Posts in Trends

The 7.1 Best Ads of 2018

January 7th, 2019 Posted by Marketing, Strategy, Trends No Comment yet

As a culture we love to critique and review. The premise on the advertising industry does just that. It shows us images of how we can envision ourselves. Ads are relatable and clever, sometimes controversial (those are often the best and worse ads “when this miss the mark….Pepsi.”)


I’ve broken down my personal ranking as follows:

  • Brand Impact: How the ad builds on the brand. Being adventurous requires risk which tends to create a higher impact of brand perception, where as conventional is…… well, conventional.
  • Creativity: Clever, witty and all around amazing concepts rule in this category.
  • Content: Alongside creativity, having something to say helps ads stand out. This is a tricky category to win.
  • Popularity: All these ads are great, with millions of viewing hours. This category incorporates the popularity of the product or service as well as the controversial notions that arise from the ad.


I’ve seen hundreds of ads through 2018, if not thousands. Few really stood out. Here’s my list of 7.1, yes, 7.1 ads that were thought provoking, if not the leaders in their industries. I’ll start with 1 and count up, because why the heck not?


Honestly, who doesn’t watch this show. With over 1.75M views of the trailer to date, it’s clear GOT is the GOAT. I, like many other viewers eagerly wait for the conclusion of this series. The history behind the show and how it even got started was enough to get anyone hooked.


The video (although slightly longer than I would have liked) illustrates a very complex plot and uses a minimalist overlay of text. Sure, as far as ads go, not breaking any molds. Why would it need to? The show does that all on its own. Overall, it aided in establishing the fandemonium of GOT viewers, but little else. Get ready for winter, it arrives in Spring of 2019.


Yes, a Superbowl ad. I mean, they paid for the spot, so it has to be good, right? In most cases, meh. But I personally love Keanu Reeves. He is an all around amazing guy, actor and philanthropist. Squarespace has some pretty fierce competition. Most notably with Wix. So my not bring an icon to the table?


In the spot, Adventures in Success by Will Powers plays while the screen pans into a man surfing a motorcycle. Part of me felt homage to the Matrix in this scene.


In the middle of a desert you see Keanu Freaking Reeves! So much yes! Pretty sure, Squarespace won this round Wix. Only to follow it up with another ad. The second shows Reeves’ explaining Reeves’ his own small business story, again in a desert. Overall, a witty brand spot, something that people will want to watch over and over again.


Superbowl ad #2. I’ve seen stranger things (pun intended) that a Super Bowl commercial of Tide, starring David Harbour. It’s quick, to the point and downright quirky.


I’ve heard everyone talking about this ad after its release. In some parts it is illogical but still, a total work of genius. The series of ads showcase various clichéd ads for generic products featuring Harbour who claims that all these are nothing but Tide ads since they feature “clean clothes”.


“If it’s clean, it’s a #TideAd”. Although a tad bit disjointed, this one deserved all the hype it got in 2018.


DDB Dusseldorf’s “Highlight the Remarkable,” won at the Cannes Lions. That was the starting point on a road to worldwide acclaim. After this year’s festival, the campaign—highlighting the women who might be otherwise overlooked in a historic photo—was shared passionately across social media.


Print media isn’t dead. Although these ads took a life of their own on the social media platform. A great piece highlighting the effectiveness of women in history in a clever and witty way. Simple and to the point, like a great ad should be. Well deserved DDB. Albeit, I am curious to see the outcome for the brand identity post campaign.


Sometimes we get to work on our dream clients and sometimes you have a deadline and need something to feel the void. I’ve worked in various industries over the years and when crisis hits, hot dang, it is a stressful time.


Kudos to KFC for stepping up in a big way. When disaster struck KFC, and it ran out of chicken. Yes, Kentucky Fried Chicken, was just Kentucky Fried. How would you respond? You know customers are bound to be frustrated and irate. How do you even begin to offer a sincere apology?


KFC’s marketing team chose wit. And at the same time managed to convey its message, on-brand. Content wise, outstanding. The fall out? Minimal. Although it does bring up a good question. How personally offended do customers get when things go wrong? I feel companies should be willing to tackle issues head on like KFC. Great work on such a short deadline.


I really, really wanted this to be the top ad of 2018. It almost made it, but the number 1 (technically 7.1) barely beat it out.


You all know Colin Kaepernick’s story. During Nike’s 30th anniversary of its iconic “Just Do It” tagline. Kapernick’s activism and inclusion into Nike’s recent ad went viral. #NikeBoycott was trending on Twitter by Tuesday morning, and Nike shares were falling as Wall Street reacted to the news.


Kaepernick flew into the spotlight when, to protest racial injustice, he decided to kneel rather than stand for the national anthem before a 2016 National Football League preseason game. The NFL denies his allegation. The NFL was denied a summary judgment against Colin Kaepernick and there has been no update since the start of December.


Despite Kaepernick’s appearance in it, the new Nike commercial isn’t overtly political. It makes no reference to “taking a knee.” Instead, it sticks to the inspirational tone that Nike’s “Just Do It” campaign is famous for. The beauty of this campaign is the hysteria about one character from it. It is controversial without actually being controversial.


Nike is the personification of the athleticism. This ad hits on all cylinder and really causes a whirlwind of reaction. No news is bad news, however, bad news can be good news. I love that Nike took a stand and didn’t waver in their execution. Albeit, the brand did suffer a bit, but that is progress. This ad is one to remember.


This is probably one of the most fun and engaging ads of 2018. Tinder India has totally hit gold with their #StartSomethingEpic campaign.


In this advert, we have a young girl who is on a quest to meet new guys. I can’t help but feel a time warp to the 1950’s and a bit of a gender role reversal. The quirky background score and addictive dance moves are original and inventive. I wouldn’t be surprised to see something similar in the North American landscape in 2019. Heck, I’d love to map out this advert myself.


I love the analog swipe left/right motif in the video when she rejects and accepts guys. Tinder, well deserved props.


So why 7.1? Unlike the other ads, this ad is sensational and cinematically, it hits all the marks. It does what ads are supposed to do. It sheds the awkwardness related to online dating without acknowledging the issue head on. Or at least it gives the good ol college try. It is tough to create a message of change amidst a society built on conventional traditions. This ad takes controversy and flips the script. More than 35% of marriages start from an online date (based on my immediate friend circle). Heck, I found the love of my life on a dating app (not Tinder). But this ad will surely bring in users.

Banking and attracting customers to digital

November 28th, 2018 Posted by Case Studies, Marketing, Strategy, Trends No Comment yet

The challenge for banks in their current state is to face the implications of a digital change. As technology increases at exponential rates, banks will be at a disadvantage trying to react “in the moment” to new competitors and features. This will disrupt the customer relationship and inevitably decrease banks wallet share.

Banks need to look beyond the immediate changes and view the ‘bigger picture’. Image result for bmo branch

They will need to understand what digital engagement means to the banks and its customers at all generational levels. Banks will need to understand how digital engages their customers and build a comprehensive digital strategy that will deliver their message and build brand loyalty and trust.

For the purpose of our case, we will look primarily at the Baby Boomer demographic (ages 52 – 72), as they represent the largest challenge due to skepticism of the digital revolution. The Baby Boomers have lived through the sixties and seventies and are now financially stable, possibly retired adults. Their wealth has accumulated through
the decades and due to recent soaring real estate values, they will likely have sold their homes and downgraded to less strenuous living spaces.

This generation will have the added benefit of being much more loyal than the subsequent generation. Nostalgia is a selling factor to their demographic. However, Succeeding in the digital world is not about ‘out with the old and in with the new’; it is instead about truly understanding the needs of your customers, the shifts in your market place, the differentiation strategy of your business, and the best means for achieving success. We will outline the essential information for the case and begin to examine distinct channels to reach the consumer base.

  • Objective: Promote BMO online & mobile banking services to drive digital awareness, adoption and engagement amongst existing customers not yet digitally engaged.
  • Key Considerations: primary demographic skews older (avg. older than 52) and the leading barrier to digital adoption is security concerns.
  • Timing: In market target of January – March (3 month timeline)
  • Budget: $350, 000
  • Success Benchmark: 100,000 New Digital Adoption/Conversions Increased Brand Recognition


Download a full copy of the case study  HERE

The Grandma Facetime Paradox; millennials & management defined

November 26th, 2018 Posted by Case Studies, Strategy, Trends No Comment yet

I’ve been informed that it’s an aggressively playful vibe at (an NYC Website). Like a middle-school fraternity house only with employees riding hoverboards while others wield Nerf dart guns or use a megaphone for announcements.

28 year old Chief Executive Chris Altchek is proud of their freewheeling office culture. “It helps us to have everyone speak out and best ideas rise to the top,” he said. “What that can feel like or sound like is rudeness. But I’d rather have a lot of people speaking their minds than a very controlled environment.”

A great point, one that is often lost in corporations. Ok, maybe not lost; let’s say structured, refined, reformed, reviewed and sent to the board for approval of how the staff in a workplace “should” act. However, the board also voted on how to promote a positive work environment and synergy. That should make everything better, right?

For years, employers have been aware of employee engagement and retention issues in their workplaces. These organizations typically address engagement for the organization under one policy, without any differentiation for the generational gaps of employees. As the millennial generation (deemed 1982 – 2000) grows in the workforce, managers and human resources professionals will need to develop new engagement and management models that take into account the generational differences. It’s like giving your grandmother an iPhone for Christmas and asking them to Facetime. In other words, the Grandma Factime Paradox.

The paradox suffers from the generational ideologies of changing the world. Like many of my peers, in graduate school, I would discuss (in androgynous depth) about the frailty of the US economy, what should have happened in the financial crisis and why teleportation is not an effective way to travel. I know what you are thinking and the answer is yes, I am aware that Leonard Susskind’s theories outweigh Hawking in a nanosecond. Back to the present (no pun intended).

Millennials are soon to be the largest generation of active workers. However, research has shown that the baby boomers still control the workplace (ie as managers and directors, etc.). They grew up in organizations with large corporate hierarchies, rather than in flat management structures and teamwork-based job roles. In short, they claw their way to the top and stay there until they have an opportunity to retire and then find a way to enjoy life. Sounds like fun, aside from lacking any hobbies for 30+ years whilst climbing the corporate ladder.

At a young age, I enrolled in military school. To be honest, my step father “encouraged” me to go for a summer to the Royal Military College. Albeit, a shy, timid 14 year old at the RMC wasn’t exactly a “normal” summer vacation for a middle school suburbanite. That was the summer that shaped my life and ironically, my career. I had a Commanding Officer (CO) who embarked some very profound wisdom unto me. He said, “some people are born leaders, others have to work hard to become a mentor. One thing never changes. You always have two options in life; you can either teach others to leave or you can inspire them to stay.”

Everyone always discusses the concept of leading by example, which to a point is very true. No one ever discusses the idea of helping your staff leave their job. Who does that? However, this is a millennial’s new found mindset.

Millennials have a drastically different outlook on what they expect from their employment experience. Millennials are well educated, skilled in technology, very self-confident, able to multi-task, and have plenty of energy. They have high expectations for themselves, and prefer to work in teams rather than as individuals. In short, they want to change the world and they don’t want to do it alone.

We seek challenges, yet work life balance is of the utmost importance to us just in case an art crawl or jazz festival is within the foreseeable future. It is true, we love social interaction and expect an immediate result from our hard work. We yearn for an accelerated advancement in our career and “get down” on ourselves if we don’t see change quickly enough. Our aspirations and timelines do not align, albeit, most of my alumni colleagues have been fast tracked into leadership programs and management training curriculums right out of college. So there is clearly something that we possess that many others can see.

Tom Bilyeu, for Inside Quest, presents a very effective interview where Simon Sinek discusses “what is wrong with this generation”. (Link to the video here) The main thread is what we’ve all heard before; millennials feel entitled (true), unfocused (sure), want purpose (yup), free food (who doesn’t?) and something that is missing. The interview goes on to describe how due to our upbringing, millennials lack coping mechanisms and patience in just about every sense of the term. Simon goes on to discuss our addictions to media (and our phones). Time seems to be the biggest culprit. They discuss how millennials want change now and have this “job hopping” practice down, hoping to fall into a satisfying role from day one.

As Leigh Buchanon writes in Meet the Millennials, “One of the characteristics of millennials, besides the fact that they are masters of digital communication, is that they are primed to do well by doing good. Almost 70 percent say that giving back and being civically engaged are their highest priorities.”

True, everyone wants to feel purpose. But for millennials, I feel it’s a bit more personal. We were raised to become well-educated and that no goal is unattainable. What we lacked was the education on how hard a goal actually is to achieve. There are no participation medals in the real world. Yet, we as a generation feel owing of such prestige.

I wonder if there is a statistical analysis on the revenue increase for trophies and/or trophy materials supply/demand on a per decade basis?

The conversation takes a turn around the 10:24 mark. They begin to discuss how Millennials were given a bad hand at life. True, we were encouraged and supported, but also lacked the engagement needed to overcome strife and obstacles. We’ve become a society of victimized social media addicts. Don’t believe me? Who’s left Instagram to detox for a while? I am sure there is some Kardashian making headlines about the very topic as we speak.

They discuss how corporate environments care more about numbers than people, and that makes it harder for the millennials to grow both as an employee and a person. This mentality has been set this way for decades. For example, when Apple has $50 Billion + in disposable income and a sweat-shop work mentality, you begin to wonder; do the “Think Different” advocates really Think Differently? Or are they just another corporate entity in fancy new clothes? The underlining message is engagement. It’s in the corporation’s best interest to usher in a new wave of talent; well educated, slightly awkward and highly creative talent.

The lack of true leadership (like my CO) in companies today is failing this generation. This is the endpoint of my analysis: your entitled life isn’t all that entitled; however, your boss needs to understand what drives you. They need to find a way to relate and engage with you. They need to help you reach your potential. And for god’s sake, don’t limit an employee’s potential simply because you feel threatened in your role. Sure you could do the alternative and simple sit in your office and wait for the pension to cash in on. But where’s the fun in that?

Creating engagement strategies is one of management’s toughest goals. It isn’t easy, but nothing truly great ever is. Managers who have developed successful strategies for retaining the last generation of workers are not always best suited to engage the millennials–similar to the previously mentioned Grandma Facetime Paradox.

Generational gaps do exist. They always will. These gaps have distinct impacts on employees whether it be Boomers, Gen-X or the Millennials. But stop thinking of it as a task and more as a learning experience. You could learn something new from your unexperienced subordinates. Give them direction, help them find purpose. When looking how to engage your team, remember the age old wisdom of a Commanding Officer from a Military College; teach others to leave but inspire them to stay. Inspiration doesn’t come from following a policy or procedure, it starts with an idea.

Let’s set out to change the world, together.

The Laws of Physics….Redefined (in a car)

September 26th, 2018 Posted by Innovation, Strategy, Trends No Comment yet

Ok, yes, it’s another article about Tesla (the car not the man). You may wonder if I am simply a promoter for electric cars. The answer is no.

To be honest, I am not completely sold on the concept of an electric car as a sustainable technology moving forward. Well, that’s not true. Theoretically, electric cars could develop a method of unlimited fuel (solar), but they is still many moons away. Instead, lets talk about the P85D or better known as the Tesla Sedan that can kick a Lambo in a quarter mile.

The Tesla Model S P85D performed well on Consumer Reports’ road tests. Be well we mean it generated a raw score of 103 on a scale that only goes up to 100.

The high-performance Tesla’s incredible showing actually forced Consumer Reports to reset its scoring system with P85D as the new benchmark…..for a third time.

When were the first two?

One shouldn’t be surprising at all. In 2013 the P85D’s own sibling — the single-engine Model S scored a 110/100. So they had to reset the scoring and eventually fell to 99. Prior, and quite shocking, in 1996, the Porsche Boxster scored 100 on its road test. Simply put the P85D has had an even harder scoring metrics and still came out with flying colours.

“Usually, when you review the base model and then the performance model, you get more performance but lose efficiency,” Consumer Reports’ auto editor Mark Rechtin told Business Insider in an interview. “That didn’t happen here. In fact, it got more efficient. The car defies the laws of physics.” Just to recap the Model S is amazing, the P85D is faster and with better mileage. Again, I say FASTER and with BETTER MILEAGE. Not a typo.

Armed with an 85-kilowatt-hour battery pack and Tesla’s “Insane Mode” software, CR’s P85D managed the sprint to 60 mph in just 3.5 seconds. Although that time is nearly half a second slower than Tesla’s claimed time, the P85D is still the quickest car the publication has ever experienced. Rechtin compared the Tesla’s 1.02 Gs of force on acceleration to that of jumping off a building. At the same time, Consumer Reports found the dual-motor achieved the equivalent to 87 mpg in fuel economy with a range of more than 200 miles. Again, it is worth mentioning this is a sedan. You go to the grocery store in this. Odd, you don’t go to a grocery store in a Ferrari. Maybe it’s just not fast enough now. According to Rechtin, the Tesla’s closest conventional rival in CR’s road tests is the iconic Mercedes-Benz S-Class, which scored 95/100.

With that said, Rechtin was quick to point out that the P85D’s high score doesn’t mean it’s the perfect car. In fact, the score only accounts for the Tesla’s performance in the road test. This means that parameters such as acceleration, handling, braking, and interior fit and finish were taken into consideration while other factors, such as reliability, were excluded. See, not the perfect car, but simply just amazing. However, if Tesla is anything like SpaceX, I think we will be fine.

Let’s give a little insight, at $128,000, the P85D lacks some of the gizmos and gadgetry that others in its price point delivers, heck it doesn’t even have a flux capacitor. Furthermore, Tesla’s growing network of Superchargers is still inadequate. As any gear head can admit, superchargers are quite a finicky item to play with. I see it taking a little time to perfect. But when it does, well, let’s just say the 103 score will have its competition. Albeit we have a photo below and it still has some slick features. The ergonomics could be a little more aspiring though.

“Even with the great range, the Model S is still an electric car, and any long trip will have to be dictated by the location of charging stations.” This is my main issue with electric vehicles. No cottage bound trips unless you’re in Sweden where they have charging stations everywhere.

It’s been rumored that Elon Musk’s company will be releasing a $35,000 Model 3 in 2016 to ’17. I say rumored, because there’s evidence, but things always change. Still even a sub $45K electric car with the gadgetry Tesla is known for would be a game changer. Sorry Leaf, you really aren’t even competing in this paradigm. In short, Tesla, you never cease to amaze. Now where is my jet pack Elon? I figure a guy like you must have thought of making one?