Category Archives: Important

Are you ready to take the 21 Day Credit-Free Challenge?

We’ve been busy little bees over here at Zulu Alpha Kilo since winter started, hence the very obvious lack of updates on this poor blog. However, as spring starts creeping into Toronto, some of our hard work is also springing to the surface. (The puns in that sentence are killing me, haha.)

I’m really pleased to announce that one thing myself and the team here at Zulu along with our lovely client, INTERAC, have been hard at work on is a fresh new challenge for Canadians that gets them to put away their credit cards for three weeks to see if they can complete the 21 Day Credit-Free Challenge. It launches tomorrow and we’ve already seen some nice coverage in Strategy today.

With the help of financial guide Gail Vaz Oxlade, INTERAC, and some great daily tips, the 21 Day Credit-Free Challenge is here to help you help yourself. Check out one of the videos we created (with Zulubot!) for this challenge:

This project has been something that’s near and dear to my heart. With so many Canadians finding themselves living paycheck to paycheck, borrowing against their tomorrow (as one great INTERAC OOH line states), and dealing with the stress of credit card debt, it’s time to righten ourselves and put ourselves back on the right track.

So, do you want to join me in taking the challenge to go #21DaysCreditFree? Think you have what it takes? That’s what I like to hear… So, let’s do this!

Hailo Toronto to Shut Down


It’s heartbreak hotel over here in Emma-land. Earlier today, Hailo announced that they would be shutting down North American operations. At the time, Toronto office lead Justin Raymond said he would be asking for a licensing deal with the parent company.

Well, Hailo just announced they would not be giving Hailo Toronto a license to continue operations in Toronto.

A representative for Hailo says the company is shutting down all markets completely, and won’t be striking a licensing deal in Toronto.

This is a tragedy. I’ve been a vocal fan of the Hailo app since it arrived on the scene in Toronto in 2012. I remember writing a blog post announcing their launch and how excited I was to try it out.

It’s been one of my go-to apps over the years, and I’ve been so proud to support a company I’ve believed in. In comparison, I’ve been a big critic of Uber, primarily for what I believe to be their shady business practices and I will refuse to support them here in Toronto, even though they are the only viable option left.

To me, this opens up a huge whitespace in the market that a new app could easily fill. I hope they come soon, because “winter is coming” and I get cold walking home. To Hailo Toronto employees: I’m so sorry. You’ve always been nothing short of awesome. I hope you can find solace in the fact that you had many, many fans.

Kringl Has Been Shortlisted for Best AR App at the Webbys!


I am very excited and proud to share that Kringl – The Proof of Santa app created by my agency Zulu Alpha Kilo has been shortlisted for Best AR App in the Interactive Advertising and Media category at the Webbys. As I mentioned back in December, Kringl is an iOS and Android video application that helps you prove to your kids that Santa Claus is real. It’s a great little app and I’m proud to have had a small part in helping bring it to life.

While the Webby Academy selects its Webby Winner in each category, every nominee is also up a Webby People’s Voice Award as selected by the voting public. I’d be honoured if you’d be willing to vote for Kringl, which you can do so here.

Voting is open from April 8th to April 24th. Thanks in advance for your support!

The Very First Community Management Conference: CM1

Community Management is a fairly new title in digital advertising and marketing; really, it has only come into existence in the past few years.

I still remember working at Publicis in 2009 on Rogers. Together, we were creating great Facebook contest apps for our Facebook Page, but quickly realized there were – gasp! – questions on the wall from customers. Within weeks, I became the person responsible for responding to those questions and comments. As Rogers’ Facebook community grew, so did the questions. Suddenly, social media felt very real and we all knew we needed to build processes and guidelines. Now, a governance model or a response guideline document seems like an obvious first step… but back then – only four years ago! – this was new territory for us all.

Stories like the above are not unusual – and it’s become clear that Community Management is now a key role for many clients and agencies who are entrenched in social media. Yet, because so many people still see Community Manager as a low-level role (see Marketing Mag’s recent series on Community Management) it was no surprise that there hasn’t been a conference that focuses exclusively on Community Management… until now.

The good people at the FITCDx3, and The Tite Group have realized that there is a huge opportunity here and have launched the very first Community Management conference, called CM1.



CM1 will be a one-day conference for Community Managers and it’s happening right here in Toronto on November 14th, 2013. You can expect to learn and discover new ways of inspiring, engaging and measuring communities.

I won’t be attending, but my agency Zulu Alpha Kilo will be sending our lovely Community Manager, Miranda, there to get the goods on this evolving and growing role. I’m excited to hear all about the learnings and trends Miranda will surely bring back to us from the conference.

Other notable speakers (and some of my favourite peers!) include:


If you’re a Community Manager, or interested in learning more about Community Management, I highly suggest you attend. You can buy tickets here.

If you attend, I’d love to know what you think! Feel free to leave a comment below or let me know on Twitter.

A Change

If you know me at all or follow me on social media, this news is likely not new to you but I couldn’t not write this.

I recently switched jobs, leaving my role at Publicis and starting at Zulu Alpha Kilo. Moving on from Publicis after 4 years was tough. It has been my home, my family, my nest. But as with all good things, they must end.

I had been feeling the need to stretch my wings – so to speak – and try something new. Something different and exciting. I’m confident I have found that at Zulu Alpha Kilo. I am now onto Week 2 here but I can already tell this is a special place. There are lots of friendly, great people here and the energy here is quite tangible.

I’m excited to join the planning team here and help build out their digital and social offering. Everyone here is whip smart and excited and driven by great creative. I can’t wait to see where this goes.

I want to thank everyone who I worked with at Publicis for giving me such happy memories. I’ll always hold my time there in a special place in my heart.

So. Onward to the next adventure!

Dove’s Real Beauty Campaign is Reignited

It’s been a while since Dove has created something of impact with their amazing Real Beauty campaign. The last big splash they made was with their Evolution video. (Dove Canada did this Photoshop hack not too long ago but the target was to people in advertising, not the general public.) But no more. Yesterday, they launched the next iteration of their Real Beauty campaign and let me tell you… They’ve hit it out of the park.

“Beauty Sketches” has already been making the rounds online. The last time this many of my Facebook friends posted an ad was for Old Spice. This video is going to be shared and shared and shared. And it’s because they’ve honed in on this brilliant insight and it’s so heartbreaking and painful to see that insight play out in real life. No more words need to be said. Just watch.

You can argue day and night about Dove’s authentic or inauthentic reasons for their campaign, but the fact remain: they completely own beauty. Real beauty. And in doing so, highlight the effect media and culture has on women. Of course they’re trying to sell something – but I’m OK with this if it makes me take a step back and really think about how we view ourselves and how we view others.

EDIT 04/17/2013: Just to add to this, I wanted to share this really well written and thoughtful post titled, “Why Dove’s “Real Beauty Sketches” Video Makes Me Uncomfortable… and Kind of Makes Me Angry” as a nice counter-balance to the above. This is a very big topic and one I’d love to see Dove step up and address head on.

Why I’m Really Excited About the Future of Television



There’s a lot of changes happening right now in TV. Big changes. Electrifying changes. I’m so very excited about the possibilities coming down the pipeline I had to write a blog post about it!

Let’s take a look, shall we?

First, we have Netflix who completely disrupted everything by introducing streaming television into our home. This recent and awesome Wired article, “The New rules of the Hyper-Social, Data-Driven, Actor-Friendly, Super-Seductive Platinum Age of Television: Rules 9 & 10” takes a fascinating look at the impact this has had on the television industry. They’re discussing the changes Netflix has wrought with a lens on the upcoming Netflix release of the revived Arrested Development series. Some of my favourite bits [emphasis mine]:

[…] it was the kind of show you couldn’t join midway through a season unless you enjoyed the sound of in-jokes whizzing over your head. It was just not made for TV, at least not as it existed in the mid-2000s.

Each episode will cover events from a different character’s point of view, like a com­edic Rashomon. There will be moments and Easter eggs that will make sense only in retrospect. There will be a suggested viewing sequence, but it will be pos­sible—even rewarding—to watch out of sequence.

“In its purest form,” he [Arrested Development creator Mitch Hurwitz] says, “a new medium requires a new format.”

We also can’t forget about YouTube, who announced in October 2011 that they would be investing over $100 million in their own content creators. They even redid their own site layout in order to create an emphasis on subscriptions to channels. (Of course, it appears it largely hasn’t been a success, as they slashed funding in late 2012.)

Then there’s the whole Veronica Mars movie funded through Kickstarter news item from last week shaking things up as well. As many saw coming, this has fueled rumours of possible TV shows making their way back onto consumers’ screen, such as ABC’s Pushing Daisies and Firefly (sadly Firefly will not happen any time soon, according to Joss Whedon).

And now we have HBO, who recently announced they’re mulling on whether to make their HBO Go streaming service available to non-cable customers.

I think this really signified just how pervasive the cord cutting can become in the next few years. We’re in for a bumpy ride, folks. There’s a lot of innovation happening, and happening fast.

For example, here are some potential “Future of TV” thoughts I have running through my head right now:

  • No more channels. No more cable TV. No more “networks,” as we know it. The networks who have built up their name (AMC, HBO, NBC) can continue to make the shows that consumers love and are willing to pay for but sell them through a different model. TV may no longer funded by ad campaigns. (The horror!)
  • This means anyone (with enough capital investment) could theoretically start their own network. These “pop-up networks” would need to fund everything that goes into a TV series and be able to access a distribution model in order to begin playing with the big guys.
  • Consumers can buy TV shows directly from networks, through a standardized distribution model (one hopes). They can choose to buy a shows at a time or in bulk, as Netflix is now doing with their shows House of Cards and Arrested Development.
  • New shows trying to find an audience could be gifted to consumers, free of charge, with a purchase of a TV series. Similar to when networks would put a new show on right after a very popular series, in the hopes that audiences would stick around.


These are just some of my ideas. I’d love to know where you think TV is going. Please leave your thoughts in the comments!

New Facebook News Feed – The Good & Bad News for Brands

Today, in a press event, Facebook announced a new design for one of their most – if not THE most – important products: the News Feed. And I have to say, I like it. Here’s what it looks like:

New Facebook News Feed

Image courtesy of Stephanie Fusco.

Clean. Simple. More visual focus. Lighter hand with the text. Clutter pushed to a very thin left-side bar! Filters!

Looks a little like Google+, no? These changes will be reflected on the mobile and tablet versions of Facebook, too.

The big thing, of course, is the multiple news feed filters. Users can now choose from: Default, All Friends, Most Recent, Close Friends, Music, Photos, Games, Following, and more. I’m curious what the “more” will be. I’m also happy I can now choose “All Friends” as a filter. How many friends do you have on Facebook but you simply forgot existed? Way too many, I bet.

Facebook Multiple News Feed Filters

Multiple news feed filters.

This also has big implications for brands.

The Good News:

  • All content from a Facebook Page will now appear under the “Most Recent” filter. All content. So we’ve got rid of that festering issue for brands: the Facebook algorithm.

The Bad News:

  • Considering how much people use the “Most Recent” filter right now, I am going to guess that many people are going to suddenly realize just how many brands they follow on Facebook. And then realize just how many brands they could care less about. I have a feeling the “unlike” rate of pages are going to sky-rocket after this rolls out to the majority of users.

I’m still unclear on whether Facebook Page content will appear across other feeds, including the default, photos, etc. This could be potentially good or bad news. Good in that if, yes, the content does appear across multiple feeds, that can give a brand multiple opportunities for their fans to see the content. If it doesn’t, it relegates brands to the back burner in a very limited way.

Either way: An interesting development  As a user, I welcome it with open arms. As a brand, I am wary. Facebook has burned us before (with the algorithm shake ups in September). They may burn us again.

If you’d like to sign up for the new News Feed wait list, you can do so here:


Emma Brooks and Scott Suthren on 49 Pixels Live – May 8th 2012

A couple weeks ago, Scott Suthren (aka boss-man here at Publicis Modem) and I were invited as guests to the 49 Pixels Live podcast. What is that you may ask? Well…

49Pixels Live is a weekly podcast featuring industry experts, thought leaders and influential voices in the technology, digital marketing and entrepreneurship space. Tune in on Tuesday evenings at 8pm EST (5pm PST) for 49Pixels Live, brought to you by your hosts Lindsay Munro and Justin Kozuch.

We recorded the podcast last night and I think we all had a lot of fun! The episode (Episode 20) is now live on the 49 Pixels website, titled “The Digital Strategist” (the title makes it sound so important!).

In the episode, we talk a lot about digital communication, measurement and analytics, skills needed for a Digital Strategist, and much more. Check it out and let me know what you think. It was my second appearance on a podcast this year, and I ‘d be open to more opportunities like this.

Check out the episode here.

Was the 2012 Budweiser Superbowl Commercial Staged?

I wrote about the 2012 Budweiser Superbowl commercial briefly yesterday here on my blog. As I walked around the office, I saw it on a number of co-worker’s screens throughout the day. It was shared all over Facebook and Twitter. Clearly, it’s been a hit online and it’s not even Superbowl Sunday yet!

But a coworker of mine has been going on since yesterday about how he thinks this commercial is a fake, or staged. I’ve been brushing him off, laughing at his accusations, telling him to JUST BELIEVE in the ad because it is all that is good in my world right now. But no, he had to go and find proof of his theory.

So impressed with his dedication to the truth, I offered up to him the option for me to showcase his theory here on this blog. The following comments are his thoughts (and his alone – I take no responsibility!) on this commercial, along with the evidence he has carefully collected.

I like the Budweiser Super Bowl ad. Please, don’t get me wrong.

I don’t like being mislead.

Immediately after watching for the first time I knew that this spot was staged. Maybe not the initial introduction of the flash mob or announcers, but once everyone was in place, the spot was set up.

No one seems to believe me.

Obviously I needed to find concrete proof.

The announcers indicate clearly that a portion of the spot is overtime. We see number 22 break free of a defenseman, just over his own blue line, in the middle of the ice, into what looks like a two man breakaway.

The player with the puck has now shifted to the top of the circle on the right side of the ice getting ready to take a slap shot, on net.

The player has now shifted to the right side of the net, shooting a slap shot (indicated in photo 2) to the top right corner of the net.

First issue: You can see clearly through the first three photos that the player is a right handed shooter. As any hockey player who shoots right handed can tell you, to execute the slapshot indicated in photo two and three, you would have to open up your body completely to direct your shot into the top right hand corner.

Second Issue: It is indicated starting with photo 1 that the player with the puck on the two man breakaway is #22. When you look at photo 2, you can clearly see that the player getting ready to take the slap shot is wearing Nike hockey pants – clearly indicated by the giant swoosh on his pants. However, earlier in the spot, there is a clear photo of the player wearing #22 with Bauer hockey pants.

Still don’t believe me?

Keep the spot rolling and you will see the player, presumably who scored the goal. Yet, I don’t see a Nike swoosh on his pants, nor a Bauer logo.

How did this goal most likely happen?

I’d venture to guess that player #22 and player #10 were on a two man breakaway and player #10 scored the goal – not quite as compelling as a slap shot from the top of the circle.

Don’t get me wrong, as I said earlier – I like this ad.

I don’t like being mislead into believing that this was a real game that happened organically.

So, what do you think dear readers? Is this a case of careful editing? Or do you think throws the whole authenticity of the spot, the idea that Budweiser actually executed a flash mob without the team knowing it was coming, into question? I would love to know your thoughts.

(And don’t shoot the messenger.)

Edit: Want to update anyone who reads this blog post. Briar, Manager Corporate Affairs of Labatt Breweries of Canada has reached out to me via email to set the record straight on this blog post:

Just read your blog post and wanted to set the record straight! I can assure you that the ad was not staged at all. There was a great deal of planning that went into place to make this real, authentic and genuine – the fans and some production crew did not know what they were filming until the day before. As for the players, we told them we were filming a documentary on hockey and needed some footage.

I was actually there that night in the stands and saw the entire event unfold. Every minute was a complete surprise and we didn’t reveal to the teams that it was a Super Bowl ad until two weeks ago.

As I said in my email, I’m incredibly happy to hear this. I thought it was a fantastic spot and I think the team at Labatt and the ad agency responsible for this did an amazing job.

Thanks again, Briar, for reaching out and providing additional information on this spot.