Wednesday, November 2, 2011

In Your Face Advertising

You couldn't miss this ad if you tried. I am always intrigued by this form of in-your-face advertising. What better way of make itself known, than creating a street-level obstacle. Vibrant colour and sheer size make this ad an entertaining eye sore.

When I passed by this ad the following day, a small group of teenage girls waiting for the bus were snapping shots of themselves with the oversized mascara bottle, sure to make its way to Facebook, Twitter etc. Perfect.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Dynamics of Persuasion

My trip to China (Beijing, Xian, and Shanghai) inspired thoughts of outlandish essay topics fit for just about any MIT class you could dream of. The Chinese conduct themselves with such grace and I commend them for living in such close quarters (though it is all they know). It became apparent after approximately 45 minutes in the country (still in Beijing airport) that modern-day Chinese smoke like truckers, spit like sailor and drive like maniacs, but there is something so beautiful, profound and mysterious about the history and their culture.

Let me explain the photos I have posted, because I know they are not blatantly advertising.
Everyone smokes in China. OK, that's not true. A lot of people smoke in China. Let me start by saying, unlike Canada, cigarettes are visible, accessible and inexpensive just about anywhere you go. Statistics tell me smoking in China has drastically increased in the last 30 years, ultimately leading to the death of about 2,000 people per day. By 2050, they expect this number could rise to 8,000 a day- some 3 million people a year. Click for the full article

Personally, I no longer soberly enjoy the ease of sucking approx. 42 thousands toxic chemicals into my peachy lungs. My conscious is simply too loud, and my gag reflex is too strong. However, the appeal still remains. I still somehow understand it.

These are images of a vibrant light show on a sky scraper outside of our hotel in Shanghai. I regret not recording it, but I assure you, the movement up and down, from white to golden was like the burning of a cigarette. Slowly the white disappeared towards the golden yellow filter and then was replaced by a new white line- as if to promote chain smoking. This idea taunted me for 3 nights while I was repeatedly told it was all in my head. Did it make my want a cigarette? Kind of. I told our tour guide it was subliminal messaging. She quickly dismissed me with little more than a giggle. This is a typical response from Chinese women when they do not want to hurt your feelings by declaring that they think you're wrong. Perhaps MIT ingrained in me the idea that everything I have ever been told is a dirty, fabricated, ideology infused, economically motivated lie...

China seems a bit disillusioned with respect to what is perceived to be real and what is fake, or replicated. No, just flat out fake. 15 percent real and 85 percent perception, I say. They are living breathing people, who make decisions, work, love, communicate, spit like sailors (I still can`t get over that). Yes. But they live in a fabricated, highly populated, highly polluted bubble. I realize this as our tour guide pulls out her "Gucci" wallet and explains that this mornings "fog" is due to the massive amount of fireworks lit 3 nights ago. I begin to wonder if the 200 foot cylindrical structure flying past my window is really a "fog"stack...

Saturday, February 5, 2011

No, Thank You MAC

It has been ages since I have purchased anything from MAC. Were talking, probably 2 years. Not because I don't use their products anymore, but (for a product-whore like myself) it simply takes a few years to get through everything I accumulate.

I am very aware of the fact that MAC obtained my personal information upon my very first visit. This reality was refreshed last year when my Aunt purchased her first piece of MAC makeup (a clear lip gloss, because colour or sparkle may actually kill her). When asked for her information, she basically told them to stuff it, and considered not purchasing at all. The idea of coughing up personal information along with the 20 bucks for a tiny gloss was too much for her to swallow. Interesting

Perhaps that is the difference between her decade and mine, though I do believe the younger generation is becoming leery of exposing themselves to a lifelong sentence of junk-mail in exchange for free bunny ears with the purchase of 10 frilly panties (real life promotion).

SO, I purchased an incredible lipstick (light pink glaze: HUE) around Christmas time. I was asked my name at the check out, I assume they access my account. There is likely a log of the purchases I have made within the last year, or so.

Fast forward to yesterday. I received a sealed white envelope with my name on it from MAC. I pulled out a solid black postcard. Classic, sleek, edgy. Large white letters "thank" me for my purchase and ask me to "visit them again soon!". What a pleasant and completely unexpected, not to mention unnecessary surprise. Excellent marketing. I will "return soon".

Top marks for simple and personal.


Monday, January 10, 2011

Jackson Triggs

Jackson Triggs Savignoin Blanc was once my go-to wine. Inexpensive, white, easy drinking; good combo for a university student. I have since developed an acquired taste for expensive Merlot (I graduated in October; it didn't take me long :) out with the white, and in with the red!
J.T's collection of whites and reds have always been memorable to me. Good label, easy enough.
Day 2 of a winter cottage mission last weekend left my family and I out of wine and into town. The local LCBO (let me provide a visual: a trailer on cinder block supports with a well aged fluorescent LCBO sign glowing above it.) Needless to say, the vintage section was bare, so back to the inexpensive, easy drinking go-to wine I went. J.T Unity Merlot.

The new Jackson-Triggs labels (as of 2010) provides clarity, when selecting a VQA wine from the non-VQA wines (apparently a very important distinction). The new line-up includes three tiers plus the non-VQA tier. Due to an immense amount of consumer loyalty uncovered by research studies, the Jackson Triggs name remains on all of the four tiers.

The non-VQA wines, once called "Proprietors’ Selection", are now titled:"Unity" (one of the many bottles enjoyed at my cottage). That happens to be a brand name Vincor once used for a selection of wines blended from Ontario and British Columbia grapes. That concept didn't fly so Vincor recycled the brand, perhaps a reflection of their level of creativity? No, I would argue it has a little to do with the difficulty in finding names free of corporate branding.

The Unity wines show fairly well with their crisp white labels. The name of the varietal is displayed in a coloured panel at the bottom. Directly under the variety is a tag line announcing the wine as a blend of “international and Canadian wine.”

I'm delighted to see their use of the 2D smart phone scancode. A clever introduction that brand manager, Casey Howe says is "making the back label work a lot harder". This barcode in particular links the consumer to a wine descriptor, pairing ideas, recipes and special offers. I dig it.

Now, my favourite new addition: the cork. Everyone loves a freebie, so here it is: the cork acts as an invitation for the consumer to bring it back to the winery for a complimentary tasting. Not only does it make the consumer realize there is a winery, but because JT is known to be Canadian, it is likely close by. Once spring hits, I can tell you where I will be heading.


Tuesday, December 14, 2010


I am a bit "ADsessed", as my second year advertising and communication prof so lovingly dubbed me. I am amused, shocked, disgusted and bored half to death on a daily basis- with the ads that cross me. Underground, above ground, at the gym, in the office. Hit or miss, I eat them up. So here's what I think.

For the next few weeks, I will feature a series of ads I consider to be "good" (effective, witty, wise, interesting, well placed), and ads I consider to be "poor" (boring, lame, ineffective, poorly placed)

Feel free to comment- agree or disagree, I appreciate all feedback and conversation.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Lancome Hologram Ad

My initial thoughts upon flipping this hefty page in Elle Canada’s magazine were: excessive, eye catching, enthusiastic, futuristic, bizarre. I pull the card from the page, play with the clear tack adhesive, flip the card over and realize it does serve some sort of wild purpose. It is in fact, a ticket. A ticket that invites you, the magazine purchaser, to an event you will not likely attend. An event that will likely be over by the time you find said magazine on a rack at your local gym, under a seat on a subway, or sitting on a glass table in your dentist’s waiting room.

The ticket ad is a structured hologram that flashes messages “Never so Simple”, and then “Never Messy”. I can only assume the relevance of the hologram is to represent their claim to provide a "pixel precise complexion". I’m fairly certain the ad itself could double as a weapon. Sharp, sturdy edges that could inflict a paper cut worthy of stitches. The actual device (a small soft cushion that vibrates the powder foundation on) looks neat. Personally, I try to avoid powder foundation and new vibrating products at all costs, but this ad almost makes me consider checking it out.
I saw Lancome's ad for the first time about a month ago. The fact that I remember it is a good sign. That being said, I have never personally used the product. But this lovely lady has: CLICK for product review

I dig it, but still:


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

I must apologize in advance for the terrible photo quality. 90% of the pictures I plan on posting were taken about 24 minutes into my daily (yeah right) elliptical routine. All of them taken by my trusty Iphone, and all of them mid-stride.

I know what I like in an ad. I know it instantly. Though it’s much harder to explain what I don’t like. Bear with me.

Victim number one:

Effectively displays the vehicle, yes- Epic paragraph and all.
Effectively generates instant *yawn*, yes – that too.
However, I think the common looking content is slightly overridden by the charming play-on-words heading, “Guzzles people, not gas”. Clever, right?
Perhaps it is my interest in the environment that keeps attention (because a 4 door family-friendly SUV sure doesn’t.)

I give you a 6.5

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


While I'm more than positive the aspartame filled life I lead will eventually catch up to me in one way or another- I simply cannot stop. Sure I have toned down the daily Silhouette 0% fat, 0% sugar, 100% bliss yogurts and substituted diet coke for soda water as a mix but surely that is not enough. Anything that sounds too good to be true, simply is.

I recently came across an ad I absolutely adore. It hits home with those aspartame-addicts like myself.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Think About It

I have always believed that writing advertisments must be the second most profitable form of writing. The first, of course, is likely to be ransom notes...right?

The US Federal Trade Commission has introduced a video game to enduce the education of children about the harmful qualms of advertising. The goal: to assist them in making informed decisions.

Players are able to confront advertisements at every turn—bus stops, in magazines, and on TV. Whenever an ad appears, the player is encouraged to ask three questions: who is responsible for the ad, what is the ad actually saying, and what does the ad want me to do? Besides children, this multi-media campaign also involves parents and teachers by way of a curriculum, which includes sample ads and teacher training videos, to be used in classrooms and at homes.

I say, good start!

Friday, May 28, 2010


In the process of transforming my delightfully Easter egg colored, high school-esq, yellow and violet bedroom, into a chic white-with-silver and crystal accent-creation. I figure, if I am going to get over the post-university slump Ive flung myself into, I might as well do it in style.

Step one- consult and expert. Thank you Ms Mackay: Check

Step two- purchase paint. - Two cans of "cloud white" left over from a design show, so I had them readjusted to a creamier "Dove White" as suggested by my consultant. 100$ saved: Check

Step three- Pay a visit to Homesense for lamps (2), pillows (never enough), and chandelier: No check

Step four - Move the endless amounts of stuff into the center of the room: Defiantly no check

Step five- Set up tape, and drapes, and PAINT: No check, no check, no check..any volunteers?

Monday, May 17, 2010

Banksy Hunting

Best Sunday yet. Scoped out some blogs and went on a treasure-style hunt. Treasure= Banksy graffiti art. We were incredibly successful, and ridiculously blissful on this sunny Toronto day.

What a treat.

Check it out, you won`t be disappointed:

Friday, May 14, 2010

Confessions of an Advertising Woman

Hello, online-summer-Advertising course

My name is Rebecca.

As a private person, I have a passion for landscape, and I have never seen one improved by a billboard. Where ever prospect pleases, man is at his vilest when he erects a billboard. When I retire from Madison Avenue, I am going to start a secret society of masked vigilantes who will travel around the world on silent motor bicycles, chopping down posters at the dark of the moon.

How many juries will convict us when we are caught in these acts of beneficent citizenship?

Oh, my darling Mr. Ogilvy.

Friday, April 9, 2010

You're so cool, you're so cool, you're so cool


Thursday, October 29, 2009


Do you love design? Think you could handle being on camera?

WestWind Pictures, producer of hit design series Designer Guys, The Style Dept., and Home to Flip has joined forces with HGTV to find Canada’s next big design star. We’re looking for talented designers that have what it takes. You must be outgoing, energetic, fun, and of course, supremely talented. Male or female. Singles or duos. Even a whole design studio. It doesn’t matter. Show us what you’ve got!

Here’s how it works…

Create a video that displays your design savvy. It must be no longer than 2 minutes. First up, tell us who you are: name, where you live, and a bit about your experience. Then dazzle us! Maybe a quick DIY project. Or match fabric to paint swatches. Show us design on a budget. Or build a piece of furniture. We’re not looking for any specific format. Just 2 minutes…and no more.

Shoot the video yourself, compress it down to a few megabytes, and email it to us. You must also include in your email a signed and scanned copy of the release form.

Feel free to comment with your questions or concerns.

Good Luck!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Bake Sale

If you are, by chance, on the hunt for the most divine chocolate cake out there... Look no further than The Bake Sale on Bloor.

The left overs from yesterdays birthday treat for our camera man are currently taunting me from the next room. Yes it is 9:50 am but it is never too early for this kind of divinity. Trust me.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


A second side note:

"Sex, Drugs and Cocopuffs" is a terribly embarrassing "lost item" to be asking for at the Union Station lost and found. 

Wheres your book Beck?
I just don't know Chuck...

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Sex Drugs and Cocopuffs

I have to vent my deep passionate love for a brilliant man after my own MIT soaked heart.

Chuck Klosterman.

Any man who can begin a book by relating (and justifying) the story of how he burned the exact same CD for two different women, then segue into a serious discussion of the lamentable sitcom Saved By Bell deserves my respect. It is this gift that makes his book Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs my perfect summer read.

Klosterman, a senior writer for Spin, (among other reputable things) has a gift for taking seemingly disposable culture (Billy Joel albums, The Real World, The Sims, and Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee sex tape) and giving them a cultural heft and importance.

In fact, reading, Klosterman’s meditations on such topics as how the creation of cereal was a Victorian attempt to cool sexual urges, or how the failed relationships of today’s twenty-and-thirty-somethings can be blamed either on John Cusack ( thanks) or Nora Ephron are so insightful and enlightening, it seems baffling that no one has written on these topics before (has anyone?). 

Of course, he also manages to be absolutely hilarious. Klosterman is one of the select few writers (and men) who can make me laugh out loud in public (generally GO train, or subway) without thought of embarrassment. Take this nugget, from an essay deconstructing the Star Wars trilogy: “I once knew a girl who claimed to have a recurring dream about a polar bear that mauled Ewoks; it made me love her.”

As previously discussed at the office last week, my production manager, and I, came to the conclusion that all women desire nerds. Not exactly a full fledged dork. Just someone who is passionate about something, anything, in a terribly geeky way.

Klosterman has his hilarious analysis of life as compared to pop culture.

Underneath all the glib remarks and seemingly bizarre claims, Klosterman has a genuine appreciation of popular culture. Though he makes clear that he doesn’t always love it, he never seems to doubt its power, or its ability to reflect a society or our ability to reflect it (The Real World). His clearest message seems to be that just because a movie or a television show or a piece of music isn’t art, that doesn’t mean it isn't influential or meaningful. It may, in fact, matter more than something artful. It’s a compelling idea, executed by Klosterman with a fabulous mind for witty humor. 

I pinkie swear you will love it. 

Side note: If you happened to have found said book on the Lakshore Train...Please return it. I miss it dearly.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


Because if you can’t love someone irrationally and openly when there is nothing to lose, when can you?

-Morgan Chapman

Sunday, April 26, 2009

CUBE.. Vote Please :)

Hey All,

So I am sure many of you have heard about this contest to win a new Nissan CUBE. Fabulously futuristic. Tres neat.
Well, my friend Chris has a very sweet poster (one of the best, in my opinion) that I am asking you ALL to vote on. He would really appreciate it. :)

OKAY, here is what you have to do: Go to the site, sign up in the top right hand corner (Petey, I know it's confusing) and then click VOTE.

WAIT.. there is more! You can vote everyday, once a day (Its good for you, trust me)

Right now his ranking is 134, and he needs to get up to #50 at least.. We've got to hook it up.

Thank you! You're the best. (Only if you voted)

Click Hurrrr:

Saturday, April 25, 2009


Some..helpful.. quotes:

Study without desire spoils the memory, and it retains nothing that it takes in.
- Leonardo da Vinci

Thank you Leo, but right now, I am leaning towards this one:

Nothing is really work unless you would rather be doing something else.
- James M. Barrie

I would rather be on the beach. This is work.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Skrew Earth Day

Hey Greenies,

Did I catch your attention? Treating the earth the same way society objectifies women? I smell an MIT essay topic.
Ok, don`t ''Skrew'' Earth Day... Just don`t make it the only day of the year you decide to do something kind for sweet, sweet mother earth. :)

I agree (at least in principle) with the idea that our collective responsibility is a 24/7/365 commitment, not just a day. Same goes for Earth Hour, which, although impressive with respect to its results, in my mind can engender the idea that it’s enough to do it just for an hour, rather than making a permanent practice of reducing our energy consumption. The neo-eco movement can feel at times like a form of cultural greenwashing, what with all the new dubiously “green” products and marketing campaigns that seem to be cropping up everywhere one turns these days.

Cynical? Perhaps... (sounds like someone describing any relationship advice I have to offer). But why Rebecca, SOMETHING is far better than NOTHING. And I agree. For me, in the end it all comes back to personal responsibility. Am I an eco-perfectionist? Hellz no. But I also believe that we can all put in a little more effort, it will make a great difference.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Oh Page...

This blurring of the typical dichotomies gives this my life...a layered depth, a metaphysical aura.

Catch my "drift?"

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Inside the Actors Studio--My steeze

I have found the most perfect little distraction. Rather, the most perfect break to work towards. I am currently quite obsessed with Inside the Actors Studio. Conveniently found on YouTube, James Lipton interviews a ton of the greatest celebrities.

This show has seen the likes of Johnny Depp, Ben Affleck, Angelina Jolie (my favourtie one), Halle Berry, Daniel Radcliff to name a few.

It is currently taped at the Michael Schimmel Center for the Arts at Pace University's New York City campus, and it is the shiz.

At the end of each interview, James Lipton reads out the same short questionnaire for each celebrity before he hands them off to audience questions.

Because I will be famous some day, I figure, why not fill that bad boy out myself. Practice round, you know? :

What is/are your favourite word(s): Insatiable, Verbose

What is/are your least favourite word(s): Masticate, pregnant

What turns you on: Confidence, motivation

What turns you off: Arrogance –there is a fine line

What sound or noise do you love: Fire crackling on the beach at my cottage

What sound or noise do you hate: Sirens especially when I’m driving

What is your favourite curse word: Fuckit's just so darn versatile

What profession other than yours would you like to attempt: Film Production, Law

What profession would you not like to attempt: Pearl Diving

If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates: You look great in white, honey.

I think you should fill out your own in the comment box...

Start here, and get addicted with me:

Monday, April 13, 2009

Baywatch Scuba Queen: Giving Water a Chance

There are so many reasons to loathe public pools that I hardly know where to begin. For starters, everyone knows they're an unhygienic, watery mishmash of loose Band-Aids and body hairs of every length and color, swirling around like a giant vat of people soup. Sound appealing? Not even a little bit.

Public pool swimmers have long accepted the reality that the water flowing past someone else's bikini line, will end up in their face. To me, children in pools spells out one fine equation that I am simply not interested in: 2 parts pee, one part chlorine.

I have something against water as a whole: lakes, oceans, ponds, all freak me out. I am that kid who LOVED tubing, but if I fell off, I was dragging YOU in with me.

I had one close call with drowning a few years back. Huge crashing waves + swimming from sand bar to sand bar had taken its tole on this beach babe, and I went under for good. Luckily I had a fit crew of Baywatch bitties (whom I still love) with me that literally saved my life.

SO, my experience with water is less than glamorous. BUT I have decided to face my fear, stir the pot, and enrol in a scuba diving course.

One weekend of tests and in-pool dives + 4 real open water dives. Pretty legit, pretty effing' scary.

When is the last time you've done something you're scared of?

Wish me luck, and check er' out:

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Free Food

I happened upon an exhibit, I suppose a final project for an MIT course, in North Campus Building. While they were all very neat, one in particular struck my fancy.

Freeganism. Free-gan-wha?

: is an anti-consumerist lifestyle whereby people employ alternative living strategies based on limited participation in the conventional economy and minimal consumption of resources. Freegans choose to embrace community, generosity, social concern, freedom, cooperation, and sharing in opposition to a society based on materialism, moral apathy, competition, conformity, and greed.

This lifestyle involves salvaging discarded, unspoiled food from supermarket dumpsters, known as dumpster diving. Freegans salvage the food as a political statement, rather than out of need.

Apparently, these students conducted a dumpster dive of their own at a Whole Foods, and uncovered a ridiculous amount of perfectly edible food . What a waste.

A truly interesting video you MUST check out: