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The Justice League of Advertising

October 3, 2017

The Justice League of Advertising and Marketing.

For someone who is looking to join the field of advertising and marketing, you might need to know a couple of things. Just to be clear this is a fun article and does not include all advertising and marketing mediums as the article would be a lot long. As kids, most of us had our favorite hero, someone we looked up, whether they were Superheroes or for you young aspiring advertisers the cast of MAD Men. For this article, we will be sticking to superheroes and for anyone who has been living under a rock since 2008, you’ll know that Superhero movies are have usually been blockbusters. Of course, there are a few exceptions (Green Lantern) but for the most part are global successes. Marvel and Disney have done a wonderful job with their releases (Iron Man, Thor, SpiderMan) and the Avenger Films that have been commercial success but also relatively well received films. Then you have DC Comics and their upcoming superhero team up movie “The Justice League” which is being released in November of 2017. The Justice League has some of the world’s most recognizable superheroes such as; Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash and Green Lantern. As excited as I am to watch this movie, lets discuss the Justice League of Advertising and Marketing.

Image result for justice league



Image result for Superman


Broadcast Advertising is Superman

Superman is arguably the world’s most recognizable superhero, I mean you can argue it but at the same time why would you.  Similarly, how broadcast media has been one of the most popular advertising mediums since its inception. Let’s talk about Television, there continues to be constant chatter about how T.V is a dying medium because of all the new subscriptions programs, torrents, android boxes and everything else in between. With all that in mind, T.V remains as one of the go to places that advertisers prefer when seeking mass awareness. There are Fortune 500 Companies are global brands that arguably do not need to be on T.V. Yet, the value and awareness that T.V generates simply cannot be overlooked. Now take a second to imagine what the Justice league would look like without Superman, would they be known the same way without him? Probably not, Superman made is the face of DC Comics and Superheroes. Without a Superman, you just wouldn’t be as strong. The reality is you can run a campaign without T.V and it can be a successful one, and The Justice League would be Ok without Superman, but if you have the option to have Superman, would you turn it down? Probably not, it is the same with TV, if you have the means to use it, use it. If used effectively will greatly benefit your campaign. Just remember, Superman isn’t perfect and has Kryptonite as a weakness, a that TV isn’t the end all be all of achieving a successful campaign.


Image result for TV


Continue Reading…

Dakarai Turner

4:44 by Jay Z – Does Tidal’s Exclusive Content Work?

July 11, 2017

Maybe you’ve heard of a relatively unknown artist named Jay Z dropping his 13th studio album ‘4:44’ a couple of weeks ago. If you have, chances are a good portion of you weren’t able to listen to it. And why’s that? Because ‘4:44’ was made as a Tidal exclusive, meaning it was only available to their subscribers. So for the majority of us that don’t stream music, or use other platforms such as Spotify, Apple Music, or Google Play, we had to wait a full week later until it was available to the rest of the public (except Jay Z doesn’t like Spotify so they’ll never get it). Picture it like watching a wild party happening every day knowing you won’t be able to join it for a full week. The question is: is that desire enough for you to pay for entry? Do you need to listen to something so bad immediately that you’re willing to pay for a monthly Tidal membership, or can you simply wait the full week?

That would be easy to answer if the album wasn’t trending on Twitter with a plethora of different lyrics being tweeted out and solved as if they were written in code. This right here creates FOMO. Tidal hopes that creating FOMO is enough to bring you over to their side.

SO does this work? It’s too early to tell as 4:44 was just recently released, but we can take it back to last year when Kanye West released ‘The Life of Pablo’, a Tidal exclusive. It was reported that Tidal subscribers jumped from 1 Million to 2.5 Million after its release. Keep in mind that this was during a time when a 3 month free trial was being made available, but it would still be a major success if they could retain half of those new members.

Tidal has positioned themselves as that too cool for school club that attracts new users through exclusive content. This is through concerts, video, new music, playlists, etc. With that being said, they still only have 3 million users while Apple Music and Spotify carry over 20 million users respectively. So why isn’t this working for them? This exclusive strategy works just about everywhere else from clothing, tech, automotive, and more.

The issue starts from the product and the way its presented. Tidal has rubbed people the wrong way from the start with their botched product launch. Back in 2015 the service was presented as the second coming of christ. A group of top tier and very wealthy musicians where speaking about how the other streaming services do not pay the artists enough and that Tidal is the solution with their pricing model that was twice that of their competitors.

This right here is a brand and audience disconnect.

I truly believe that this is where Tidal went wrong. At first you could say that Spotify had too large of a grasp on the music streaming market. However, Apple Music launched after Tidal and they have done exceptionally well, so there goes that argument. Exclusive content drives sales when people like the brand and the product. Apple Music offers tons of exclusive albums such as Drake’s ‘More Life’ which broke a streaming record with 300 million worldwide streams in its first week. The service also carries exclusive radio shows with Beats 1.

Will 4:44 bump up Tidal’s subscribers? Sure, but as a service they need to come up with a way to increase subscribers aside from waiting on one of their big name artists to release an exclusive album. If not, they’ll be chasing the likes of Apple, Spotify, and Google forever. What do you guys think? Are you motivated to sign up for a service just to be one of the first ones to use on of their products?


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.

Malick Ba

The Key to Content

May 16, 2017

Last night I was locked into game 7 of the NBA playoffs between the Washington Wizards and Boston Celtics. After the game, I tuned into one of my absolute favourite sports related Instagram accounts, Bleacher Report. There have to be a million Instagram accounts dedicated to providing followers with content relative to highlights, scores, etc, etc, etc. Bleacher Report is a bit different. Immediately after a big game 7 victory by the Celtics, BR posted the famous “How do you like them apples” scene from the film Good Will Hunting…but edited the clip to have super-star Isaiah Thomas as Matt Damon in the scene with the Washington Wizards team on the inside of the café. I don’t do the clip justice by describing it, so check it out here under “How do you like them apples?”

BR is known for these swift, precise, and hilarious edits. If you’re into sports, I seriously suggest you check it out. But more importantly, it got me thinking about how these factors weigh into producing content. So what’s the secret? Do you need a million dollar budget to produce clips like this? Absolutely not (but it certainly helps).

What makes good content, good content? Timing helps. Within moments after the game, I saw BR post that clip. Knowing that your audience will immediately be opening Instagram right after the game means that they can get immediately exposed to some new posts. I can’t lie, if you’re an account like BR, you have to be lightning quick in posting content that’s 1) relevant to context. 2) Engaging (funny/honest) or 3) Quality.

Certainly, factors like scheduling, editing, etc are all important when producing content online. This is a way for content producers to measure the quality of their work. But when it comes down to it, no one wants to see anything generic, boring, or not entertaining. It’s as simple as just understanding who you’re trying to engage, and from there building something that your audience might want to look at. People focus so much on tricks to gaining followers or likes, but won’t take the time to actually put in work. You can’t expect good grades if you don’t study for the test right? The most successful online content producers take the time to make sure the work they are putting is relevant to who they want to look at their stuff. Now obviously it takes a lot of time to actually make sure what you’re putting out there is quality. It takes time to get good at what you want to be doing. So what IS the secret? There is none. Just do the work.

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.

Malick Ba

Drugs, Danger, and Dominance-Why We Are All Obsessed With Narcos

September 27, 2016

*Warning-this article contains explicit content*

First and foremost, can we talk about how good Netflix is at creating addicting original content? If you didn’t know already, Narcos is an original crime series on Netflix that came out last year. It tells the story of Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar’s control over the cocaine trafficking industry out of Columbia into the United States in the 70’s and 80’s. When I think of crime TV, I think of shows like Law and Order, or CSI-but Narcos is one like none other. Here’s an examination of why Narcos stands out as one of the most popular shows on the planet right now.

pabloDrug Culture

Existing completely outside of the online/television medium, Narcos glorifies an aspect of North American society that is seen as controversial-the popularization of drug culture. The producers of the show are definitely not blind to the fact that drug culture in Canada and the United States is most certainly “cool” or popular. While it is a bit taboo to say, drugs and drug smuggling has always had a sense of danger, hustling, and urban culture associated with it.  If you don’t believe me, check out these hype tracks that basically glorify being a drug dealer:

Cut It – O.T. Genesis ft. Young Dolph


El Chapo Jr – 2 Chainz

So as you can tell within about :30 seconds, both of these songs revolve around drug culture, trapping, and making bank which in turn describes what Escobar’s life was all about in a nutshell. While this level of hip-hop music differs significantly from what Narcos is all about, I think it’s the sense of underground power, money, and respect that comes out of drug culture that makes it appealing-especially to look into the window of. In no way am I condoning the use of drugs, but it would be lying to think that this type of culture isn’t already popularized in today’s society-Narcos being an excellent example of that.



Stepping away from the popularization of drug culture, Narcos is a series that only furthers Netflix’s dominance in the online streaming industry. With a story that flips the traditional crime show on its head by featuring the villain vs the protagonist (one can argue here that Escobar is the protagonist-but for this sake lets just say he’s the bad guy) and combines that with an intriguing plot line full of danger, drugs, and violence-what isn’t to like? It’s popular and is binge-watch worthy for so many different reasons. Season 2’s trailer does a great job of capturing the essence of what the show is all about:

Essentially, Narcos really captures a sense of authenticity, which in my opinion can’t always be captured with traditional television viewing. It tells a story of violence, mystery, and drugs in a way like no other popular television show that I’ve ever seen before. So while the show did have some promotion leading into its latest season, I think its less about how its promoted, but rather what its promoting-good content and drugs.


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.

Malick Ba

Tasty Takeover

August 16, 2016

In the last year or so, I’ve gotten really into cooking. Straight up if you asked me what my favourite things to watch on TV it would probably be some Gordon Ramsay show or Chopped. I always liked those programs because there was something interesting to learn about food. But as an amateur (and by amateur I mean reeeaaally amateur) chef, watching these shows made me realize how advanced some of the dishes could get. I always tried to learn from the chefs from those huge TV shows, but could never even come close to making some of the dishes. After about my 27th screw up on some sort of eloquent Egyptian dessert, I thought that there had to be an easier way for me to learn about how to make some bomb food.

gordon ramsay gif

This is where Tasty came in. If you’ve been on the internet at least once in the last few years, you’ll notice these quick, quirky, and fun videos popping up all over social media on how to make simple dishes, really easily. But it’s become more than just that. They’ve tailored their content perfectly to capture a millennial audience and those who are always on the go. What I think has made Tasty to become one of the biggest “foodie” channels on the internet is the way that they market themselves combined with how they’ve really zoned in on their target audience.

tasty gif

Going beyond just watching their content, Tasty has blown up primarily to their successes with using Facebook optimization as their key to success. Rather than simply posting links to their website, Tasty builds their content with the purpose of posting directly to their social media platforms (Facebook, Pinterest, Snapchat, Instagram). In a way, they’ve really honed in on how to optimize towards a Facebook or Instagram page versus their own website. I didn’t even know Tasty was operated by Buzzfeed until months after I followed them. According to, Tasty has utilized Facebook’s algorithms in a way that keeps them actually on their page longer than having them go to a different website. Which is attributed to their insane success on their Facebook page versus their own website.  Facebook also allows you to simply tag your friends in a video of something like this:


Ok after seeing that, its right back to the content. Tasty’s content is so successful because of how fresh it is. Before Tasty, I didn’t know of any methods to broaden my chef skills other than watching Gordon Ramsay scream at someone because their scallops were undercooked.


Tasty gives people like me, someone who is constantly on the move and doesn’t necessarily want to look through a massive cookbook, a way to learn new and simple recipes while simply just browsing social media. Their visuals allow me to comprehend how to make something simple, very quickly. What started out to be a small project, but quickly became one of my (and over 30 million people) favourite channels to follow on Instagram and Facebook alone. The combination of using social media optimization and brilliant (and delicious) content has kept me hooked, but more importantly: learning in a fun way.  Lets be honest, who wouldn’t love being tagged in a video of mac and cheese?


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.

Malick Ba

The Secret To Going Viral

June 7, 2016

I’ve decided to finally tackle what seems to be the life long question in the advertising and marketing world: how do you get your product/campaign/content to go viral? As someone whose grown up with the internet, there is one simple answer for this: you can’t. Marketers invest so much money and time into trying to make their campaigns be the next ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, but at the end of the day, there is no formula for it. There’s a certain quality about viral campaigns, videos, or memes that simply just catch on because they do. Ultimately I think that the things that make content viral is a combination of either effectiveness, call to action, or humour, or all of the above.

I’m on Instagram a lot, and that place is basically a hub for viral content-mostly giphy (4)memes. Its interesting to see the types of things that go viral even if they aren’t promoted by a huge brand. At the top of my head, some of the biggest viral content on Instagram has been completely random. Think about it: Damn Daniel, the crying Jordan meme, and especially the sponge-gar meme that’s blown up as of late.This isn’t content that’s created with any intention of becoming something bigger than a joke, but that’s what makes it so interesting. Marketers focus on formulas, data, and algorithms when attempting to create campaigns that will be the next big thing, but really there is no way to effectively quantify why “Damn Daniel” was even a thing. If anything, it’s the outcomes that are the most important. The kids behind that entire joke got a life time supply of Vans for basically accidently promoting their product all over the internet.

To give a personal example, I was watching a hockey game at some point last year and had made a tweet about one of the players. About 10 minutes later I had gotten a notification on my phone that I had it had been retweeted a couple of times. I didn’t think anything of it. About an hour later, my phone would not stop buzzing. To my surprise, my harmless tweet had over 50 retweets and about 100 favourites (or “likes” now). Apparently a fan account of the player I commented on had retweeted me onto their network so all of their followers had seen it and then done the same. I was astonished, and actually kind of excited that something I said actually kind of had some substance to it (it really didn’t).


So really, there is no way to make your content, campaigns, or products go viral on purpose. Let’s be honest, if it were that easy to achieve, then everyone would do it. It takes a certain element, a certain quality to content that has to do with a combination of good timing, appropriation to specific context, and the effectiveness of whatever it is one is trying to promote. That being said, if you see The MAD Mix go viral, it wasn’t by accident-its simply because Dak and I have obviously mastered how its done. At least that’s what we want you to think…


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.


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.

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.