Browsing Tag


Dakarai Turner

New Year, New Controversy: Is H&M Racist?

January 9, 2018

It hasn’t even been two weeks but here we go. Yet another racially insensitive image from a well known brand has caused an uproar. Last year it was ads from Nivea, Pepsi, and Dove. This year we have H&M starting the inevitable list. However, this time it’s not even an ad that’s the problem. It’s a product featured of a young black boy. For those unaware, a Twitter user spotted an image of a black child sporting a hoodie that reads “coolest monkey in the jungle” on the H&M UK site.

Absolutely jaw dropping. Not only are people on social media tearing H&M apart, but the brand is also losing celebrity collaborators in the process. The Weeknd, who debuted a collaboration with H&M last year has announced that he’ll no longer be working with them in the future. Who’s next? Moments like these certainly put pressure on celebrities that are affiliated with the brand. Do you stay silent and let it boil over, or do you take a stand and cut ties? For example, would you look at Kevin Hart differently if he chose to not do anything in the midst of all of this? For context, Kevin and David Beckham collaborated with H&M for their fall collection.

I’ve tried my best every time something like this happens to think of how it happened in the first place. With a company as big as H&M, a product shot doesn’t just simply make its way to the website. There are processed (or at least should be). Rounds of approvals along the way in which at least one person should have questioned this image. Producer and The Roots member, QuestLove took to Instagram to say the following “all this tells me about @HM is that the seats in the boardroom lack something…wanna take a guess?”. The answer is people of colour. Although we’re starting to see more diverse groups in the advertising and marketing industry, it takes these people being decision makers to stop an image like this one from going out to the masses.

Everyone’s upset, so what happens next?
  • H&M has issued an official written apology, however, according to the public comments people are not buying it.
  • If consumers don’t forget about this in two days, we’ll actually see more celebrities drop out of their H&M partnerships and legitimate boycotts.
  • On the flip side, we might even see less diversity used amongst brands. If you’re scratching your head at this point, hear me out. We’ve seen the effect these situations have on a brand. Being called racist from your consumers doesn’t help you in any way. Is it so crazy to imagine that in making an effort to not offend certain races, brands will simply minimize the use of those races in their ads? I mean, even more-so than they already do of course.
Is H&M racist?

Racist? No. Culturally ignorant and insensitive? Absolutely. To put it simply, they messed up in a major way. During a time where racial sensitivity is high, brands need to take the extra step to ensure they aren’t offending a whole group of people. Common sense, am I right? At the end of the day you have to ask, “how many people did this have to pass through?”. “Did the boy’s parents approve the final image?” “How’s H&M going to repair the damages?”. I don’t have the answer to these questions, but it’s important that they’re asked.


Dakarai is an ambitious professional with a passion for advertising and marketing, and is currently employed in account services 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

The Keys to a Successful Rebrand: Freedom Mobile

December 5, 2017

*Disclaimer* I do not work for Freedom Mobile, and they are not my service provider.

Now that we got that out of the way, let me paint the picture – you’re in grade school coming back from summer break. New clothes, new shoes, and a new attitude. You heard that people previously thought you had B.O, well now you found a cologne that works for you. Now this, this is the perfect rebrand. This may be a more juvenile example but at its core it holds its own in comparison to some of the world’s biggest brands.

A rebrand is creating a new look and feel for an existing product or organization. Why do they exist? For the same reason that we all come back to school looking fresh and brand new after the summer break. It’s an opportunity to reposition a brand, start over in some cases, or reach a new audience. Now let’s back up to why this article is being written. In a conversation with a friend last weekend, they had mentioned they were switching phone plans to Freedom Mobile (formerly known as Wind Mobile). All of the previous backlash they’ve gotten regarding lack of phone service outside of large cities came to mind and I immediately made fun of him.

Through him explaining the changes they made and actually speaking to a representative, the rebrand began to make sense. What I originally thought was a brand rebranding for the sake of a rebrand was now quite impressive. What was the negative feedback? Wind Mobile doesn’t allow consumers the freedom to be all over Ontario without inferior service. The solution? Fixing this issue and using the consumer problem as an asset in rebranding as Freedom Wireless. Job well done. Sometimes the best way to manage the conversation is to start over. Sure, Wind Mobile could improve their service under the same name and design system, but it just works that much better when everything else is new and more improved. There will always be the people that can never look past Wind Mobile, but I’m willing to bet the majority of us would now judge them as Freedom Mobile.

Rebrands are tough to put it simply. As always in the social media era there’s always the fear of consumer backlash like GAP back in 2010. The brand randomly unveiled a new logo after 20 years and the public was not having at. Essentially due to the consumer response, the brand switched their logo back in under a week


This is a clear example of “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”. I mean just think of how much money the brand paid a design agency to come up with the new concept, just to have it shoved back in their face by their own customers and analyzed by marketers for years as a classic example of a poor rebrand.

Rebrands are all around us. From Instagram changing their logo to Uber rebranding their services and app last year. When there’s an opportunity to shake things up, it should be taken. With that being said, there should be an objective to the rebrand. Wind Mobile wanted to change consumer perceptions. The question is, do you think they’ve succeeded?



Dakarai is an ambitious professional with a passion for advertising and marketing, and is currently employed in account services 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 (September 9 – September 15)

September 15, 2017

In the world of advertising and marketing, a lot can happen in a week-not to worry, we have you covered. Check out some of the biggest trends, ads, and stories that have been happened this week in our recap below!

Written by: Malick and Dak


Lululemon Releases Their First Male Focused Campaign

D: Lululemon, the brand rightfully associated with woman’s yoga pants is starting to shine light on the fact that they also have men’s clothing with their new campaign. I for one can admit I realized this for the first time a few months ago, and I’m sure there are tons of other men that still think it’s only a women’s brand. Their new campaign “Strength to Be” questions the status quo of what it means to be a man and “manly”. This reinforces the idea that a man can be much more than simply their physical strength. Each video ad features a different athlete, public figure, or musician telling a story about how they’ve overcome adversity with internal strength and self-awareness. One of the examples is Orlando Cruz, who was the first boxer to come out publicly while still fighting. He describes the fear he had initially and what it took for him to make that announcement. Check out a couple of the spots below.

Australian Lamb

M: Literally what did I just watch? Recently, an Australian lamb company had released one of the most bizarre commercials I’ve seen in a while. The spot depicts several religious figures including Jesus, Zeus, Moses and more, gathered around a table sharing a meal with who seems to be an ordinary woman. The spot opens with the “gods” saying how much they love the food with a response from the woman saying “Well that’s a relief. It’s a nightmare catering to you lot with all your dietary requirement.” Littered with even more terrible religious jokes, this spot has received a number of complaints from people offended about the misrepresentation of their god and religion in an oversimplified way. I thought this had to be one of the strangest ideas for an ad in a while. Knowing that a number of people hold their religious beliefs very close to them, I don’t see how this made it through any sort of approval process. Not only is it kind of offensive, but it’s just doesn’t deliver. I’ll leave it to you to judge, check out the spot below:

Apple releases “Dear Apple”, a short film

D: Coming hot off the Apple event earlier this week where the brand announced the iPhone 8 and iPhone X comes a short film centred around the Apple Watch. “Dear Apple” details not only the functional benefits of the tech but also dives into the emotional benefits. The concept of the film follows real customers narrating real letters they’ve sent in to Apple thanking them for a particular situation. The majority of the stories are surrounding the health benefits of the watch as it will give you key statistics that can help with your workout. One of the stories featured in the film is of a man that was severely injured in a car accident that left his car flipped on its side. He details how he was able to use the “SOS” feature on the Apple Watch to get help. Brilliant idea for the film!


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 FacebookInstagram, and Twitter.

Dakarai Turner

The Trump Effect: How the Use of Trump’s Name Can Effect a Brand

January 24, 2017

The Trump Effect: It’s sort of like the Midas Touch but instead of gold, everything President Donald Trump touches turns to, let’s say coal for now. Whether the coal is evident in the brands that publicly support Trump being boycotted or the musicians agreeing to perform at his inauguration being crucified online, forcing them to change their decision. The Trump effect is alive and well, and brand’s should learn to keep their distance and avoid offering support of the 45th President at this point. The United States are still in quite the divide, with Americans trying to sniff out and weed out the closet Trump supporters out of their lives.

Back in 2016, sportswear company New Balance announced that they felt that “things were going to move in the right direction” with Trump in power, and this narrative quickly turned into “New Balance is the first major brand to publicly endorse Donald Trump after the election”. To add more context, the Vice President of Communications for New Balance was referring to Trump’s opposition of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. This is a trade deal that essentially awards production overseas. Seems fair enough to be in support of Trump and his stance when your company produces shoes locally right? Wrong.

As usual, people flocked to Twitter to upload videos of themselves burning New Balance shoes, attempting to flush the shoes down the toilet, or flat out vowing to never buy another pair. A few days later, New Balance tweeted out a statement in an attempt to clarify their position and repair damages. The Trump Effect is no joke.

Most recently, Trump’s name has been involved with retail company L.L. Bean. One of the members of the company board, Linda Bean donated money to the Trump foundation, and there was an uproar on social media once people found out. Grab Your Wallet, a liberal group has been encouraging people to boycott L.L. Bean. Too much, or is it justified? You can check out the response L.L. Bean made to all of this here.

Last week, Trump did his best to repair the damages of the inevitable “Trump Effect” and sent out a tweet encouraging people to support L.L. Bean.

Which brand will The Trump Effect take over next? In general, it’s probably a fairly good rule to avoid political discussion as a brand and to not choose sides. Especially with Donald Trump being such a polarizing figure, choosing to endorse him or to publicly reject him alienates a good amount of your consumers in practically all sectors. The Trump Effect represents division and avoidance, and it works both ways. Shares of General Motors have dropped after the President tweeted about the fact the Chevy Cruze is manufactured in Mexico and not The United States.

Simply put, there are certain things that are just better left unsaid. My prediction is that we will continue seeing brands support/reject Trump throughout the year. The Trump Effect stops for no one. Drop us a comment below with your thoughts!


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

The Air Miles Expiring Policy: Shady or Fair?

December 13, 2016

Air Miles, a Canadian based rewards program that many of us are accustomed to using at grocery stores and other commonly frequented check-outs. In case you weren’t aware, the company has been under fire for the better half of 2016 due to their exchange policy that seemed like the best kept secret. Essentially, in 2011 the company announced that an expiry policy would come into effect for unused points at the end of 2016. Anything wrong with this? Not at all. The problem many Canadians found was that for starters, there was no reminder when 2016 came around.

This is where things get tricky. Should Air Miles have done a better job with their marketing efforts and reminded the public about this deadline, or should it all rest on the individual? Due to CBC reporting the news in February, this was how many people found out that this expiry policy even existed in the first place. Now what do you do? Look at all the points you’ve accumulated and settle for mediocre items instead of the big vacation you’ve been saving up years for. If it ended here, it wouldn’t be so bad.

Here is where we get to the even greater issue. Air Miles hit the public with a “just kidding” (okay not really). The company announced last week that they would be getting rid of the expiring policy due to public outcry as well as a pending Ontario legislation that would ban expiry policies for reward programs. I mean, could you imagine having to waste your points on items that you didn’t really want in fear that they would disappear..just to learn that you could have kept your points. On top of this, not getting a refund on the items that you haven’t even received yet? Yikes.

Quick disclaimer: I’ve never had an Air Miles card in my life.

I understand that technically Air Mile’s didn’t do anything wrong here. They told the public that this expiry would be happening years ago, and they followed through as best as they could until unforeseeable circumstances caused them to change their decision. However, from a branding point of view, do you really want to piss off such a high number of customers that have been loyal for decades? It seems as though Air Miles has taken the “don’t like it, too bad” stance, and it’s very unfortunate. Obviously, returning items and points to all outraged customers would not be ideal for Air Miles. However, this may be a situation where they need to bite the bullet.

There can be something said about the duty companies owe to their customers. Whether Air Miles meant to sweep things under the rug and not offer a reminder about their expiry policy or not is something we’ll never know the answer to. One thing to remember is this is simply a luxury and clearly not the end of the world. Depending on a loyalty program to fund your dream vacation for decades might not be the best course of action for next time.

What do you guys think? Should Air Miles offer up a real apology and attempt to fix this mess, or does it all lie on the consumers hands for simply not being more aware? Let us know in the comments section below, or give us a comment on our Facebook post!



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 (May 21st – May 27th)

May 27, 2016

Want to stay up-to-date with the new trends, products, campaigns, announcements and more throughout this past week? Say no more, we got you covered with our first ever weekly recap.

Written by Malick, and Dakarai.


Budweiser’s Venture Into the Non-Alcoholic Beer Market

M: Canadians will now be presented with the opportunity to try Budweiser’s “Prohibition Brew”-a non-alcoholic beer that the king of beers has developed. While I personally would probably never buy this product, I just wanted to look over the actual budweisermarketing of this and focus more on the packaging and name. I’m not a drinker of non-alcoholic beer, but the packaging and ideas behind it are pretty cool. The can resembles their classic Budweiser design on it, but all in black with the words Prohibition Beer right on it. The all black design boasts restriction, or a black out of all of the alcohol that’s typically found in Bud beer. Referring to the North American prohibition periods in the early 20th century, Budweiser has adapted this idea of no alcohol permitted into their packaging design. I think if there’s any way to market non-alcoholic beer, this would be it.

McDonald’s Celebrates National Hamburger Day with Facebook Live Video

D: Earlier this week, in light of National Hamburger Day (now you know it exists), McDonald’s hosted an art show, via Facebook Live Video. This is the first time the brand has used the relatively new software, and was able to reach close to 900,000 viewers in 40 minutes. The whole purpose of the video was to provide something fun for the viewers, and needless to say they didn’t disappoint. Viewers were treated to watching three paintings being done before their eyes. Check out “The Beefy Gastronaut”, my personal favourite, pictured below. I highly doubt this is the last time that we’ll see McDonald’s, or other big brands begin to use Facebook Live Video. It’s a fantastic way to reach your audience direct, and in the moment.


The Beefy Gastronaut

Chinese Detergent Brand Causes Ruckus with Racist Ad

M: Ahh racism. This classic comes from Chinese detergent brand titled “Qiaobi”. This commercial depicts a woman, her black boyfriend, and a washing machine. Uh Oh. The commercial shows the woman putting her black boyfriend into said washing machine for a spin cycle. What happens next? The black guy comes out into a “clean” Chinese man, implying that black people are dirty or unclean. Obviously this has caused a bit of a ruckus. Representatives from Ad Age, the company who reported on this commercial, reached out to a representative from Qiaobi, but they declined to speak on the subject. Ads like these make me seriously wonder how the screening process for commercials really goes down. Check out the video below.

“Sign Their Yearbook”- A Campaign Surrounding Gun Violence

D: I can’t say enough great things about this campaign. New Yorkers Against Gun Violence put together a campaign titled “Sign Their Yearbook”. It puts focus on the 30,000 young Americans that died before graduating highschool in just the last 15 years alone. The online “yearbook” went live on Wednesday, and acts as a platform and petition for people to sign in hopes to further improve gun laws. In 30 days, the online yearbook will be printed and sent to the U.S. senate, in hopes of tightening gun laws. Check out the emotional video below.


X-Men Takes Over Snapchat

xmen snapM: On Monday, to promote the new X-Men Apocalypse movie that’s supposed to debut today in Canada, they did an entire snapchat takeover. What does this mean? We’re all familiar with the ever-so-popular snapchat filters by now. Well on Monday, Snapchat replaced all of the filters that we know and love (shout outs to the dog one) with X-Men themed filters. Users could take to the likes of popular X-Men like Storm, or Cyclops for the day and play around with them. This is pretty cool, you could be a superhero for a day.  I’ve seen themed filters before, but I’ve never seen an entire take over before. The downside is that people who aren’t as involved with X-Men or super hero movies had some backlash about it-even if it was only for a day. #BringBackTheDog

Johnsonville Employees Dream Up Ads for the Company

D: Drogba5 NY, the advertising agency enlisted employees of Johnsonville to create their dream ads. Best part, is these ads actually got released. “Made the Johnson Way” takes on a whole new meaning, as the ads are actually created by the employees. One of my favourites is from Jeff, a Johnsonville employee of 20 years, that simply wanted to include talking animals in his 60 second spot, and that sparked the growth of “Jeff and his Forest Friends” (below). Johnsonville is getting lots of media attention over the creative direction they took to get their message out there. I’ll be the first to admit, I had no idea what Johnsonville was before all of this. I’m more of a Schneider’s guy.


These are some of the key moments we wanted to share with you so far from this week. Anything we missed? Let us know!


Weekly Recap

Weekly Recap (April 18th – April 22nd)

April 22, 2016

Want to stay up-to-date with the new trends, products, campaigns, announcements and more throughout this past week? Say no more, we got you covered with our first ever weekly recap.


Apple Music release “Taylor Mic Drop”, a new 60-second spot featuring Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift is back at it again with another funny and quirky spot for Apple Music. In case you missed it the last time, we wrote a Weekly Recap article with the ad featured, check it out here. This time Taylor is singing along to “The Middle” by Jimmy Eat World, and will likely bring the song back on the billboard charts, which is exactly what happened when she sang Drake and Future’s “Jumpman”. Taylor Swift just has this great appeal that resonates with consumers. She’s just being herself, lip singing in front of a mirror as we all like to do (whether we admit it or not), with the tagline “Every Song for Every Moment. Apple Music.” Check out the video below.



AirBnB debuts their largest campaign to date, “Don’t Go There. Live There.”airbnb-print-2

AirBnB released a 60-second spot on YouTube for the launch of their new campaign, where they essentially ask consumers “Why Vacation Somewhere When You Can Live There?” AirBnB provides residential accommodations in 34,000 cities and 191 countries. The new spot is great because it shows the amount of opportunities that the service provides, and where you could end up all around the world. They also released a series of print ads with the tagline “Live There, Even If It’s Just for a Night”.





bob marley snapchat

Snapchat Under Fire

Snapchat was lit on Wednesday, but for the wrong ways. The “Bob Marley” snapchat filter was kind of funny, but also kind of racist. Users of the quick photo-sharing mobile app pointed were able to add a filter that transformed their face into Bob Marley, which features dreadlocks, the beanie, and a skin tone alteration. This caused a huge controversy. People said that it was a form of digital blackface, which obviously is a huge issue. While it was mainly used to promote and respect his music and lifestyle, it backfired heavily.





Oberto Teams up with NFL stars Rob Gronkowski and Richard Sherman

Here’s a nice co-branding effort by Oberto, a beef jerkey manufacturing company. The video titled is literally titled “Rob Gronkowski and Richard Sherman talk about stuff while eating beef jerky in branded web series”. What more do you need to click this video? This campaign that Oberto is all about trying to change the perception of turning jerky from a snack food, into a protein snack. What better way to advertise this than through two of the most dominant players in the NFL? Oh, and they are wearing snuggies.



Brands paying tribute to Prince.

It’s no surprise that the world lost one of the most iconic musicians in the last 50 years on Thursday. Several prominent brands have hopped on this opportunity to pay their respects to the purple rain superstar. This presents a bit of an issue with ethics in our opinion. While yes, it is a way for brands to ultimately pay their respects and make them seem legitimately concerned but its also a way for them to hop on a bandwagon of free promotional efforts as a result of a trending topic. Brands like Hamburger Helper and Cheerios had a few posts deleted because of their over attachement of their brand versus actually presenting themselves as being legitimately concerned. Are these brands wrong? Are there ways to pay respects ethically? Or does it come off too much as a way to promote your brand? I guess Cheerios and Hamburger Helper are good examples of brands who have failed to do so.

cheerios prince



These are some of the key moments we wanted to share with you so far from this week. Anything we missed? Let us know!