PSA: Media Buyers… Don’t Do This


So I was looking at a funny video my friend told me to watch today, and noticed this with the pre-roll:

Screen Shot 2013-12-28 at 4.21.20 PM

See anything funny? How about that lovely YouTube pre-roll title? Or perhaps the name, “Larry Testburger”? Uhhh, really? You think Special K will want their brand associated with this username? Unlikely.

Say I was interested in Special K’s ad and product. So I click through… to this:

Screen Shot 2013-12-28 at 4.21.39 PM

Great consumer experience there, eh? No branding, fake name, no where to go. Media planning fail.

Digital agencies or media planners: Please make sure you upload your client’s video up to their actual YouTube account. Otherwise, you’re gonna have a bad time.
(Yeah, I totally ended this on a meme.)

Instagram Introduces “Instagram Direct”

The life of a Digital Strategist or Community Manager these days is pretty tough! Social platforms seem to be constantly making changes and it can be difficult to keep up.

Today, Instagram introduced “Instagram Direct” – a feature on Instagram that allows you to share your Instagram photos with just one person or a specified group of people. Like friends, family, roommates or even strangers (no, really, you can do that according to their blog post).

As with many launches, Instagram has created a product video to show off the new feature:

Introducing Instagram Direct from Instagram on Vimeo.

As my Facebook friends list seems to be saying, “It’s like Snapchat. Without the disappearing act.”

Frankly, as someone who works on brands who are quite active in the social space, this is exciting news. This feature could definitely be used to connect more directly and privately with followers, influencers, or even contest winners. Imagine using this feature to send clues to a select group who is participating in scavenger hunt. Or sending a user an Instagram photo showing they’ve won a contest. Or even just giving your followers only a sneak peak to exclusive, behind-the-scenes content.

There’s tons of potential here and I can’t wait to see what brands do with this feature!

Zulu Alpha Kilo Launches Kringl – The Proof of Santa Video App

Something we’ve been busy working on for the past several weeks here at Zulu Alpha Kilo is our holiday card. But this year, it’s not a card but an app! Say what? You may ask. Well, let me elaborate…

Kringl is an iOS and Android video application that helps you prove to your kids that Santa Claus is real. 


I am so honoured to have been a part of the making of Kringl with the amazingly hard working team here at Zulu and with our partners at Thinking Box.

How it works is that you can film a location in your home, choose from several of our Santa scenes, and in seconds you’ll have footage of Kris Kringle eating cookies by your Christmas tree (or doing something else!). So simply put: You can recreate the magical story of Santa for your kids.  

Along with creating this app, Zulu has partnered with Make-A-Wish Canada and all proceeds raised will benefit Make-A-Wish. If you wish to do so, there is a button in the app that will bring you to a donation page where you can help keep the magic alive for other deserving children.

It’s a great little app and I’m proud to have had a small part in helping to bring some Holiday cheer to the world.  We’ve also created this adorable little video that showcases Kringl:

To find the download links or get more information, you can go to

Thanks to the whole Zulu Alpha Kilo and Thinking Box team for pulling this together in what felt like overnight! And to Zak specifically for believing in this vision.


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.

Absolute Challenges You to Transform Today

Absolut Vodka has recently released this new TV spot, along with a new global brand tagline: Transform Today. This comes after a switch to Sid Lee, following a 25 year AOR relationship with TBWA.

As with many alcohol brands, Absolut is trying to tap into the finicky Millennial market. As Eric Alper (Managing Partner at Sid Lee) said, Absolut was trying to take a more modern approach to their long-standing history of supporting artists, in the hope of connecting with Millennials. Absolut is looking to become an “agent of transformation” between consumers’ regular selves and their “extraordinary selves.” Sounds a little familiar, doesn’t it?

But have to say, I like this ad. It has a dark, sexy edge to it. Nicely done, Absolut.

You can read more on the new global campaign in Marketing Mag here.

Google Calls its Next Android OS… KitKat?

Google just announced that it will call its next Android OS (operating system) KitKat, after the Nestle chocolate bar.


Since 2009, Google and its partners in the Open Handset Alliance have codenamed each Android release after a type of treat, with major updates progressing a letter along the alphabet. […] Previous versions have been called Cupcake, Donut, Eclair, Froyo (short for frozen yoghurt), Gingerbread, Honeycomb, Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean.

Although the developers had referred to the forthcoming version as KLP in internal documents, Mr Lagerling said the team decided late last year to opt instead for the chocolate bar. […] “One of the snacks that we keep in our kitchen for late-night coding are KitKats. And someone said: ‘Hey, why don’t we call the release KitKat?’

“We didn’t even know which company controlled the name, and we thought that [the choice] would be difficult. But then we thought well why not, and we decided to reach out to the Nestle folks.”

Mr Lagerling said he had made a “cold call” to the switchboard of Nestle’s UK advertising agency at the end of November to propose the tie-up.

I just find this so, so funny. Ah, marketing and advertising.


New Facebook Promotion Rules – This. Changes. Everything.

From Megan Siegel’s lovely blog:

This is music to every community manager, small business owner and anyone who dabbles in managing FB pages’ ears.

It is now easier to build promotions on Facebook!

No more messing around with FB apps, no more murky waters and way more opportunity for creativity.

You can collect entries by having people comment on or like statuses, posts or pages.

For Community Managers and Social Media strategists, this changes everything. Prepare yourself for the sound of tears of happiness coming from the next cubicle over.

Official details here.

“Camp Gyno” – Now This is How You Do Tampon Advertising


I’ve written about horrible and not-so-horrible tampon and pantyliner (AKA “feminine care” BLEH) advertising ads on here before. But this one is just ace. Now THIS is how do you tampon advertising!

Every single female can relate to finally getting their period and that almighty rite of passage. And we all know a girl or two who maaaaybe let it go to their heads. But not only is this ad hilarious, they actually use real words that women use! Straight up! No men or funky blue liquid or dancing with a skirt on! It’s amazing what straightforwardness can do for you some times!

The fact that this little girl says “vag” no holds bar makes me so happy.

And Hello Flo also sounds like a pretty awesome little subscription service: they automatically ship your a care package “when you want it with what you want,” which includes tampons, pantliners, pads and candy. Perfect. Easy. Simply.

(Thanks to Mona for sharing!)

The Fascination with Vine

By far the most addictive Vine of all time. This song has been stuck in my head for 6+ weeks.

I’ve become increasingly fascinated with Vine. This has actually taken me by surprised, to be honest. I say this because when Instagram launched their video feature, everyone claimed that it had killed Vine. Even me:

But recently, I’ve been finding myself sitting in bed, at the end of a long day looking for something to help me relax. I used to turn to my first love of the internet: my daily dose of Imgur. Now, more often than not, I find myself suddenly losing 30 – 45 minutes on Vine.

And what I’m seeing is that there is something growing on Vine: A community. It reminds me of early Tumblr days.

You start to see every day strangers suddenly amass 20,000 or 1 million followers. You see Vine meet ups with hundred of people – and these people are fans. There’s “guest appearances” in newly-famous Viners on other Viners’ Vines. Getting your Vine re-Vined by a “BNV” (Big Name Viner – coining this here and now!) is now a huge deal.

Slowly but surely my Vine feed is moving away from people I actually know and towards becoming a pure feed of hilarious Viners. Sorry friends, but none of us know how to make a good Vine. It’s absolutely an art. A very frustrating art.

This recent blog post over at Made By Many called “Vine Fame” sums up a lot of what I love and have been feeling about Vine lately. Some choice quotes:

The Explore screen, which lists ‘Comedy’, ‘Art & Experimental’, ‘Cats’, ‘Dogs’ etc seems somewhat at odds with the real popular content. Like it’s the kind of content the Vine staff want to be there but really it’s all just comedy. If they were to be really honest about it they would name them ‘Self-referencial racial stereotyping’ or ‘Awkward jams’.

If you could sum up the use case as a statement it would be “Make me laugh” not “Tell me what my friends are up to”.

It’s like a visual haiku and anyone that wants to create good vines really must suffer for their art.

Highly recommend that if you’re interested in reading more about Vine, you head over there and read the full blog post.

(PS: This interview with Nicholas Megalis and his recent popularity is interesting, though reads a little bit like an interview with any early adopter and their early fame on any platform.)

PBS Criticizes Reality TV, Urges TV Viewers to Support Quality TV



PBS has launched a new, hilarious campaign criticizing reality TV and urging viewers to support quality TV by donating to quality programming (AKA PBS). They’ve launched a number of ‘fake’ reality TV shows trailers that, truthfully, look real. They’ve definitely taken a ton of inspiration from Slice, TLC and similar channels. Enough that one might actually think these are real based on the various reality TV show conventions used. Here are some of my favourite:

Meet the Tanners

Long Island Landscapers

Clam Kings

They’ve also added a social component to this with the hashtag #TVGoneWrong and are encouraging people to share the videos. Love these! Great content, with social at the core (using YouTube, linked annotations, and hashtags), will really help this campaign spread.

If interested in supporting PBS, you can donate here.