Marketing moves from clever to clicks

Traditional print ad by David Ogilvy

Traditional print ad by David Ogilvy

By Rod MacDonald

Not that long ago it seemed all a marketer had to do to catch a prospect’s attention was ask his agency to write an ad with a clever headline. This David Ogilvy ad is one of my favourites.

A couple of decades later the buzzword was “storytelling”. In order to sell product you had to have a great story. One of the classics was Black Star beer – a brilliant campaign built around a completely fictitious history. The story was great. But in a remarkably short period of time hordes of people tried the beer and discovered the story was better than the beer so sales went down the drain. Here’s a clip.

Nowadays print, radio and TV ads are being replaced by on-line advertising. And traditional marketers are coming clean.

Of course some marketers do know what they’re doing. A few days ago I did a web search for a reflective vest for my daughter to wear while riding her bike. I ended up on the MEC (Mountain Equipment Coop) web site. Today I was reading an article on a US website that has sponsored ads on the side. The first set of ads that popped up were for Shaw Cable, a Canadian company. The next set were for MEC and a reflective vest in particular – exactly the one I was looking at several days back. Coincidence? I don’t think so.

It’s a tough job keeping ahead of the marketing curve. But we’re here to help. If you’d like to talk marketing, talk to us.

Its not weather its write or knot……

by Wendy Riches

I’ll admit, I’m a bit of a grammar nut. OK, nothing like my partner, Rod MacDonald, who has a degree in Journalism, but I get by.

I just can’t believe how many educated, intelligent people make the same grammar mistakes over and over. Here’s a few of my favourites (or pet peeves, as it were). And no offense if you do any of them.

1. Its – variation – it’s
An apostrophe always means it’s a contraction, and you can say it in two words if you need to – in this case, “it is”. When you’re writing a sentence, say it aloud to make you sure you’re not saying “the dog licked it is paw”.

2. There – variations – their, they’re
I probably don’t need to explain “they’re” (see above), but “there” means “over there” and “their” is possessive. Memorize it!

3. Whether – variation – weather
“Weather = rain or sun”. While I try to think of a handy word association to remember this one, memorize it!

4. Lose – variation – loose
Think of “loose” as being more loose with the number of “O’s. Or in “lose”, you lose an “O”.

5. Could have went – this has got to be the worst. It’s “could have GONE” people! The quickest way to sound more intelligent is to get this one right.

There are hundreds of other examples, but these five are the ones I see regularly in my business communications.

Our tagline at MDC is “Think. Plan. Do”, and our philosophy incorporates strong business communications as part of the key to the success of our relationship and your project.

Now invite me to play Scrabble. 🙂

Coming to terms with climate change

by Rod MacDonald

Surely more folks than us found it odd that there was no mention of climate change (global warming, call it what you will) during the US presidential debates. Of course reducing use of fossil fuels, slowing or reversing GDP, consuming less… these things are not guaranteed vote getters. But tackling serious issues is what leadership is all about.

I was thinking about climate change as I walked my Vancouver neighbourhood on a remarkably sunny day in early October. Flowers were in bloom, leaves were green and an unusual number of front yards had huge palm trees with enormous leaves. It reminded me of Jurassic Park and I tried to recall if the Vancouver of my youth looked like this. It sure seemed unusual.

And then came the presidential debates. Not a word about climate change…

And then came Frankenstorm Sandy.

Was that the result of climate change? Absolutely. That’s what a scientist friend of mine said. Warmer ocean temperatures heightened the effects of Sandy. He said it literally lifted the water that caused the massive flooding. And he says there will be more storms like this.
I wonder when the mainstream media will make the connection between fossil fuels, global warming and (un)natural disasters? And I wonder if the next US president will make the connection? Maybe after the election…

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In my travels….adventures in other peoples’ advertising

by Wendy Riches

I do alot of driving. And because we offer creative services, I’m always attuned to noticing other peoples’ advertising efforts. So often, when I’m stuck in traffic or just out and about, a piece of advertising jumps out at me, and I just have to snap a picture of it – usually to send to Rod to say “Hey, look at this!”. It’s what keeps us fresh and excited about what we do.

Below are a few “snaps” from out on the road:

Plumbing advertising made fun.

1. Mr Swirl Plumbing – Fixed, Swirled, Plunged…..Amazing!
Gotta love a company that makes shit look fun, literally. The 50’s comic-style illustrations, fun typefaces and casual, friendly copy voice make plumbing seem a little lighter and brighter, and not so stressful. Trust me, we had plumbing issues this summer! I hope these guys mail drop local neighbourhoods with brand consistent flyers too.

Catchy photo and headline.

2. Two Rivers Meats
I couldn’t even tell what this truck was advetising at first, but the  catchy headline and huge photo caught my eye right away so I had to check it out further. Good thing I took a photo, as their url wans’t quite big enough for me to catch (maybe just because I was too busy taking the photo in traffic). My photo told me they were purveyors of fine, sustainable, ethically produced meats. I have no connection to this company, but I took the time to look up and link to their website above because I think they deserve some play for their great Outdoor advertising! And the bald guy on their home page is quite cute. 😉

These two examples illustrate the fact that good Outdoor advertising can be really effective. They make you look. Just be careful not to put too much information on your outdoor ads. They become cluttered fast and no one will get the actual info they need – your name and MAYBE your url.

Advertising crap to kids.

3. Finally, I couldn’t help it, I had to include a bad one. I was in the toy aisle of Superstore and found this gem of a product. That’s right, “Crib Life”. Positioning line: “Born Awesome”. Complete with cell phone, soother and bling – targeted to 5 year olds. Enough said.

MacDonald Creative is passionate about marketing and advertising. We’d love to help you make your product or service stand out to your target audience.

Meet MDC designer Linda Ganzini

One of the cool things about being a boutique creative company is working with different designers. Because each has a unique style, we can provide the right creative flavour for every project and every client.

Who are these talented designers? We’re glad you asked. Every now and again we’re going to introduce you to one of them. First up – Linda Ganzini

Rod first worked with Linda at Robertson Pick Advertising 20 years ago. In fact, they both posed as models in a Parklane Homes brochure!

Linda’s got heart. She’s Italian so that’s a given, and the warmth she exudes extends to her work as well.
We’ve worked with Linda on various projects including Concord Pacific’s Park Place towers and Charity Trucks, a local non-profit.

Linda’s not just a feel-good designer – no, this gal is fast! And she can sing! Her ode to Vancouver became a huge YouTube sensation. Click here to see and hear. 

In addition to being gorgeous and multi-talented, Linda has created her own t-shirt line, called Undefined.

She says undefined is a way of being. “It’s for those of us who will not be constrained by a world that feels it knows us, who we are and where we are going.”

Linda’s shirts are made of naturally sustainable bamboo and are soft, light and translucent. They are naturally hypoallergenic and moisture wicking without any chemical treatments.