Tag Archives: advertising

Emojis and advertising: It’s what all the cool kids are doing.

By Gina Nasuti of Think Shift

Gone are the days of 🙂 and 😦

Emojis emerged in Japan in the late 1990s by a mobile phone company that wanted to further simplify communication by expressing emotion via text. The word “emoji” came from the combination of the Japanese words for “picture,” “writing,” and “character.”

Fast forward to today, where Emoji is a second language and millennials line every text, tweet, status update – and on some occasions even university papers with little yellow faces of varying temperaments. Continue reading Emojis and advertising: It’s what all the cool kids are doing.

Tray this on for size

Sometimes in life, you find yourself staring into the void, looking for answers to tough questions, like how to get your ad in front of a mass audience.
For the guys behind Portray Advertising, the answer was staring right back at them.
Co-founders Kyle Boult and Greg Lipschitz formed the food tray advertising company and launched the pilot run during the 2013 holiday season. The inspiration for the idea actually came from a brain storming session that Kyle had at a mall while working for American Express in Toronto.
“My boss and I were at lunch, bashing our heads on what to use as a creative campaign and thinking of ways to get in front of mass audiences and it hit me,” said Kyle. “I was literally staring at it while we were having this conversation. I pitched the idea to Greg and here we are.”

If at first you don’t succeed…tray, tray again

Before they were able to do their initial launch at St. Vital Centre, there was a lot of pounding the pavement and cold calling to line up advertisers.
“We set up meetings with 170 retail stores,” said Greg. “We explained the program and the benefits to their store, and if they weren’t the decision maker they passed it along to their district manager or their marketing department.”
The initial campaigns for ads were very successful, and featured large brands such as Scotiabank and Rogers. However, the first batch of trays wasn’t up to standard.
“Initially the trays were a little bit too heavy, and we couldn’t change the ads quick enough,” said Greg. “So that’s what led Kyle and I to work in the food court for three months, scrubbing trays, washing dishes. You name it we did it.”
Kyle and Greg made the changes to the trays in time for the 2014 season, and continued to maintain their relationship with mall staff at St. Vital Centre.
The hard work and long hours did not go unnoticed, as St. Vital Centre management brought their efforts to the attention of 20 VIC Management Inc., the company that manages St. Vital Centre.
“They’ve become a champion of the program,” said Kyle. “They worked with us to bring the program to their superiors, so they’ve been advocates for us, and we’ve been able to work with them and their superiors to roll this out nationally. 20 VIC owns a portfolio of 18 malls, so we’re rolling out with all of their mall locations in November.”

Sticking to their roots

Kyle and Greg have been working together since they met at St. Paul’s High School, and upon graduation they both attended the Richard Ivey Schools of Business at the University of Western Ontario. After graduation, Kyle started work at American Express in Toronto while Greg worked with Richardson Capital back home in Winnipeg. When the two decided to go into business, the logical choice was to make the effort together and to set up shop in Winnipeg.
“Greg and I were both looking to make the plunge at the same time,” said Kyle. “We compliment each other extremely well from a skill set. I come from a sales and marketing background, whereas Greg is more operations and finance.”
“We’re very appreciative of our network here,” said Greg. “That’s why we launched in Winnipeg, because this is where our network is and it’s allowed us to use all of our resources.”

Giving back

Apart from business and entrepreneurship, Kyle and Greg also share an interest in philanthropy, starting with volunteering while at St. Paul’s. They have contributed to various efforts, and have found one that ties in nicely with Portray Advertising.
“We partnered with Breakfast Clubs of Canada, which was an awesome fit with the platform, plus Greg and I wanted to be able to give every kid the sort of opportunity to educate themselves and learn,” said Kyle. “You never know who that future Wayne Gretzky or who the next Einstein is going to be.”

Going forward

With the national campaign set to roll out in November, Kyle and Greg hope to one day expand to venues other than malls, such as amusement parks, cruise ships and universities. They also aspire to move into international markets.
The work remains difficult, but being friends for so long helps make the difficult times much more bearable.
“It never stops, but I guess the most rewarding part is I’m doing it with my best friend,” said Greg. “It doesn’t end, it’s a constant journey. So I think the fact that we can do it together and have so much fun with it, to me at least, is the most rewarding.”

The advertising arena: how to make major sponsorships count

Socially Smart - Jon Waldman
Socially Smart – Jon Waldman

As 2014 fades into our memories, it’s important to look ahead to what’s coming up in Winnipeg in the coming months, and boy are we going to be busy.
2015 will see the Women’s World Cup and the CFL’s Grey Cup coming to town, and just a couple short months into 2016, the NHL’s Heritage Classic will come as well.
Now, of course, big advertising opportunities come with these events, but should caution be thrown to the wind for the sake of exposure? Not necessarily.
There are two realities that come to mind when it comes to these large-scale advertisements:
1. You are going to get more eyeballs in a concentrated area than you will in most other situations (so long as they’re not distracted by trivial things, like say, the action on the field or ice); and
2. You’re competing for said eyeballs. Big events require big sponsorship dollars to be considered financial successes (or at least break-evens), so expect a wide variety of ad placements to be available, but not to have much luck when it comes to having exclusivity in an area.
So what does this mean for your ad dollars? Essentially, unless you’re going into one of these events with more of an eye toward the more beautiful cause of wanting to lend support to an event or sport, you’re probably better off spending your ad budget elsewhere.
A happy medium
One of the keys to advertising, of course, is location. Another is location. The other… yeah, you guessed it: location.
But the key to advertising is not to just jump in headfirst into the biggest spot where you’re going to be found. Not every company who advertises during the Super Bowl gets the return on investment (ROI) they seek.
Essentially, what you want to look for is a spot that isn’t too crowded, yet has a significant number of viewers. Call it the Mendoza Line of Promotion (and yes, this is another sports reference).
The Mendoza Line originated in baseball and is named for Mario Mendoza, a player whose batting average was taken as the dividing line between a good hitter and a bad hitter.
In this case, the Mendoza promotional line (or, if you prefer, the Promodoza Line) is the spot between a good ad opportunity and a bad opportunity.
Let’s take a couple examples here: putting ads on a bus that runs along Portage Avenue may seem like a great idea since you have a great number of eyes potentially seeing you, but look at the number of distractions: billboards, storefronts, cops… yeah, you’re not likely going to get the attention you seek.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, then, would be somewhere like East St. Paul. Not as many distractions, yes – but not as many travelers (at least in winter).
So where you want to be instead is somewhere that’s going to get the traffic count without all the distractions. St. James was great for this in the days when sports stadiums ruled the area because of the long stretches of land that had little to no ads. Thus, bus ads would have been a great opportunity, since they’d be stationary outside said venues for long periods while fans walked across parking lots and sidewalks to get to the games.
Ultimately, the ad game is an arena you need to approach with caution. Do lots of research first, rather than just jumping in – otherwise, you may experience a letdown even in a promising location.
Jon Waldman is a marketing strategist with Cohesive Marketing. To learn more about the services the company offers, call 204-992-6400 or visit http://www.cohesive.ca.

Advertisers are on an everlasting “cool” hunt

Socially Smart - Jon Waldman
Socially Smart – Jon Waldman

Photo by Beverley Goodwin

Back when I was in journalism school, I was exposed to one of the premier articles of my generation – “The Coolhunt,” written by Malcolm Gladwell in 1997 (he of The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference fame).
The article followed two designated “coolhunters” – those being a company exec from Reebok and an advertising guru – as they boldly looked at trends and tried to revive the company’s position amid a bust period following its boom in the ‘80s. (Suffice to say their echo today is pretty damn good, especially after a re-branding to RBK.)
The interesting line of the article to me was this: “Coolhunting is not about the articulation of a coherent philosophy of cool. It’s just a collection of spontaneous observations and predictions that differ from one moment to the next and from one coolhunter to the next.”
In the advertising/marketing world, this is a never-ending game of building a better mousetrap. It involves media buys and web content creation that is savvy to Google’s standards, proper positioning in traditional models like the Yellow Pages, and embracing social media.
And as many mousetraps as we build, there’s always a younger demo that seems to be ahead of the curve.
The rocky road of Facebook is a prime example of this. For years, any Gen Yer (myself included) loved the platform – it became part of our daily routine alongside brushing our teeth (and sometimes you’d do it simultaneously).
What has happened more recently though is that Facebook has lost its market share in the social sphere. Witness an article from The Washington Post published in early October. The article cited a Piper Jaffray study – one of the more extensive I’ve seen to date – which found that of the 7,200 U.S. students surveyed (with the average age of 16), only 45 per cent used the social media giant.
Yep, less than half.
The coolhunt continued on in the study, when the iWatch was tested in the same group. Only 17 per cent expressed interest in buying the device. This from a generation who in the same study had a 67 per cent rate of iPhone ownership (and more said their next phone would be an Apple product as well).
Studying the way that millennials act, walk, talk and buy is only going to get more interesting for businesses as that demographic gets closer and closer to full-out employment and consumerism. Spending dollars on unfamiliar media will take on a new challenge for companies as they target the emerging generation.
Thus, the coolhunt continues, and there are new and innovative ways to look at these demos. Continue reading Advertisers are on an everlasting “cool” hunt