point where multiple streaming services not only exist-but flourish. The two most recognizable in 2016? Apple and Spotify.

With its 8th year in market, Swedish based Spotify, boasts 30MM active subscribers.  In comparison, Apple Music’s debut in 2015 has garnered 13MM subscribers since its emergence into the music streaming industry. This presented the question to me: How do they differ? On the surface, Apple Music and Spotify provide similar services.

apple-and-spotify

 

Both apps are relatively easy to use, priced similarly at $9.99 per month and widely available on mobile and desktop devices. In short, both play music on demand from a large catalog of songs and make recommendations based on listening your history. Both services offer the ability to create and share playlists of any kind and able to play music even when there’s no service or Wi-Fi around. Quick disclaimer: I do admit, I am a huge Apple fan and love their line of products, from the iPhone, to the iPad, MacBook, and Apple TV!

As a big Apple user, personally I was really surprised with Apple Music’s UI functionality.  It’s very easy to get “lost” in the service, the UI is not a “natural” digital experience. Just recently, I’ve cancelled my apple music subscriptions and flipped over to the Spotify.

Here’s the main reason why;

Navigation

In typical Apple form, visually the Apple music app looks beautiful-but the same can’t be said about its navigation.  For a company that is all about a minimalist layout, I found it pretty surprising as to how confusing it was. It was not intuitive and hard to navigate.

Non-user friendly interface

What really bothers me the most about Apple Music is that everything seems more complex. Each task requires going to another section of the app to do so- it just takes more effort from me to get to play what I want to listen to. I find that in order for Apple Music to be more successful, they needed to simplify and streamline the app much more. This made me realize all the content in the world matters little if you don’t enjoy actually using the application.

Spotify on the other hand, has a strong all around showing and simple yet engaging user interface. It provides effective content, great aesthetic, and most importantly it’s simple to use. You can’t really go wrong with Spotify, especially if all you want is a solid no- fuss music streaming experience without a lot of complications and menus tacked on. I really felt like Spotify struck that perfect balance between streamlined user interface (UI) and fun without compromising user experience.

The fact is, the way we consume music is changing more than ever. Music streaming services are here to stay, and this is just the beginning.

 

laura-hong

 

Laura Hong is currently enrolled in the Advertising and Marketing Communications program at Humber College. Besides her interest in the tech world, Laura is a huge dog lover, health nut and loves scuba diving.

Guest

Startup Marketing: Where Do I Begin?

July 22, 2016

Guest Article By: Lisa Hill

 

I was recently presented the opportunity to intern as a Digital Media Marketer at a small software startup in Toronto. Excited by the challenge, I was immediately consumed with questions. How will I market a new product with a (pretty much) zero-dollar budget? How can I differentiate the offering from the large number of already-established competitors? Will I sit around laughing all day because it will be just like HBO’s Silicon Valley

As much as I hoped that the answer to the last question would be an affirmative YESthe reality of the startup world is far from what I thought it would be. It’s an uneasy world of ambivalence and semi-controlled chaos. Product name changes and shifts in focus were an everyday occurrence, resulting in constant delays and standstills for the digital marketing effort. You cannot sell a product or execute brand strategy with confidence when you are suffering from a severe identity crisis.

zoolander

The company I worked for has a solid product offering that solves client needs. They have a well-integrated business model, despite being in need of an occasional adjustment here and there. They have a handful of existing clients with whom they interact frequently and provide a substantial amount of customer service. What’s the next step? What, I ask myself, is needed to accelerate the awareness and growth for the company and its products? 

silicon valley

There are many steps to reaching the common goal, which is of course, to taste the sweet nectar that is company profit. Startup marketing is all about your ability to grow as quickly and organically as possible, building trust and developing loyalty along the way. One of the most important things I can stress is this: The use of traditional advertising is being pushed out aggressively as inbound marketing is assuming control of the advertising world. What exactly do I mean by this? You can use your precious resources to harass internet users with obnoxious web advertisements or spam their already cluttered e-mail inboxes, but this could be a waste of time and energy. Your priority is to engage people with your brand and to do that you must be more thoughtful and creative than you would with older methods of marketing. You must develop relevant, engaging strategies in order to stand out from the noise. 

Seeking a comparative scenario, let’s take a look at a product I like to call my best friend, Dropbox. A well-known startup, this cloud storage company has grown to 4 million users in less than 2 years, with little to no traditional advertisingInstead of cold calling or email blasting, Dropbox focused on word of mouth and more authentic ways to engage potential customers. They built a referral program to attract users, not only increasing client growth by incentive but creating conversation. They provide excellent customer service and have built a solid social presence to focus on how their brand is perceived. Dropbox is a startup success story. 

Dropbox

Like Dropbox we needed to develop an approach that relied on creative inbound marketing methods to help increase brand awareness. The focus was to let customers find us, not the other way around. Through using simple methods effectively, such as Search Engine Optimization, social media, and content marketing, small companies are able to build market awareness on a tight budget. 

Inbound vs Outbound marketing

Source: Artillery Marketing

Inbound marketing is a win-win situation for a startup. By focusing on inbound marketing and the nature of your brand, you eliminate the risk of appearing intrusive or pushy while avoiding being lost in the thousands of other outbound messages from competitors. You can position your brand as a trustworthy friend you can talk to on Facebook rather than an obnoxious ad that is just getting in your face. It requires tremendous effort and ingenuity but it is entirely more cost efficient, allowing you to allocate resources to other areas of company development. As someone who was happily thrown into marketing for a startup company, I was more than pleased to fine tune my content writing and SEO skills rather than, God forbid, make cold calls begging for business. The best way to succeed is to be authentic, organic, and if you’ve read a Malcolm Gladwell book, you’ll know you definitely need a tiny bit of luck. 

silicon valley trending up

 

Lisa is cultivating her skills learned in her experience at Humber College as well as the customer service and hospitality industry. She is eager to pursue a career in the marketing world where she can combine her proficiencies in writing, design, communication and project management. Besides her obvious fixation on Silicon Valley she is a lover of travel, good food, and funny people. Connect with Lisa on LinkedIn and Twitter to get in touch.

Guest

How the Budweiser Prohibition Beer ‘un-prohibits’ non-beer drinkers from fitting in

July 15, 2016

Guest Article By: Anthony Pazzano

 

Beer: the drink of summer. After a long, hot day of working at a construction site, you crack open a beer. After a long, successful week of winning a new client, you and your coworkers crack open a beer. And when you finally get a weekend off to leave the city and go to the cottage, you’re cracking open several beers. However, there are some people out there who don’t drink beer (or any alcoholic beverages for that matter), period. And before, those people would be considered outcasts in their social groups when someone made a “toast” or “cheers”.

That is why the Labatt Brewing Company, one of the top-grossing breweries in the world, has created a new non-alcoholic beer dubbed “Budweiser Prohibition Brew.” The truth is, those sober, health-conscious extroverts out there who prefer not to drink alcohol when they’re going out want a balance between “fitting in” with their beer-drinking friends and sticking true to their dietary commitments. And for a long time, there was never a compromise– or at least a product that provided such a compromise.

Budweiser Prohibition Beer

Behold, sober party animals, the Budweiser Prohibition Brew.

Why is it called the Prohibition Brew, you may ask? Well, fun fact: This is the first non-alcoholic beer that Budweiser has launched since Prohibition in Canada – that was basically a century ago. In the hopes of salting a growing thirst for what some like to call “near-beer”, Budweiser Prohibition Brew cans are now being sold in fast-food eateries and grocery stores across the country.

As an ever-increasing number of adults are becoming more concerned about their calorie intake and general long-term health – which could be affected by drinking and alcoholism – as the years go by, it is no wonder why Kyle Norrington, Labatt Canadas VP of marketing has expressed with confidence that the Prohibition Brew is “an adult beverage marketed to adults.”

Enjoy Freely

 

However, since this new brand of beer contains no alcohol, sales to minors are legally allowed – which is the only PR problem that Labatt Canada is going to have to tackle sooner than later. If Labatt’s future promotional efforts can clearly identify their target consumers as legal-drinking-age, health-conscious extroverts (and not those who are under-aged), then the Labatt Canada can easily improve the brand’s status as the ‘top’ brewery in the world (rather than have their brand reputation be diminished by a simple misunderstanding of their product’s intended brand message).

Check out Labatt Canada’s most recent YouTube spot, promoting the Budweiser Prohibition Brew. Notice how the content is trying to close the gap between regular beer (Budweiser) and non-alcoholic beer (Budweiser Prohibition Brew) to target those “sober party animals” that were mentioned earlier in the article:

 

Anthony Pazzano is a recent Advertising and Marketing Communications graduate from Humber College. He now works as a media buyer in an ad agency located in downtown Toronto.

Guest

Man Don’t Live off of the Hype – Behind the Instagram Frenzy “Sweet Jesus”

July 8, 2016

Guest Article By: Kavita Sonea

 

Like everyone else in the GTA, if you have Instagram, you’ve probably heard of Sweet Jesus. The derivative establishment of La Carnita opened last September as stated by an employee, and currently has 2 locations, one downtown and one in the east end. If you haven’t heard of the dessert restaurant taking Instagram by storm, the headlining attraction at Sweet Jesus are the incredibly decorated “Pimped Out Soft Serve” ice creams that come in massive portions. Naturally I had to sweet jesusinquire how many cones were being sold on an average day, and a staff member estimated approximately 1000.

The unique and memorable menu is part of the niche market being targeted that includes anyone looking for the perfect #foodporn pic. These artful cones are perfectly harnessing the power of user generated content, even though that’s not all Sweet Jesus has to offer.

While soft serve begins at 12, Sweet Jesus opens at 7 to serve drinks from their equally extensive coffee menu. The less-known part of the menu includes items such as paletas (Mexican popcicles), soft serve cones with dairy-free options, a coffee menu, and an assortment of hot and cold crafted beverages.

Before planning this visit I dove into some Yelp reviews in hopes of finding a recommendation through testimonies of other Torontonians who have tried the product. A shocking amount of reviews were showing disappointment with the quality and taste of arguably the most hyped up ice cream of summer sixteen. With an open mind I grabbed a friend and planned the visit to investigate the hype. Upon arrival at 12:30 we stood in line outside with 6 people ahead of us, and even more lined up inside.

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 7.38.09 PMOn nearby benches there were customers enjoying the sunshine along with their purchases (100% of customers had a Pimped Out Soft Serve). The lighting on this day was perfect to model your cone in one hand and aim your cellphone camera at it with the other hand.

We ended up handing over $7.35 per cup, and walking away with a “Red Rapture” covered in red velvet cake pieces, and a “Birthday Cake” covered in birthday cake pieces, topped with a candle. As much as I would like to be able to say the experience was lit, this was probably the most subpar tasting ice cream I’ve ever had. To summarize the experience, the pimped out cones are as flavourless as they are photogenic. #DidItForTheGram. Even with countless reviews on various sites advising against the ice cream at Sweet Jesus and recommending other parlours in the city, the hype for these cones is not looking like it’s going anywhere anytime soon. Judging by the comments on the Sweet Jesus Instagram page, there are hundreds of Torontonians and residents in the GTA still looking to line up and experience the beautiful desserts for themselves.

Happy birthday, Gemini! Make a wish, you're making us melt. 🎂

A post shared by Sweet Jesus (@sweetjesus) on

On that note – behind every great marketing campaign comes a great advertising firm. Perhaps one of the factors in relation to the explosion of this dessert restaurant can be credited to co-owner Amin Todai, who is also the President of the advertising firm – One Method.
Real ting eh?

 

Kavita Sonea is a part time foodie with a love for house music, Manchester United, and California Sandwiches. She is currently a first year marketing student at George Brown College with a background in Human Resources. Find her on Instagram, (unless you’re a Liverpool fan).

Guest

The World of Not-for-Profit Marketing

May 13, 2016

Guest Article By: Jackie Heintzman

 

Whether it’s creating a national multi-media campaign for Coca Cola or a citywide social media campaign for a non-profit organization, all marketing has a similar end goal and similar difficulties. How do we reach our desired target market? How do we engage with our target market? And most importantly, how do we do all of this within the given budget. The budget is one of two main differences between non-profit marketing and for-profit marketing. The other difference being one is to encourage consumers to buy and the other is to encourage consumers to give.

jackie 1

 

The key to running a successful non-profit organization is to really utilize every dollar in the most efficient way possible. Since the majority of the money coming into this industry is from donations, grants and sponsorships it is important to spend effectively. Which means that the marketing and advertising budget is often quite low, making the creative team a crucial part in the success of an organization. Social media is a great way to gain awareness for the cause and to engage people and communities in conversation.

jackie 2

For large organizations such as Greenpeace, Canadian Cancer Society and WWF, it is much easier for them to have huge multi-media campaigns because they receive donations from all over the country, as well as large companies. When starting a non-profit organization from scratch however, it is a totally different story. For example, Music Can Heal is a non-profit organization founded in 2011 and has been slowly but surely growing over the last few years. The organization believes in healing through live music and provides both bedside and concert live music in hospitals and care homes. Being a marketing intern for this company has taught me that sponsorship and grant requests are really the starting point for any organization. Any printing costs for events, event space, musician fees and so much more add up quicker than you could imagine!

giphy

 

Once you’ve got a foot in the door of the world of sponsorship and grants the next step is to really cojackie 3nnect to your audience. Of course this is important in any type of marketing whether it be through humour, emotional appeal or just being relatable, it is definitely the way to grab your demographics’ attention. This is especially important for non-profit organizations and in most cases appealing to emotion is what drives the message home and brjackie 4ings in the donations and support.

To be a successful non-profit organization you must be ready to put all of your effort and heart into the cause. It can be a tedious task to get the sponsors and grants you need to manage the costs of the organization but there is nothing more fulfilling than dedicating your life to something that benefits other people. The marketing and advertising for this industry is tricky, you must have all your creative juices flowing in order to really engage consumers on a low budget but remember that the ones who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who can.

 

Jackie Heintzman is an energetic individual with a passion for life and all the world has to offer. She is a recent graduate of Humber’s Advertising and Marketing Program and plans to use the skills and knowledge learned to make an impact on the world. She is continuing her studies at University of Waterloo with a focus on environmental issues but hopes to one day combine the two degrees.

Guest

Engaging The Consumer Through Storytelling

April 15, 2016

Guest Article By: Brian Jones

It has often been said that millennials are brand evangelists. When we fall in love with a brand, we’ll tell everyone. While millennials are wearing brands on their sleeves, Gen-Z (21-25) and Gen We (14-20) are a whole ‘nother ball game. New research has shown that they have more household peope waking shomi robotinfluence than their millennial predecessors and that they’re passionate about brands that help enhance their own personal brand (Zeno Group, 2016). Increasingly common, there have been IMCs that truly involve the consumer into the overall experience. It’s not just creating content anymore that consumers actively seek out, it’s content that consumers actually feel a part of.

A couple weeks ago, ad agency Rethink launched an innovative new campaign for Shomi’s TV series Mr. Robot. The show, if you haven’t heard of it, is based on a young computer programmer with a social anxiety disorder that becomes lost in a world hacking and confusion. Sidenote: It’s an amazing show to binge-watch if you happen to find a little free time during your exam week. Anyways, the campaign involved the integration of social media with their outdoor media placements. The outdoor ads were “hacked” midway through the campaign, providing region specific hashtags that drove interested consumers to special instagram accounts that provided further clues as to where $50 envelopes had been hidden around the city.

Found some cash in Graffiti Alley #weareall1sand0s #toronto

A post shared by Kyle Floro (@kylefloro_) on

 

Moreover, a recent campaign for Coffee-mate titled The Sudbury Incident involves a story about a mystery that has happened in a Sudbury and a faux-documentary filmmaker has been hired to get to the bottom of it. It has been unfolding over the past couple weeks and will continue to develop right into the fall. While this target audience is set a little higher at 20 to 35 years of age, it’s all about providing content that the consumer wants to pursue and get them to figure out what happened in Sudbury. A teaser for the campaign has been created to stand out from traditional commercials and entice users to look into the mystery of #TheSudburyIncident. Nestle Canada’s marketing leader, Ryan Saunders, said that “Hitting people over the head with benefit messages doesn’t always work”. MacLaren McCann Canada, the agency behind the work, have really quite outdone themselves.

 

On one such post, Instagram user @itsevananduncan has commented “a coffee commercial sent me here. I’d like to know why lol”. @thesudburyincident then replied “Hi Evan, I’m working on figuring it out.” It’s clear this quirky campaign is taking an unconventional approach at getting their product in front of new users. It’s working to pull in the consumer and get them to truly engage with the brand in a way never done before.

brand consumer module

 

Moving forward, I’d imagine we’ll start to see more of these campaigns that involve a strong aspect of both storytelling and consumer engagement. 2016 will be the year that content marketing evolves into something that will be completely integrated across all the mediums. Everything will have a purpose and a sense of connection. It’ll be a fun journey in which, more than ever, we’ll see brands actively engaging with consumers on a newfound scale. If you’re interested in this type of stuff, there’s a really good book called Storyscaping by Gaston Legorburu, Chief Creative Strategist at Publicis.Sapient and Darren (Daz) McColl, Global Chief Brand Strategy Officer at SapientNitro. Storyscaping involves this new marketing approach in which brands can go about creating experiences that blur the lines between the brand story and the consumer’s story. I’d highly recommend it.

 

 

Brian Jones is a tech-savvy marketing strategist currently in the Advertising: Account Management Post-Grad program at Humber Lakeshore. Having graduated from University of Guelph in Marketing Management Honours, he works part-time as a content marketer, blogger and web developer for small to medium-sized businesses in various industries. Connect with him on LinkedIn today.

Guest

Try My Weight Loss Tea, It Really Works: The Influx of Instagram Influencers

April 1, 2016

Guest Article By: Nikki Sin

Social media can be an incredibly beneficial tool for marketers, users having the ability to not only filter what content they see on their timelines, and feeds but also create their own content. Typically loyal customers will follow the accounts of their favourite companies, but what are the smaller companies to do? This is where influencers come in; Influencers are social media celebrities, those with either a large following of fans, or those who hold an audience of followers who would represent a target audience for a campaign.

As someone who falls into the second category I promote select brands on my social media accounts based on the quality of the product, company values, and arrangement with said company. The typical influencer is reality TV stars, Youtube stars, and bloggers. More recently though, high list celebrities have made their way into the game. Kylie Jenner, Sarah Hyland and Vanessa Hudgens have both promoted weight loss/detox teas on their Instagram and Snapchat accounts.
The general readership of my website is the target demographic of the products I receive offers to promote, and the products I currently promote.

fit tea

The premise of the arrangement is always company based, I’ve received offers to promote several brands where I am expected to pay full price for the items, and then post photos of myself with said items, and a sale code. The general agreement is product for promotion, and then payment can be based on sales linked to your website/account i.e sales codes.

So how does it work? Generally a company will use social media to “discover” an influencer based on their followers, and content. Some companies will attempt to contact you via direct message but that signifies that they are not very familiar with the process, or marketing. An e-mail is usually the best route, it will outline the agreement of products for social media promotion, a “script” for postings, and a list of benefits for influencers. It seems like a pretty simple deal, and most of the time it can be, I have however encountered some shady deals. At one point I was offered a commission/percentage of each sale of an item on a Korean fashion site when a customer used the discount code NIKKISIN. I never saw a dime of any sales, and I watched a friend use the code so I knew it had been used. As well the company created a new offer where I would receive an item for every five posts/mentions, again I never received any items. So it is important to get everything in writing, and know the brand.

You’re probably laughing right now wondering why anyone would purchase a product just because a celebrity, or Z list blogger like myself posted a photo with it; Consumers trust the products because they trust the post from the influencer. The truth is that even posting a photo with a logo in it is advertising for a company, we all contribute to this mass machine of social media advertising, and click bait.


Nikki Sin

Pop Culture & Lifestyle Blogger- Marketing Student – Failing Actress- Unicorn -6Goddess
As a former writer, and film critic for The Wax Museum, Nikki Sin dove into the world of blogging on her own to create her own pop culture, and lifestyle website writing about music, low budget horror films, fashion, fitness and weekly interviews. Having graduated from Humber College from a media program Nikki decided to make her way to the business side of the industry by studying advertising and marketing where she met the guys at MAD Mix. Check her out on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

Guest

Tinder vs. Smokeshow

March 25, 2016

Guest Article By: Brandon Sardelis

Tinder App

Tinder App

When Tinder famously first launched in September 2012, users went crazy for the simple yet effective ‘swipe right to accept and swipe left to deny’ phenomenon. Since it’s release, it is estimated that Tinder has over 100 million downloads, 50 million users, and 14 billion swipes (either left or right, who knows). The opportunity for revenue in the mobile app industry is and will continue to be truly epic. But with massively successful apps such as Tinder, Snapchat and Twitter, is it possible for new apps to penetrate the market?

With the over surplus of apps being developed daily the answer is unclear. However, with the right idea and proper execution any mobile app can be successful.

A new start-up app called Smokeshow is attempting to break boundaries and compete immediately within the industry. Smokeshow combines Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter to create an entertaining and fun profile voting engine. Similar to Tinder, the app is based off viewer preferences of physical appearance in a local geo radius. Set to release on March 31st, 2016, Smokeshow is ready to display its unique features that could possibly make it a big time contender.

smokeshow app

Smokeshow App

So… What is Smokeshow, and why is it different?

Smokeshow was created by two pro hockey players during a discussion over a team dinner back in April 2015. The consensus from the discussion was that many apps fall into the category of a ‘hook up’ app or a dating app. “We just felt that a lot of other apps come across as too personal with private messaging,” said Ray Kaunisto, Retired Pro Hockey Player and Smokeshow CEO. “Smokeshow is for building a greater social media network on multiple handles while promoting yourself both locally and globally with the added competitiveness of being compared to people in your local community.”

Unlike Tinder, the soon to be released app allows users to view two independent accounts and vote based off personal preferences. Voting is registered and applied to top 100 rankings. If a user receives enough votes they may appear on the local top 100 rankings or even the worldwide top 100 rankings. Smoke show has the unique feature that allows users to view other people’s Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and Facebook account, which in turn, generate significant traffic to user media platforms. As said by Daniel Altshuller, NHL Goalie and Smokeshow CFO, “Having a Smokeshow profile is designed to be a great way to get attention as well as market yourself in your city and worldwide.”

With its unique features and fun platforms, Smokeshow will likely be successful in today’s mobile app market. The question remains unknown whether it can grow to a size that can truly compete with the internationally recognized app, Tinder. However, with the right marketing strategy and appropriate use of advertisement, Smokeshow will certainly be an app to keep a look out for in 2016.

 

Brandon Sardelis is an entrepreneurial-minded professional living in Halifax, Canada. His academic background comprises of a Bachelor of Commerce Degree from Dalhousie University and a High school diploma from Ashbury College. Brandon is currently establishing himself as a music business professional and is seeking to finance music production and other relevant entrepreneurial ventures.

Guest

The New Job Hunting Reality

March 22, 2016

Guest Article By:

Nadine Evans, Co-Founder and CEO of the Canadian Association of Marketing Professionals

16 years ago, I graduated university with a fresh degree in hand and couldn’t wait to enter the corporate world. I, like my classmates, poured over resume designs and cover letters, experimenting with fancy paper and even fancier fonts. Job hunting meant one thing – getting an employer’s attention through your application.

While I hardly think of myself as old, it might as well have been in the dark ages. New grads found employment by traditional, old fashioned methods, like, applying for them.

It’s a different landscape now. It’s rumoured that 80% of jobs are not advertised, and with Millennials now comprising of 35% of the workforce, the competition for entry level positions for new grads is at an all-time high. How can a young, ambitious, marketing grad get ahead?

By understanding the new realities of the job market. Turns out, it’s not that difficult, and here are our top tips for job hunting:

  1. Get out there. Most experts agree, networking is the best way to land a job in your field (take a look at this insightful 2013 article by Forbes on the subject: Six Best Way to Find Your Next Job). Today more than ever, it’s about who you know.

Attend events, meet ups, and any industry conferences that are relevant. Fortunately, in the marketing world, there are many of these, and your school likely facilitates industry days and networking events. Attend, attend, and attend. Those who get out there, get hired.

  1. Utilize informational interviews. The ‘Informational interview’ is another form of networking, where you ask a leader within a company or industry for a coffee or meeting, with the goal to glean information. Seek out professionals and companies that you’d really like to work for, and reach out to leaders to see if you can interview them. Some groups, such as Ten Thousand Coffees, offers these types of meetings as a service.

informational-interview-avoid-questionThe informational interview can be a millennial’s secret weapon. One of our members, a social media/PR manager, has gotten all her roles by utilizing this method. She once found an agency she desperately wanted to work for, and managed to get an informational interview with one of their principals – and her goal was to get hired. It worked, and she was offered a job a few days later.

While not all informational interviews should be approached as secretly job hunting, it’s not a bad strategy when you happen across your dream job. Be careful not to come across too strong, but at the same time, it’s nice to state that you’d love to work for that company (and why).

  1. Consider the potential of Associations. Professional associations can provide incredible networking and professional development to new grads, and Workopolis agrees. In their article “Networking Made Simple: 5 Reasons to Join a Professional Association,” they suberflip camptate:

Job search networking is most effective when you can come together with a targeted group of like-minded individuals. Finding people to meet within your industry will go much farther to achieving your career goals than blindly connecting with strangers online. Joining a professional association does exactly this. It allows you to schmooze with current professionals, other job seekers, and, more importantly, top employers in your field.

Higher Bracket, a job search site for seasoned professionals and those seeking six figure incomes strongly recommends participation. Check out their reasons in the article: “Why Join a Professional Association.”

The great news is that there are many associations – for all different types of professions and focuses. There’s professional organizations dedicated to accreditations and learning, networking and connecting, growing one’s business and career, and some that offer discounts and benefits that help along the way.

We at CAMP (The Canadian Association of Marketing Professionals) believe strongly in the benefit of associations, and we’re pleased to bring an inclusive professional organization to marketers. Our focus is on creating a community of marketers – whether a student or new grad at the beCAMPginning of your career, a brand manager looking to grow your market share, a mid-level manager looking for the next opportunity, or a seasoned executive looking to hire the next great marketing mind – we’re happy to connect everyone. Our goal is to provide an accessible network for all marketers, regardless of your individual focus, where we can connect and grow and build. Student membership into CAMP is completely free, and we encourage all students considering a career in marketing to join. For more details, please visit our website.

  1. Keep Searching. Although the old adage is that most jobs are not advertised, a number of them continue to appear on website listings like LinkedIn and Indeed.ca. Pay attention for applicable roles, as traditional job hunter is not completely gone.

CAMP’s recent event, “Career Planning for Marketers” included some excellent tips from Kick Senior Recruiting Manager Helena Gospic, many of which involved traditional approaches to application submission. Ensure that you’re applying for the right roles, and remember to include keywords into your resumes (for example, if the role is asking for Adobe Photoshop, make sure you include those words into your skills – assuming, of course, that you have experience in this!), and customize your application.

  1. Network Digitally. While there’s no substitute for face to face networking, getting yourself out there on social media can really help get you noticed. LinkedIn groups offer great ways to network, and we strongly encourage you to use Twitter to connect with companies you’d like to work for. Hana Abaza, Vice President of Marketing for Uberflip recently hired a social media specialist, and didn’t take a resume. Instead, she encouraged applicants to reach out to her on social media.

It might seem rough out there, but not for those who understand that job hunting is a skill. Just like me and my peers at the turn of the century, it’s hard work, but once you learn the new reality, it works. Companies want to hire the best, and as long as you can demonstrate competence, passion, and an ability to work, you’ll be fine.

 

Nadine_Nov2014

Nadine Evans – CEO of CAMP

 

Raised in a small town in Newfoundland, Nadine headed west after graduating and fell in love with the bustle of Toronto. Her true passion is marketing and she’s spent the last 15 years in marketing roles, and is the co-founder and CEO of the Canadian Association of Marketing Professionals (CAMP). When she’s not connecting with other marketers through CAMP, Nadine is at the soccer field, gym, or swimming pool cheering on her two favourite munchkins, trying not to become that mom everyone fears.

Guest

Will I get in Trouble for Texting? And Do You Have WIFI? – Millennials in the Workplace

March 18, 2016

Guest Article By: Linnea Franson

 Whether it comes to working part-time while you’re in school, or landing your first “real person” position, there is always an eclectic mix of age groups on the job. We are all pretty familiar with the Baby Boomer generation (1945-1960), and even Generation X (1961-1980). The children of the Baby Boomers known most popularly as “Millennials” consist of people born between 1980 to 2000 and are (brace yourself) the biggest generation is U.S. history to date. That’s right, not only are millennials different than those that have gone before us, but are also more numerous than any other generation.

According to Deloitte, millennials will make up three-quarters of the workforce by 2025. But hold on a second… aren’t millennials all lazy, selfish and entitled brats??? A notion exists that millennials are nothing more than the “victims of their parents’ success” as Jennifer Graham says in her millennial-bashing article in the Boston Globe. How is this tech-savvy, yet minimally employable bunch of Snapchatters going to fit the rigid corporate mold? Hang on to your iPads folks as I attempt to answer these questions, investigate these claims and discover if there is more to this millennial mystery.

TECH – (Tech)nically an issue or opportunity?:

Ah yes, Macbooks, iPhones, tablets and the internet. As millennials, we have certainly come of age during an interesting time consisting of technological change and globalization. We grew up with the internet, cell phones and social media being the norm. But what does this mean? According to Goldman Sachs, growing up during the millennial boom has provided us with a different set of behaviours and experiences than our parents. As a generation of digital natives, an affinity for all things tech related has helped shape how we receive information, shop and even how we work.

When I had to explain to my father what an IM was when I was 11, I knew not all generations were not always on the same page when it came to technology and social media. Here I am 12 years later showing him how to use an Apple Tv. It is clear that an affinity for technology sets us millennials apart from other generations. But is there more to this picture?

Its safe to say that technology has changed the way we do and think about work, and perhaps this is translated into a new attitude about the workplace. The millennial point of view says that there has to be a better path to making things fast, flexible and effective. According to Jay Gilbert’s article published in the Ivy Business Journal, millennials are generating a shift in how work gets done as they “work more in teams and use more technology.” Speaking as a millennial, I would claim that technology equates to flexibility, as we now have the ability to work anywhere at any time. Human interaction and information is always just one text, e-mail or Google search away. Cloud software allows us to collaborate with colleagues from anywhere with a wifi signal. Perhaps we millennials aren’t any more eager to escape the office than the next guy; we’ve simply have the means to do so.

Let’s put this together:

So are we lazy? Are we selfish? Do all millennials feel entitled? I’m not so sure this is an accurate generalization of my generation. We are all different. It would be unfair to claim that all baby boomers suck in the tech department. Yet, following this same logic, it would be unfair to claim that all millennials are lazy, selfish and entitled.

What if instead of being lazy, we were practical? – Why would we do something simply because that’s the way its always been done? Technology gives us the means to disrupt the traditional workplace and still be productive.

What if instead of being selfish we were self-giving and self-reflective? – Who doesn’t like having the freedom to work during the hours of the day when they are most productive? And who doesn’t like taking more time to do the things that they love? Technology allows us to work quickly, remotely and flexibly.

What if instead of us “feeling entitled” we felt empowered by technology? We can shake-up the workplace and make a difference with our skills.

Each generation brings different skills and perspectives to the workplace that we all need to be aware of. We all need to be open to and conscious of these differences to achieve progress in our workplaces. Millennials have gotten a bad rap about being entitled, lazy and too consumed with technology, but I would argue that this is not the whole story.

What one person may lack in the tech department, they may make up for in the experience department. To overcome our millennial stereotypes, we need to learn from those with more experience and allow technology to enhance our careers rather than distract us from having an impact. The key is to be open to generational differences, and embrace them, because the truth is that we all bring something unique and valuable to the boardroom table. We can’t always Netflix and chill, but we can always focus on our strengths.

Linnea Franson is a tech-savvy post-grad living in Toronto, Canada with a knack for writing and an interest in media. Equipped with her critical thinking skills and outgoing personality she is always up for a professional challenge. When she’s not in the office, you can find her enjoying nature, running marathons for fun or eating too much Nutella. Follow her on Instagram, and connect with her on LinkedIn.

Guest

Consumed by Culture – Marketing the Hype

March 12, 2016

Guest Article By:  Martin Fortunato

Back in high school I considered myself to have the freshest pair of creps on my feet at any given moment. I remember having stacks of sneaker boxes from the floor to the roof of my room and thinking nothing of it, as if I were just some dude who could wear a different pair of shoes every day of the week. Unlike most people, figuring out my outfit for the day started with the shoes and worked its way up. This eventually led to another passion – but that’s a different story.

As far as sneaker culture goes, Air Jordans set the groundwork for what we know today and has become the benchmark of what every company strives for. Every Saturday Nike releases a new pair of Jordans to retail stores across North America and every Saturday these shoes would eventually sell out. Sometimes it would take days for the sneakers to sell out and other times it could take less than an hour. Being able to push this much product at such a rate is a clear sign of why Nike holds such a big piece of the market share in its industry. So how do marketers capitalize on such a product? The answer is in the name derived from the man himself and built from the exact specifications of the best NBA player to ever play the game. Now I’m no basketball aficionado but when someone asks me who the greatest basketball player of all time is I instantly think of Michael Jordan. I also didn’t grow up in his era but I can only imagine what its like seeing your idol breaking records in a pair of sneakers that the world has never seen before.

Selling off of hype is certainly one way to get product off of shelves and the hype is built up in many ways. It could be derived from the limited quantities being produced, the celebrity co-sign, or the even just the stories behind the shoe.

At this time marketing the sneakers were much simpler because the sneaker culture was much more niche. Marketers would attach the sneakers to an athlete and watch the fans follow. Lets fast forward to today, hopping off of their 30th model of the shoe, Air Jordans are still releasing and still selling every Saturday.

air yeezys

Air Yeezy 2 Collection

Nowadays its not just the athletes who play their roles as influencers. Brands have reached out to all artists and other public figures to drive sales and increase brand presence. There are a ton of influencers out there who are co-signed to a lot of different brands but the most influential is undoubtedly Kanye West. While he was signed with Nike he helped design the Nike Air Yeezy 1 and 2 that literally skyrocketed the brand to even higher heights. But it wasn’t until the period around Watch the Throne, where Kanye shook the sneaker world with the Air Yeezy 2 (and his music), that I started to realize the momentum that sneakers had taken. It was the sneaker that bested all other sneakers with its luxe materials including snakeskin, glow in the dark soles, and gold aglets. At this time sneaker culture and everything associated with it took an unprecedented leap.

Overlooking all the drama, Kanye West is now signed with Adidas and is still creating sneakers. His most recent and sought after creations include the Yeezy 750 and 350 Boost which are made with a taste of luxury via its premium suedes and designer cues. Along with other artists and designers such as Pharrell, Pusha T, Raf Simons, and Rick Owens, he is credited to increasing the presence of the brand in North America and aiding with the jump in sales.

Kanye with fans

Kanye with fans during a Yeezy release

Remember when I said that hype is built up in many ways? Well these factors can actually be marketed together to create the pinnacle of consumer desire. As polarizing as he is, Kanye West has grown to play such a big part in sneaker culture because he is an influencer who brings ground-breaking levels of hype. His sneakers are highly limited and highly coveted in the market and not only does he attract new adopters to the community but he also brings his vast fan following of his music. There is something about owning a limited sneaker designed by one of the most influential people of our time that makes it so sought after. Sneakers are now becoming an extension of status and are being marketed to the masses as essential. Companies noticed this early on and have been capitalizing on it ever since.

A second year student in International Business at Humber College, Martin Fortunato has got a knack for fashion, sports, and pop culture. With ambitions to work in international trade, Martin is planning ahead and hopes to run his own clothing boutique. You can follow Martin here on Instagram

Guest

The New Facebook “Like” System: What does it offer to online consumers?

March 2, 2016

Over the last few years, it’s been safe to say that Twitter and Snapchat have not only climbed up the ‘social media ladder’ but have even jumped past Facebook in terms of consumer traffic and overall popularity. Why so? Those two social media platforms have differentiated themselves from the once-dominating Facebook platform, each having their own unique use of emojis, GIF keyboards (Twitter only), and personalized animations (Snapchat only), enabling online consumers to express their emotions and thoughts better than ever before on social media.

Finally, Facebook has discovered the competitive advantage created by Twitter and Snapchat in the social media market, and they came up with their own unique way to re-capture the attention and engagement of online consumers. Last Tuesday, Facebook officially launched their new “like” system. Now, you can not only “like” statuses and posts in the Facebook universe but you have the option to express your love, shock, anger, or sadness towards shared content on Facebook.

 

facebook likeA quick glance at Facebook’s new “like” system, which has been an immediate success since its launch on February 23, 2016. Before, you only had the option to “thumbs up” or “like” Facebook content.

 

 

This new “like” system enables Facebook consumers to be more (specifically) expressive about their opinions and thoughts on the ideas and content shared on Facebook timelines. It is a unique system that tells us two key goals in which the Facebook marketing team hopes to achieve in the near future:

  1. They want their brand loyalty back.
  2. They want to show the social media universe that they’re ready to keep up with the demands and trends of their fellow online consumers.

Well, from the first week since the launch of the new “like” system, it seems to be a huge success thus far for Facebook, as the majority of their users have picked up on the new platform tool with tons of “Wow”’s, “Angry”’s, and “Sad”’s being clicked on posts all across the Facebook universe. And how can it not be a success? Let’s be honest here, not every post on Facebook is a ‘happy’ one – some posts share devastating and/or controversial stories and trends going on around the world that people can now choose to click “Wow, ” “Angry,” and “Sad” on to express their ‘true’ reactions.

gif keyboard

A look at Twitter’s GIF Keyboard

snapchat animations

Snapchat’s personalized animations

 

 

This new feature (and, arguably, a benefit) that Facebook has to offer will surely make Twitter and Snapchat re-think their marketing plans and the developments of their upcoming “features” in the near future. Sure, with Twitter you now have a GIF keyboard to use memes to express your thoughts and emotions in the matter of a few clicks, and sure, with Snapchat’s personalized animations you can turn your face into basically the face of any fictional character ever created to express your current mood to your friends. However, Facebook’s new “like” system is a quicker and easier way to get your feelings and reactions out there.

That’s what makes a social media platform so successful (or not so successful): How fast and easy is it to communicate your message/voice your opinion? With the new “like” system, Facebook wins over Twitter and Snapchat in that regard – which is why it has become so popular so quickly. If this rapid increase in overall popularity and use of this new “like” system continues, Facebook will re-establish itself as ‘the’ social media platform for young, outgoing 20-year olds and re-gain that competitive advantage over Twitter and Snapchat in the social media market.

 

Anthony Pazzano is currently an Advertising and Marketing Communications student at Humber College. He is looking forward to expand his knowledge and experience in the Advertising/Marketing industry, and aspires to work client-side, agency-side, or for a PR firm. Follow him on TwitterInstagram, and Connect with him on LinkedIn.

Guest

Tip Culture in North America: Customary or Compulsory?

February 13, 2016

Whether it be a night out at the bar with your friends, or grabbing a meal at your local Denny’s, throughout your time you’ll be receiving services that include the employee or server of said establishment being hospitable to you and your group whether it be getting you drinks, grabbing your meals and making sure you have everything you need.  Prominently in North American culture you are provided the option to give an additional gratuity in the form of a “tip” (approx. 15%) to show your appreciation for the services that were provided to you. However, between social norms and the cultural importance of the tip, it may not be nearly as “optional” as it appears to be.

tipping-lido-blog

How many times can you say that even if you received poor service wherever you went, you choose not to tip at all? The answer would probably be very close to zero. The way the culture is set up is such that if you do not tip at all it would be frowned upon and socially unacceptable mainly due to the fact that despite the service was poor they did in fact still “serve” you. Granted though some individuals will choose to make their displeasure known by not tipping or possibly informing the server that they were displeased. That situation however is few and far in between. What usually happens is that they get a tip anyways out of appreciation and then simply going about their day since unless the service was exceptionally poor the incident would be forgotten within hours.

Currently the Ontario minimum wage stands at 11.25$ an hour while the set server wage rests at 9.80$ which essentially means that servers rely on tips as the lion share of their income. For the most part their reliance is common knowledge among restaurant and bar goers which factors in to how much they receive from potential customers. This isn’t to say that servers are undeserving under any circumstances as the hospitality industry is very fast paced and requires much attention to detail in a short timespan when it comes to attending the needs of customers.tipping-in-canada-canadian-money

So the next time you get your drink order mixed up or your steak sandwich comes back cold or undercooked, ask yourself if it would really make a difference as to whether or not you would leave a tip anyway, or more importantly if not leaving a tip at all is even a consideration in the first place since your gratuity might just feel a little more compulsory than customary after all is said and done.

 

Ali Roumani is Law student currently attending Carleton University with interests in law as well as business and human rights. He can be reached most efficiently through Facebook whenever he is not analysing the stock market, or browsing PDFs of bestselling books online.

Guest

How Deadpool Reinvigorated Film Promotion

February 5, 2016

Guest Article By: Zach Finkelstein

 

The marketing for upcoming comic book adaptation Deadpool is offensive and in your face…and that’s what makes it so successful.

In an era of film where movie promotion seems so bland and repetitive and where movie goers are at a decline, many ask the question “What is going to get me to go to the theatre”. The answer for most is Deadpool. The movie is starring Ryan Reynolds as everyone’s new favourite Anti-Hero.

This is one of the few R-rated Marvel movies due to its adult-oriented humour and content, which has provided insight into creating the no-holds-barred marketing approach for the film. The quirky and risqué advertising approach the film takes completely breaks the rules of campaigning and picks up the pieces to assemble something original, and memorable.

The first example of their out-of-the-box campaign is noted in their billboard ads which although were only located in Southern California, happened to still go viral in a matter of days due to their quirky copy and imagery.

One billboard that really stood out was simply three Emojis which spell out the movie name Deadpool. Emojis; which according to most copywriters are never to be used and are often shunned from the copywriting world, are then in-fact used successfully to advertise the goofy and hilarious approach that the film is trying to take.deadpool billboard

Over time, reading Emojis have become second nature to many. As well, Emojis are internationally easier to understand rather than loosely translated text or copy. Therefore, the message conveyed on the billboard is actually easier to understand in its Emoji form, thus creating more opportunity to be advertised internationally as a result of its simple comprehension.

And that folks, is just the beginning.

The second exhibit of the ballsy campaigning the movie has utilized can be seen across the Deadpool twitter page. The opening banner is a crotch-focused shot of Deadpool with the coordinating copy “Wait til you get a load of me”.

Screen Shot 2016-02-03 at 7.58.20 PM

The page posts about 3-4 times a day and each of the posts are more memorable than the last. Each post varies from clips, trailers, and posters to funny commentary on other popular and relevant topics.

For example, the X-files series was relaunched January 24th and was a trending topic that day, the Deadpool page hopped on the trending topic and posted satirical photos depicting the anti-hero in an X-files-like scenario.deadpool xfiles

Simply by creating content that was reactive to current events the movie was able to gain even more exposure.

The film has even attempted to expand its exposure to a female market by advertising during the golden globes; which happens to have a high propensity of female to male viewers. This ongoing attempt to engage the female marketplace has resulted in the creation of the most notable twitter posts from the Deadpool Movie page: A faux poster for the movie which disguised the film as a romantic comedy.

 

The romantic-comedy piece is pure genius as it sub-consciously gauges the interest of a demographic that wouldn’t be expected for a comic-book hero/action-comedy. The piece is designed to trick the viewer into thinking for a brief moment that the film is a different genre. It uses light colors such as amber and orange with a thin serif typeface in white that surely reminds anyone of a cliché comedy-romance poster. The piece is cute and ironic and has helped grow interest in female consumers.

Most recently, Deadpool further expanded its promotion by releasing a PSA titled “Touch Yourself Tonight” which brings attention to testicular cancer prevention.

Through its multiple approaches, the Deadpool movie has created mass anticipation for its upcoming release. It has reset the standard of how people perceive a blockbuster movie and has surely become a trending topic across both social media, and the Internet.

By taking risks and being a little taboo, the Deadpool Movie has comic book fans, couples, and families worldwide awaiting its February 12th release.

 

Most say that people either have a left brain or a right brain. Zachary Finkelstein is of the rare breed that happens to have both. By being both the creator and formulator, Zach strives to leave a lasting impression with his personality, his writing, and his memorable smile. Zach is an avid vinyl record collector and music buff who is very passionate about the arts and entertainment.

Guest

Why We Stop At Pop-Up Shops

January 30, 2016

Guest Article by: Danielle Nurse

 

Get it before it’s gone…?

As if people didn’t already have to deal with online stores and brands creating limited quantities of product, the idea of a Pop-Up shop would seem like a more ideal way to get your hands on some exclusive gear. These temporary retail venues can vary from one night to three months depending on the location, but promotes benefits not only for the consumers, but also for the brand itself. Whether it is marketing, product testing, location or brand awareness it is a low cost method of starting any business.

But how do they differ from Flagship stores? What draws people in to shop at a Pop-Up store? Firstly, the ideal plans for pop-up shops, if successful, their time frame are either extended or taken away. Plus, who wouldn’t want to get something first that no one else is going to be seen in? If you can find some unique goods at a store that isn’t going to be around for long, wouldn’t you be interested or even curious?

Consumers tend to respond more to the idea of something being offered for a limited time, if given a time limit, they tend to be more interested in buying. Which is one of the keys to success in Pop-Up shops. Good for the consumer, not so much for the employees since Pop-up shops tend to only be open for weeks at a time. Pop-Up shops in malls for example, are given a specific location, a budget and a chance to succeed. Depending on the revenue and traffic that attracts profit, and are either given the opportunity to become permanent or change locations.

pop up shop danielle

Yorkdale Shopping Centre is notorious for welcoming Pop-up shops into empty rental spaces. Their newest additions BRIKA and The Drake General Store (with no relation to “Drake”, I asked) are generating more traffic than expected. Considering brands that consumers aren’t necessarily familiar with would be typically difficult, in the competing market with not only flagship stores but ecommerce, but the unfamiliarity seems to be what drivers consumers to be interested and purchase from pop-up shops in the first place and prove why this it is an effective marketing strategy used by a lot of companies.

With the potential independent brands have to move into retail spaces from ecommerce is exactly why pop-up shops have drifted from being a seasonal occurrence in the retail industry, to a full blown marketing scheme to build consumer/brand awareness. And coming from an impulsive shopper, they are definitely worth a visit.

 

Danielle Nurse is a first year Advertising and Marketing Communications student at Centennial College interested in Public Relations, Men’s Wear and all things social media related. With a Certificate in Communications, she hopes to obtain her Bachelors in PR and one day owning her own PR Firm. Until then, you can catch her blogging about Men’s Clothes and recording her life on Snapchat.

Follow her on Instagram and check out her Blog!

Guest

Engaging Fans Through Innovations in Sports

January 22, 2016

Guest Article By: Stefan Kollenberg

 

Sports is the most marketable industry in the world. Its currency is strong emotions generated by a non-politically charged subject – emotions that can be as strong as or stronger than family ties. This emotional connection is gold for marketers and allows them to communicate with millions of consumers.

Last year’s Super Bowl peaked at 120.8 million viewers. The number of people watching is even higher, considering venues such as sports bars where one “viewer” may consist of 200 people. The marketing implications of this are phenomenal, translating to a $4.5 million price tag for a 30 second ad. Companies making this kind of investment are keen to get good value but in recent years people have stopped watching the ads. Instead they choose to engage with social media and sports applications during game breaks. One person’s problem is another’s opportunity. Many companies have seized this opportunity and created innovative products that help engage fans through a second screen.

An excellent example of this innovation is being created right here in Toronto at Ryerson University’s DMZ. The DigitaMedia Zone is home to some of the most innovative tech companies in North America, but the one I want to tell you about is Brizi.

Brizi connects fans to a camera and gives them control of the zoom, pan, and tilt in order to capture the perfect picture. The picture is then beamed directly to the fan’s smartphone and can be shared instantly to his or her social media networks. In the process, the sponsor’s name/message is added to the picture. The marketing implications of this are huge. It allows brands to attach themselves to the emotions of sport and be spread amongst the fanbase organically, as well as drastically increasing the reach of that event. Brizi is effectively killing two birds with one stone: they engage fans at the game, as well as spread sponsor’s brands to people at home through the second screen.Screen Shot 2015-12-31 at 2.19.34 PMWhile Brizi is an excellent example of current innovations, there is a lot more to come. Today’s society had a wide variety of entertainment options. In response to this, professional sports teams have been dedicating large amounts of time and resources to improving the entertainment value of their games. A major product of this has been more advanced or “smart” arenas. The Sacramento Kings have had mediocre teams for almost ten years and attendance was suffering. This has pushed them to enhance other aspects of the in game experience in order to build their brand. They are opening a new arena in 2016 and will have a mobile app for check-in, directions to the shortest line, seat upgrade options, cashless commerce, in-seat wireless charging, and much more. This is just one example of how a franchise is embracing the second screen in order to improve their brand.

All in all, sports innovation has been providing a solution to marketing problems and these two examples are just a small snapshot. Places like the DMZ and Silicon Valley are incubating companies that will change our interaction with the world of sports as we know it. They will continue to grow and as more teams adapt to the changing technology, sports will finally begin to realize its full marketing potential.

 

Stefan Kollenberg is in his third year at Ryerson University studying business management with a major in marketing. He is involved with the Ryerson Sports and Business Association and aspires to be a leader in the sports industry. He will soon be releasing his own blog, Big Red Sports Business. Follow him on Twitter, Instagram, and connect with him on LinkedIn.

Guest

Is 4K the “Next Big TV Resolution”?

January 19, 2016

Remember just a decade ago when 1080p was introduced as the “next big TV resolution” compared to the standard 480p-resolution at that time? Well, brace yourselves Rogers customers, because not only is the digital-cable-providing conglomerate introducing the new 4K TV resolution, but also their new NextBox 4K – the newest upgrade from their current NextBox 3.0.

But, the big questions is: Will 4K resolution have the same success in consumer demand and sales as the memorable introduction of 1080p resolution back in 2006?

On Saturday, January 23, 2016, the first-ever hockey game (Canadiens vs. Maple Leafs) will be broadcasted in 4K resolution, but here’s the catch: You need to upgrade your current Rogers box to the NextBox 4K in order to watch the hockey game on Rogers’ only 4K channel for sports, channel 999. This brilliant marketing move is guaranteed to drive consumer demand to purchase the newest (and sharpest, imagewise) digital cable box offered in the Canadian market. The “hook” that Rogers is using to get their current (and prospective) customers to buy-in on the Nextbox 4K is simply describing the distinction between 4K resolution and the current 1080p resolution for HD cable boxes: “4K resolution offers 4x the image quality and sharpness of 1080p!”

That simple, yet powerful fact alone is going to persuade several Rogers customers to upgrade their boxes prior to Saturday’s game, leading to an imminent and rapid increase in sales of Rogers’ newest box. To give you a more numerical comparison of the two TV resolutions – which Rogers can potentially use in future commercials to maintain product sales and demand – The Nextbox 4K will produce an image quality of 3840x2160p, whereas the current Nextbox 3.0 is only capable of producing an image quality of 1920x1080p.

Rogers.com is now also trying to promote the inevitable inclusion of Toronto Blue Jays games as part of the Nextbox 4K TV packages for the upcoming 2016 MLB season. Based on the increasing demand and consumer interest of the Blue Jays in the Canadian market (centrally the GTA market), Rogers can definitely bank off these Jays-exclusive Nextbox 4K TV packages come Spring 2016. The silver outline on the screen is supposed to demonstrate the resolution difference between 4K and 1080p (4K being inside the silver outline, of course). Some would debate that a better demonstration will need to be used in the future to show the distinction in resolution between 4K and 1080p (it’s tough to see through the banner ad above).

Would you be interested in purchasing a Rogers Nextbox 4K in the coming weeks (or purchase any other “Ultra 4K” TV resolution products that are likely to soon be released in the Canadian market)? Let us know your thoughts on the Comments thread below!

 

Anthony Pazzano is currently an Advertising and Marketing Communications student at Humber College. He is looking forward to expand his knowledge and experience in the Advertising/Marketing industry, and aspires to work client-side, agency-side, or for a PR firm. Follow him on Twitter, Instagram, and Connect with him on LinkedIn.

Guest

The Negative Effects Of Social Media In Sports

January 16, 2016

Guest Article By: Peter Roumeliotis

So Canada had an unmemorable 2016 World Junior Hockey Championship (WJC) in Finland, but I will not be talking about what happened on the ice. Instead, I will discuss how the players’ decision to avoid Social Media(SM) use during the tournament, was actually quite smart and ideal. Having academically studied SM as a tool for fan engagement in sports, I have observed that there is a lot of focus on why athletes are not very active on SM in terms of tweeting out fun and engaging content or interacting with fans.2016_WJC_logo_672x412

One factor that often gets ignored, is all the content and news articles that these athletes are consuming from SM. Just because the players aren’t actively tweeting or re-tweeting or liking your tweet, does not exactly mean they did not see or read the article you wrote or shared.Team Canada’s unsuccessful tournament in Finland led to an infatuated amount of criticism and smack talk. Sporting spectacles to begin with are some of the most emotional events out there. With social media added to the mix, one could make the argument sporting events become potentially explosive. Social media adds another layer of participation to the fray. Now the fan has an equal footing with the athlete.  The fan can build his own network, engage with others and as we saw at WJC, engage directly with athletes.

Team Canada waves to the crowed after being defeated by Team USA during third period semi-final IIHF World Junior Championships hockey action in Ufa, Russia on Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

The worst part about this is that it started immediately after the Boxing Day loss to Team USA. I’ve said on twitter and I will say it here: THEY ARE KIDS! These players are under 20 years old and appropriately decided not to have access to the harshness and negativity that developed on SM. Hopefully this makes us all a little bit more aware about the “receiving” of the message rather than “sending” it.

 

 

Peter (@Peteybeats on Twitter) is a social media and content marketing expert who currently writes for Sports Illustrated as an NHL section contributor and does social media for the QMJHL. Peter completed his MA in Communications Studies at Carleton University in 2015. One of Peter’s main focuses right now is his podcast Popternative where he invites guests every week and has topical discussions from the worlds of social media, sports and pop culture.

 

Guest

Express Service

January 8, 2016

Guest Article By: Nina Erceg-Gogic

How customer service shapes / directly affects the customers experience during the holiday season.

 

Tis’ the season for great customer service?

*****

It’s mid-December, you decide to venture to a mall to get your Christmas shopping done. As soon as you get to the parking lot you realize you have made a horrible mistake. Maneuvering through the labyrinth of cars and shoppers, you finally make it into the mall where you find even bigger chaos.

I found myself in a similar situation this past holiday season. My dad and I had decided to take a chance by going shopping on a weekday evening. We found ourselves in ‘Express’ where my dad wanted to browse for a sweater. We had prepared ourselves for the worst customer service (after all it is the holiday season), however we were pleasantly surprised by the service we received … here’s why:

  1. A short greeting was received upon walking into the store

  2. An employee informed us of the sale (only once – this part was key)

  3. The employee was knowledgeable of the brand

  4. The employee also wished us a great holiday

  5. The employee’s smile was genuine

The combination of the above five left us feeling great when we were finished with our purchase. Something as simple as a smile can change an entire customer experience, customers simply want to feel acknowledged. My father and I both walked away from the store with smiles and a better attitude about our holiday shopping.

crowded-apple-store

In contrast to our experience in Express, we walked past Apple which immediately sent a shiver down my spine. Entering an Apple Store I have never felt acknowledged or like a priority. Even if you have an appointment you still find yourself waiting around often looking clueless. The customer service I have received in store has never been amazing which is contradictory to their call-in centre customer service; which I have found to be above average.

After analyzing how I would prefer my experience to be at Apple I have created a simple three set checklist of how customers want to feel while in a store:

  1. Acknowledged

  2. Important – where they feel like they are a priority

  3. Reassured (that if they have any questions, there will be someone to answer them)

During the holiday season our customer service expectations are lowered due to the busyness of retailers and amount of people shopping. However, a sincere smile or acknowledgement is sometimes all we need.

Have you had any memorable customer service encounters this holiday shopping season, either positive or negative? Let me know!

 

Nina Erceg-Gogic is in her third year of studies at the University of Guelph-Humber, working towards a BBA. She is an ambitious student and an aspiring entrepreneur, with an interest in the startup world. Follow her on Twitter, and connect on LinkedIn to learn more about her.

Guest

Is Advertising Becoming Too Invasive?

January 1, 2016

Guest Article By: Brian Jones

 

When was the last time you scrolled through your Instagram feed without seeing an ad? It’s been getting pretty intense lately. While it may be seen as annoying or a pain to be further bombarded by advertisements where you didn’t use to see them, you have to think of it from their perspective. Large companies spend millions trying to position their product or brand in the right light and in front of the right audience. Social media applications such as Snapchat and Instagram have always recorded information about each user – their habits, simple demographic data, their likes, interests and more. It’s the perfect fit for targeted ads. Social media companies sell advertising space based on selective factors such as who each user is following, etc. Those that purchase the advertising space get their products in front of the right people and the social media companies turn a profit. Everyone’s happy. Or are they?

Increasingly, I have heard from friends that Instagram has been simply overdoing the ads. One user proclaimed that “they’ve stopped using Instagram altogether because there’s just too many of them”. Even twitter users are publicly denouncing Instagram’s advertising strategy:

As a user, whenever we use a free app, we should know that the app developers need to make a profit somehow. Advertising is the only logical answer — Unless of course said developer owns Clash of Clans and charges users real money for in-game “gems”, even if the end user doesn’t actually understand that they’re running up their dad’s credit card bill. Click the picture below for more on that mishap.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/23/3000-itunes-bill_n_3640842.html

What I personally think we’ll begin to see more of is personalized branded-content that you’ll actually want to see. While it sounds a little wordy, Snapchat does a really good job at this. They have a branded content section, but instead of just selling the space to the highest bidder, they’re very selective of who gets the space and who doesn’t. With the end user in mind, Snapchat makes sure the branded-content is as interesting and relevant as possible. They make sure that people will actually want to watch the content on their own. Many people in marketing and advertising right now are aware of the following saying: Content is king. You may not notice it unless you’re a marketer, but we’ll all begin to see more branded-content that’s so well produced you may not even notice that there is a brand behind it. This is exactly why Red Bull has such a high level of brand awareness. They do things that are cool. They create cool things. They make you want to watch their “advertisements”. Take this next TV spot for the new Audi Quattro for example. They know that their core target market has a sense for thrill-seeking adventure and beautiful landscapes. What they did next is absolutely goose-bump inducing. Check it out below:

What you can see here is the movement from advertising that consumers are actively avoiding to advertising that makes people actually want to watch it. The secret to being a well-liked company is to simply not tick off a happy customer. It’s really that simple. Instagram? Debatable. Snapchat? Check!

Don’t be the company that gets too invasive with their advertising. It’s not that hard to just develop branded-content that consumers not only enjoy viewing, but also earn an increased level of brand awareness for that particular company.. Customer satisfaction rates go up. Brand awareness goes up. The finance department is happy. Your VP’s give you a raise. All is good. It all starts with content.

 

 

Brian Jones is a tech-savvy marketing strategist currently in the Advertising: Account Management Post-Grad program at Humber Lakeshore. Having graduated from University of Guelph in Marketing Management Honours, he works part-time as a content marketer, blogger and web developer for small to medium-sized businesses in various industries. Connect with him on LinkedIn today.

Guest

The Future of Netflix: Will it cost more?

December 19, 2015

For over half a decade now, the online video-streaming service, Netflix, has made a killing over its “Unlimited Movies for only $7.99 a month” sales hook. Ever since, it has taken over as the primary source to watch movies and TV shows whereas before 2011, Blockbuster still existed and people had to drive (oh, the humanity) to pick out whatever DVDs were on the store’s shelves.

Now, most of you are probably thinking, “Tell me something I don’t know.”

Well, here’s something that most of you Netflix fanatics don’t know.

There isn’t just Netflix for $7.99/month. In fact, there are now plan options where you can choose to spend more to get more out of your Netflix service (see snapshot below). So now, if you wanted high-definition (or “Ultra HD” – couldn’t tell you the difference) for all the movies and shows you watch, or use Netflix on multiple screens at the same time, you have to pay extra to do so – whereas before, you could get everything that the Netflix service has to offer at one monthly price.

Current monthly plans for Netflix – includes Basic, Standard, and Premium options.

 

You might think this is just a scam. But…it’s also marketing genius.

Netflix knows how much the demand for their product has rapidly increased since 2011. Almost every Canadian consumer now has a Netflix account, and the online video-streaming service has become so popular in mainstream society, that almost everybody is jokingly (or sometimes, not jokingly – wink, wink) using the phrase, “Netflix and chill?” As so, Netflix is taking advantage of a great business opportunity by slowing creating mark-ups in order to continue using their service – which is starting to happen with these new Basic, Standard, and Premium monthly plan options. They know that Canadians are hooked on Netflix, and slowly but surely, everybody is going to be willing to pay more, and more, and more.

Before you know it, maybe around 2017, the lowest price to use Netflix is going to be what the Standard or Premium price-tag is to use Netflix today – and it might not even come with “Ultra HD” (gasp!). As an example, let’s say the Standard and Premium Netflix service in 2017 will cost you $13.99/month for Standard and $15.99/month for Premium. Don’t be surprised if that happens! If Netflix still sees a steady increase in monthly subscribers over the next couple of years, especially if many subscribe to Standard or Premium, then they will continue to see that “For-only-an-extra-$2-a-month” promotion as a successful marketing tool for gaining profit potential.

But the real question is: “Will Netflix actually continue to add these $2 markups a month to get more service (or even just to get the same service you have now)?” Only time will tell, but it’s safe to predict so with Netflix’s rapidly-increasing demand and overall success, thus far.

 

Anthony Pazzano is currently an Advertising and Marketing Communications student at Humber College. He is looking forward to expand his knowledge and experience in the Advertising/Marketing industry, and aspires to work client-side, agency-side, or for a PR firm. Follow him on Twitter, Instagram, and Connect with him on LinkedIn

Guest

The New CFL: “What We’re Made Of”

December 8, 2015

It’s not news to anyone that most sports fans in Canada have one perception of the CFL, and one perception only: “No one cares.” However, CFL Commissioner Jeffrey Orridge – and his determined marketing team – have ushered in a new logo, a new slogan (“What we’re made of”), and ultimately, a new attitude towards the CFL from coast-to-coast.

 

new cfl logo
                   The new CFL logo.

 

Now, from a personal perspective, it’s easy to say the CFL has some of the most devoted fans in Canada towards any professional sports league. The problem is those fans are old, and only getting older. And in correlation, the number of those fans are small, and only getting smaller. I grew up with a diehard Toronto Argonauts fan: My dad. He will be 60 years old next November. “Papa Pazzano” is a prime example of the average CFL fan: A man who loves his football, buys season tickets for the games, but realizes the seats around him are getting emptier and emptier year after year.

I have been to a lot of Argos games at the Rogers Centre with my dad over the last decade or so, and it’s been interesting to see first-hand the huge decline in game attendance over that period of time. I remember being nine years old (so, 2003) and I would look up at that huge jumbotron and hearing the game announcer yelling, “We have 18,360 fans in the dome today! Thank you fans!” Flashing forward to 2015, I remember going to an Argos game in September with him, being able to literally ‘count’ the people in attendance, and hearing the announcer pointing out an attendance number under 4,000 people (there were a lot of blue seats, as you could imagine). If you do the math, that’s an average game attendance decline of around 14,000 people within a twelve-year span.

That’s not saying that significant kind of decline is occurring in all CFL venues – the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Saskatchewan Roughriders are still booming in attendance and overall revenue – but for the other 7 of the 9 CFL teams, this kind of overall attendance decline has become very concerning. This is exactly why the CFL decided to “pound the alarm” with some recent re-branding. They want ‘younger’ CFL fans to fill up all those blue seats across the country, and start to pull their attention away from the NFL – the only football league that young, Canadian football fans pay any attention to.

If you take a look at the new CFL teaser video below, it visualizes the re-positioning in which the minor-league football brand is trying to hammer to ‘younger’ Canadian football fans. With this video, the CFL is simply trying to incorporate the “heart and hustle” vibe in all NFL teasers and NFL-endorsed commercials for products like Bose Speakers. They are using that “heart and hustle” vibe – complete with montages of notable CFL players doing intense cardio and diehard fans waving giant team flags out of their cars before the “big game” with contemporary hip-hop music in the background – as the ultimate tool to persuade a younger core of football fans to starting caring about the CFL.

“New CFL” Teaser Video

 The goal of this teaser – and its “heart and hustle” vibe – is to alter young people’s perception of the CFL to be more similar to their perception of the NFL: A ‘meaningful’ game with ‘intense’ players and fans that you can talk about with your friends for hours during a beers-and-wings night at your local Shoeless Joe’s.

 

Anthony Pazzano is currently an Advertising and Marketing Communications student at Humber College. He is looking forward to expand his knowledge and experience in the Advertising/Marketing industry, and aspires to work client-side, agency-side, or for a PR firm. Follow him on Twitter, Instagram, and Connect with him on LinkedIn

Guest

Product Placement in Movies: Is it ‘Appealing’ or ‘Annoying’ on the Big Screen?

November 27, 2015

For a few decades now, product placement has been used as a marketing tool in several mediums of entertainment – mainly movies and TV shows – as an arguably effective way to persuade target consumers to purchase your product over the competitors’ products. One of the biggest product-placement clichés is the side shot of an attractive man or woman slowly consuming (and savouring) a bottle of Coca-Cola. That same shot was most noticeable in this most recent summer’s biggest Hollywood blockbuster, Jurassic World.

mercedes

For those of you who saw Jurassic World, you could easily notice the repetition of camera shots used solely for product placement, particularly the ones promoting corporate behemoths Coca-Cola and Mercedes-Benz. Now, when it comes to product placement, the big question for marketers everywhere is: Will placing my product in this movie/show persuade my target consumers, or will they just see it as a ‘nuisance’? The concern that product placement might be the cause of all the negative perceptions of one’s product is a marketers’ worst nightmare. The last thing you want to do for your company is let a handful of movie scenes or TV episodes be the main cause of decline in sales because you simply ‘annoyed’ your target market.

Throughout several scenes in the movie, the lead actor Chris Pratt drives around a jungle in the middle of South America in a luxurious, white-coloured SUV – that sort of defies logic. However, in this case, Pratt driving a shiny, white Mercedes-Benz in a dirty and unsuitable setting catches the consumers’ attention (due to its quirkiness) and ultimately cements the image of that shiny, white Benz into their heads. However, one can argue that these ‘Benz-filled’ cut scenes channels the audience’s attention from the climax/plot of the movie, and instead, builds emphasis and importance on the endorsed product on the screen.

More recently, the same kind of product placement was used for Aston Martin’s new coupe (the Aston Martin DB10) in the newest James Bond movie, Spectre. The new coupe model was created exclusively for Spectre, and the DB10 got quite the exposure in a 15-minute car chase scene in which James Bond participates in the streets of Rome.

spectre

This is another prime example of branded content in movies where the main character is practically ‘endorsing’ products by making them a primary use in key scenes in the movie. There are several camera shots during the Rome car chase scene that zoom right into the Aston Martin logo in the front and back of the car, which (similar to the Mercedes-Benz example in Jurassic Park) can easily distract the audience from paying attention to the actual car chase for brief (but key) moments here and there. However, Spectre director Sam Martin gets more credit for making the branded content/product placement a little less obvious and pushy than Colin Trevorrow did when directing Jurassic World.

When you’re trying to incorporate endorsed products with the movie’s script, there has to be a fine line between ‘using’ the product and ‘starring’ the product. One might suggest that ‘starring’ the product (i.e. overly endorsing or using the product so that it feels like the movie’s “main character”) is what makes branded content ‘annoying’ to some moviegoers out there. However, in most cases, product placement (and branded content) in mass media is the ultimate drive towards gains in publicity and sales for any brand – but only when used with caution. Sometimes, less is more.

What are your thoughts on Product Placement in Movies? Do you think it is more #appealing or #annoying to big screen moviegoers? Share your opinions on our Comments thread below!

Anthony Pazzano is currently an Advertising and Marketing Communications student at Humber College. He is looking forward to expand his knowledge and experience in the Advertising/Marketing industry, and aspires to work client-side, agency-side, or for a PR firm. Follow him on Twitter, Instagram, and Connect with him on LinkedIn

 

Guest

Why the Apple Watch is a ‘dud’ thus far?

November 17, 2015

On August 18, 2015, Apple’s newest product, the Apple Watch, was distributed and sold at Apple retail stores worldwide. And along with the product launch was the launch of Apple’s first three-month campaign for the Watch.

 

Now, looking at the first set of television spots for the Apple Watch, there seems to be a few blatant flaws to the Watch that Apple has exposed (unintentionally, of course) to its audience. These exposed flaws that are presented can be the main reasons why the product has fallen short in sales, and ultimately, why the Apple Watch is a ‘dud’ thus far:

 

apple-watch-digital-crown-540x334

The 1×1 square design doesn’t seem feasible. If you look at the television commercials for the Apple Watch, they each have that recurring theme of a person or couple engaging in a hobby, and then the camera focuses on the Watch (and its 1×1 design) as the “smart watch” keeps track of anything else important to them at that particular time (e.g. recording heart rates, notifying the watch-wearer of any incoming calls or texts messages). While promoting the unique idea of the Apple Watch being an “iPhone or mini-computer wrapped around your wrist,” it doesn’t seem quite feasible that a watch that small has the ‘multi-tasking’ capacity of an iPhone or iPad – both being pieces of Apple technology that are much bigger in size. Also, if you look at the image above, could you honestly picture yourself controlling and monitoring all those apps (or “virtual bubbles”) on your wrist without getting a massive headache? Probably not.

 

 

group-of-people-on-iphones

Apple is trying to create a ‘new’ product market, when their ‘old’ product market is still thriving. The six-month span between one iPhone to the newer iPhone is still catching onto consumers, as many Canadian smartphone users are still sold on the idea of upgrading their iPhones to the “newest model” at least once a year – I still have an iPhone 4S, but that’s because it was free with a plan offered by Virgin, so I’m a rarity. As a result, the smartphone market is still in its “maturity stage” (looking at the Product Life Cycle) and has been growing since the first iPhone model entered the Canadian market in 2009.

However, it is likely that in a few years, consumers might grow old and tired of the smartphone concept and might want a new and innovative product to primarily control and monitor their social life. If that ends up being the case, let’s mark 2018 as the ‘year’ for that “new and innovative product” – being the Apple Watch – to launch and take over for the currently-thriving smartphones. With the retail launch and distribution of the Watch, Apple is in 2018 while its consumer market is still in 2015. And for the most part, it’s never ‘bad’ for a company to be thinking and moving forward. However, Canadian smartphone users are still glued to the large screens of their iPhones and Samsung Galaxys (the main competitor for Apple), so why bother pumping air into the Apple car tire when it is still full of air?

 

Do you think the #AppleWatch is a ‘dud’ or do you think otherwise? Share your opinions in the Comment section on our thread below!

 

Anthony Pazzano is currently an Advertising and Marketing Communications student at Humber College. He is looking forward to expand his knowledge and experience in the Advertising/Marketing industry, and aspires to work client-side, agency-side, or for a PR firm. Follow him on Twitter, Instagram, and Connect with him on LinkedIn