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.

Malick Ba

Social Media’s Adaptation to Online Behaviour and Trends.

May 10, 2016

There’s no question that the purpose of social media is connect people online. One of the more interesting observations I’ve made over recent years as a result of its development is that it also allows people to engage in online trends as well. I’ll define trends as things that happen on social media that I’ve noticed happening frequently. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, I’ll use Mother’s Day as an example.

On Sunday, countless people on my Facebook page had some sort of Mother’s Day related status or picture. It’s almost become a ritual for people to update their profile pictures and or write heartfelt messages about their mothers on this day. This isn’t meant to be a criticism by any means, I do it too, but its more of an observation of how social media has affected online social behaviour when it comes to days like this. I think that this “trend” (if that is even the right term) is only making it easier for popular social media platforms to adapt to this. Facebook is a perfect example of this. Over the years, they have added features like temporary profile pictures and filters to encourage users to engage and become apart of these specific trends. On Mother’s Day, I was given the opportunity to temporarily change my profile to a picture of my mom and I just for the day.  Not only was it a way to showcase my love for my mom, it was also a cool way to engage with an online trend.

My mom and I

My mom and I

Snapchat (we love talking about Snapchat) also does a great job at this as well. There are filters for almost everything now. To stick to my Mother’s Day example, Snapchat added in several filters to celebrate Mother’s Day as a new way to engage with the photo-sharing mobile app. Snapchat has developed their filter-game strongly over the last year to emphasize that.IMG_2808-1

While trends might be a loose term for this, it has become routine for people over the years to take to social media to make posts about Mothers on Mother’s Day, or Christmas posts about Christmas, Halloween posts on Halloween, etc. As a result, social media platforms like Facebook and Snapchat have obviously spent time studying online behaviour and developing their platforms to provide a new level of engagement to accommodate posts about specific holiday’s or events. With the emergence of social media, online behaviour is being tailored towards combining trendy behaviour in regards to holidays or events, but also how with users engage with the platforms on a day to day basis.


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.

Dakarai Turner

“Sex Sells”: Myth or Fact?

March 15, 2016

“Sex Sells”, we’ve all heard it one way or another. But is it true? After searching the depths of YouTube for all things Donald Draper (classic Sunday), I stumbled across a rather interesting clip from Mad Men. In this clip, Peggy (Creative) presents spec work to Donald (Creative director) for approval. She defends her work by stating that sex sells, while Donald Draper tells her that she is wrong and that ‘the customer feeling the product’ is what sells, and not simply a woman in a pencil skirt. Watch it for yourself and get back to this article.

So does sex sell or not? The quick and easy answer is yes (shortest article ever, am I right?).

The not so easy answer is, sometimes.

I’ve had my fair share of discussions with friends and co-workers about the power of advertising and consumer behavior, and I seem to hear quite often that a gorgeous girl in a bikini could sell anything. Evidently not, I mean just ask TomTom and their banned ad of a woman running “strapless”, and check it out below.

A Calvin Klein billboard in NYC

Simply put, sex sells when it’s relevant to the brand. Can a brand like Calvin Klein use sex to sell underwear? Absolutely. Can Apple use sex to sell iPhones? Probably not, but then again it’s Apple so they can do no wrong…right? My point is that brands needs to be careful with the content and subject matter they use in their ads. You cannot simply put Kate Upton in every commercial to boost your sales. Will it boost your views online? Absolutely. Now here’s the confusion that anybody that says “Sex Sells” usually makes.

Sure, they will remember your commercial if it’s sexy, but they will forget your product. Meaning, sure the video will rack up an impressive amount of likes on social media and views on YouTube, but these are purely “Vanity Likes”. The sales will not increase, and viewers will not remember what you are trying to sell at the end of the day. A study conducted by the American Psychological Association found that “As sexual content increases, memory of the brand, attitude towards the brand, and buying intentions of the brand’s product decreased. Now it’s important to remember that this is relative to the product. I have absolutely no doubt that a shirtless Isaiah Mustafa in the iconic Old Spice ads increased sales for female audiences.

old spice guy

Isaiah Mustafa in the Old Spice Ad

The same idea of unnecessary sexual content in advertising has often been seen in the automobile industry. “90% of women either lead or have a say in their family’s car purchase but only one in 10 females feel car advertising talk to them” according to a ‘Hello I’m Venus” study in 2014. 

Products that directly interact with personal image and beauty are more likely to use sex to promote their product; at the end of the day this just makes sense. Again, this is all about understanding the market you’re in and understanding what your audience wants to see. It is easy for brands to believe this notion that sex sells and later go on to offend and even alienate their loyal customers, simply because they thought they were following the perceived golden formula. You know the one: woman in a bikini + woman holding your product = profit??

kate upton burger

Kate Upton in the Carl’s Jr Ad

If sex sells, I’m in the wrong industry. I strongly believe that the best ads are the ones that make you feel something, and the ways to achieve this feeling is what advertisers should be trying to solve.

So once again, the easy answer is that yes, sex sells. It’s an undeniable fact that we are all biologically wired for sexual attraction, its just part of our DNA. If an advertiser capitalizes on this by using tasteful attractive images that are relevant to the brand, they struck gold. In every other case, using sex in advertising fails to establish a direct connection from the consumer to the brand, but rather a connection from the consumer to the ad.

I’m sure some of you think I’m wrong, and I’d love to hear your opinion on the subject. Drop a comment and share your thoughts!


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.


The New Facebook “Like” System: What does it offer to online consumers?

March 2, 2016

Over the last few years, it’s been safe to say that Twitter and Snapchat have not only climbed up the ‘social media ladder’ but have even jumped past Facebook in terms of consumer traffic and overall popularity. Why so? Those two social media platforms have differentiated themselves from the once-dominating Facebook platform, each having their own unique use of emojis, GIF keyboards (Twitter only), and personalized animations (Snapchat only), enabling online consumers to express their emotions and thoughts better than ever before on social media.

Finally, Facebook has discovered the competitive advantage created by Twitter and Snapchat in the social media market, and they came up with their own unique way to re-capture the attention and engagement of online consumers. Last Tuesday, Facebook officially launched their new “like” system. Now, you can not only “like” statuses and posts in the Facebook universe but you have the option to express your love, shock, anger, or sadness towards shared content on Facebook.


facebook likeA quick glance at Facebook’s new “like” system, which has been an immediate success since its launch on February 23, 2016. Before, you only had the option to “thumbs up” or “like” Facebook content.



This new “like” system enables Facebook consumers to be more (specifically) expressive about their opinions and thoughts on the ideas and content shared on Facebook timelines. It is a unique system that tells us two key goals in which the Facebook marketing team hopes to achieve in the near future:

  1. They want their brand loyalty back.
  2. They want to show the social media universe that they’re ready to keep up with the demands and trends of their fellow online consumers.

Well, from the first week since the launch of the new “like” system, it seems to be a huge success thus far for Facebook, as the majority of their users have picked up on the new platform tool with tons of “Wow”’s, “Angry”’s, and “Sad”’s being clicked on posts all across the Facebook universe. And how can it not be a success? Let’s be honest here, not every post on Facebook is a ‘happy’ one – some posts share devastating and/or controversial stories and trends going on around the world that people can now choose to click “Wow, ” “Angry,” and “Sad” on to express their ‘true’ reactions.

gif keyboard

A look at Twitter’s GIF Keyboard

snapchat animations

Snapchat’s personalized animations



This new feature (and, arguably, a benefit) that Facebook has to offer will surely make Twitter and Snapchat re-think their marketing plans and the developments of their upcoming “features” in the near future. Sure, with Twitter you now have a GIF keyboard to use memes to express your thoughts and emotions in the matter of a few clicks, and sure, with Snapchat’s personalized animations you can turn your face into basically the face of any fictional character ever created to express your current mood to your friends. However, Facebook’s new “like” system is a quicker and easier way to get your feelings and reactions out there.

That’s what makes a social media platform so successful (or not so successful): How fast and easy is it to communicate your message/voice your opinion? With the new “like” system, Facebook wins over Twitter and Snapchat in that regard – which is why it has become so popular so quickly. If this rapid increase in overall popularity and use of this new “like” system continues, Facebook will re-establish itself as ‘the’ social media platform for young, outgoing 20-year olds and re-gain that competitive advantage over Twitter and Snapchat in the social media market.


Anthony Pazzano is currently an Advertising and Marketing Communications student at Humber College. He is looking forward to expand his knowledge and experience in the Advertising/Marketing industry, and aspires to work client-side, agency-side, or for a PR firm. Follow him on TwitterInstagram, and Connect with him on LinkedIn.