The Power of a Book

Working in digital marketing, it’s sometimes easy to forget about the more ‘traditional’ methods and the value they can bring to a marketing campaign.  But what I’ve seen is this – that time and time again, when we’re able to use digital and traditional marketing together in a complementary way, the results can be quite spectacular!

Ikea is one of those brands that is so adept at bringing the digital and traditional worlds together.  I’ve looked forward to receiving the Ikea catalogues for as long as I can remember.  Through the years, it has been a true source of inspiration.  From my younger years when I dreamed of the perfect life and the little Ikea home and Volkswagen that would go with it to today, as a source of endless creative inspiration.  Beyond the design, layout, pictures, font and typography, Ikea’s catalogues of recent years has also been an inspiration of how technology can go hand in hand with print to enhance a customer’s experience.

With the augmented reality first introduced in the 2014 catalogue, readers with the Ikea app could scan selected pages in the catalogue to access over 50 pages of extended content including additional inspirations and tips, videos, panoramic shots of rooms and zoom capability.  It was always such a surprise to scan the pages and see what surprises popped up.

Ikea Power of a Bookbook

This year, even with the augmented reality feature, it seems that Ikea is going back to the basics.  In the latest spot produced BBH Asia Pacific, Ikea reminds us, ever so slyly that no technology can replace the joy we get from flipping through the pages of an Ikea catalogue (the “book book” version that is, not the “digital book” or “e book”) Even with the app, the mobile site and the shopping site, I still look forward to receiving my Ikea catalogue in the mail and it still retains its spot on my coffee table where it is always within reach throughout the year.

So no… print is not dying anytime soon.  In fact, according to Ikea, the power of print might just be greater than you think.  Beautiful things can happen when you put the new with the old!

Enjoy the spot here:

Title: Experience the Power of a Bookbook
Agency: BBH Asia Pacific
Client: Ikea

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Ice Cold Van Damme for Coors Light

Just a short post today to share this hilarious new TV spot I saw from Coors Light featuring, none other than Jean Claude Van Damme.

Following the success of his collaboration with Volvo and his “Epic Split” TV spot, Van Damme has clearly found a new (and very profitable) way to spend his free time!  This time, he teams up with Coors Light to build an entire lodge out of ice… with his bare hands.  He also pulls sleds of ice blocks with his ponytail and chisels ice sculptures with his high kicks, all set to 80’s montage music and made better with his outfit of denim on demin.  Dramatic… I know.

It’s entertaining, it’s fun and it definitely keeps you watching till the very end.  The soundtracks, the Van Damme brand – beers and trailers couldn’t be more different but yet, I still find myself comparing the two!  Is this a good thing?  Will this ad be eclipse by the success of the Volvo stunt?  Or will it benefit from the aftermath of its success?

Either way – it was a fun watch!

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Etsy’s Email Marketing Success

Of all the shopping mailing lists that I am a part of, the daily emails from Etsy are the ones I look forward to the most!

I joined Etsy several weeks ago when I was looking for original and unique prints to put up around my home.  I’m usually not much of an online shopper, preferring to touch, feel and see my products before making a purchase but the limited selection in my city led me to give Etsy a try.  First of all – what an amazing idea and outlet for artists around the world to showcase their creativity and originality!  The selection was unbelievable; suddenly, I had access to artists from Thailand to the UK.  I eventually found a print that I loved but even though the process was pain free and unexpectedly fun, after the initial purchase, I wasn’t sure if I would be back again.

Fast forward a few weeks, I have to confess that I’ve been back on the site almost everyday!  And this, I can 100% attribute to the emails I receive from Etsy on a daily basis.  I love what they’ve done with their “Etsy Finds” emails.  Every day features a different theme, different products and shop owners.  Beyond showcasing their products and boosting sales, they have also successfully used the emails to inspire, foster creativity and build a community of artists and admirers.

Take the latest email I received from Etsy with the subject line “Garden of Ideas” (Click to see a web hosted version of the email)

Etsy - Garden of IdeasEtsy - Garden of IdeasEtsy - Garden of IdeasEtsy - Garden of IdeasEtsy - Garden of IdeasEtsy - Garden of IdeasEtsy - Garden of Ideas

The emails were image heavy but organized into themes.  The products featured were on trend and showed you what beautiful products other buyers were looking at.  Etsy also sends emails based on what your network is looking at – which is another way to keep you updated on trends both within your network and around the world!  Each email features a shop and I find myself reading the quotes from the shop owners all the time! Just by having the quote there, I am very much aware that the artists behind these shops are all real people, with passion and love for what they do.  Another great way to help build and foster the sense of community and grassroots feeling.

When I receive these emails, I don’t feel like I’m being sold to.  The emails aren’t telling me there is a 40% off sale that is on until midnight (which can feel like they are screaming at me to buy and buy right now); instead, I am inspired by the artists behind Etsy and motivated to experiment more in my daily life.  I read the artists stories and beyond just looking for products I like, I also look for people and dreams that I want to support.

Great job, Etsy! You’ve quietly and ever so subtly turned me into a real fan.  It’s been a pleasure!


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Resurrecting an Old Slogan: United Airlines & Friendly Skies

I once again had the pleasure ;) of flying through the Chicago O’Hare Airport several weeks ago, when I took a trip to Orlando, Fl.  This time around, the experience was much better due to the fact that my layover was only 1.5 hours long as opposed to 7!  Despite the shorter stay in Terminal 2, I still found the time to walk around and enjoy some of the ads and signage around the terminal.

As a marketer, it is always a challenge to come up with the perfect tagline that can properly represent your business, your values, your products/services and still be versatile and transferable.   That’s why when I saw these ‘Friendly Skies’ ads from United Airlines, I was both impressed and in awe.  Little did I know, the ‘friendly skies’ tagline was one that United had dug out of the archives!  With the modern look of the ads combined with the focus on what travellers today care about when they fly, I would never have known the tagline came from 1965!

Here are the two that I managed to get a picture of from O’Hare:

United Airlines Friendly Skies Campaign

United Airlines Friendly Skies

“Fly the friendly skies of United” was first introduced in 1965 by Leo Burnett.  The tagline was used for over 30 years before it was retired when the airline parted ways with the agency.  It wasn’t until last fall, in September of 2013 that McGarryBowen resurrected the tagline – bringing it back in a whole new light.

What McGarryBowen was careful to do was to bring back the iconic tagline in a way that is relatable to today’s travellers.  They were careful to highlight the things that today’s air travellers cared about the most including more non-stop flights, more locations, more leg room, power charging outlets and better service.  McGarryBowen was able to highlight all these things with their ‘friendly’ campaign.

The campaign officially launched on September 20th, 2013 and included television and radio advertising, print, outdoor, digital as well as full fledged social media campaigns and outreach.

Here are a few more print ads from the campaign:

Ads Based on Location

United Airlines Friendly Skies Chicago

United Airlines Friendly Skies San Francisco

Ads Highlighting On-Board Features

United Airlines Flat Beds

United Airlines Onboard Entertainment

Ads Highlighting Their Destinations

United Airlines Destinations

United Airlines Destinations

United Airlines has definitely not shied away from ad spending.  Last year, the airline spent over $30 million in advertising, just in the fourth quarter!  It was rumoured that they would maintain the same level of spending for all of 2014.    While the ads are lovely, just how effective have they been?  And most importantly, have they been able to change consumer opinions?  Many frequent travellers I know still often complain of United’s on-time performance and service.

Since 2010, the airline has made substantial investments in both product and service.  Let’s see if the consumer experience will be anything like what their ads portray!

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Trading Ads for Art in the USA

What a brilliant idea!

For four weeks this summer, reproductions of 58 iconic art pieces from American artists will be displayed throughout the United States on billboards and other public places as part of the biggest outdoor art show ever to take place in the country.  The idea of the outdoor exhibit, called Art Everywhere, originated in the UK and is coming to the United States for the very first time and making quite an impression already!

These 58 pieces,  including Gilbert Stuart’s portrait of George Washington (c. 1821) and Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup Can (1964), were chosen from an original longlist of over 100 American works through public voting on the Art Everywhere website.  Reproductions are set to be displayed on some 50,000 static and digital billboards, outdoor kiosks, staircases, transit signs and public areas in over 170 cities across 50 states.

With all the ads that we see on a daily basis, it is nice to see art masterpieces getting a bit more exposure and coverage for a change! What a great idea it is to display these works outside the walls of their museums and still have them enjoyed as… art!  Part of the campaign objective is of course, to educate the American public and to bring more focus to the arts.  This is made possible through the integration with technology on this campaign.  Viewers can scan the pieces with their smartphones to find out more about the images, artists or the museums that house the piece.

Word of the exhibits are spreading quickly on social media already!

art-everywhere-us-3Source: @emcoutdoor

art-everywhere-us-1Source: @AdrienneVogt

Art Everywhere Source: The Guardian

While I love advertising and seeing ads everywhere I go, I love this focus on the arts and hope that museums in Canada can also support a campaign such as this one in this country!  So far, the value of the donated ad spaces has not been assessed, but figures from last year’s campaign in the UK (which was significantly smaller – running for a shorter period of time with fewer installations) were approximately $5 million US.

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Marketing Lessons from the Theme Parks of Universal Studios

Marketing Lessons from Universal Studios

I just returned from a very short (but fun-filled) weekend in Orlando, Florida!  It was my first time there and like most people that visit the city, I was excited to visit the theme parks!  My entire weekend was spent at Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure where I got to indulge my inner child with endless rides and visits to both Hosgmeade and Diagon Alley at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  Funny enough – it was at the theme parks that made me realize a few valuable marketing lessons for 2014!

Thinking About the Customer Experience

Going to theme parks like Universal Studios Florida can be quite the experience. Every detail is thought out – from the layout of the parks to the queue waiting areas, all aspects of a person’s visit is carefully planned out and considered.  Because we went during the weekend, there was no avoiding the crowds and the line-ups.  Nonetheless, the wait for some of the rides was so much more tolerable when the queue area was made to be part of the ride experience like the Amazing Adventures of Spider Man ride where the queue takes you through the office of the Daily Bugle or the Transformer 3D ride where you get to watch footage clips instructing you on your ‘mission’.

Marketing Take-Away: Think about your customer’s experience from the beginning to end and find ways to make the process more enjoyable for them.  Identify the steps in the process that might be problematic for your customers or where you predict fall off and find ways to improve or even delight your customers!

All in the Details

One of the most memorable experiences at Universal Studios Florida was visiting the newly opened Diagon Alley! From the moment you walk through the non-descript entrance and into Diagon Alley, you’re transported into a whole new world of magic!  Everywhere you look – every sign, store front, employee was made to be part of your wizarding world experience.   For example, in the Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes, there were flying brooms and cauldrons if you looked up. At Ollivander’s, you were taken through a guided tour and selected audience members got to experience what Harry experienced in the first movie when he picked up his first wand.  The restaurants sold butterbeers and pumpkin juice in addition to the regular selection of sodas and juices.

Marketing Take-Away: These small details present wonderful opportunities to delight and surprise your customers when they least expect it.  These small details don’t have to take a lot of effort but can have huge impact in your overall customer satisfaction.

Integrate with Technology

When we walked in to the park, one of the employees informed us where we could go to find out more about waiting times for each of the rides.  He also told us that there was an app that we could download which would provide information like wait times directly to us through our smartphones.

Marketing Take-Away: While we didn’t download the app (we had limited access to data), Universal identified an area that could cause dissatisfaction in their attendees and found a way, using technology, to keep everyone informed.  You don’t have to build an app to keep your customers updated and informed.  Email notifications, phone calls or a web page where they can check job status can also be ways to keep customers happy.


The basic admission will only grant you access to the park.  While you’re free to go on all the rides, you have to line-up.  Depending on the season or day of the week, lines have been know to take over 5 hours!  If you wanted to avoid line-ups or cut your waiting time, there is an option to purchase an Express Pass which would put you in the priority line.

Marketing Take-Away: You want to make sure your products and services are open to everyone (or as inclusive as they can be) but consider reserving premium services, add-ons or exclusive experiences for those that are willing to pay more.  The exclusivity can also help you create value for your services. The decision to pay more remains with the customers and those that decide it is worthwhile to pay more, will.

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Understanding the Power of Habit

The Power of Habit
I started reading a book the other day called “The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We do in Life and Business” by Charles Duhigg.  The book is an examination of how routines and habits are created, where they reside and how having this understanding can help us change bad habits or to create new ones.

I’ve only just started but it’s been a very interesting read so far!  If you think about your day, so much of what you do is by habit and not as a result of active decision making.  What do you do first when you wake up in the morning?  Which shoe do you tie first? Which route do you take the work? According to a paper published in 2006 by a Duke University researcher, as much as 40% of actions people take throughout day were as a result of habits, not actual decisions!

A quote that spoke to me from the first few pages is from William James back in 1892: “All our life, so far as it has definite form, is but a mass of habits.”

If so many of our actions are a result of habits and these habits are ingrained over time, how possible is it for us to bring about change?  We often hear the saying “people don’t change” as if people are tied to their habits and prone to repeating themselves.  Even though I’ve only gotten through the first few pages, one fact is clear.  Habits can be changed… and it often starts with a single small change which eventually leads to many and much bigger changes.

This is interesting, especially from a marketing standpoint.  We, as marketers, are always wanting to alter habits.  We want attract new leads and new customers which requires a change in their purchase behaviour (which is often made by habit).  How can we position our products and services in a way that will bring about a change in habit?

I am looking forward to reading more on this topic and understanding more about the mysteries that the human mind holds.  Only an understanding of habits (no matter how basic)  – how they are formed, where they reside, why they resonate – can help us know better how to change our bad habits or create new ones altogether!

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