The marketing side of me always likes to learn of interesting “brands” or “ideas of brands” that resonate and emotionally connect in media, entertainment, fashion, society, politics, pop-culture and religion. At the end of the day, we are all brands and stand for something, and perceived as something (from someone else). And 8/10 times, we are usually perceived the wrong way. Here’s some random brands and ideas that interest me for some reason.

Car meets ApplePlay (Dec.2016)

When a brand meets Apple, it can either rise or rise higher than higher to make it legit and the new norm. In the case of German Volkswagen they have incorporated the highly popular ‘ApplePlay’ feature into their lines of cars (Jetta, know the rest of them). Today, car manufactures don’t want you to crash your car. They want instead of you picking up the phone, to press ApplePlay and get arrested for getting lost in an array of choices. Just watch the demo



Political Skittles (Oct.2016)

Donald Trump Jr., the son of Republican nominee Donald Trump, tweeted out a graphic Monday night that compared Syrian refugees to Skittles.

“If I had a bowl of skittles and I told you just three would kill you. Would you take a handful?” the graphic asked. “That’s our Syrian refugee problem.”

Skittles’ maker, Wrigley Americas, disagreed with the assertion that “the image says it all.” It didn’t like the comparison and failed to see the similarities between the brightly colored candy and refugees.

screen-shot-2017-02-06-at-11-27-08-pmWrigley Americas issued a statement to CBS News saying, “Skittles are candy. Refugees are people. We don’t feel it’s an appropriate analogy. We will respectfully refrain from further commentary as anything we say could be misinterpreted as marketing.”

And there you have it – politics and marketing.

Pokemon Go (Aug. 2016)

Nintendo’s new mobile game Pokemon Go is “everything” right now — at least among those who play it.

Fans of the app say it’s everything they’ve ever wanted, everything they dreamed about as children, everything worthy of leaving the house for and everything good in the world. To them, it is literally everything.

To others, “everywhere” may be a more appropriate word.

Confusion about Pokemon Go has been rising worldwide as its unprecedented growth makes more and more headlines. It confirms its for people who don’t have a life.

Star Wars Soup and Gay Rights – Uh? Ok it can work. (June 2016)
When Marketing takes on gender equality aswell as PopCulture science fiction (at the same time), you can’t deny that this mash of communication is just plain powerful.
I’m referring to the recent Campbells Star Wars Gender Equality commerical featuring two (not one) dads, telling their son that (as Vader told Luke) – ‘I’m your father’…and the other saying, ‘No I’m your father’. Since my innocense, I never thought of this Star Wars line as being for what it is, now it’s a much more powerful message. Kudos to whoever came up with this campaign. Good and Bad exposure is still ‘exposure’.
Hot Singles (I’m talking about processed cheese) – April 2016
Kraft Singles. I can’t help imagine that the brand manager for Kraft singles was a young professional, a hipster Satuday/Sunday, and corporate Monday to Friday, single, social media savy, with a good support of friends, who lived in the city (but originated from some small town). Then in a need to celebrate “National Grill Cheese Day” (according to Twitter), we have a brilliant no brainer campaign to


2016 Marketing Trends (according to – February 2016

Isn’t this the same as the 1916 Marketing Trends?

Tip 1 – Business is about people

Tip 2 – Listen to customers

Tip 3 – The best ideas are out there

Tip 4 – Make new connections

Tip 5 – Together is better

Tip 6 – Networks are exponential

Tip 7 – The power of one page

Tip 8 – Be the Gamechanger

Tip 9 – Don’t be afraid

Tip 10 – “10x not 10 per cent”

Screen Shot 2016-01-30 at 4.15.07 PM


Digital Marketing Trends – 2015 Recap  – December 2015

The future is simple; It’s all about your smart phone.

It’s about simplifying, connecting, sharing, and synergy, blah, blah, blah. But does this really make people buy products, or does it confuse consumers even more.

I personally bypass Mobile Ads and spend more time wondering why my smartphone is not working with my home wifi. But in the meantime I can breathe in where modern society is going, and market the hell out of them.


Candy Crush Soda Saga Launch – November 2015

King (whoever that is) launched its mobile game Candy Crush Soda Saga with a public performance that recreated the game’s visuals on New York streets in November. Can someone tell me why or who funds ideas like this, with people dying in 3rd world countries, our dollars go to this? Unreal. This image below does makes me feel warmer on cold winter nights.



Penguin Canada – Book Character  Comes to Life – September 2015

I can see the boardroom brainstorm for this one – “for promoting the book “The Girls’ in the Spiders Web”, let’s let the main character Lisbeth Salender, come to life and hack our Penguin Twitter account”.  From there a bunch of baby boomer heads  (who are in charge) stare at the GenX or Y who came up with the idea. And to feel that it’s a good idea – and that they are part of the 21st century – they agree. And bang, Twitter is never the same. Infact the streets of Toronto aren’t even the same again, because the character (and her hommies) were also on a Toronto street. It’s amazing when a brand becomes a character or a character becomes a brand, and then asks no one in particular – “I’m here, come find me”. I can’t wait till Penguin Canada releases the next Curious George book.

Screen Shot 2015-09-07 at 10.04.13 PM



McDonalds – All Day Breakfast (for All Day Desperate Profits)- August 2015

It’s very cool to watch a brand evolve into something we wish it didn’t. Especially when it’s a brand so ‘globally known’ like McDonalds. It was just recently announced that McDonalds will start serving ‘All day breakfast’. I believe that we are responsible for our actions and what we put in our mouths is our faults (unless we are under 17 yr old). But for a brand to ‘shove’ in our mouths the opportunity to eat egg mcmuffins at 8pm, is..well, desperate, and nuts. Here’s a brand that positions itself on informing us about our health, via calorie counts in each of their products, to keep healthy, but at the same time shoving down the message that we can eat their fatty foods 24/7. It’s desperate and I feel for all the millions of soon to be obese kids eating egg mcmuffins and hash browns at 9pm on a school night. 10:30am will mean nothing to anyone except the CEO of McDonalds who wants his bonus cheque for approving this idea.


Leons? – Namaste?!  – June 2015

It’s always amazing when a Brand repositions itself as ‘something’ it is not. In marketing brands, you see it all the time – in a creative brief. We are ‘this’ we are ‘thatScreen Shot 2015-06-24 at 11.46.19 PM’, we target ‘this’ we target ‘that’, we want ‘them’ and ‘those’ but also ‘these’.Then you have situations where you have a brand that already resonates in your head as ‘something’ but the people behind the brand want to branch out and re-invent the brand to this that and the other. This is the case with the furniture brand ‘Leons’. They are cheap Lmanufacture of furniture, who college guys, 1st time home buyers, and lonely singles (mostly guys) go to buy furniture that will eventually end up stained smelling. And now Leons hopes to snag the Yoga market. Really?


RIP – MadMen – May 2015

I know this is not the loft, but one of the greatest TV Shows ended it’s 6+ year run – Madmen. What can one say – Don Draper and friends moved on. And now, so do we. Except did we like it? Well, I can only say that ‘yes’ I loved it – it showed the humaMn condition, of how we think – we make mistakes, we change, we revert back to mistakes, we change again, we progress and hopefully move forward, until we move back again. But through this we still evolve. And then again, I can say I hated it – it’s friggin TV, give me Draper committing suicide, give me a flash forward to see all characters old, give me an ending that it was all a dream. Ok, I will accept it all ended with a classic Coke commercial, but I can use these clips to remind me of how insane the show could be.


Sales Bonanza (Not) Target closings – March 2015

From a retail marketing perspective, all you heard in Canada in March 2015 was “Target is closing”. It was a whisper in consumers ears that turned to a megaphone announcement, as it was a “liquidation” event – everything has to go. TBut everything did not go at first. Products were discounted 10-30% originally – where’s the discount in that? Still people lined up, and bought what they can. Then two weeks later, more discounts – 30-60%, and that’s where it all went to hell. Stores that previously had stocked shelves of the latest items, were reduced to ‘flea market’ standards, where empty racks of hangers, displays, and huge discount signs were seen at every corner. It was amazing: A brand that was ‘victory’ and standard in US Mainstream consumerism, was now a ‘defeated’ misfit brand that made mistakes at every turn. By the time the last store closed in Canada, all that was left was a story that will end up in Marketing textbooks. RIP Target.


New Year, New Failed Canadian Brands  – January 2015

Tim Hortons, Canada’s national brand laid off 300+ staff from their Oakville Ont. headquarters. Why? Simple, Burger Kings parent company in the US bought Tim Hortons, and decided to streamline staff to 1 central location in the US. Simple. Now Tim Hortons hasn’t trulyScreen shot 2015-02-16 at 9.22.28 PM failed, but the current scare that it leaves with Canadians is felt.

The other Screen shot 2015-02-16 at 9.10.38 PMis Sun News Network, otherwise known as Fox News North. 300 laid off but at no surprise. The question is; why replicate Fox News in Toronto? It just doesn’t fly. The Sun News brand should have diversified itself better, with any sort of non studio programming, to perhaps appeal to less right wing conservative types..but really, no one really cared. There was 1 news anchor who bugged me though, he had long side sideburns and a puff. That alone is enough to go off the air.


Black Friday and the Rise of Retail Prostitution – November 2014

Brands selling the promise of short term gratification without the messy inconvenience of emotions, relationships or loyalty. It is the ultimate example of encouraging customers to pay for pleasure.

It is “Retail Prostitution”. So should we care that it is happening so much more now with Black Friday, or should we just embrace the fact that we live in a democratic society where we get to choose what and when we buy any goods. Like the normal Prostitution, it’s up to us if we give into it or not to our ‘consumer implusives’. So society, please call it Black Friday or Retail Prostitution, but it’s still good ol’marketing to me – persuading anyone to buy something. Period.


Share a Coke Strategy – September 2014

No one brands better than Coke – ok maybe Tab (if they still existed). I believe each brand needs to make an ’emotional’ connection to it’s customer/audience, and what better way then personalizing it’s brand to it’s customer/audience directly. Then extending the personalization to a friend, colleague or family member, and what better season to do this than in ‘summer’. So here’s to Coke, for making my Coke personal, and that no one else steals it from my fridge this summer.



Grey Ad Agency Office Tour – August 2014

What’s great about life is that you can brand anything. The Air, the Sun, the Smog, the Tree. What’s interesting is when an Ad Agency (who deals with client brands) brands itself with video to explain who they are, without showing the real blood sweat and tears that probably goes on in the office. That’s “Grey Advertising”. In particular there is a youtube show called “Cubes” where Art Director of NYC’s Grey’s headquarters gives a tour of their office, speaking of their office environment, their culture and  style. It’s fantastic, but also misleading because being an ‘ad guy’ myself, I know that there must be so much turn-over, pressure, stress, and long nights. Why can’t they show that in the video? Probably the same reason why every CPG doesnt tell you what they put in their recipes.


Beats by Dre Itunes Takeover – July 2014

beatsssSo Dr Dre and Jimmy Iovine sold their amazing brand “beats by dr. dre” for an un-disclosed amount (okay 1 gillion dollars), to Apple Itunes. This news happened this past May, but I can’t help but think what it will mean to Itunes current “branding”. Will there be a section in iTunes to hear songs via “Beats styles”, will there be a section in Apple Stores devoted only to “Beats” retail, will the amazing logo they currently use, change with the iTunes influence? I’m sure in some boardroom in Cupertino they already know what to do…but will Dre? In any regard, here’s to a great logo and a great brand that I hope stays in tact.


iSpot.TV – May 2014


The only real-time TV advertising platform to find, track and share TV ad’s. As their website says ‘ Anyone can watch ads in HD and explore actors, songs, products, and basically rate, learn all they watch on the site. This site shows a side of marketing which breathes on tight deadlines, to compose, design, write about a brands essence. There’s so much cool stuff on this site, my brain just hurts from how inspiring it is to see composers bringing a brand to life via music.

here’s a link to brands top spenders so far this year, but check out these ads as well.


Biz Bash – March 2014

I have a subscription to the well known Events Magazine ‘Biz Bash’, bwhich I glance at through the day and night. I read the articles, close my eyes and wonder if how I can get to see that event in Hong Kong, then fly directly to NYC’s event (to say hi), and then make it for the night cap for London’s event. The way the brand comes to life at event, and the creativity which it is thought of and executed, is a testament to what ‘bringing brands to life means’ (aka an experience). Here is a link to BizBash’s many side shows. If I do manage to live this way sometime in my current existence, I may need to borrow your sofa cause I don’t know anyone at Hong Kong’s event.


The Instagram Brand – Jan.2014

I came across an article on “ClickZ”, that then led me to a book called “The Instagram Handbook for Brands”. It’s quite simply the most logical, strategic step in how brands are going to promote themselves for the next while. It’s simple, take pics of using the brand, provide some witty caption, follow the brand, show the ‘turn-key’ effect of how the brand is not only used, but how and what environment your in, and voila –  you (not the parent company) are promoting the brand, and making the brand managers job a whole lot easier (unless your a start-up company, where you everything is not easy). Here’s a video on this development.


Insanity Comedy Brand – Nov.2013

Some brands show their essence with their logo. The Laughing Squid does. is a website which focuses on Pop Culture junk and comedy. sqThere is a bizzare twist; as you read the articles, your brain actually shrinks, yet grows bigger than ever (in a 2 week period).  I swear just by staring at the Laughing Squid, I will become a zombie possibilities.


It’s a Font World – The Guardian Observer UK New Magazine – Sept.2013

Fonts come in a range of sizes, personalities, shapes, curves, and straight lines. They tell a story about the brand they are selling. A font sells ‘reassurance’, ‘trust’ and ‘companionship’. fontIt welcomes you to the brands world, and wants you to stay, so you can read more about a brands product or service. The font is the first identifier which aims to make a ‘visual’ reader to look again at the same page. Here is a an article dedicated to the top universal fonts for 2013.


Best YouTube Consumer Brand Page – Red Bull – July 2013

What other brand manages to do such a great job promoting itself than ‘Red Bull’? The way I see it, Red Bull gets so much press because they basically want to be in the ‘Guinness Book of World Records’ for crazy ‘energy’ shit that ranges from sports to now ‘outer space’. redOn the internet their You Tube page makes you realize that you need to go the gym or shoot some steroids or drink some energy drink like ‘Red Bull’ (hey, maybe that’s it!)


Endless Ideas – Entrepreneur Magazine – May 2013

If you want to be inspired, motivated, and exhausted and depressed all at the same time, please  get a subscription to Entrepreneur Magazine. There are so many marketing ideas in this magazine, from all sorts of industries, and people. entrepnuer magIt really doesn’t matter what articles you read, but rather, what you get out of it “emotionally” – it can be like drinking 4 redbulls in a row (awsome), or the opposite (being so depressed that you are lost, drinking detergent and never to be found. Still, it’s so insightful it’s like getting a new bible with each new issue.


Advertising Podcasts to start your day – March 2013

I’m a firm believer in listening to interesting podcasts while commuting to work.

One the best ones I’ve come across over the past year has been the CBC’s “Under the Influence”, which was based on another great older podcast called “the Age of Persuasion”. Screen shot 2013-03-03 at 2.28.55 PMThese podcasts focus around advertising/marketing and the great ideas that human-kind has created to persuade other humans to buy products or services. It’s the perfect podcast for any wannabee marketing guru. Here’s the website and check it out on iTunes podcasts.


Cost of a Famous Logo – Jan.2013

$0 for a multi-billion companies logo (Google). How did this happen? Get the CEO to do it with a DYI software (like Gimp). $15 to design and own the Twitter Logo. Uh? enron2How did this happen: Twitter went to good ol istock photo, purchased the blue bird for $15 based on a British artists take on a bird, and volia, done. An example of costs of other company logos: Enron – $33,000, London 2012 Olympics – $625,000. Its crazy to me the amount of money companies “spend” and “don’t spend” on their brands.


Social Currency Brand of the Month: November 2012

The Tweet Shop

It’s simple. Enter the store, send a Twitter tweet about the product in the store, get free food of the product you tweeted. Yes, Pay by Tweet. Who’s doing this? Kelloggs. Yes the people who make cereals. Where? UK, London Soho. An idea of madness, “yes”, a an idea of the future, “you bet yer life”. This is where cyberspace and retail culture intersect in real time with a product transaction – Social Currency baby.


Living Brand of the Month: September 2012

Target isn’t opening stores in Canada until next year, yet the retailer continues to tease its northern debut with experiential events, most recently at the Toronto International Film Festival. They created a 27-room Target Hotel (from the Templar Hotel) serving as a home for bloggers, influencers and Canadian stars during the festival. Creating a brand experience with red decorative accents such as pillows, flowers and carpets while red and white prints hung in the hotel’s lounge, Target brand ambassadors handed out coffee and chocolates outside the hotel. Target Canada is fro sure, the cock-tease brand of Canada


Rebirth of Brand – June 2012

The Muppets is a 2011 American musical comedy film, the first Muppets theatrical release in 12 years. Before this movie the Muppets ‘brand’ was essentially dead. They were a distant memory for the average boomer, gen X’er, and the gen Y’s too. This movie, with it’s charm, retro-ness, and nostalgia, combined with a cast of today’s stars, good songs, and lack of effects, basically brought back a lost brand from the grave. Marketing students should study what happens when a dead brand comes back to life with real emotion and substance. This is something that beats every special effect. Man or Muppet. The writer/actor behind this great movie ‘Jason Segal’, is da man. Who else could bring a movie franchise and brand back with so much depth and importance on so many show biz levels. Bravo Kermit.


Brand Idea of the Month: April 2012

Augmented Reality (AR) according to Wikipedia, is a live, direct or indirect, view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data. It is related to a more general concept called mediated reality, in which a view of reality is modified by a computer. As a result, the technology functions by enhancing one’s current perception of reality (like LSD).

Consumer brands and Tech companies are starting to incorporate AR into their own marketing promotions and campaigns to insite customers with something so new that it creates a lasting impression that aims to build viral buzz and brand equity. Personally, I think AR started in “Star Wars” with R2D2 projecting the “Obi-Wan Kenobi, your my only hope” message to Luke and Co. 


Brand of the Month: March 2012

Kate Spade (fashion) – I like Kate Spade because of how effectively they use their brand in different ways online, as well as endorsing other brands that stay within the same atmosphere as theirs.

Kate’s Brand:

Utility, wit and playful sophistication are the hallmarks of kate spade new york. as our world expands, our graceful, exuberant approach to the everyday is evident in every category we enter, from handbags and clothing to jewelry, shoes, stationery, glasses, baby and home.

kate spade new york has 42 retail shops across the united states, and is sold in every time zone and on every continent. whether in macau or michigan, our shops are always warm and inviting.

Welcome to kate spade new york.

taken from


Brand of the Month: February 2012

Not exactly a brand, but more of a way extend your brand; an idea that has grown to be a part of our advertising culture. QR codes can be used for the promotion of anything. It is a a small 25×25 mm square box of code pixels that are scanned by a smartphone. Today, you usually see them in Magazines and Subways. QR codes are all about linking; They link to a website, to a song, to a location, to an email, to a voice command, but if correctly created, they can be inserted anywhere (i.e. human body, animals, etc) to identify or showcase information of some kind. This sounds weird, but it’s true, and in our culture, we haven’t fully exploited its many uses, but many marketers have. Here’s the QR code i’m considering to tattoo on myself somewhere;

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