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Malick Ba

Horrible Christmas Advertising

December 12, 2017

Ahh Christmas time. A time of year when advertisers come together and attempt to create some of the more inspirational ads that consumers will see…but that’s not what this article will be about. What I want to touch on for this week’s feature is a couple of holiday ads that really stood out for being genuinely bad. I touched on some ads a few weeks ago in my article about emotional advertising during this time of year, but I wanted to take a quick step back and show you some of the worst holiday themed ads I’ve come across. For the purpose of this, you’ll only see inspirational/emotional ads versus tactical as they serve different purposes. Call me the bad ad holiday Grinch.


DFS: Making Christmas More Comfortable:

Ugh. I know that Santa Claus was born from a corporation but there’s nothing worse than brands using him in that way. As if it wasn’t bad enough. This awkward spot forces our favourite Christmas character in to a furniture factory where he takes on his new job as a furniture delivery man. The opportunity to inject creativity, humor, or any sense of fun into a bland commercial exists around this time of year, and especially with a character as original as Mr. Claus himself. This commercial misses the mark and turns him into a tactical sales message which I find do not track with most consumers around this time of year. I’ll give this one a 3/10.


Walmart Yodelling Cat:

Straight up…what in the actual f$*% is this ad trying to tell me? In 2011, Walmart (US) released this ad of a cat yodelling a classic Christmas track. After sitting through nearly a minute of a cat strangely singing at me, I still have no indication of what they are attempting to convey in this one. Not only does this really creep me out, it’s also unbearably annoying. This is a great example of an ad that went viral for the complete wrong reason. Although because it racked up a quite a number of views and caused a story, I’ll give this one a generous 2.5/10.


McDonalds Christmas (1980’s)

Wowie…this is a weird one, even weird for the time period. This early 80’s classic features Ronald McDonald creepily ice-skating with a bunch of kids. One loser kid obviously can’t skate very well so he becomes the outlier. After noticing that one of the kids is left behind, our good pal Ronald comes over and makes sure he’s included. The acting is terrible. Oh did I mention the number of animated woodland creatures that pop out of nowhere and have no real meaning or place in the spot? After seeing this, I’d rather hit up Burger King. 1/10.

So there you have it. The bad ad Grinch strikes again. Holidays aren’t always filled with the most glamorous advertising and I think the ones see above only prove that point.

Malick Ba is an advertising and marketing specialist currently living in Toronto, Canada. As an alumni of both the University of Ottawa and Humber College, Malick specializes in communications, advertising, and marketing. Currently, Malick works at an advertising agency in downtown Toronto and is looking forward to how he can further leave his mark upon the advertising and marketing world. Follow him on Instagram, and connect with him on LinkedIn.

Weekly Recap

Weekly Recap: November 18 – November 24

November 24, 2017

With the world of advertising and marketing moving so quickly, it can be hard to keep up with trends, ads, and more. Not to worry, we have you covered. This week, we recapped some of our favourite ads that happened throughout the week. Enjoy!

Written by Malick, Dakarai, and Nick

Apple gets in the holiday spirit with “Sway”.

D: The brand recently debuted their 90 second holiday commercial, “Sway”. It tells the classic story of boy meets girl, love at first sight, and all that jazz while also shedding light on a product benefit. The story follows a woman walking the cold and snowy streets. She stops to play the music on her phone and we see that she is sporting the Apple AirPods (wireless earbuds). While dancing to the tunes like she’s in her own world she bumps into a man that catches her eye. The woman takes one of her earbuds out and places it in his ear, and they begin dancing together like they’ve known each other for an eternity. It’s a great feel good spot in time for the holiday’s which does a great job demonstrating the AirPods. I mean, you never know when you’ll need to lend your soulmate an earbud, right?

M: At the end of the day, this ad is supposed to sell headphones, but makes a strong case for effective storytelling in advertising. I get certain brands try to be as tactical as possible and drive hard hitting messages, but this kind of emotional advertising breaks through so much clutter that exists this time of year. The importance of emotional advertising is underrated. It’s easy to always want to push sales especially considering this time of year when the goal is to make as much moola as possible. Honestly, this is one of my favourite Holiday spots of the year. Check it out below:


Sports Experts puts Montréal residents to the test

D: Did you know that 85% of people in Montréal choose the escalator over the stairs in their Metro transit? Okay, maybe that’s not surprising at all. However, Canadian sports retailer, Sports Experts capitalized on this problem by installing a digital activation in the steepest Metro subway station. The activation scans your body heat and is able to detect if you walked up the 200 stairs or if you simply took the escalator to the top. “The Thermal Discount” gave those brave enough to take the stairs discounts to Sports Experts based on the amount they sweat. This of course prompted many people to run up and down the stairs in hopes that they could increase their discount. At the end of the day, it’s a fun interactive idea that gets people in your store. I can confidently say that I would have tried this way too many times.

Amazon Gets Physical on Black Friday

N: Retail behemoth Amazon made its mark pioneering online retail.  They disrupted the idea that stores need an actual storefront.  And they’re disrupting the storefront again – pulling a 180 at the same time.

Their ‘Home of Black Friday’ pop-up in London could be the next step in the evolution of a store.  Because it’s less a store than it is an experience – admittedly an overused marketing trope, but it rings true.  And Amazon takes that idea into hyperdrive with their “store”.

The big one is QR codes, allowing consumers to scan and visit the product page while simultaneously inspecting the actual product – a true integration of the physical and digital shopping experiences.  Orders can then be delivered at home or in-store (within two hours).  Amazon also offers master classes, tastings, small business workshops, and product tutorials.  Designed to feel like a house, people can browse thematically while engaging with products in a natural setting – an idea borrowed from the likes of Ikea.

This may just feel like a pop-up, but don’t be surprised if this starts a trend for physical stores.


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. Think we missed something important? Let us know! Also, be sure to follow us on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter.

Dakarai Turner

Is Instagram a Young Man’s Game or is There Room for Your Parents?

December 27, 2016

The holiday weekend: a time for family, presents, and heated debates around the dinner table. While some families may have been arguing back and forth about President-elect Donald Trump, or any of the other crazy events of 2016, the subject of social media came up at our dinner table. With a wide range of ages present, Instagram managed to makes its way in the discussion. It goes without saying that Instagram is primarily a ‘young persons’ platform, with the majority of their active users fitting in the 18-34 age range. But as we’ve seen with Facebook and Twitter, the older generations tend to catch on eventually and next thing you know you’re getting a follow request from your parents. This was part of the discussion over the weekend. Instagram is a young persons game and is of no interest to those of a 50+ age range. Below is a visual representation of me listening to the family discussion knowing that I will spin it into an article later.


So what makes Instagram look like the hip teenager in comparison to other social networks like Facebook and Twitter?

Instagram is visually appealing

I appreciate you reading this and all of our other articles that can be found here, but most of the time people simply want to see images and videos. Instagram is great for it’s appealing photos and minimal text. This is the direction Facebook has been leaning towards. However, we still all know at least a few people that put their whole lives into their status updates. Visuals are the preferred forms of communication amongst a younger audience and this is exactly why you see the GIPHY extension popping up everywhere from iMessage to apps like Tinder. Images are universal and don’t carry a specific language.


Instagram is a form of identity

From personal experience I can say that when meeting someone new nowadays, the phrase “what’s your insta?” comes up almost every time if you want to get to know the person further.

Facebook acts as a birth certificate, while Instagram is your passport.

Instagram is that visual representation of the life you have, aspire to have, or simply want others to think you have. It is personal branding on steroids whether you stop to realize it or not. We are living in a time now where we want to be seen more than ever, and the one thing more important than being seen is how you’re being seen. If I look at your birth certificate I will understand the basics of who you are. Now if I look at your passport (assuming you’ve traveled), I can get a sense of your character.

Instagram is ad-free

Aside from sponsored ads that millennials filter out anyway, Instagram as a platform reads as ad-free. Brands have learned how to speak the language and adapt in the ways that young people use it. This means that their posts will generally not have giant 50% stickers on them or even prices for that matter. They will use their profiles for branding purposes in a non-intrusive fashion. One that blends well with your friends posts as well. Check out Air Jodan’s Instagram for a representation of this idea below.

⬛️ + ⬜️ The #AirJordan III Retro 'Black / White' drops Saturday.

A post shared by Jordan (@jumpman23) on


So what do you guys think? Are there some other reasons that Instagram isn’t appealing to an older audience yet? I’d love to know your thoughts! Leave a comment below or simply reply to the Facebook post here. Oh, and make sure to follow me on Instagram.


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.

Weekly Recap

Weekly Recap (December 17 – December 23)

December 23, 2016

With this being the week before Christmas, the world of advertising has been absolutely flooded. Not to worry, as usual The MAD Mix has you covered on some of the best ads and trends that have happened over the last week. Check some of our favourites below in our weekly recap!

Written by Malick and Dakarai.

Krazy Glue Christmas Tree

M: Talk about the product. Liberty Plaza in downtown New York featured a rather interesting and unique Christmas tree-The Krazy Kristmas Tree. This 25 ft tall tree (artificial) doesn’t have your typical ornaments, but rather you can find the tree to have a drum kit, a TV, and even a foosball table hanging from the branches. What purpose does this serve? Well agency partners Cohn & Wolfe came up with this creative idea to showcase what Krazy Glue can hold together. Typically we think of Krazy Glue being able to hold together pieces of wood, or things around our household. I think this is a great way to not only get into the Christmas spirit, but also demonstrate the strength of the product, but also showcase it in a unique way. Now how will they break this apart…? Check out the video below:

AT&T brings Santa to Facebook Live

D: Apparently less and less children believe in Santa each year, and AT&T wants to change that by showing children the magic of Santa right through their computer screens. The telecommunications company has launched “Santa Live” on Facebook today starting at noon. The live video will show Santa’s elves in the workshop, as well as Santa reading the names and stories of 200 lucky children that made the ‘nice list’. Parents were encouraged weeks before to sign their children up and provide other details. What’s great about this is that it ties AT&T with Santa and /christmas. Parents will remember the effect the brand had on their children for years to come. Check out “Santa Live” here.

Salvation Army Touchdown:

M: Sometimes unintentional brand endorsement and advertising can see some pretty large success. For those who watch the NFL, last weekend in their win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, The Dallas Cowboys gave the Salvation Army a huge promo via a touchdown celebration. Cowboys’ Ezekiel Elliot scored and immediately jumped into a Salvation Army kettle featured in the TD zone. Immediately, Salvation Army USA posted a video of Zeke in the kettle with a link where people could contribute to the organization. Unintentional PR is the best kind of PR.  Check out the video below:



The Skittles Pawn Shop Returns

D: Last year, Wriggley Canada opened up the Skittles Pawn Shop on Queen St in Toronto. This year, it’s back by popular demand with a few changes. Canadians are able to visit the pawn shop with their unwanted Christmas gifts and exchange them for none other than packages of Skittles. Does it get any better? The amount of Skittles you receive will be determined based on the value of the unwanted gift. For those that can’t make it in person, you are able to upload a photo to of your unwanted gift and receive in real-time an estimate of its value in Skittles. Needless to say if I’m in the area I will have to give this pawn shop a visit. I had to test out the site myself, see what my watch is worth below!


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. Think we missed something important? Let us know! Also, be sure to follow us on Facebook here. Happy Holidays!

Weekly Recap

Weekly Recap (December 10 – December 16)

December 16, 2016

It’s the holiday season, and that means tons of action in the world of advertising and marketing. Not to worry, The MAD Mix always has you covered on anything you might have missed. Check out some of our favourite ads, trends, and more in our weekly recap!

WestJet Christmas Miracle

M: Wow-this one is powerful. We all remember the tragic fires that devastated the residents of Fort McMurray earlier this year. Families lost their homes, and some lost their lives-but none gave up hope. This Christmas, WestJet decided to revisit some of the residents in a creative, and touching way. Residents of Fort McMurray were treated to a Christmas themed event were the community could come together and spend time with their families and friends. However, towards the end of the night,  something special happened. As the community were leaving the event, they were surprised by being given gifts from the WestJet Santa in which they received wonderful family memorabilia that fell from the sky. In addition, what makes this even more special is that each of these families were given a free flight to visit their loved ones this holiday. Christmas is a time for giving, and WestJet touched the country with this wonderful campaign. It’s nice to see bigger brands step up and give back to communities who have lost everything. Good job WestJet. Check out the video below:

The NBA Presents: “The Most Dunktastic Time of the year”

D: Christmas Day is a very special moment. Not only do you receive gifts, and spend time with your family, but you also get to watch some of the most anticipated and fun NBA games of the season. The NBA always packs the leagues best teams and the most sought after match-ups on Christmas Day. For example, this year you have the Cavaliers vs Warriors which is essentially a repeat of last year’s NBA finals that broke viewership records. To promote the games this year they’ve launched a :30 second ad that features NBA players such as Blake Griffin, Dwyane Wade, and Kevin Love singing their new take on the famous carol, “the most wonderful time of the year”. This is one of those spots that as an NBA fan you just have to enjoy. Check out the spot below!


One Shower-VR Experience

M:If you’re a creative person like myself, sometimes coming up with fresh ideas on the spot can be kind of difficult. However, there’s always one spot that a lot of people drawn inspiration from every day…the shower. Vancouver’s Rethink agency made a VR experience dedicated to just that. The VR driven initiative allows you to hypothetically “hop in the shower” at any point in time when you’re trying to get those creative juices flowing. Personally I think this is pretty hilarious. You can be at your desk at work or even in the library studying, and take a virtual shower. That’s some funny imagery right there folks. Check out the video below:

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. Think we missed something important? Let us know! Also, be sure to follow us on Facebook here. Happy Holidays!

Malick Ba

The Relationship Between Consumerism and Christmas

November 22, 2016

The day after Halloween, I woke up and decided to grab a coffee from my local Starbucks and noticed a subtle difference in their menu. What seemed like overnight, they switched their classic fall feature beverage-the pumpkin spice latte- with holiday inspired drinks and cups. I love the holidays, but I ask this question every year: why so early? Why November? Can’t businesses wait until December before their Christmas promotions roll out? While it was a small change, ultimately it got me thinking about Christmas time, huge dinners, and most importantly: buying gifts.


I feel like Christmas is a special time-a time for sharing, peace, and prosperity. While big businesses like Starbucks look like they are trying to get you into the Christmas spirit, the point of their promotions is all positioning. In the advertising & marketing world, positioning is a term that describes the consumers understanding of a brand from their point of view. The strategy in positioning at Christmas time shows that by promoting early and getting consumers into the Christmas mindset, when it comes down to finding the best sale, or product to buy, chances are they’ll remember the stores that were hitting them back in early November.


There is no doubt that Christmas is a huge time for business-arguably the biggest and most important time of year for sales. My experience at Starbucks really shows that massive corporations are always looking to capitalize at this time of year for as long as possible. Think about it: November 1st hits and its out with Halloween and in with Christmas in an instant. It’s not just Starbucks either. Visit your local mall and I guarantee that the Christmas “theme” is in full effect. It’s hard to argue that consumerism is a massive part of Christmas time. What the most successful businesses like Starbucks, Best Buy, or Apple (just to give a few examples) have done year after year is paired Christmas time with spending money in the mind of the consumer. From my perspective, visiting malls or electronics stores scouting for the best deals has almost become more of a tradition for me than what the holidays are actually supposed to be about.


Don’t get me wrong, I love the holidays but when I can’t even finish my pumpkin spice latte before the Starbucks barista puts on a holiday outfit, maybe it’s a bit too early. I understand that the idea of positioning is to get me in the mood for Christmas which means spending more money, but it’s the same thing every year. The concept of materialism will always exist at Christmas time, but maybe it’s time to dial things back a bit and focus on what the holidays are really about: spending time with your family’s and not just spending money. Oh, and whoever said it was the most wonderful time of the year clearly hasn’t spent 20 minutes trying to find a parking spot at the mall…

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 in Toronto 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.


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.


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.

Dakarai Turner

Santa Changed…A Lot!

December 29, 2015

A look intro the viral success of the #YorkdaleFashionSanta


2015 – The year where Santa Claus started wearing less and going out more. Now that I got my daily Drake reference in, let’s talk about the Fashion Santa at Yorkdale Shopping Centre in Toronto this past Christmas.

Paul Mason, a Canadian model for over 30 years, took the Internet by storm and went viral when he suited up in designer clothing, sporting the white beard and partnefashion-santaring with Yorkdale Shopping Centre to be the “Fashion Santa” of the mall. Essentially Paul is seen and branded as a Santa for adults. A Santa that doesn’t sit down, and you don’t have to pay to see. While the traditional Santa sits with kids on his lap asking them if they’ve been naughty or nice, Fashion Santa is posted up encouraging the older audience to pull their phones out and snap a photo with him.

If you’re like me, you’re wondering, “Okay cool, but what’s the purpose behind this?”

For every picture taken with Fashion Santa including the hashtag #YorkdaleFashionSanta, Yorkdale will donate $1 CAD to the Sick Kids Foundation.

It has gotten to the point where the line to meet the new revamped Santa has surpassed the line to sit down on the lap of the traditional Santa. I mean, just check out Justin Bieber’s picture with Fashion Santa (The moment I started to take notice of course)

justin bieber fashion santa

Paul Mason has received all sorts of media attention, including articles in the Huffington Post, The Toronto Star, and TIME Magazine, just to name a few. Can’t forget the community articles on Buzzfeed where women speak about how “irresistible he is”.

Yorkdale teaming up with Paul Mason has done a fantastic job. A campaign such as this one brings a fun and approachable feel during the busiest and most important time of the year for a shopping centre. Having the Fashion Santa has made it easier for Torontonians to choose which mall to start/finish their Christmas shopping. Not only that, but it gives people a reason to stay longer, which is key for any business. Attaching the donations to Sick Kids is a great way to establish a positive and caring corporate image for Yorkdale, on top of the fact that it is simply helping those in need. Similar to initiatives done by Bell with the #BellLetsTalk campaign, getting people to speak about your brand in a positive fashion and have it trend on social media will do nothing but good.

Fashion Santa is an interesting spin on something we all have grown up on, learned to love, and now watch young kids enjoy. Maybe he needs a change and this will be a continuous trend, or maybe this is just something fun to enjoy for the moment. Regardless, Paul Mason and Yorkdale have gone viral for all the right reasons.

Did you get a chance to take a picture with #FashionSanta?


Dakarai Turner (Dak) is an ambitious professional approaching his final year of the Advertising & Marketing Communications program at Humber College. Over the course of the summer, Dakarai spent his time working as a Communications Intern for the digital and marketing agency thinkCOMPASS, as well as the Canadian Association of Marketing Professionals as a Marketing Coordinator. Follow him on TwitterInstagram, and connect on LinkedIn to learn more about him.