Friday, February 26, 2010

Creative Excellence Fridays - Like a Virgin...Air

In the past we've featured different airline companies on Creative Excellence Fridays including Jet Blue and New Zealand Air.

Today a look at Virgin Atlantic. The brand has long been an edgy leader using controversial messaging which on occasion ruffles more than a few feathers.
We featured Virgin Mobile back in December with some concerns about direction and whether the lines they blurred really built on the brand.

But with the Virgin Air product I have to say I think they really nailed it. The promotion is intended to use humour to get across the point that upper business class is available for business class prices. There are a series of "interviews"; all done on simple, but dramatic black drop. A perfectly cast interviewer with just the right amount of crack in his voice asks the questions.
Agency - Young & Rubicam New York.

Below, an older piece of creative that shows the genesis of the brand. This piece was crafted to take your mind off price, and focus on living in the moment. And if you're going to travel, you should travel with the company that helps you live life to the fullest. The spirit of this ad is very much in keeping with the founder Richard Branson. Brilliantly done.

That's it for today. For our Canadian friends, Go Team Canada verses Slovak tonight!
Have a great weekend.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Webinars, On24

At Ontrack Communications we have discovered that our clients are becoming "virtual friendly" much faster than anyone had anticipated. In our search for strategic partners we discovered On24 They provide the backend for Webinars, as well as assistance with capturing and retaining new customers.

Another company to consider is Webex (Cisco). Webex has created competitor companies to shops like On24 and Go To Meeting with their suite of products. Webex - Cisco

Tomorrow - We go high in the sky with more edgy airline commercials for Creative Excellence Fridays.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Twitter makes its' moves - They Yahoo

A lot of people have been asking for a couple of years now "what is Twitter's revenue model?".
It appears they are now starting to show their cards. Twitter is introducing Twitter Pro. They will be offering paid accounts to businesses that use the microblogging platform for marketing, customer relations, publicity, and what-have-you. That's something Twitter has been hinting at for about a year now.

And this week it was announced that Yahoo and Twitter are forming a relationship. In the coming weeks Yahoo will be integrating Twitter into nearly all of its products and pages, including Yahoo Mail, Sports, News, Finance and Search.

Strength in numbers right?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Superbowl winners and losers

We're a few weeks past the Superbowl. But with that kind of expenditure, companies expect to leverage positive brand experience for the entire year. Who were the big winners this year? According to an independent polling company, Doritos was the huge winner, followed closely by Denny's and E-trade. Losers? Volkswagon, Ford and Snickers to name a few. What makes a knock out spot that lands one out of the park? Well Buzz. Not the controversial Buzz that Google is handling right now, but pure street and internet buzz. The water cooler factor. It's as difficult to bottle as genius itself, but marketers with their ears close to the tracks manage to figure out a way to "get it done" year after year using traditional and new e-methods at hand.

Here's the article that inspired today's blog Superbowl winners and losers

Monday, February 22, 2010

I've created a social media monster!

First, I have to mention a site I heard about on CBC this morning and read about in PCMagazine. It's called It's a site that uses social media updates to determine when someone is not home, thus making it easier to rob them. It's done in fun but Twitter didn't appreciate the "humour" and shut down their twitter account.

Details here Please Rob Me

Now today's blog topic. I've created a monster. When a new initiative is started, especially something receiving as much buzz as Social Media, companies will attack it with a vengeance. The Facebook page goes up, then the Twitter, then the YouTube, perhaps a Digg page. Everyone steps back and says, nice job. Then time starts ticking away and there is no clearly defined game plan in place as to who will be maintaining all these media. A social media platform is like a home; if you don't maintain it, people won't want to visit.

Ontrack Communications provides a social media program which includes options to train appropriate staff internally, or a program is provided where maintenance is included with updates according to the frequency necessary for your product category. We think it's crucial that whoever update social media, have a clear understanding of your product, brand and service, because the content needs to be well researched, interesting and not a hard sell. A properly designed social media program should:
1.Reinforce your brand.
2.Create a comfortable "living room" that people will want to drop into.
3.Soft sell your services so you'll want to do business with this company when the time comes.

A proper social media program recognizes everyone's time is short, so creating an environment that does all of the above has to be carefully orchestrated over time.

Have a great Monday.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Creative Excellence Fridays - Products that give you "the edge"

Today on Creative Excellence Fridays - we have one final look at Valentines with a limited run commercial from Heineken. Heineken has been concerned that their demographic is getting older, so in the last few years they have worked hard to add edge and re-energize the brand.
This commercial will not win any votes from women's groups, but it's fun just the same.

And speaking of edge, Axe has released some really fun commercials over the last few years. Here is the latest in the series. The man, in pursuit of the beautiful woman, gets a little help.

Axe has edge, but the concept of a man's cologne giving a man a little step up on the competition is not a new one. This campaign was huge in the 60's and 70's.

They retired Hai Karate in the early 80's but the nostalgia continues with references to it having been made by Samuel Jackson in the Incredibles and even Al Bundy used it on Spring Break where it was referred to as "geezer smell".

That's it for this week. Enjoy Oympic fever and have a great weekend!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Jet Blue uses Social Media to send a message to agencies

Marty St. George, marketing VP at Jet Blue, decided to test agencies currently vying for the airline's marketing account with this tweet: "We're pitching our advertising AOR. Curious on digital savvy ... first test is how many of the agencies will find me on Twitter."

There's a new method of finding a digital shop. It's like an online Easter Egg hunt.

In other Social Media News, blogger and brand builder Sally Hoggshead asked this question on her facebook page on Saturday evening. "Would you rather work for a talented jerk or a sweetheart hack?"
The general consensus was, substance over sweetness. You can read more about Sally at

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Product Placement -- A good thing or not and 3D at home

Some observers are saying that product placement is taking over in television and film. Personally I don't think it's any worse than it once was, just perhaps more honest. I find it quite funny when Steven Colbert blatantly holds up a bag of Doritos and stuffs a handful into his mouth and mugs for the camera.

Here's the article Product Placement

In Tech News --
More talk of 3D TV in homes. Hard to say if people will willingly wear those silly glasses but perhaps for certain films they'll make the sacrifice.

Here's the article

3D at Home

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Puma's Love song

Happy Tuesday. For our Canadian friends we hope you had a great Family Day. And south of the border President's Day. Our new English blog followers, our apologies for taking the day off while you toiled away yesterday.

As marketers make the web a larger part of their strategy, Puma follows suit with a fun site that combines love, passion and song, and guiness.

It's a Viral site and the video features several football (aka soccer) enthusiasts singing to their "true love".


Friday, February 12, 2010

Creative Excellence Fridays - Let the Games Begin

Canada is claiming the best crop of athletes ever for these, our Olympic games, launching tonight in Vancouver. Our hopes are high.

As part of the opening ceremonies tonight, a musical performance from the "We Are the World" ensemble.

Michael Jackson will appear singing with his sister Janet through digital wizardry. "We Are the World - 25 for Haiti" features 80 artists, including Pink, Barbra Streisand, Celine Dion, Kanye West and Jennifer Hudson.

The Olympics represents all that's pure (doping aside) and full of hope. Thus many advertisers have paid Superbowl-like prices in the past to be associated with the games.

Here is a sweet commercial from Wonderbread featuring "future" Olympians.

Next, although many would argue how much a McDonald's diet would be part of an athletes' regimen, one can not argue the commitment McDonald's has made to the Olympics over the years.

And nothing says Olympic sponsorship like Coca Cola. Coca Cola is the longest continuous corporate supporter of the Olympics dating back to 1928.

Coming up next week, the anatomy behind successful virals. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Canwest TV study on Women

Canwest has released a new study on women's TV viewing habits. With some interesting findings.

According to a new Canwest Broadcasting and Solutions Research Group (SRG) report released today on women's TV viewing habits of specialty channels, there is a disconnect between the measurement of channels watched, the ones to which attention was actually paid and, most importantly for marketers, the channels on which viewers were most receptive to advertising.

Since the introduction of BBM Canada's Portable People Meter, which saw overall TV viewership jump thanks to the new system's use of multiple family members in one home and its ability to travel with viewers out-of-home, broadcasters and advertisers alike have looked at ways to clarify certain numbers.

As with the new radio people meter, there will be a period of adjustment before buyers are convinced the results are at least reasonably accurate.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Royal Banks Olympics hurdle

The Olympics begin on Friday. Royal Bank became one of the official backers shelling out a pant load of money to do so. However it was pointed out that some people are skeptical on corporate involvement in the games. Andrew Willis of the Globe and Mail had a great article about this in todays paper.

How the torch lit the way for RBC
Andrew Willis
When Royal Bank of Canada began planning the campaign that would anchor its involvement in the Vancouver Olympics, the institution faced a classic marketing conundrum.

Canadians didn't want to see a bank, or other corporate player, sully the games by using the event to shamelessly flog products. However, RBC and its shareholders were entirely justified in looking for some sort of return on a $110-million, multi-Games commitment to the Olympics. How did the bank square this circle?

Well, it helps to have history on your side. RBC's backing of amateur athletics and Olympic Games goes back to 1947. Along with six decades of financing, the institution has a long history of offering athletes full or part-time jobs: More than 50 Olympic participants are currently on the payroll. So RBC's marketing team went into the biggest project they've ever undertaken with a brand that was already linked to ruddy-cheeked winter sports.

But the real breakthrough, the move that set RBC apart in a crowded, competitive Olympic sponsorship landscape, was the decision to step up for an event that will finish when the opening ceremonies begin. The results are already in: Backing the torch relay has translated into a gold-medal performance for Canada's biggest bank.

To hear RBC chief brand officer Jim Little tell it now, this decision was stunningly simple. The bank, with its vast branch network, wanted a feel-good Olympic vibe that included customer contact in every community. Some help was needed to pay for the Bombardier-designed torch's winding, 45,000-kilometre trip through cities and towns, into schools, Legion halls, curling rinks and everywhere Canadians gather. Slapping an RBC logo on that journey just made sense.

But consider the timing for this sponsorship decision: Olympic marketing campaigns were being planned, and financed, during the worst financial meltdown this generation has experienced. Many bank executives were curled up under their desks, in a fetal position, when these sponsorship decisions were being weighed. Banks were cutting costs, left and right. Against that backdrop, RBC made a decision to hike its Olympic spend, beyond the original $110-million commitment.

For the past 101 days, the torch has travelled the country; it stopped in Abbotsford, B.C., yesterday in the final week of the marathon. In coming days, as Vancouver comes into view, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jann Arden, Michael Bublé and Walter Gretzky will carry the flame.

Several times each day, there are formal celebrations for torchbearers. At each gathering, there's an RBC booth, carried on a truck, on the edge of the crowd. As part of the torch relay, the bank offers to anyone who is interested a loan for eco-friendly home renovations that increase energy efficiency.

How successful has the torch campaign been? Services such as Nielsen track brand awareness, and its weekly data showed that until the beginning of 2009, RBC consistently ranked a distant fourth when it came to recognition among Olympic backers - McDonald's was way out in front, followed by Petro-Canada and Air Canada. Then the torch touched down in Victoria, and began its cross-country trek.

By the first week of February, as the torch neared the end of trail, Nielsen found that RBC had vaulted into No. 1 spot among sponsors of the games.

The bank has built a huge list of potential clients from its home-reno loan program. Internal surveys show the far-flung branch staff feel a new sense of pride and involvement in their bank. And the torch has become a national icon, on par with canoes and the loonie. Mr. Little says: "The torch relay, and Royal Bank's entire involvement to date in the Vancouver Games, have exceeded every estimate of what we hoped to achieve."

And the Games haven't even started yet.


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Super Bowl over - On to the Oscars

SuperBowl is the big Media Machine that sucks all the energy out of pop culture in early February. Then we move on to the Oscars. This year the Oscars are later than usual due to the Olympics. They'll air Sunday March 7 with 10 nominees in the major categories.

What's different this year? Technology. The Oscars now have their own Iphone application through Vanity Fair magazine.

Vanity Fair is asking for your 2010 Oscars predictions via a free iPhone app available in the App Store as of yesterday.

The app is called Vanity Fair Hollywood, and you can use it to read Vanity Fair’s Hollywood coverage leading up to the Oscars in March. If you feel like you’re informed enough to make a prediction, you can use the app to vote for which person or film will win an Oscar in each of the major categories.

More on Oscar social media here.

Social Media Oscars

Monday, February 8, 2010

Superbowl commercials - The full rundown

The Bud spots were hilarious on Sunday but I think my favourite was the Betty White commercial.

Here are the best of the best as featured in Ad Age online.

Super bowl 2010 commercials

Friday, February 5, 2010

Superbowl Sunday - Creative Excellence Fridays

The big game is on this Sunday. For many, the commercials are as much a hi-light as the game and Janet Jackson exposing herself.

This year CBS is the Bowl Broadcaster. It appears that in 2010 we are not as advanced as we thought. CBS turned down an ad for the gay dating sight Mancrunch. It was deemed below the standards of the network. I came across an excellent article in the Washington Post by Kevin Huffman that will make you smile, and think if you have a chance to read it.

Ad ban CBS

Interestingly, CBS will be running a ProLife ad. This too is raising some eyebrows.

Politics aside, here is a sneak peak at one of the commercials to be aired on CBS this Sunday and a few tidbits from Doritos.

Brett Favre stars in this commercial for Hyundai. Fast forward to 2020.

Doritos has been a long time supporter of the Superbowl. Here are the Top Ten Dorito moments.

Enjoy the commercials on Sunday! Have a great weekend.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Toyota PR working overtime

Kelley Blue Book Study Finds 20% Have Scratched Automaker Off Their Shopping Lists.
That's an alarming statistic. But Toyota has far too much momentum to stop them. They'll weather the storm and publicize various safety and customer satisfaction awards, and this too shall pass.

More news on the Ipad. This is a great article on how the Ipad will change the advertising business.
Ipad changing the Ad biz

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Well if you're looking for "alternative" ways to advertise your product, consider "Billy the Billboard". Billy is a boxer who tatoos logos on his body, for a price.
Here is Billy's Letter to the Advertisers.

My name is Billy Gibby but I go by the name Billythebillboard I am an undefeated boxer, kidney donor and human billboard thats right. I have 19 permenent tattoo advertisements for various websites and hope to get into the guiness world record books one day for most area of ones body covered in tattoo ads and would love to advertise for you as well with a permenent tattoo ad. Right now I am advertising for 2 websites on my forehead 3 on my neck 2 on my cheeks the one on my neck is for Liberty tax service. so far let me know if your interested it would litterally be seen by millions and get great media attention as well. I can send you press I have been in the past just let me know. I have 2 tattoo ads that are on my cheeks soon my face cheeks I would love to add your website to my head as well or somewhere else on my face or head. this would get great coverage I have thousands of friends on myspace and on my tattoo page I have over 30 thousand page hits and have been on the site for only a month or so. I also have around 6 thousand friends on my myspace page and pics would be posted on both those sites as well as on my facebook and the ad would be seen at all my boxing matches as well. Also it will be seen daily by everyone I see who can miss a tattoo on someones face? Espeacially a cool website like yours. It would get great media coverage as well. I am also writing a blog post for tattooblog each week about my adventures in tattoo advertising and each week I write a post with photos of each website I advertise for and say good things about the site that tattoo blog gets 30 thousand hits a month. I would be happy to send you articles and links to the press i have been in also you can google my name Billy gibby or billythebillboard as well to get information to.I have been in newspapers aroung the country as well as business weekly, bizzar magazine, rebel ink magazine, san diego tribune, contra costa times, anchorage daily news, and news shows as well I would be happy to send you links to all my sites just let me know. Prices for head tattoo advertisements are 800 for my head-thats a tattoo ad of your website on my head for life I am negotiable on price chest is 700 arm is 400 cost of the tattooing is included in the above prices as well these are also lifetime advertisements as well another advertising method I offer is legally changing my name to the website of your choice for life. So when I am in newspapers,tv,magazines, entering the boxing ring my name will be the website or name you give me the price for that is 4,000.

Somehow I doubt Hallmark cards will be buying space on Billy's pecs.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Music industry goes Gaga to reinvent itself

If you watched the Grammies on Sunday night you saw a couple of remarkable performances. Pink controlled the night as she performed high in the air dangled upside down on a cirque de soleil type chair. But music pundits are watching Lady Gaga as the one who is transforming as the Madonna of the new millennium. Her performance with Elton John was somewhat symbolic in handing off the baton to the new generation of music performers and digital marketers. Here's an interesting passage from the Wall Street Journal that points out some interesting things about the industry and where Gaga is taking it.

She's a digital phenomenon by John Jurgensen

Lady Gaga's towering digital sales, almost all of them iTunes downloads, only tell part of the story. In fact, much of Gaga's audience got her music for free, and legally. They have listened to free streams—by the hundreds of millions—on YouTube and the other online services that Gaga currently leads, according to research firm BigChampagne. On MySpace, Gaga has had 321.5 million plays. By contrast, singer Susan Boyle tallied only 133,000 plays, despite scoring the No. 2 selling album of 2009. A difference (among many) between Gaga and the dowdy Scotswoman discovered on a British talent show: Ms. Boyle's material, including "Amazing Grace," was traditional—and so were most of her buyers. Some 97% of her albums were sold on compact disc.

Her Manager:

"That tells you how pronounced the generational divide is," says BigChampagne founder Eric Garland. When it comes to the free streams that dwarf her still-impressive sales, Gaga isn't giving it away for nothing—musicians typically earn fractions of a penny each time a song is streamed on Yahoo, for instance. While most artists stand to profit more from high-margin CD sales, being embedded across the Web can pay dividends in exposure and the loyalty of fans.
She's got a 360-degree view

The business needs more Gagas. The upheaval of the last decade has forced the major record companies to cut their work force by 60%, according to a recent report by the Recording Industry Association of America. Within the last week, dozens of Universal Music Group employees were laid off. (Gaga's own publicist took a buyout; his job won't be filled.) Labels have had to change their relationship with artists and lean on new partners, including the talent managers they often squabbled with in the past.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Ipad mania

Steven Colbert showed up on the Grammies last night brandishing a shiny new Ipad. He said to his daughter sitting in the audience, "So, am I cool now????"

It wasn't until he won the Grammy for best comedy album that she admitted, okay, you're cool dad.

A report out of Marketing today reports that over half of all Canadians are thinking of the Ipad. Any marketer will tell you, this is a phenomenal launch for a new product.

Ipad in Canada