Big Ideas from a Small World

Moving to C-level pastures.

If your reading this there is a way bigger party in town.

I’ve joined the ranks of the business owners and opened up my own shop – Switch Advertising.

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Or head right to our website and send us comments on the main page though facebook.

To the 10,000+ people who have read this blog thank you.

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A Word From Jack Bensimon

Posted in Change Something, From Canada, Global Outlook, Make Friends by Ryan Thomas on February 3, 2010

At the Advertising Week Gala hosted by the ICA, I stole a moment of Jack Bensimon’s time.

I wanted to ask a brilliant and independent mind on advertising how he did it; how anyone can be small and independent and build an award-winning advertising agency.

Personally, I think I wanted to hear that strong investors or a rich background with industry connections made Bensimon-Byrne what it is today. That’s the kind of answer that would have excused every small agency struggling to keep above water in our holding-company-owned world.

The answer I got was surprising to say the least, and on a day when TOY in NYC has died an early death I think it’s an answer worth sharing.

Jack’s answer was humble:

We were five people working out of a small agency. I think the one thing we got lucky and did right was the day we were called by a potential client in the rental car business. He had heard of us and wanted us to submit for the RFP.

I made him commit right then and there that if we produced the best creative, we would receive the account. I did not want to create a full pitch and then lose because our agency was too small to handle the account. If we were big enough to submit a proposal, we were big enough to handle the work.

The Bensimon-Byrne team did in fact submit the best creative.

The client was hard pressed to admit it, but they were too small. But, they had promised to take a risk and the creative was there. 13 years later that same agency has created some of the most effective creative advertising in Canada.

Risk and Commitment – the two words we never hear often enough from clients and agencies alike.

To see a little bit of what Bensimon offers its clients look no further than RecycleMe.org:

More on BioShock2 – virtual to real world marketing

Posted in Change Something, From Canada, Get High Fives, Global Outlook by Ryan Thomas on August 9, 2009

Back when I posted about the BioShock2 website, people all over the internet guessed at where the marketing team behind the project was taking this event.

Now there is more on the BioShock2 ambient and digital advertising.

Long story short it’s brilliant:

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Great minds – Think

Posted in Change Something, Global Outlook by Ryan Thomas on July 29, 2009

Hot on the heels of BMW’s Expression of Joy:

Toyota iQ has used a car to create a font.

I have to give credit to Toyota here, using a similar technique for a down market car takes some of the thunder out of a premium brand is a strong strategy in a ubiquitous category  like automotive.

Then creating something I can take home and use, is something I wish more advertisers would seriously consider. I own this font now. I’ll use it but it will be forever tied to the brand that created it.

iQ just became part of the dialog – by creating content to fuel the consumption of content.

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Marketers who have got it right: TV and Film

Posted in Change Something by Ryan Thomas on July 28, 2009

I have been amazed recently.

Not by the combination of witty picture with funny headline that your average Creative Director wants to see from young creatives book but by the zany consumer first schemes of the movie and television industry.

Seriously. We talk a good game about putting the consumer first but I can’t wait till every product is as daring and as strategic as those of our film and movie marketing brothers.

Right now, this very second the internet is awash in the creation of content to fuel the consumption of content.

Wrap your head around that.

Creating content in a verity of media and public spaces to encourage the consumption of revenue generating content.

Welcome to Hype Machine 2.0

The hit television show Lost brought commercials to a comic con. An event awash in marketing messages. This backwards strategy has payed off large and might never show up at Cannes.

Meanwhile at the San Diego Comic Con Disney created a fully interactive world and photo experience for guests.

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Locally an abandoned Queen Street store front has been converted into a Harry Potter Set for the upcoming film.

These brave souls are rewarding their consumers and honestly making them apart of the experince.

I’ll even admit that I never watched a potter film, or Lost, but both of these experences caught my eye. I’ll consider them in the future.

For to long marketers have acted like the guy with a gutiar at a house party. Demanding the attention of the room and making it impossible to have a conversation. I hate those guys. It’s really hard to charm someone when your fighting with Under the Bridge for the 100th time.

Sometimes when I see great work on the internet, I still can’t shake the feeling that some CD’s are still bringing their gutiar to the party. Sure sometimes it works and you get a sing along most of the time you just still look like a wanker.

If we are commited to social spaces, we need to be commited to the people that make up those social spaces. Put down the gutair and hire an event planner or two – then get really crazy and let them into the creative breif.

Agency Culture: How Poke Stays Brilliant

Posted in Change Something, Make Friends, Method to the Madness by Ryan Thomas on July 28, 2009

Every AD should want to work at Poke, any culture that can commit to branding the looses of an agency game and still have fun doing it is a place that fosters creativity.

Seriously.

Poke Quick Draw Championships

Poke Quick Draw Championships

Ad Schooling In Canada – Has What It Takes

Posted in Change Something, From Canada by Ryan Thomas on July 16, 2009

Below is a letter I have just written to the editor of Marketing Magazine about their August front page feature. I’m posting it here in it’s entirety. Social networking don’t fail me now:

Matt,

I called today about the feature in the August issue, a few students currently in the program had texted me today when they saw almost no mention of Seneca@York in the piece. My heart went out to them.

Seneca’s CAB program has done some amazing things to stay adaptive in the recent years – as we talk about breaking down silos like in the Juniper Park article in the same issue (page 9) Seneca is one of the few schools that is putting its money where its mouth is. Not simply focusing on copy and art but by teaching an integrated platform of creative advertising, strategy, trend tracking, and public relations with ever increasing focus on the digital spectrum.

Outside of this unique core structure, staff have provided real client briefs to every class for years. This policy of real clients, spearheaded by real agencies was long in effect before my enrollment in the program and because of the creative and business streams taught at the school, it’s much deeper than simply being handed a brief.

Last I checked, Anthony Kalamut program coordinator of Seneca was also advising of the building the advertising curriculum of St. Marguerite d’Youville Secondary School. How this amazing program was not worth mention by your writer is beyond me. Now finishing its second year, Diana has done at the high school level what Humber is still trying to do at the collegiate level.

This year the grade 12 class pitched The Planet In Focus Film Festival to real clients on a three week creative turn around. Real Projects, Real Clients.

I understand the pressures on today’s modern publishers. Tight deadlines, quick turnaround times, but these interviews were conducted at Portfolio Night in Toronto. It’s one thing to miss a few schools when asking if young students “have what it takes to make an impact”, quite another to miss the events lead educational sponsor and the only school to put advertising dollars into supporting this industry event.

Matt if you think I’m bias, ask Scott Goodson – he thought Seneca was worth mention.

Good luck on the job hunt! (Mad Avenue Blues)

Posted in Change Something by Ryan Thomas on June 11, 2009
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Feature Length Advertising is not dead!

Posted in Change Something, Global Outlook by Ryan Thomas on May 26, 2009

I loved the BMW films when they first hit. Since then rare companies have done amazing things with long movie-like advertising. It seems like every time brands are willing to risk moving away from low production values, shortened attention spans, and viral seeding great things come from the project.

Yes, it’s an investment. Yes, it takes time and yes it is a real risk, but if everyone zigs you might consider zagging.

Lux has done just that, with their new short featuring Catherine Zeta Jones.

In this age we are forever asking people to opt-in and donate their time to our brands. What better time could there be to start creating real content again. Film quality, talent rich, content.

Cheers.

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Dunlop World Record – How good are you tires?

Posted in Change Something, Method to the Madness, Too Close To Call by Ryan Thomas on May 25, 2009

Tire companies must be in a bind. As automotive sales shrink they must be sweating buckets. Maybe a little bit of fear is a good thing though. It makes marketers ready to reach outside of the box and do something daring to drive sales.

The big tire manufactures often rely on fear to sell product. “We care about your family road safety, do you?” frankly I blame this on the success of one baby:

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This image is linked to an Ogilvy Goodyear case study for further reading.

Now with the marketing falling apart here comes a tire company with something viral and just all around different:

The way I figure it, if you’re going to be late to the party at least bust in the front door with a motorcycle and a Texas mickey of Jim Beam.

Hot.