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Malick Ba

Marketing and a Pink Trap House

August 1, 2017

2017 has been an absolute hit for hip-hop music. With Migos starting the year off with their hit album Culture to Jay-Z’s latest 4:44, there’s no doubt that we’ve truly been blessed. For the most part, album releases have been pretty standard. A common marketing trick to an album release makes sure that the album is hyped up enough beforehand to maximize sales right out of the gate. We’ve seen this with Drake’s More Life, which had the launch dates continuously pushed back which left fans waiting with anticipation. Or even Kendrick Lamar’s Damn, which already had a massive amount of hype behind it. This build up of hype definitely relies on the artist, but I find that this front heavy marketing technique is missing something: continuity. There’s only been one album this year for me that had one of the best post launch campaigns I’ve seen to date…Pretty Girls Like Trap Music by 2 Chainz.

The build up of hype for this existed, but not to the same extent as other popular hip-hop albums this year. What I found significant about this was the post-launch strategy that brought the album concept to life.  With the focal point of the album art being a Pink trap house (for those who don’t know, a trap house is essentially a house used for the creation of various drugs-don’t do drugs), he recreated it into a pop up in Atlanta that could be used for various means. Posting on Instagram and Snapchat, he lured the folk of Atlanta to come and check out the album recreation. The Pink trap house instantly became one of the hottest tourist locations in Atlanta.But what was it used for? Definitely not for the production of drugs that’s for sure. Originally the Pink trap house was used as a promotional piece for 2 Chainz’ latest album, but it served several beneficial functions as well. From an art gallery, to holding a church service, to teaming up with the Fulton County Board of Health for free HIV testing, the trap house went beyond selling a product. It brought a community together through music and a killer marketing strategy.


This is a fantastic way to bring an idea to life with music. Pop-ups are definitely a huge trend right now, and 2 Chainz did it right. The Pink trap house was a brilliant concept to not only promote his album (which has tons of bangers on it btw), but to increase the longevity and relevance of it post-launch. While yes, Drake, Kendrick, and Jay-Z all released albums this year, I’ll remember 2 Chainz’ the most because it was marketed with functionality in mind.

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

Emoji Culture

March 28, 2017

A few days ago, we posted about an article on how 48 new emoji’s will be released in the near future. As someone who uses emoji’s profusely when texting, snapping, and all that jazz I was intrigued. It got me thinking about how the use of emoji’s through various platforms has become almost an entire method of communication alone. Think about it. We know something is supposed to be funny when we post the laughing emoji with the tears. We know something is sad when we post a heartbreak or a sad faced emoji. And when someone posts the eggplant emoji? Well, I think we all know what that means. As strange as it sounds, emoji’s have become such an ingrained part of the way that millennials communicate with each other.


This isn’t new either. Those like myself who were raised using MSN know that emoticons were like the precursor to emoji’s. They allowed us to convey a type of language that transcended speech. Or in many cases, they allowed you to say something without actually saying it. I find it fascinating that they indicate a sense of tonality in communication that doesn’t necessarily translate when using regular symbols like exclamation marks or other various keyboard functions. Over time, the use of these symbols has seemed to evolve into how we use emoji’s.

MSN Emoticons

Dare I say that emoji’s almost have a sense of political undertone within them? What I mean by that is as a part of the release of the new emoji’s, they will include different faces of people including a woman with a headscarf on. To expand on that, this is a clear sign that the developers are looking to diversify the use of emoji’s beyond just your classic smiley faces. Remember when they unveiled that you could change the skin colour of your emoji’s? That brought an entirely different dimension to how we use them and how they represent us on a more personal level.


The emoji promoted through Drake’s More Life Album

I’d also like to mention how they’ve been popularized as well. To use a recent example, Drake singlehandedly boosted the use of the pink flower emoji to the absolute max with his latest album More Life. The emoji has almost become a symbol for the album, and a reference to life, happiness and peace. While I don’t necessarily have concrete statistics on how the use of it has increased significantly since the release of More Life, I do know as an avid Instagrammer that I had maybe seen it used once or twice tops. But now it seems to be in everyone’s captions, comments, etc. As an ambassador for Apple, it doesn’t surprise me that Drake and his marketing team made sure that the emoji was included in every recent post, but that’s a different story.


Essentially, emoji’s affect the way that millennials interact with each other. We use them to lighten the topic of a conversation, to convey emotion, or to express ourselves in ways that we can’t through words. It’s interesting to see how much our (as millennials) conversational skills have evolved throughout the years. Is it weird that I can’t see myself not using them at this point? Guess we’ll never know.

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.

Dakarai Turner

More Collabs, More Life: Who Comes Out On Top In a Brand Partnership?

March 21, 2017

Unless you’ve been living under a rock the last few days, you are fully aware that Drake released his highly anticipated “playlist” titled More Life. With generally positive reviews surfacing, I still found my fair share of “culture vulture” comments as is usual with Drake in the last few years. For those out of the loop, a culture vulture is someone who steals traits, language and/or fashion from another ethnic or social group in order to create their own identity. Drake is often criticized of this for his dancehall influenced songs, speaking patois, and remixing lesser known artists’ songs to stay relevant and propel himself, ultimately leaving them behind. After speaking with one of my friends about this over the weekend, it made me wonder if actual brands did the same thing.

I mean, not in the sense that they are exploiting another brand, but more so with brand partnerships. Is there usually one party that is the clear winner? Below are some of examples of brand partnerships and the winners out of the two.

H&M x Balmain

Both clothing brands released a collaborative collection in 2015 that as you can probably guess, sold out very quickly. The question is, “who’s the winner in this collaboration?” Definitely H&M. If we’re being completely honest here, those who shop at H&M (myself) are not in the same tax bracket as those who shop at Balmain. With that being the case, this collection opens doors for the H&M shopper to get a taste of Balmain clothing. Sure this increases brand awareness for the designer clothing retailer, but the likelihood of this H&M consumer buying a regularly priced Balmain item is pretty low. In the end it increases sales for H&M and heightens consumers perception of the brand.

Winner: H&M

Genius x Spotify

Music streaming service Spotify and Genius, a collection of song lyrics and user/artist generated music knowledge have paired together. “Behind the Music” is a set of  collaborative Spotify playlists that leverage lyrics from Genius for certain songs. This is a partnership that just simply makes sense. Pair the music with the lyrics. However, Genius is the winner out of the two. For most this is just a cool added service that Spotify provides. I’m likely not going to switch my streaming service for this feature or even get Spotify altogether. What I will do if I’m a Spotify user is pay attention to Genius after googling song lyrics. What Spotify should do is buy Genius, but that’s a whole other conversation and article frankly.

Winner: Spotify


Red Bull x GoPro

The two lifestyle brands realized they have something in common. They promote the same lifestyle. To further this idea, GoPro provides Red Bull athletes with equipment to capture all of their most thrill-seeking moments, and Red Bull is able to use the footage and sponsor the events. This is one of those cases in which it’s hard to pick a clear winner. Both brands benefit due to the fact that they share target segments.


The final verdict? In almost any form of collaboration there will be some sort of winner. The trick is to set up a brand partnership or collaboration with Drake that seems to be a match made in heaven. At the end of the day, you want consumers to be thinking “oh, that definitely makes sense”. So about that Drake x The Weekend album…

Any brand partnerships that you wanted to see make the list? Comment below and let us know!


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 (November 18 – November 25)

November 25, 2016

The world of advertising & marketing changes on the daily so it can be hard to keep up with all of the biggest trends and innovations. Not to worry, we got you covered if you missed anything. Check out our weekly recap below.

Written by Malick and Dakarai.


Instagram introduces new updates to Stories

D: Instagram StInstagram liveories, once the Snapchat-clone that is now taking steps towards individuality with a few new updates. Instagram has introduced two new features: Live Video and Disappearing direct photos/videos. Live video is the perfect step in the right direction for Instagram and their Stories platform, as it’s proven successful for both Facebook and Twitter. Some of your followers will receive a notification that you are streaming live, and it will display that you are live over your stories icon. You will likely see this function being used by celebrities, athletes, influencers, and brands. In terms of people in your actual network, one thing I’ve noticed is that none of my friends use Facebook Live. The reason for this is because if you really think about it, what can you be doing that’s so important everyone needs to see it in real time? Now who’s to say that Instagram won’t challenge that way of thinking and make the process of going live more appealing to the every day person that isn’t selling/promoting anything? We’ll have to stay tuned and see.

Instagram stories


Facebook Investigating Means to Exclude Fake News From Platform

M: Ever scroll through your timeline and see an article with a headline that makes you think “there’s no way that’s actually true”? Same here. Over the last year, Facebook has been under the spotlight for allowing fake news articles to be spread around the social media platform. Since the 2016 U.S election, fake articles have been spawning and spread around at a rate so quickly that Mark Zuckerberg himself had made the following statement: 

“Our goal is to connect people with the stories they find most meaningful, and we know people want accurate information. We’ve been working on this problem for a long time, and we take this responsibility seriously. We’ve made significant progress, but there is more work to be done.” (Source-Adweek 2016)

Zuckerberg went onto state that in order to limit the number of fake articles being spread, Facebook will be developing ways to label articles as verified or false. I guess that’s just a friendly reminder that sometimes a quick google search can ease your curiosity. Do your research.


Drake stars in new Apple Music spot

D: Drake, 6 God, Meme King, whatever you want to call him, he’s done it again. In Apple Music’s new ad starring the Canadian rapper, he does what he does best..look goofy and create hilarious content. The :60 second spot “Drake vs. Bench press” follows the rapper working out intensely while listening to his own music with a trainer. The second the trainer leaves, Drake flips through Apple Music, selects Taylor Swift, and what happens next is just one of those things it’s better if you watch. The tagline at the end refers to Apple Music as “distractingly good”, which aligns with the Taylor Swift spot from earlier this year. Check out both of the commercials below.

Digital Coffee

M: Smart phones…smart TVs…smart mugs? That’s right. Tech company Ember has joined forces with Starbucks to deliver its consumers the first internet connected mug that allows users to adjust the temperature of their beverage through the brands smartphone app. With Starbucks having exclusive selling rights, the mugs will be sold at over 100 stores as early as December at a price of $150. While that does seem like it’s a bit much for a mug, think of how you’ll never have to worry about burning your tongue first thing in the morning. Or just a quick reheat making sure that your morning cup of Joe isn’t too cold. I think this is a really unique display of innovation in technology-let’s see if it takes off!

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 Friday!

Dakarai Turner

Views Behind the Meme – The Viral Success of Drake

May 3, 2016

It’s only fitting that I dedicate this Tuesday’s article to the “Meme God” himself, none other than Aubrey “Drake” Graham. With Drake’s heavily anticipated album, Views that was released as an Apple Music exclusive on April 29th, it has been the subject of discussion at just about every water cooler or Twitter feed the past few days. To put it simply, the man can’t be stopped.

The once actor, now rapper and Global Ambassador for the Toronto Raptors, has been able to further launch his career at the hands of internet memes. I mean, who could forget the Hotline Bling music video from last year? At this point, I knew Drake was completely aware of what he was doing. Poking fun at himself knowing that doing so would result in viral success online. Through the use of his almost cringe worthy dance moves at times, and the funny nature behind the video, it was sure to makes its way all over your timelines and news feeds. To this date, the video has reached over 700 million views on YouTube alone, and is by far his most watched music video. The video inspired various parodies, halloween costumes, provided me with new dance moves, and was easily the biggest meme of 2015. This led the 6 God to becoming the most important person in pop-culture that year. Moment of silence for those that disagree.


ellen viewsApril 24th, Drake releases the cover art for his album Views, and the internet goes crazy. The memes start to flood just about every social network, and it just reaffirms the belief that Drake knows he will be made fun of, and he’s okay with it. With a clearly obvious and poorly photoshopped image of the rapper sitting on top of the CN Tower, it takes the full album title, Views from the 6 quite literally. Websites begin to pop up that transform whatever image you want into a personalized Views album cover, featuring a photoshopped Drake sitting down wherever you choose. I think most of us can say we tried it out, whether or not we shared it online..your secret is safe with me.


This is exactly what Drake wants, and is exactly the kind of promotion that helped the album sell over 800 thousand copies in just 2 days….2 days!! This is practically unheard of in 2016 unless your name is Adele at this point. Now am I saying that he only hit this number because he became a meme? Well yeah I kind of am, because of the fact promotion like this exposes you to an audience that would of never cared before, or would have been slow to the table. It’s almost impossible to go a day without hearing about Drake, and its due to his ability to make fun of himself and take a hit. Rather than get upset at all the memes, he embraces them and understands that they help his brand at the end of the day.

Proud of the guys. On to Round 2.

A post shared by champagnepapi (@champagnepapi) on


A post shared by champagnepapi (@champagnepapi) on


Maybe Drake is completely oblivious about what’s going on, and is just generally a funny guy. Or, maybe he makes calculated moves, and understands what it takes to go viral. You be the judge.


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.

Weekly Recap

Weekly Recap (April 24th – April 30th)

April 29, 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.



Drake opens up a VIEWS Pop Up Shop in Toronto

D: Over the last two weeks, Drake has been opening up Pop-Up shops around the U.S. in promotion for his fourth studio album, VIEWS. All it takes is a simple tweet from the Toronto rapper, turned Icon to bring 1000 people to a location within the hour. It was only fitting that the last location would be in Drake’s hometown, and he let out a tweet on Monday, April 25th at 5pm for the opening of the pop up shop at 6pm. Now, I definitely considered checking it out, but due to the fact that there was hundreds of people lined up within minutes, I wasn’t liking my chances. Check out the tweet below:



The Toronto Silent Film Festival Creates an Escape Room out of Instagram

D: You have to love when a brand exposes a medium in an innovative way. This is exactly what was done with the Toronto Silent Film Festival. The @tsff2016 Instagram account uses the platform to challenge people to solve a mystery using just the account. Every time you click a video, it will open as a first-video clip that appears as if you are searching for a clue. Users have to continually do so until they find the necessary clues to escape the room. Check out the short video below, it gives you all the details of the innovative campaign.



National Geographic’s Face Swap Campaign

M: This is a good example of a good idea in which the message just completely got lost. This print campaign developed by Y&R Sao Paulo was titled “Swap Prejudice for Knowledge”, in which the premise was to encourage empathy, equality, and fighting intolerance. The campaign features several images of a diverse group of individuals who have their faces swapped with each other. While the idea was kind of interesting, snapchat can expect the same sort of backlash received by the “Bob Marley 420” snapchat filter.

national geographic



Reebok introduces a new short film

M: Reebok introduced a minute-long film titled 25,915 Days as a part of their Be More Human platform. The film introduces a woman as the main character and shows her progress…but in reverse. The film shows the woman’s participation in a Spartan Race down until her birth. One of the things that I really liked about it was that it was a great way to tell a story. Brands are constantly looking for new ways to market themselves, and storytelling ads add an entirely different dimension of emotion in advertisements. Reebok did a good job on this one.



Speed Rapper

M: This one was my favourite of the week. Developed by SuperHeroes New York, this sequence of videos are titled Low Battery vs Speed Rapper. The concept revolves around speed rapper Mac Lethal in a supermarkets picking out items for dinner. The catch is that his phone is about to die and he’s trying to figure out what to pick up from the person on the other line. He does this by speed rapping in order to finish he conversation before his phone dies. This seems like it would be a lot of fun to shoot, so props to SuperHeroes for this one.


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

Make sure to check us out on Facebook for post updates.

Weekly Recap

Weekly Recap (April 3th-April 9th)

April 8, 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 Launches New Campaign Starring an Austic Teenager Named Dillan

“Dillan’s Voice” a new campaign from Apple that follow a 16 year old non-verbal autistic child, that was launched over the weekend just in time for World Autism Day. The series of videos demonstrates a short glimpse into the life of Dillan and the struggles he faces communicating with his loved ones. The Apple iPad is Dillan’s way of letting you know how he feels. On it, he writes the following that is used as a voiceover:

All my life I wanted so badly to connect with people But they couldn’t understand because I had no way to communicate.

I get to experience the world in a very unique way. I could see the wind, hear the flowers. I can see incredible emotions flowing from those I love.

So many people can’t understand that I have a mind. All they can see is a person who is not in control. But now you can hear me. The iPad helps me to see not only my words but to hold onto my thoughts.

Having a voice has changed everything in my life. No more isolation. I can finally speak with the people that love me. I can say what I think and let them know I love them too.


Coca-Cola Remasters Iconic Hilltop Ad from 1971

If you love advertising and you haven’t seen the famous “Hilltop” ad, I don’t know what to tell you. It used Coca Cola to bring the world together for a brief moment. It didn’t matter what race you were, or gender. A bottle of coke was something that everyone could share and enjoy. Am I reaching a bit? Maybe, but nonetheless the “Hilltop” ad from 1971 is seen by many in the industry as iconic. Coca Cola released the remastered version of the ad Monday afternoon. Check it out below.


Gap Has Apologized for This GapKids Ad, but Did It Need To?

What is wrong with this picture? This one is tricky. This ad from GapKids blew up on Twitter that had claims of what is deemed passive racism from some viewers. What caused so much controversy is that the black girl was viewed as less superior because she was under the white girl. Some viewers saw that as the black girl being used as an arm rest for the white girl. While this has been a concern for some, was it appropriate for the Gap to apologize for the act?



Taylor Swift Boosts Drake’s Sales in new Apple Music Ad

Last week on April Fool’s day, Apple Music released a 60-second hilarious ad on Instagram and Facebook. The 60-second spot features Taylor Swift listening to Drake and Future’s “Jumpman”, while running on a treadmill that she evidently falls off of. Picture that in your head and tell me that doesn’t already sound funny. Great thing about the ad is it shot up Drake’s iTune sales by 431% globally. Maybe it’s the fact that Taylor has 72.6 million followers on Instagram, maybe the song is just that good. You be the judge, and check out the ad below.



Domino’s Debuts Zero-Click Ordering in Latest Effort to Make Your Life Ridiculously Easy

Ridiculously Dangerous? Or Ridiculously convenient? Why not both? This week, the ever so popular Domino’s Pizza released their zero-click app. Basically how it works is that you download the app and link it to a specific Domino’s Pizza location where you have a pre-determined order saved. Once you open the app…boom, your order is in place. This poses a dangerous opportunity for someone to accidentally open the app and the next thing you know there is a delivery man at your door offering you a pizza you didn’t even know you ordered. However, Domino’s gives you a 10 second countdown in case you accidentally open it. If this isn’t the definition of selling convenience, I don’t know what is. Could this be the future of pizza delivery services? Time will tell.


Uber Launches UberPitch, a Service That Connects Entrepreneurs with Investors for the First Time in Toronto.

The new Uber extension UberPitch arrived in Toronto on April 7th. The service allows entrepreneurs to share a free 15-minute Uber ride with one of Canada’s top investors. The ride will provide opportunities for entrepreneurs to get their big ideas out there in front of people that can take them to the next step. Dakarai wrote an article about UberPitch on Tuesday, that you can check out here.



Nike Just Made This Remarkable Farewell Ad to Kobe Bryant in China, Where He’s Revered

It’s no surprise that Kobe Bryant is a god amongst men in the Basketball community. Something that some may not know about the Los Angeles Laker’s superstar is that combined with Nike, he’s made a huge effort to reach out to Chinese fans over the past decade. With Kobe’s last few games coming up, Nike and Wieden + Kennedy Shanghai have created a heartfelt one minute tribute commercial titled: “Don’t Love Me. Hate Me.” The commercial features a provocative style (it’s Kobe, how could you not?), with a philosophy surrounding pushing yourself towards reaching super star status. It’s going to be an emotional period in the NBA when Kobe leaves and this commercial definitely captured what he’s all about. Check it out below:

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

Malick Ba

The Best Advertisements of Super Bowl 50

February 10, 2016

While I was semi-disappointed with the outcome of the actual game, the Super Bowl this year in terms of discussion is definitely one to remember. For both advertisers and sports fans alike, the super bowl is one of the most anticipating nights of the year. As advertising students, Dak and I had several discussions about what our favorite ads were probably more than the actual game itself.  On average, companies spend approximately $5 million dollars for a precious 30 second ad slot for a commercial to be played if you can believe it. In this week’s article, Dak and I break down some of our favourite Super Bowl commercials:

Amazon Echo

Malick: The ad features Amazon’s latest product: the Amazon Echo. Just based off of the ad alone, the product looks very “siri”-ish (for our audience that uses iPhones) in the sense that it is a voice recognizing audio device. But if there is one thing you can expect in a multimillion dollar super bowl ad is a plethora of celebrity cameos. This ad features stars such as: Alec Baldwin, Dan Marino, and Missy Elliot (and even Rick Ross in the background) which you can assume makes the audience basically automatically be engaged. They even use the device to hint at a new Missy Elliot track which is a nice cross-promotion effort.

Audi R8

Dak: One thing about car ads, when they are done right they truly shine. This is especially the case with Audi’s Super Bowl ad advertising their new R8 model. No better way to demonstrate the thrilling experience of driving an Audi than to compare it with an astronaut flying a rocket. It truly gives you shivers. Don’t believe me? Watch for yourself.

2016 Hyundai Genesis

Malick: This one was probably my favourite. At the end of the day, who doesn’t find Kevin Hart hilarious? The ad features the “Car Finder” feature of the vehicle in the classic story of an overprotective dad on his daughter’s first date. Check it out.

4)    T-Mobile

Dak: If you’ve read some of my articles, you probably could’ve guessed that I am a fan of the 6 god himself. Drake fan or not, T-Mobile hits all the necessary areas for a Super Bowl ad. Funny, Trendy, and Buzz-Worthy.

So there you have it. With the amount of production, writing, and celebrity cameos, it’s easy to see why so much money has been spent on these ads. Big companies that are able to produce these ads are confident spending $5 million for such a short time because to be frank, they simply work. These were just a few of the plenty of ads that we saw over the course of the week, comment below if your favourite ad was left out!