Browsing Tag


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

Buy a Shoe, Change the World: A Look Into Cause-Related Marketing and the Millennial Mindset

March 7, 2017

Sunday night – scrolling through Facebook as usual making internal comments about people’s posts and then an article jumped at me. A friend and co-worker of mine shared an article about Adidas making shoes from ocean plastic and it was something that I had to read immediately. I suggest you all read the article from Global Citizen, but essentially Adidas will be releasing a pair of shoes that will do its small part in cleaning up the oceans that are filled with 8 million tons of plastic each year. Reading this article had me thinking about cause-related marketing and our expectation for brands in 2017.

According to Cause Good, “64% of shoppers say simply giving money away isn’t enough; they want businesses to integrate social impact directly into their business models“. With that being said, I wanted this article to spark that level of thought amongst whoever is reading this. Especially as millennials, do you personally find yourself leaning towards brands and products that work towards making a lasting, positive impact on the future?

To put things into perspective, these new Adidas shoes are going to come attached with a $220 USD price tag. With that being the case, will you be more inclined to purchase these running shoes over another pair $50 cheaper? Assuming that you love both styles, and the comfort level is the same. The main difference being that one will have some sort of impact on a better future, while the other will not. We strive to be a part of change in today’s age, and this is reflected with the brands we support. Millennials demand instant feedback and usually care to see an immediate benefit as a result of their actions. Buy a shoe, fix the world.

We are seeing several brands over the last few years adopt a cause-related marketing strategy. Attaching your brand to a relevant cause in today’s age is almost an automatic winner, and the reason is simply because we as consumers want to feel as though we are making a difference in the world. Whether it is something incredibly minimal as buying a $220 pair of shoes contributing to reduce plastic waste in the ocean, we are going to do it. Buy a shoe, fix the world.

So why don’t the majority of us simply donate to charities solving the problem directly and eliminate the retail middle men? At the end of the day, yes we want to save the world, but we also want to get something else out of it. Sure, I can donate x amount of money to a charity that solves x problem, but I also want a really nice pair of shoes in which one purchase would cover two purposes.

Millennials are pro-social minded and they support brands that carry the same mindset. These Adidas shoes are going to be something big for the sole (yup) reason that we all want to buy a shoe, and saved the world.

I’d love to know your thoughts on brands that adopt a cause-related marketing strategy. Does a brand’s impact on the world factor in your purchase of a product? Let me know in the comments below or 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.


Engaging The Consumer Through Storytelling

April 15, 2016

Guest Article By: Brian Jones

It has often been said that millennials are brand evangelists. When we fall in love with a brand, we’ll tell everyone. While millennials are wearing brands on their sleeves, Gen-Z (21-25) and Gen We (14-20) are a whole ‘nother ball game. New research has shown that they have more household peope waking shomi robotinfluence than their millennial predecessors and that they’re passionate about brands that help enhance their own personal brand (Zeno Group, 2016). Increasingly common, there have been IMCs that truly involve the consumer into the overall experience. It’s not just creating content anymore that consumers actively seek out, it’s content that consumers actually feel a part of.

A couple weeks ago, ad agency Rethink launched an innovative new campaign for Shomi’s TV series Mr. Robot. The show, if you haven’t heard of it, is based on a young computer programmer with a social anxiety disorder that becomes lost in a world hacking and confusion. Sidenote: It’s an amazing show to binge-watch if you happen to find a little free time during your exam week. Anyways, the campaign involved the integration of social media with their outdoor media placements. The outdoor ads were “hacked” midway through the campaign, providing region specific hashtags that drove interested consumers to special instagram accounts that provided further clues as to where $50 envelopes had been hidden around the city.

Found some cash in Graffiti Alley #weareall1sand0s #toronto

A post shared by Kyle Floro (@kylefloro_) on


Moreover, a recent campaign for Coffee-mate titled The Sudbury Incident involves a story about a mystery that has happened in a Sudbury and a faux-documentary filmmaker has been hired to get to the bottom of it. It has been unfolding over the past couple weeks and will continue to develop right into the fall. While this target audience is set a little higher at 20 to 35 years of age, it’s all about providing content that the consumer wants to pursue and get them to figure out what happened in Sudbury. A teaser for the campaign has been created to stand out from traditional commercials and entice users to look into the mystery of #TheSudburyIncident. Nestle Canada’s marketing leader, Ryan Saunders, said that “Hitting people over the head with benefit messages doesn’t always work”. MacLaren McCann Canada, the agency behind the work, have really quite outdone themselves.


On one such post, Instagram user @itsevananduncan has commented “a coffee commercial sent me here. I’d like to know why lol”. @thesudburyincident then replied “Hi Evan, I’m working on figuring it out.” It’s clear this quirky campaign is taking an unconventional approach at getting their product in front of new users. It’s working to pull in the consumer and get them to truly engage with the brand in a way never done before.

brand consumer module


Moving forward, I’d imagine we’ll start to see more of these campaigns that involve a strong aspect of both storytelling and consumer engagement. 2016 will be the year that content marketing evolves into something that will be completely integrated across all the mediums. Everything will have a purpose and a sense of connection. It’ll be a fun journey in which, more than ever, we’ll see brands actively engaging with consumers on a newfound scale. If you’re interested in this type of stuff, there’s a really good book called Storyscaping by Gaston Legorburu, Chief Creative Strategist at Publicis.Sapient and Darren (Daz) McColl, Global Chief Brand Strategy Officer at SapientNitro. Storyscaping involves this new marketing approach in which brands can go about creating experiences that blur the lines between the brand story and the consumer’s story. I’d highly recommend it.



Brian Jones is a tech-savvy marketing strategist currently in the Advertising: Account Management Post-Grad program at Humber Lakeshore. Having graduated from University of Guelph in Marketing Management Honours, he works part-time as a content marketer, blogger and web developer for small to medium-sized businesses in various industries. Connect with him on LinkedIn today.