Big Ideas from a Small World

Some Notes I Have Been Too Swamped To Post:

Posted in Uncategorized by Ryan Thomas on August 20, 2009

NABS in Toronto has an RFP (request for proposal) due August 28th.

An internship for CP+B just sold for $17,655 on eBay, which I’m sure will help give Black, Hispanic, and low income voices a needed bump.

Coke Zero produced a spot over a year and a half ago with W&K: It’s pretty much amazing and only ran in Brazil.

It’s a weird world out there.


Toronto and Canadian Tourism is Down – Solution?

Posted in Uncategorized by Ryan Thomas on August 5, 2009

These kids:

Mmmm Canadian Pride.

How to attract top teir creative talent – Make an intern rap video

Posted in Uncategorized by Ryan Thomas on August 4, 2009

Amazing, I look back on my start in this business sometimes and dreamed of working so hard that it would become habit.

That pain would be creative character and create office culuture like this.

I don’t care what you think of the work or the hype.

Every office should be this much fun.

Ever found it hard to get in touch with an agency?

Posted in Uncategorized by Ryan Thomas on June 16, 2009

I know I have. Then I saw this.


But what really caught my eye was the live assistance button in the top left corner. Click it and it opens a chat window that puts you in direct contact with an Asabiley Viral Advertising employee. Click and connect.

How brilliant is that?

Meet Mike from Immersion Creative.

Posted in Uncategorized by Ryan Thomas on June 10, 2009

Mike just shot me a message via twitter, if you’re looking for a Vancouver Advertising Agency he’s got the list.

It’s worth checking out his site as well.

Boone Oakley – Real Social Media

Posted in Uncategorized by Ryan Thomas on June 2, 2009

This is the most innovative use of social media I have seen in a long time:

I’m serious. Press the button.

(I posted this about 30 minutes ago and I’m still going through it.)

Did Lego just hit a home run?

Posted in Uncategorized by Ryan Thomas on May 26, 2009

I recently posted about Lego’s newest brand extension, here are my blog tracker stats for the very same day:


I’m gonna go ahead an assume that this newest product has some interest with Lego fans.

Digging Through Young Lions for Cannes – Gems Abound.

Posted in Uncategorized by Ryan Thomas on May 22, 2009

I have been sitting here all morning sifting through some of the entries for Cannes and I have been amazed by the quality of this batch of open submission work. There are highs, there are lows, but my god are there some unforgettable gems.

I have had this song stuck in my head all morning, and I must say of everything I have seen it is the most informative of the spots on the site.

I’m amazed that Luke is so well edited. It’s one thing to have a talented AD and copywriter, it’s another to produce a near professional level spot in 48 hours.

As of right now I must admit these are my top three and as much as I love Luke… and the stunning night writing spot – not much I have seen tops the singing nerd.

Big Ideas from Young Cannes

Posted in Uncategorized by Ryan Thomas on May 20, 2009

With the 48 hour beating of young juniors over, the videos are up and there is a lot to think about. A lot to talk about in the shifts occurring in this industry.

But first, how charming is this?

This video is Spencer Black and (I think his writing partner at Zig’s) contribution.

This video was created in 48 hours, in between real work for some of Canada’s biggest clients. Wrap your head around that for a second.

This business has been called competitive, cut throat. I even had an old professor who promised me that this industry eats its young. Well the shift to video production for Cannes has really refreshed this argument.

Here are just a few of the changes, a few of the things we expect young creatives to know coming into the industry:

1) Your portfolio should be on-line.

2) You should be able to conceive,  produce and edit a video in under 48 hours.

3) You should be able to work really long hours for free.

I can’t help but look at things like this and wonder, if agencies are getting smaller, if clients are demanding more and more for less and less, who is more to blame for this than the advertising industry itself?

Change-vertising: Advertisings Parity Product

Posted in Uncategorized by Ryan Thomas on May 19, 2009

Phil Dusenberry of BBDO fame used to say that it was Parity Products that kept him up at night. These products perform their function just as well as the competition. Four wheels and a motor is after all a car. And though most of us can tell the difference between Coke and Pepsi the slight difference in flavour is not enough to build a brand on. These were Phil’s nightmares and his greatest opportunities.

This idea has always stuck with me. It’s the bread and butter of the mass media advertising industry, where story and brand character make or break a product. It’s almost as if CMO’s waited for a market to become crowded with imitators and then shouted “Now it’s advertising’s time to shine.”

Yet as an industry we all offer a parity product.

We’ll turn your product around, raise awareness, raise sales. We sell ideas – that’s what this business is all about. Make no mistake, it’s what draws talent to this business – an opportunity to use creativity to fuel industry.

To our clients on the other hand, what separates one zany idea from another? What keeps a client brand loyal? Not much. Not when every shop is offering sales increases, great creative and out of the box solutions.

In short ladies and gentlemen, we have a parity product on our hands.

How can we break the parity that saturates our industry? Where do we go from here?

In over-saturated ecosystems Darwinian change is the order of the day.  Organisms adapt to fill specific niches where competition is less aggressive and adapted to take advantage of “low hanging fruit”.

Funny how these idea has also galvanized American politics from transparent government to environmental technologies. No one would deny that brand Obama strength comes from exactly this kind of adaptation to global forces.

Which led me to the question, how can this industry change and adapt to our changing times?

The simple answer is specialize – after all there is nothing quite like being the first brand into a new category.

Where can advertising become specialized? Where is the low hanging fruit?

Guerrilla advertising works differently in urban and suburban communities where the values and social relationships change drastically. What if an agency specialized in Urban markets or Suburban ones? It would certainly help clients decide on an AOR.

The Urban / Suburban Split:

These two markets require two wildly different approaches. They have become specialized ways of seeing. Each aspirational in their own right.

Yet almost every major agency is situated downtown core. Sure agencies offer strategists and big ideas – but these these markets have specialized and our story telling has not.

Let’s take Miracle-Gro as an example.

A Big Urban Idea:

In downtown markets this product has an opportunity to sell a small amount of product to a high volume of newly engaged and interested consumers. Consumers with worries about ecological safety and global seed diversity.

To create an urban big idea, an agency might need to hearken back to the hanging gardens of Semiramis. Setting up a massive vertical garden in a busy downtown core. Wowing locals and tourists alike with a place where the key word is community. Punctuated with a tag line like “Green is Good” a play on the old Oliver Stone film Wall Street.

Or perhaps to reach an educated twenty something market, the solution might be the renewed interest in graffiti and the political action of the sixties. Handing out thousands of guerrilla gardening seed bombs branded with the Miracle-Gro logo and a jingoist slogan “Let change blossom” could create thousands of new consumers and travel far and wide via the internet.

A Big Suburban Idea:

In suburban markets a lower population density and higher per square foot of personal green space mean that fewer eyeballs can be turned to purchasing larger amounts of products.Yet here bumper crops and greener grass are the order of the day. To address this market a whole different approach is called for.

Picture a Miracle-Gro dump truck with soil and fertilizer already mixed making a spring drive through a community. Offering every house on a single street free Miracle-Gro infused soil for their spring planting. In return all they have to do is put a simple sign on the front lawn”This lawn brought to you by the (Family Name) and Miracle-Gro. In the surrounding streets and neighborhoods, signs and advertising promise the Grass is Always Greener on (Street Name). This event could be documented and posted to a mircosite with banner ads in major newspapers’ home and garden sites directing traffic to Always Greener (dot) com.

This is just one way we could specialize an agency’s offerings to better service our clients – but there are thousands of specialized niches currently being under served in our global marketing world.

I’ll talk more about this in future, just look for the Change-vertising headline. For now, get back to work and keep asking yourself “How can I set apart my parity offerings?”