Sep 12

A Personal Challenge: Ad Planning School Assignment

Well its been a while since I’ve written in here.  A lot has changed since my last post. Over the last 3 month’s I’ve  moved to Montreal to test my wits  (and language skills!) at Edelman Digital as a Senior Analyst reporting into their New York Office. Getting used to a new location/job…. I think that is reason enough for a bit of a blogging hiatus!

Anyways,on to the meat of this blog post. Since starting in the Marketing/Advertising/Digital (or however you would call it)  industry I guess you could say I  haven’t had very much interest in the mechanics of the different social media channels but was more so interested in how  people react to actions on these channels and simply why people do the things they do on the net. After reading “Truth,Lies & Advertising: The Art Of Account Planning” I hit a bit of a ‘AH HA!” moment in so that to do well in marketing you need to have an understanding of what your customers do and why they do it. Particularly in Digital this is a combination of understanding online conversations and actions along with  your audiences offline actions and feelings. Through reading the book I came to an understanding that while my reporting  on the numbers side of agregate online actions was strong,  to truly be good at what I’m doing I need to get a better understanding of the whole picture.

Stumbling quite randomly on a tweet from @Robertc1970 I came across the “A[P]SOTW Assignment” which peaked my interest in so much that its a challenge to look at the whole picture of online and offline consumer interaction. The intro to the assignment is found below and the full spec can be found at Rob Campbells site. 


So in general why am I posting this here? Well I figure by blogging about my process and research I can piece together my thought process. Also simply by making my process public it forces me to go through with this, rather than say I’ll do it and push it off.

Anyways, wish me luck with this! I think my big challenge will be balancing time as perhaps I already have a lot on my plate as it is ( new city, new language, new job… yikes!)  I really want to give this a go as even though I probably don’t stand a chance at winning this it will be a good exercise in stretching my brain a bit.


May 09

New Products and Social Media: Nissan Hypercube

As I’ve learned through reading cases and witnessing first hand, word of mouth is HUGE when you’re looking to get a message across or a product sold. If you can get people talking positively about your company  your message carries much further than any ad or commercial would. Interestingly enough, marketing agency Capital C has decided to do a full product launch using this idea but by primarily using social networks and social media tools.

The Campaign:

Coming in Spring of this year Nissan Canada is looking to release the Nissan Cube, an entry level vehicle positioned to compete with the likes of the Scion xB and the Kia Soul among others. These cars are targeted towards a younger audience  but follow along the same shape,size and price so a large portion of how these cars will be competing is on personality and emotional connection with the car( personalization options, community etc).

Rather than go for the traditional route of placing advertisements which have little interaction and communication with the customer, Nissan through agency Capital C has opted to release the Cube differently and has decided to rely entirely on Social media to get its message out. The campaign called Hypercube which started in March relies on users of  social media sites such as Facebook, Myspace and Twitter  to get people talking about Nissan’s new product  before it launches and build connection and strong interest among a potential customer base.

The Hypercube portal

The Hypercube portal

How did they do this?

By setting up landing pages on Twitter, Facebook, and Myspace a competition was started where Canada’s creative  population (considered influencers in this car’s segment) compete for the opportunity of owning one of 50 Nissan Cubes. Starting as a  free for all ‘audition’ people would register through a main portal (  where they are then whittled down through the use of audition profiles to 500 users who then must vie not only for the daily votes of their peers through whichever creative means possible, but impress a panel of judges who will in turn give away 50 of the little Cubes. Each of the 500 participants are provided with a ‘canvas’ where  they may direct votes and be as creative as possible with. After the cars have been awarded winners are then obligated to post online about how they  use and customize their newly won cars to demonstrate the usability and personality of this product.

Canvas of Hypercube contestan Michelle Savoie

Canvas of Hypercube contestant Michel Savoie

Outside of this contest Hypercube’s fans are not forgotten. People still interested in this contest/car still  remain engaged in this campaign. Not only are the encouraged to check out each participants canvas and vote but  through the social network Twitter  they are interacted with and encouraged to build community. With posts in French and English @thehypercube interacts and gives mention to people who create content  or ask questions about the  Hypercube  and the campaign, and more recently has even directly interacted with  fans through the formation of Hypercube meetups.

Hypercubist Rannie Turingan :

Having consistently received Twitter messages, group requests and hearing about it in my interactions with him I figured by mentioning him in this blog post he might leave me alone! I kid! I feel he’s done a very good job in interacting with and building upon his social networks and with his success deserves the mention.

Using his Twitter nickname @photojunkie Rannie posses the question: ” Where should PhotoJunkie go in his Nissan Hyper Cube in Toronto?” Within his canvas Rannie uses his talents as a freelance photographer and takes panorama photographs at  many known and unknown locales in Toronto demonstrating to people a new side of where they live ( many of his followers reside in Toronto).

Rannie's HyperCube Canvas

Rannie's HyperCube Canvas

But I think this is only half of why he is currently at #18 of 500 participants. A very important part of his run for the car is the fact that he engages his network and makes them feel that they play a direct role in his success.  Yes there is the constant posts and messages received by him asking “have you voted for me today”  but its also  like he’s bringing fans with him on these Panorama’s (in some cases actually doing so). Including a counter of photos’ distance traveled and total campaign stats he lets people know of his progress.

Roy Thompson Hall Panorama

Roy Thompson Hall Panorama

Another important aspect of his Hypercube campaign is that he also directly involves his fans in the creation of these pictures, on a consistent basis  he asks for suggestions of new photo locations as well as encourages people to tag along and be part of the locale itself.  In this regard Rannie has harnessed what social media and word of mouth marketing aims to do and that is having people feel like they are part of the story and an active participant  rather than having a message blasted in their face. By voting for him participants feel like they are part of his winning, almost like they are winning themselves.

Jan 09

Budweiser Superbowl Promo at Dundas Square

dsc001044One of the reasons I enjoy taking classes at Ryerson is that its right beside Dundas Square, arguably Canada’s promotional/advertising mecca. Almost every day there is something going on from a different company, today it was a  huge promotion from Budweiser. dsc001061

I’ve taken some pictures  of the materials and events they had going on today, overall I had to say it was pretty cool from what I could see, though I don’t necessarily know if it will get the results they want (perhaps more people will view it  at night?) . Edge 102.1 was there broadcasting the contest going on  which was where contestants  had their hand on a Budweiser plane, whomever outlasts the rest  wins a Budweiser trip to the Superbowl.


Then they had the Budweiser beauties I guess you can say, they were there to get people to sign up for the flat screen tv contest and encourage people to use the football simulator.  The heat pylons where a nice touch as well, but no samples what gives! Overall  it was pretty interactive and eye catching  one day promotion . 


Have any  Questions/Comments? Contact me at or send me a twitter message.

Jan 09

Sharpen your Blades! Red Bull Event Promotions

Red Bull has me really hooked at the moment with their Crashed Ice Promotion coming up in Quebec City. I’ve looked at the promotional materials and a few clips of this event and it looks like complete insanity. Upon looking at it further I’ve noticed that this is a very different sports sponsorship than what many other larger companies have been doing ( such as sponsorship of an established event or buying naming rights to the venue) .

Rather than take something proven and established , Red Bull has partnered with  a host city ( locations included Helsinki, Stockholm, Moscow and  Quebec City since 2006) combined popular aspects of hockey and luge and created an event that they take they can take  full credit for.  Risky business, but obviously for Red Bull this works as this event has been going world wide since 2000.

This isn’t the first event Red Bull has hosted and created as they’ve been involved as well with the creation of FlugTag USA  ( home made gliders going over a cliff competing for the farthest distance, amazing!) . Overall I’m really excited for Crashed Ice to come around and thought this was a  great case of  a  brand promoting itself. You can check out the Crashed Ice Website here  or check out the the Youtube clip I’ve included . Crashed Ice is going to be occuring on Jan. 24th on TSN for those of you who want to watch it for yourself….. my goal is  to go and see it live in 2010!



Questions/Comments?: contact me at or send me a twitter message.

Dec 08

You Stole My Virginity! Can I have another Whopper?!

In terms of advertising and promotions Burger king has been using a lot of creativity compared to their competitors in the fast food industry. This included the viral site Subservient Chicken  and the creation of the “King”   in commericial campaigns  and even his own  series of successful video games . Going in a different direction the creative minds at Burger King have come up with another interesting idea, a documentary!

Titled the Whopper Virgins  a crew of researchers hired by Burger King  are tasked  with finding once and for all who has the better Burger ? Mcdonanlds or Burger King. This documentary created by ad firm Crispin, Porter and Bogusky  goes into remote villages of  Greenland ,Romania and Thailand places that have never seen a burger  where the term Whopper Virgins come in. Through comparative taste tests between the Whopper and Big Mac  from a taste test of these populations the researchers come to the conclusion that tasters preffered the Whopper.  

While some claim that the whole idea  offensive  or even exploitive,  I thought it was brilliant! Barring all the arguements that its intruding on these villagers, making light of hunger issues or  exposing them to potentially harmful North American culture( is a single burger so bad?)   it none the less sparked discussion and feelings about Burger King and its Whopper sandwhich,something that  every promotional campaign builds towards.

I’m sure this documentary won’t be seen by a large portion of the population  and it won’t create new markets in Greenland any time soon but  more importantly it  went on to instill ideas and has even sparked  discussion among consumers making it more likely that BK will stay in their  top of mind awareness . This is unlike general commercials from Mcdonalds and Wendy’s which may spur a quick hunger pang from the thought of all of that greasy goodness ( mmm burgers!) but will be forgotten within a few minutes of viewing like all the other commericials consumers are bombarded within a day. 

I’ve included the documentary below (its short!) check it out if you can: