There’s a new player in media buying …

Viewability Measurement is the newest way to determine the best purchase when it comes to media.


In a recent article on, it was announced that Viewability Measurement was now considered reliable enough information to be able to use when considering media buys.


But what is Viewability Measurement, you say?

To earn Media Ratings Council accreditation, viewability measurement providers must:

• measure on-screen time by checking with a certain frequency whether the ad is on-screen (100 ms for display)
• measure whether the impression is 50% on-screen before they begin measuring whether it is on-screen for 1 second
• only count impressions on an in-focus tab
• eliminate non-rendered impressions from viewability counts.

(courtesy of MarketingMag,ca)

I know, I know. You’re sitting there thinking “What’s all that mean?”  It means that advertisers will now be able to determine how many times an ad has been viewed, how many different people are viewing the ad, and other sorts of data that can make a big difference in whether an advertisement is useful or not, as well as whether or not advertising with a certain webpage is useful or not.


Essentially, it means that advertisers will be able to have a better understanding of just how their efforts are being seen.  In the end, that’s a good thing for all involved.


To tweet or not to tweet?

For companies these days, that certainly is the question.


With Twitter turning 8 this year, it’s only just recently become known as a place to promote a brand or product. Companies are beginning to look to Twitter as a valued marketing tool, but has the delay been too big? Will Twitter become as powerful as a Google or Facebook when it comes to reach and advertising potential?



As shown in the infographic above, not many companies who are now using Twitter have been on the social media platform for long. In fact, many of them appear to be still struggling to find an audience there. While efforts to build brand awareness are slowly working, not enough companies seem to be taking advantage of all the platform has to offer, sticking to the most well known hashtags and images to promote themselves.


Will we see an upswing in companies promoting their brands on Twitter?  Only time will tell.

Speak your mind …

It’s back.


What was once a staple of CityTV and affiliated stations has returned from a six year absence.


The space in which many had their 15 minutes of fame, or in some cases, launched their career:

That’s right, Speaker’s Corner is back.  Often a good place to just go and vent, that little booth on the corner of John and Queen in Toronto was a quick and easy (and relatively inexpensive) way for CityTV to get some interesting content for their stations, and provide some people with a great outlet to speak their minds. This, long before we had the internet and chat forums and comment sections on station websites. It was fun, it cost a small fee (usually a loonie) and was the embodiment of CityTV head Moses Znaimer’s vision of interactive broadcasting.


It began in 1990 in Toronto, and soon other CHUM and CITY-owned stations featured their own booth.  Content from the booth was aired initially on CityTV and then on MuchMusic and MusiquePlus as well as the local network owned stations.  It was a great way to show the residents of the city, or visitors, in cute and quirky ways. Some people took advantage of the open forum, and recorded rants about the hot topic of the day. Others, like the Barenaked Ladies example above, used it to get their voices heard on national television, before YouTube took over.


All in all, for its time, it was revolutionary, and great.  Now, it’ll be another online forum, with a nostalgic name.


Oh well, at least thanks to YouTube, we can enjoy these blasts from the past.

As you wish …

It’s no secret that many of the posts on this blog have been driven by school assignments. This is no different.


So here’s how my feedly account is organized:

My Feedly Links


And the list of links:

Ads of the World

The Font Shop

Comic Book Movie

Cyanide and Happiness

IGN Games


The Huffington Post

Yahoo! News

Courtesan Macabre

Model Mayhem

CBC Politics




Ad Critiques

Now, I also need to provide two ad critiques.

Baducco toast

Bauducco Toast

I am particularly fond of this advertisement. As a drummer, I get the joke in the copy. It reminded me immediately of the old joke “What do you call a guy who hangs out with musicians? A drummer.”


This advertisement makes good use of balancing the important elements in the advertisement with the humour intended. The company logo, which is what is being advertised, is at the top of the copy and stands out. The tagline is kept close to the company logo, to associate the humourous feel of the ad with the company.


The placement of the different toast toppings leads the eye across the page, defying the standard Z shape that most advertisements use. It also follows the base picture, of The Beatles, with each topping replacing a musician’s head. This allows the eye to travel across to the specific product being advertised, and the company name and tagline used to make the ad memorable.


The font used with this advertisement is a playful, simple script. This follows well with the playful tone of the entire composition, and is effective in further conveying the fun theme of the ad. It is only the font used in the logo that differs, and that allows the logo to stand out against the rest of the copy, further promoting the brand.


Bright, vibrant colours are used in this ad to promote the fun theme that is represented by the subject matter and the font used. The picture of The Beatles that was selected is from the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album, which is known for its colourful imagery. The background being yellow further promotes a light, friendly, playful feeling.

Overall idea

While the different components all combine to provide a happy, playful, friendly theme to the advertisement, I would have made the background yellow more pale in order to make the other images stand out more. There are a lot of shades of yellow in the ad, from Paul McCartney’s jacket, to the jar of marmelade, to the actual toast itself. These elements are lost a little when presented on as bright a background.

Hendricks Gin

Hendricks Gin


There isn’t much variation in how the text is presented on this advertisement. However, once you follow what is requested of you, and fold into the center, much of the text disappears, and what’s left is simply the very effective and simple headline. This different approach to body copy and hierarchy leaves a memorable impression, as you are forced to pay closer attention to the content of the ad.


Alignment and balance is of the utmost importance with this advertisement. The whole concept of folding the image in upon itself requires that both the image and copy line up perfectly to produce the final intended message. It’s reminiscent of the old MAD magazine back pages that used the same technique to produce a humorous effect.


As mentioned above, the typography is presented in an extremely clever way, as a hark-back to the old MAD Magazine back pages. As much as the copy doesn’t actually have any real message as a whole, the message becomes clear when you follow the directions and fold the advertisement inward. The font used portrays the class of the brand, while still retaining a whimsical tone. It also is a similar font to the font used on the product itself, further connecting the copy with the product being advertised.


The colours of this advertisement are not vibrant, but accurately present the overall theme of the Hendrick’s company in relation to their products. It speaks to the moderate, more mature audience who are more likely to drink a gin and tonic. The specific colours used for the copy also highlight the intended message.


The throwback to the old MAD Magazines was a nice touch, personally.  I would have tried to make the copy make more sense for those who don’t fold the page together, so that the message still comes through upon a quick glance.

So long, farewell …

That’s it for this posting. Look for another blog post this Friday, as I try to get back into the habit of posting on Friday for another class.


Here we go again …

It’s time for the Super Bowl!

More importantly, it’s time for Super Bowl Commercials!  According to, a survey produced in January 2013 showed that 76.6 percent of viewers considered Super Bowl Commercials entertainment instead of advertising. Compare that to only 10.5 percent who were actually influenced to purchase the products or services, and a clearer picture emerges.

That’s just the spots that are allowed to make it to air. In the decade since “Nipplegate” we’ve seen a marked change in the content for Super Bowl commercials. Now, it’s almost better to be banned from being aired at the Super Bowl than it is to actually make it to broadcast.

Enter SodaStream. I remember them being available over 20 years ago, sold by independent sellers with in-home presentations. They slowly built a brand, and are now available in major retailers like Wal-Mart. My ex-wife bought one for Christmas last year.

SodaStream produced a commercial that I probably never would have watched had it not had the words “Banned” and “Scarlett Johansson” attached to the description. I admit it, I’m a sucker for Scarlett. So I watched the video embedded below:

<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”//” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen>

Um, yeah. That just happened. It was banned not for content, but for taking a jab at Half-Time sponsor Pepsi.

Not-AmusedI don’t know what’s the bigger issue here. That Fox felt pressured to not air a spot that made fun of a sponsor of the event, or that SodaStream is big enough to actually be a threat to Pepsi right now, or that Pepsi, which should be rather secure in their number two position in the market, might actually feel threatened by this newcomer.

Well, only time will tell if this translates into positive things for SodaStream. Of course, barely anyone here in Canada will even see any of the commercials who did make the cut for broadcast.  Here’s why.

Congratulations CRTC. You’re proving that you’re still behind the times.

Tuning Out …




I don’t have TV service. Since September, 2013 when I moved into my own place after splitting with my wife of 5 years, I refused to start up any cable or satellite service. My theory being that if there’s any shows out there I want to watch, there are ways to watch them without having to pay for television service.

According to an article I found on, I’m not the only one. Sixteen percent of Canadians have considered, or have already ended their television subscriptions. One in seven people surveyed admitted to being likely to “quit their TV service and opt for free or cheaper alternatives.”



I can’t blame them. With stations streaming episodes of the programs they air online, the increasing popularity of Netflix, and other “alternatives” for collecting your favourite TV shows, traditional TV is going the way of the 8-track and Betamax.

Additionally, half of the survey’s respondents said they had “viewed at least three episodes of a show consecutively in the past year.” I can get on that bandwagon. If it weren’t for Netflix, I wouldn’t have been able to introduce my children to a certain Doctor.

Looking at this information from an advertising point of view, however, it’s hard to believe that much would have to change. We still get advertising inserted into the streaming video. In fact, while Netflix doesn’t air commercials, there’s still a degree of advertising through product placement and other non-traditional methods.

Add to that the advertisements at the beginning of nearly every YouTube video, or strategically placed on the websites where the videos are streaming from. Heck, even the websites that offer “alternative” methods of getting your favourite shows feature advertisements at some point on the page.

It’s like our one teacher, Tom Brennan, likes to remind us; we’re never completely free of advertising. At all times we’re bombarded with advertising in one way or another. So for those people who think they’re escaping “those annoying adverts during the shows” – sorry, but we’ll still reach you.

So I guess it’s time now to finish this off.  Besides, I have a few more episodes of The Originals to watch before I’m caught up. I won’t say how I got them though.

Game on!

(C) 2004 Twisted Pictures

(C) 2004 Twisted Pictures


I once had just over 1 thousand Shopper’s Drug Mart Optimum points.

I don’t have them anymore because my wife at the time decided that we didn’t need two separate accounts, and we tossed out my card in favour of hers. This made sense since she did most of the shopping. So now I’m back at the beginning, with a new card number, this time all electronically set up on my smartphone.

That’s one big change that loyalty programs have made in recent years. Programs such as SDM Optimum, Air Miles, and Aeroplan are all moving to mobile based applications for their members to keep track of their progress. That’s important, because they all share one characteristic. Every one of them take forever and a day to earn enough points to be able to do anything with them.

- Thanks Cineplex and ScotiaBank ...

– Thanks Cineplex and ScotiaBank …

Enter Cineplex’s Scene program.  It’s very simple. Go to the movies at a Cineplex theatre. Use your Scene card at the box office and concession stand. Earn points towards a free ticket to the movies and/or special deals on concessions. It doesn’t take long to earn rewards.

Now, they’ve added a trivia game to play on your smartphone or tablet before the movie begins. What’s the incentive to play the trivia game? More Scene points. For knowing about movies. Movies you’ve probably recently seen at a Cineplex, possibly even for free by using your Scene points.

I can almost picture all of your minds exploding, just a little bit. That’s because mine did too, when I read all about it at Marketing Mag this week. Loyalty programs are beginning to recognize that while there are many people out there who are content to earn points for a long-awaited payoff, some people want their cake and to eat it too. Like, right now. Seriously. Gimme the damn cake!

Don’t be surprised to see more and more loyalty programs adopt either a much quicker payoff, or a hybrid reward structure that allows for a broader range of potential customers.  All with the hopes that they become truly loyal.

Because isn’t loyalty what it’s all about?

What do Crack, Chuck Norris and Cats have in common?

@TrendsTalkIMC #TrendsTalk13

@TrendsTalkIMC #TrendsTalk13

#TrendsTalk13, that’s what!

Yesterday, I was able to take part in something that was truly amazing.  I wasn’t completely convinced that it was going to be worthwhile.  However, our attendance was strongly encouraged by our professors in the Advertising and Marketing Communications course at St. Lawrence College, so I made sure I was there.

Boy am I ever glad that I did.  After an amazing keynote speech from Brett McDonald from Young and Rubican in Toronto, where we learned that data is the new oil, and that digital advertising trends are changing at an increasingly rapid pace, we split off into individual seminars run by second and third year students.

I’m starting a new business, so I chose seminars that I thought would help me in that respect.  Blogging for Business started me off, and it gave me lots of ideas on how to better promote this blog.  The next seminar I attended was about creating compelling content.  More on that later.

The rest of the day was mostly about websites, their domains, and how to use them as hubs for our social media.  But the one seminar that really stood out was called “Memes for Marketing” by Rachel King and Matthew Meagher (Click for their Twitter feeds!)


I’ve been on the Internet since home access was first introduced in Canada.  I’ve seen a lot of trends come and go, but memes are some of my favourite things.  I love seeing them pop up on my Facebook news feed, or in random places across the web.

Using them as a marketing tool never even occurred to me.  This seminar really opened my eyes to the power that these simple little graphics can hold for a business, especially a small business like mine.  My business partners and I decided that once we get our online presence established, we are going to use this new tool.

Now, I promised I would talk more about creating compelling content.  A lot of people have blogged about this seminar, and rightfully so.  It was truly compelling, and I look forward to read the book it was based on.  In the seminar, they showed a video of a blind man struggling to get money on the street, until someone re-worded his sign to something more moving.

It was a touching video, don’t get me wrong.  But when I think of a company providing compelling content in an effort to promote their brand, I can’t look past WestJet.  They built a reputation of treating their customers better than any other airline, and continue to support that reputation year in and year out.

So I leave you with their latest Christmas event.  These people go above and beyond in so many more ways than one.  It truly is an inspiration as a human being, and especially as an Advertising student.  If you haven’t seen this yet, enjoy.  If you have, please enjoy again.

Layar-ing It On

The future is here.

Not long ago, people would look at you like you had two heads if you mentioned getting information about a person, place or thing while walking down the street and simply looking at or snapping a picture of it. Then, Google announced the Google Glass project.

Google Glass changed how we thought about the accessibility of information.  We already had the Internet, but access was still relegated to our home computers and smartphones were only just hitting the market. When it was first announced, there were mixed reviews.

While this was happening, a new graphic was beginning to appear on posters and websites, and other similar publications. It was called a QR code, and it allowed people to use their new smartphones to get additional information, or be redirected to a website dealing with whatever the QR code was attached to.

Photo courtesy Lynn Barry, Pranav Mistry, MIT Media Lab

Photo courtesy Lynn Barry, Pranav Mistry, MIT Media Lab

Fast forward to today, where the Layar company has produced an app that takes the QR code concept one step further with embedded codes in ads that feature links to more information about what you’re looking at, or locations to purchase an item, or another similar function. The practice of this is called augmented reality, and it’s not likely long before it becomes commonplace.

I can see Google making an offer to Layar for the technology, and implementing it into the Glass project. Then I see a whole bunch of people walking around getting tons of updates on the things they are looking at. It’s not such a bad thing, when you think about it. Plus, it almost certainly avoids something like this:

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