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Weekly Recap

Weekly Recap (August 12 – August 18)

August 18, 2017

It’s been a crazy week in the world of advertising and marketing. Not to worry, we got you covered. Check out our weekly recap that highlights some of the best, worst, and hottest in what’s going down in the industry for the week!

Written by Malick and Dakarai.

 

Facebook introduces ‘Watch’

D: Facebook – The social network giant that pretty much has a hand in everything. From taking on Snapchat, LinkedIn, Twitter, and now you can add YouTube to the list. Facebook is slowly rolling out ‘Watch’, which will be an episodic video service. It will be accessible through a video tab on Facebook’s desktop and mobile app which features all sorts of content. The social network has enlisted the help of content creators to create shows such as “Nas Daily” on the Watch platform. Nas Daily features 1 minute clips from around the world each day. On top of this, Facebook is able to tap into the 2 billion user base they currently have and offer something that YouTube can’t; the ability to truly connect with friends. This means that you can easily see what you’re friends are watching, laughing at, and interacting with overall. Once it officially launches, Facebook Watch could be a serious threat to other video platforms simply due to the fact it will start with access to a 2 billion user base. Check out the official intro video for Watch here.

 

Obama Tweets

M: Can we just have Obama back? In the last week, there has been some crazy action in the U.S. I’m not going to get into the details of it, but Barack Obama really hit a home run of a tweet. As Adweek described, the tweet underscores the power of timely, positive social media engagement and interaction. Obama released a series of three anti-hate tweets quoting the late Nelson Mandela in obvious contradiction to the current President’s support of hate groups in the U. S. One of the tweets even became the most liked in Twitter history-racking up 3.3 million likes.

Cheetos opens a restaurant in New York

D: The popular chip brand is giving their loyal and cult-like consumers exactly what they want: a pop-up restaurant. Customers were able to reserve a table in advance to the New York restaurant which opened from August 15th-17th. The menu is specially crafted and features items such as: Cheetos Meatballs, Cheetos Sweetos Crusted Cheesecake, Cheetos Grilled Cheese + Tomato Soup, and lots more. You can check out the full menu here. This is a great example of providing an unconventional interactive experience for consumers. Who could possibly think of taking a chip brand and creating a temporary restaurant out of it? Cheetos hit the nail on the head with this one.

 

That’s our weekly recap to keep you up to date on the best ads, trends, and more that we could find over the week. You can check out our last weekly recap here where we gave our thoughts on the latest Pepsi ad. Think we missed something important? Let us know! Also, be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Bledar Halili

“They Fooled Ya Didn’t They” – The MAD Mix Top 5 April Fools Picks

April 4, 2017

The funniest day of the year is April 1st,  April Fools Day. It is the one day of the year that individuals and brands can have a little fun and attempt to pull off fun and harmless pranks. To this day I still enjoy pulling pranks on friends and family and I’ll most likely feel the same way next year and the years after that. However, there were some companies that took to April Fools and had some fun and proving that some consumers are so brand loyal and will believe almost any and everything you post.

 

#5 – Duolingo’s Emoji Course

Duolingo is an app that provides language learning and for April Fools they decided that they would offer an Emoji class. Most of us know at least one language and Duolingo is trying to make us bi-lingual. Malick Ba from The MAD Mix recently wrote an article on emoji culture, so to anyone who read the article and had trouble understanding if there is a course on Emoji’s, we would recommend learning it.

 

#4 – McDonald’s – The Micro Mac

McDonald’s has had string of new releases whether it’s the Bacon Big Mac or its new-ish All Day Breakfast. On April 1st, the fast food restaurant revealed ‘the Micro Mac’. With McDonald’s track record and how they like to have new seasonal items all the time, this was believable because it would have been amazing if costumers were given Micro Macs instead of Big Macs as a prank. If this had been real the internet would have exploded.

 

#3 – Amazon – Petlexa

If “Petlexa” were real, it would be sold out in a second. Amazon is known for being a tech leader in the advances they have made with the real Alexa, Amazon Go so “Petlexa” does not seem completely out of this world and how cool would it be to have a way to communicate with your pets. Let’s be real who seriously wouldn’t want this for this household.

 

#2 – Pornhub

In a world were privacy is becoming a thing of the past and just a few days after the United States announced that internet providers would not need to ask costumers for consent of releasing information, PornHub went out and did this. They most likely scared each and every single user that day and putting a fear in them like never before.

 

#1 – Baltimore Ravens

The Baltimore Ravens hands down in my opinion won April fools for 2017. They went above and beyond in getting their head coach John Harbaugh to conduct a formal interview about their 1-week cruise. They had numerous players partake in a very convincing prank that had fans gushing and wondering how the trip would go.

April Fools does more than just allow for big brands and organization to pull pranks but it allows for them to connect with their fans by showing a sense of humor. This is a prime example of fan engagement that is organic and gives fans the opportunity for more brand engagement than advertisements. It also shows that consumers are brand loyal, that even on April Fools consumers still will believe and trust the brands and organizations. The question becomes who is going to win April Fools 2018. Kudos to the Baltimore Ravens, the Crown is yours.

We would love to know if you agree or disagree and if we missed anything during April Fools.

 

Bledar is currently in his last semester at Humber College for Advertising and Marketing Communications. He loves all food and has the ability to cook but cannot figure out how to make something twice. Bledar has brief experience through volunteering for 2016’s CAMP conference and Awards show, and he is very excited to bring his journey in the advertising and marketing world. Bledar is just waiting for the opportunity to go to a championship parade in Toronto.

Malick Ba

Revisiting Donald Trump’s Personal Branding

October 11, 2016

Remember my article about Donald Trump? Well 6 months and two major presidential debates later,  I think it’s about time we address how his behaviour, ideologies, and personal branding has developed over this period of time.

After watching the two presidential debates, we are seeing Trump’s colours in a way that doesn’t necessarily add to his qualifications of being the president of the United States. While he’s always said things that have been wild and most of the time outrageous, he’s just hurting his image at this point. Trump’s personal branding has always been about dominance, power, and “respect” (using that one very loosely) through absurd statements. However, when we get closer and closer to election day, it’s obvious that these outlandish comments that he makes are only hurting himself and his chances to become the 45th president of the United States. This entire debate showed that the way Trump perceives himself through his words and actions don’t align with his political abilities.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump answers a question during the first Republican presidential debate at the Quicken Loans Arena Thursday, Aug. 6, 2015, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

This election period has only shown that Donald Trump and his personal brand are not compatible in the political realm. The way that he speaks about himself and others are truly indicative that once this election period is over (God forbid he wins), the Trump brand will most definitely take a hit. How? Well let’s start with his recent comments about women. If you hadn’t heard, a video was leaked of Trump in 2005 talking about women in a disgusting way that no presidential candidate should do. Check out the clip below:

 

His arrogance has simply caught up to him.  I know that’s big part of his image and why he’s even in the spotlight, but in order to be a leader of a country, your branding to say the least has to be on point. There is a certain stature that it takes to be a leader, but the way Trump speaks is evident that he’s clearly not the answer. Even watching this debate was cringe worthy. While Hillary Clinton isn’t necessarily a great option, there seems to be no choice. The way that Trump carried himself especially during the first debate showed that his style and branding can’t coexist within this field successfully. With constant interruptions of the moderator, and yelling “wrong…wrong…wrong” after everything Clinton said shows his childish behaviour and clear lack of ability in this context.

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In other words, Trump’s true image is catching up to him quickly. It still baffles me that someone with no political background who is basically a cartoon character has gone this far into the election process. Personal branding and the way that you present yourself in front of an audience is important, but when does your message get lost in antics? Was it the first debate? Second debate? As soon as he said he was going to run for president? Who knows. Personal branding is a powerful thing if used properly, but it can seriously affect your image in a negative way. You should take notes Donald.

Malick Ba is an advertising and marketing specialist currently living in Toronto, Canada. His academic background includes a Bachelor’s of Arts in Communications with a minor in Sociology from the University of Ottawa. Currently, Malick works at an advertising agency and is looking forward to how he can leave his mark upon the advertising and marketing world. Follow him on Instagram, and connect with him on LinkedIn.

Dakarai Turner

The Battle of the Stories: Snapchat vs Instagram

September 6, 2016
Instagram Stories

Instagram Story

It’s been a little over a month since the introduction of the Snapchat copy/paste, Instagram Stories, and I think it’s fair to say that the platform hasn’t necessarily “blown” up yet. The social network carries an impressive 500 million monthly active users (as we spoke about in a June weekly recap), but converting people to ditch Snapchat is going to take a lot longer than they may have anticipated. I mean, we can’t all have the growth of Pokémon Go at the end of the day. Last week, the number’s revealed results that weren’t exactly too shocking if you’ve been observing your Instagram feed the last month.

“About a month into the launch of Instagram’s Stories feature, we are still not seeing a significant increase of time spent in the app versus Snapchat,” said by Danielle Levitas, the SVP of a research group in the U.S. that conducted a study on both platforms. Maybe it’s just me, but I follow almost 700 people on Instagram, and on any given day I don’t see any more than 15 Stories, which is mostly by public figures and brands. The majority of my friends just simply aren’t using it. One thing I did notice is that whenever I would post an Instagram Story, the amount of views I would receive would almost triple my Snapchat views. This is likely the case with most people. You have more followers on Instagram than friends on Snapchat. With that being said, this is the reason why we love Snapchat so much.

Snapchat is Personal

Instagram is your personal brand, while Snapchat is your personal life. By this I mean that we generally post things on Instagram that show us at our best, whether that’s some sort of accomplishment or simply the best possible picture of you at an event. Your Instagram feed is for capturing memories (in my opinion). Now Snapchat on the other hand, is for capturing moments. These are things that you want to share with people right now, and that won’t necessarily matter tomorrow. To some of you this may be incredibly obvious, but this is the reason why I don’t think Instagram Stories will be able to replace Snapchat. The two apps serve different purposes.

Although the reach potential is higher on Instagram, you don’t really post Stories to see how many people are going to view them, unless you’re promoting something or trying to create awareness. For brands, Instagram Stories works well because of the sheer size of the audience. For regular people posting funny selfies and embarrassing videos of their friends, Instagram probably isn’t the best platform.

With that being said, there are a lot of improvements Instagram needs to make in order to have people flocking towards it. For starters, distancing themselves from Snapchat would be great. As of right now it appears as the lesser exciting twin of Snapchat, and in order to grow, they’ll need to establish themselves as a separate entity. There needs to be clear features on Instagram Stories that can’t be done on Snapchat. Obviously this is easier said than done.

Instagram Stories

The fact is, it’s only been a month. I personally think that there will be plenty of interesting updates to come to Instagram Stories throughout the rest of the year. And as always, we’ll be talking about them here! For now, you can follow me on Instagram and look out for my amazing stories. Also, I’d love to know your thoughts on both platforms, so drop us a comment below!

 

Dakarai is an ambitious professional with a passion for advertising and marketing, and is currently employed as an account coordinator for an ad agency in Toronto. When he’s not at the office, he’s most likely trying out a new restaurant, browsing AdWeek, or binge watching something on Netflix. Dakarai, but you can call him Dak. Follow him on TwitterInstagram, and connect with him on LinkedIn.

Dakarai Turner

“Advertising Doesn’t Work On Me” – The Lie Detector Determined That Was a Lie

May 31, 2016

“Advertising doesn’t work”

“I’m not going to buy that just because of a commercial”

Words we’ve all said or heard, usually in the spur of the moment, after seeing a new Coca-Cola ad, and wondering why they even bother. They are at the top, everyone knows who they are, why do you need to still advertise?

I’m just going to leave that unanswered for now. After a recent conversation with a friend of mine, I quickly learned that he is quite the “advertising aficionado”, when he told me that he blocks ads online with AdBlock (so do I, that’s another story…or better yet a previous article), watches TV online, and intentionally ignores billboards (quite the rebel). This is one of those situations where you just have to stay clear of the argument, because they are anchored in their thoughts. I replied with a “that’s nice”, and proceeded to write this article.

So what is the point of advertising? Does McDonald’s want you to run out immediately after seeing their new commercial and purchase a burger? Sure, that would be the best case scenario, but it’s not the intent. Advertising is all about building awareness. When you’re on the corner of Queen and Spadina and starving, the McDonald’s might start to look pretty attractive to you, and their latest burger from the commercial that you can’t believe you remembered starts to look like an option. Ever heard of effective frequency? It’s an advertisers best friend. The more you hear a message, the quicker you remember it, and that’s simply a fact.

The way we perceive brands is all due to effective advertising. Should I have asked my friend what made him want to purchase his flashy gold watch, or wear the expensive basketball shoes he had on? Probably, but I’m not in the business of embarrassing people. We rate brands, we perceive some as better than others, we stick to the ones we trust. These perceptions are instilled in us, because of the brands advertising and marketing efforts, whether direct or not. I mean, what Pattison-imagemade you choose the iPhone in your hand, if we’re being completely honest with each other here?

One thing to always remember when talking about the effectiveness of advertising is whether or not you’re the target audience. If I’m seeing a Revlon ad on the bus, chances are it will mean nothing to me. That’s because a 21-year-old man is not their intended target audience. Now if I’m seeing an ad for *insert something manly*, it may resonate with me a little better. One thing I will personally admit is I am highly susceptible to ads.

Advertising is meant to create awareness for a brand, product, or service. The intent can be to remind, inspire action, or simply inform. Whatever the purpose, if done right, it’s working on somebody.

Oh yeah, and to get back to Coca-Cola. Sometimes when you’re at the top you just need to remind people why you’re there, and show face.

 

Dakarai Turner is an ambitious professional with a passion for advertising and marketing. Armed with strategic thinking, people skills, and a cheeky smile, he is ready to get his career started in client relations for an advertising agency in Toronto. In his free time he will most likely be eating, browsing AdWeek, or studying Donald Draper. Dakarai, but you can call him Dak. Follow him on TwitterInstagram, and connect on LinkedIn to learn more about him.

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.

Malick Ba

The Wild and Wacky Branding of Donald Trump

March 29, 2016

First let me start this off by saying in no way do I support this man in any aspect.  That being said, Donald Trump has seen massive success in branding himself and getting exposure as a result. I can’t remember the last time I logged on Facebook or Instagram and haven’t seen posts about the republican presidential hopeful.  However, he’s become someone that everyone loves to hate (with very good reason). His illogical, goofy, wild personality attracts negative publicity like bees to honey.  The other day I was having a conversation with a friend and we asked ourselves “how on Earth is this guy still even a thing?”, knowing well that we had been having that same conversation a year ago. But that’s exactly why he’s still relevant. The longer the US election period progresses, the more radical and wacky things are becoming when looking at Trump. He keeps opening his very large mouth, and we keep freaking out about it. Below I’m going to break down some of the reasons why I think Trump is a successful brand, but still a shitty person.

He speaks his mind

We’ve all heard this one. I have daily conversations about this clown, but one of the more recent ones with a friend (who I’ll call Steve) shocked me a little bit. Steve and I had been hanging out one night having a conversation about Trump. He told me that while he doesn’t tumblr_nsptouEpyC1sttla5o1_500agree with any of his ridiculous statements, Steve still appreciated the fact that he has the ability and image of power that he can just say whatever he wants. While I was pretty quick to disagree with Steve, I immediately connected that comment to hundreds of other people saying the same thing. People love confidence, and that is a huge part of branding.  Is his confidence and lack of filter (or “chill” for my millennials out there) really overriding the fact that he’s a monster and might actually ruin the world? Who knows, but his efforts in branding himself this way are proving beneficial in terms of exposure.

He’s easy to hate, and that gets everyone talking.

giphy (1)

Remember my Kanye West article? It’s the same kind of principle. While being two completely different people, some of the things that make these two guys easy to hate is their ability to get people to disagree with them. I personally don’t know anyone who supports Trump (thankfully), in fact almost everyone I know has something negative to say about him, and they have.He’s an easy person to hate because of the hateful things that he says. It’s so ridiculous that how could you not post on social media about it? I’m doing that right now! No publicity is bad publicity, and he’s structured his branding around that same sort of concept.

His ties to money.

dollabills-kenny-powers-donald-trump1991-Trump’s Taj Mahal (Atlantic City). 1992-Trump Plaza Hotel (Atlantic City). 2004-Trump Hotels and Casinos Resorts.  2009-Trump Entertainment Resorts. These are four times that Trump has filed for bankruptcy.   So why does everyone have the perception that he’s got money to blow? But more importantly that he is still swimming in it. While despite filing for bankruptcy on multiple occasions, Trump’s branding has positioned himself as a man who has an endless wallet.

While a few of these occasions were kept on the down low, the further his campaign comes along the faster people are doing their research. Unfortunately for the world, his tie to billions of dollars comes with the name. His past as a “successful” businessman mixed with his insane personality has combined to prove that if you have a strong brand that is connected to money and/or power, it will be hard to disconnect. This hype Rae Sremmurd track only reinforces this.

So despite the endless negative publicity Donald Trump gets on the internet, this might just be a part of his big plan. The articles, memes, and air time reserved for this man is getting him exactly what he wants: exposure. His personal brand has shown that time and time again, if you do or say outrageous things, there will always be repercussions positive or not.  But that’s not necessarily the point. What are your opinions on Donald Trump’s branding? Is it successful? Is he still the worst? Let us know.

Malick Ba is currently living in Toronto, Canada. His academic background includes a Bachelor’s of Arts in Communications with a minor in Sociology from the University of Ottawa. Currently, Malick is a senior at Humber College and is looking forward to how he can leave his mark upon the marketing world. Follow him on Instagram, and connect with him on LinkedIn.

 

Malick Ba

The Relevancy of Kanye West

February 24, 2016

Yesterday I was having a conversation with a friend over Facebook chat over a recent status that I had about Kanye West. He explained to me that he wasn’t a fan of Mr.West’s personality, arrogance, and general musical direction (I don’t necessarily blame him). However the most interesting reason why he decided to slide in my DMs versus actually commenting on the status I had made about the South side Chicago super star was because he didn’t want to start an argument about the topic publicly knowing that myself or others on my friends’ list might turn it into a lengthy discussion.

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Hate him or love him, Kanye West has been the definition of a trending topic since he came onto the scene with his debut album in 2004. Everyone seems to have an opinion on Kanye. With the recent release of his seventh studio album titled “The Life of Pablo”, Kanye has had the entire world talking, but it isn’t necessarily just about his music. What is it about him that gets everyone so worked up? Is it his attitude? Is it his Twitter rants? Is it his music? All of the above perhaps, but I’ve been a fan of his music since his first album (The College Dropout) and it’s interesting to see not only his development as a musician over the last 15 years, but as a prominent figure in the pop culture world.

In my personal opinion, there’s no doubt that Kanye is an amazing human being. Every one of his albums tells a unique story about his personal experiences in life, racism in America, capitalism, etc. His venture into the fashion industry is evident that he’s trying to further himself as an artist. While I am trying to stay objective on this topic, what is absolutely insane to me is that with the excess amount of negative publicity he gets on literally a daily basis, he still finds himself in a position of power in pop culture.

Kanye West performing on Saturday Night Live

Kanye West performing on Saturday Night Live

He understands marketing and personal branding in a way that keeps him relevant regardless of what he does. That being said, he always seems to say (or do) things at the absolute worst possible times. I.E the Taylor Swift VMA situation in 2009, or even his recent comments regarding Bill Cosby (I’m not ok with these by the way).

It’s evident that Kanye uses his negative (and I mean horrible) image in the public to keep his brand relevant and talked about. I know people who have never listened to even a 30 second clip of one of his songs, but could write an entire essay on why they dislike him. Is this marketing? Better yet, is this good marketing? I’d say so. Marketing does not necessarily have to be about sales, or how much money you’re making. It’s about trending behaviours, personal branding, and staying relevant or talked about over time. Kanye West hits all of those categories. The fact that I’m even writing this right now is proof that it’s working.

Kanye West Interrupts Taylor Swift at the VMAs in 2009

Kanye West Interrupts Taylor Swift at the VMAs in 2009

We’ve all got an opinion on Kanye West, and I definitely get why people don’t like him. He looks like a buffoon in the media, he always acts up at the worst times, and his Twitter situation is what looks like to be a chronicle of someone who is actually going crazy. But that’s exactly why he’s still extremely relevant a decade later. He keeps talking, and we keep talking about it.

“People talk so much shit about me at barbershops; they forget to get their hair cut”

–Kanye West 2007

Malick Ba

Tim Hortons Is Way Too Canadian For It’s Own Good(will).

January 27, 2016

In the last month, we’ve seen some pretty big changes with everyone’s favourite thrift shop Goodwill. According to The Toronto Star , in the last few weeks the second hand clothing store has seen 16 stores and 10 donation centers in Ontario shut down without much communication from upper management. What I mean by that is Goodwill employees had shown up for their respective shifts only to find a note on the door saying that the store has been closed.  On top of that, one of the biggest issues with this that I have is that Goodwill is known to hire a plethora of individuals with disabilities. With a combination of horrible communication and laying off 430 employees (many with disabilities) from a public relations perspective, this looks really really bad. To flip the script a little bit, there is one organization in Canada that truly embodies what it means to be inclusive, helpful, and truly Canadian: Tim Hortons.

A note posted on the front of one of the 16 Goodwill stores closed.

A note posted on the front of one of the 16 Goodwill stores closed.

It has been reported by The Toronto Star that Mark Wafer, a Tim Hortons franchise owner of 6 has reached out on social media to (former) Goodwill employees  (disabled or nondisabled) and has been offering them a place to work. Wafer himself identifies as being deaf, only being able to listen with 20% hearing.

Mark Wafer and Employee

Mark Wafer and one of his employees.

This is not some sort of elaborate PR stunt. This is not a marketing tactic to get people to buy more coffee. This is a story of someone who is truly able to embody what it means to be a loving, helping Canadian. Whether he knows this or not, Wafer carries the characteristics of the type of person that Tim Hortons’ brand should want to employ in their organization in management positions. Canadian businesses should look to Wafer as to how they can improve employee relations, business practices, and public image.

This situation reminds us about the difference between good management, and bad management. Goodwill ownership has fumbled pretty hard with public image because of their colossal lack of effective communication. The Tim Hortons brand has a gem in Mark Wafer. This is a prime example of a person who can improve business and perpetuate the positive Tim Hortons’ culture of what a true, inclusive Canadian leader would do in a situation like this.

Somehow, Wafer made Tim Hortons even more Canadian eh?

Canada_flag

Malick Ba is currently an aspiring marketing professional living in Toronto, Canada. His academic background includes a Bachelor’s of Arts in Communications with a minor in Sociology from the University of Ottawa. Currently, Malick is a senior at Humber College and is looking forward to what he can provide to the marketing world upon graduation. Follow him onTwitterInstagram, and connect with him on LinkedIn.

Malick Ba

Uber Ethics

January 6, 2016

“Don’t drink and drive”, “find a safe way home”, “plan your route in advance”, are just a few of the phrases that are brought up a multitude of times over the holidays, and I’m totally on board. This New Year’s Eve, I knew that the smartest and most efficient thing that I could do to plan a safe way home would be to do what myself and millions of others do: catch an Uber.  Long after the countdown, I decided to split the fare three ways with a couple of friends to reduce the cost and save some cash. When we arranged for us to get picked up, we were bombarded with messages saying that between 12am-4am were “surge” periods and prices would be heavily inflated from their usual, more affordable ones because so many people were using it. Without giving much notice to that, we bypassed that screen and were on our way home only to notice that what is a normally about a $15-20 ride was about $50. While you can bring up the argument that we consented to having these prices be higher due to their surging periods, Uber has received some hefty criticism about this from people all around North America.

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An angry Uber user takes to Instagram to express his frustrations with surge pricing.

This is the first year that I’ve really become engaged using Uber and I’ve been nothing but a brand advocate. I love it and use it all the time. But In my opinion, this was not the most ethical thing that Uber could have done. After seeing so many Mothers Against Drunk Driving commercials on TV and Government PSAs about avoiding driving drunk on New Year’s Eve, in my opinion it doesn’t make sense to me that Uber would charge more during times when people need them the most. After doing some research, some users of the app have been charged up to 10x more than their normal fare that night. Is this not taking advantage of an inebriated target audience?

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To me, this is the first real negative experience that I’ve had with the company, and I’m really not impressed. I get that New Years is a busy time and I understand that at the end of the day the company is trying to maximize profits. However, the company could have done a few things to avoid having such negative publicity in the last few days. Building a brand isn’t always about making money and capitalizing off of people’s fortune. It’s about creating positive experiences, meaningful interactions, and generating awareness so that people will want to keep coming back. Those are also three things that Uber has been put in the negative spotlight for. Ethics and marketing can be tricky, but to me this one was a no brainer. So would I fix this? These are three things that I would have done if I were the head of marketing for Uber before New Year’s Eve:

  1. Partnering with M.A.D.D.

Partnering with Mothers Against Drunk Driving would be a great idea. By building a connection with a recognized anti-drinking and driving organization, it shows that as a brand you care about people avoiding potential harmful collisions under the influence. The two brands could work together to try and find a “ridesharing” program for people leaving towards the same area of the city ultimately making the ride cheaper.

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  1. Provide users with fare estimations before consenting surge prices.

The convenience of Uber is outstanding. It never seemed like an issue to me but after checking that my bill was 3x higher than it normally was on NYE, I was concerned. If the app showed an estimate (based on where my destination was) of how much my actual bill would be on the same page as the surge price consenting page, I may have reconsidered and avoided this situation entirely.

 

  1. Make rides free.

Hear me out. Uber has basically been built on positive brand awareness, so why stop when people need it the most? If Uber had made their rides free between let’s say between 12am-4am, I guarantee the same amount of people would have used it, if not more. Instead, the company actively chose to capitalize off of drunk people. If rides were free, they would have shown that they are serious about avoiding drunk driving and wanted to keep safety in society as their number one priority. This in turn would have further boosted their public image and most likely would have positioned them better against their competition. Of course they would lose out on a lot of extra cash in their pockets in the short term, but in the long term they may have seen more people using the app because of this good deed.

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Agree? Disagree? What do you think Uber could have done to avoid this situation?

Malick Ba is currently an aspiring marketing professional living in Toronto, Canada. His academic background includes a Bachelor’s of Arts in Communications with a minor in Sociology from the University of Ottawa. Currently, Malick is a senior at Humber College and is looking forward to what he can provide to the marketing world upon graduation. Follow him onTwitterInstagram, and connect with him on LinkedIn.