Wednesday, November 9, 2011

WHITE CAN, SAVE POLAR BEARS: Coca-Cola partners with WWF for its Arctic Home Campaign

Coca-Cola Polar Bears

Have you seen them yet?

I know in my last blog I wrote “it is the holiday season again folks.”  However, it is not truly the holiday season until Coca-Cola launches their annual polar bear campaign.  But this year there is a new twist.

Arctic Home

White cans?


On Tuesday, October 25, 2011, CBC news reported that Coca-Cola “unveiled changes to its iconic can” and announced that they “will commit $2 million over five years to a partnership with the World Wildlife Fund in a project called Arctic Home.” 

This is an extreme example of corporate responsibility in action.  Yes, Coca-Cola is the current soft drink leader in the world; however, one mistake in their marketing and advertising strategy and they could drop to #2.

Hmm … now my marketing mind shifts into overdrive and I begin to question the motives of this multi-million dollar corporation.

Why, all of a sudden, is Coca-Cola leading the charge towards conservation?  If our iconic polar bear has been part of their seasonal advertising since 1922, why are they just starting a campaign to save them in November 2011? 

What are the good people of Coca-Cola up to?  Are they trying to deflect our attention away from another important issue?  Could it be their declining sales due to health concerns?  Or the fact that the Ministry of Education in Ontario banned the sale of junk food and pop from our public schools this past September?  Perhaps their audience is shrinking ... then again ... maybe not.    

According to the Toronto Sun, based on data from Statistics Canada, “almost one-quarter of adult Canadians are obese.”  The Canadian Diabetes Association estimates that “more than 9 million Canadians live with diabetes or prediabetes.”

The dangers of soft drinks

I wonder if Coca-Cola is simply trying to win back some of their customers with this heart-warming story of saving our beloved polar bear from extinction?  Could Coca-Cola be so ruthless?

The answer may be found right under our noses... literally.   

Young child drinks Coca-Cola

Friday, October 28, 2011

Heartless: Why does Guilt + Free Gift = Charitable Donation?

It is the holiday season again folks.  The stores are littered with glittery ornaments, fake snow, and cinnamon scented candles … and it’s not even Halloween yet!  Well, before you despair go and open your mailbox.  There may be something special waiting just for you! 

Have you received one of these yet? 

If not, feel lucky you did not make the nice list at the Heart & Stroke Foundation.  If you did you would have been treated to a “special 2011 holiday package.” (D. Sculthorpe, personal communication, October 2011)

This package includes:

  • Seven sets of two greeting cards (14 in total), with coordinating envelopes
  • Two sheets of holiday stickers and gift tags
  • One gift bag
  • One holiday memo pad
  • One Heart & Stroke Foundation crested pen

How do I know what’s inside?  Unfortunately, my parents are on the nice list.  The funny thing is (insert sinister music clip here) they have not given a donation to the Heart & Stroke Foundation in over five years.

So how did they make it on to the nice list this year?  Apparently, it is not that difficult, especially since they had given donations in the past.  They may still be part of an internal or house list at the Heart & Stroke Foundation. 

Another possibility is that the Heart & Stroke Foundation used a list broker to provide them with “a list of potential prospects.” (Tuckwell, 2011) based on the profile they submitted to the broker.   

To me, the term list broker has an underworld tinge to it.  I imagine it belonging in a bad film noir scene where the good man is forced to bend to the will of the evil list broker, in order to save the femme fatale.

I digress. 

The Heart & Stroke Foundation is obviously not an evil, underworld organization; however, the use of this tactic to raise funds for charity is questionable. 

Why do they believe that this holiday package, along with a letter spewing the same promises as last year, will convince my parents to give a donation?  How much did the package cost to produce and where did the money come from? 

Perhaps, the Heart and Stroke Foundation did not intend for people to ask these questions.  Maybe they thought it was a positive campaign based on an emotional appeal and the idea of reciprocity.  Then again, the letter is seeded, not so subtly, with one of the greatest tactics for eliciting action – guilt.  

I think I will stick with my original equation to explain this fundraising campaign: Guilt + Free Gift = Charitable Donation.


Tuckwell, K. (2011). Integrated Marketing Communications: Strategic Planning Perspectives (3rd ed.).Toronto, ON: Pearson Canada Inc.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Why the Splice is Not so Nice

Do you know, what a comma splice is?  Can you use apostrophe’s properly within sentences’?

Did you spot the grammatical errors in the preceding sentences?  If you didn’t you need to read this blog.

This week Frank Armstrong made grammar lessons fun when he presented Avoiding the Evil Comma Splice to our MCOM5 class.  Frank not only used PowerPoint as a presentation tool, but also as an effective learning aid.  He included a hilarious, yet informative YouTube video within his presentation that you should check out.

Following our second MCOM 5 class this week I was intrigued by the prevalence of grammatical errors within marketing communications and decided to do some investigating.  I put on my Sherlock Holmes cap and sat down at my laptop to trawl through the internet.

Effective writing skills are essential to communication within any business; however, they are critical within the marketing industry.  Could you imagine if global leaders such as Pepsi or Coca-Cola made grammatical errors throughout their advertising campaigns?

Wait a minute …

In a September 2009 blog, entitled Coke with a Splice, Nancy Friedman explored this grammatical issue when she wrote about an ad that appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle. 

However, when I attempted to find the source of this ad and further information about the campaign I found a broken link. 

I hope Coca-Cola will take a lesson from Frank and Nancy – comma splices have no place in writing, especially advertising.  Oops!

If you are interested in learning more about comma splices check out these blogs and resources:

·        CommaSplicePolice

Friday, October 14, 2011

Teaching Tutor: The International Experience

This past week has been challenging, yet rewarding.  
At times, I felt unbalanced, exhausted, and overwrought with anxiety. 
It must be midterm. 
Every year, I hear echoes:  “I planned to do all my readings… homework … assignments but there’s not enough time.”  Sound familiar?  It certainly rings true to me.
Being a successful student is challenging but it is not impossible.  We take so many things for granted in our Western society, especially in terms of our formal education.
College is a free-for-all party-playground; a drunk-tank; a waste of time and human potential. 
Yes, college can be all of these things but for those who truly want to learn, it is a refuge of endless possibility.    
As a student and peer tutor, I have experienced first-hand the thirst international students have for knowledge and understanding.  This week I spent time helping my tutees make sense of marketing but they taught me just as much as I taught them.   
My tutees LOVE to learn.  This LOVE inspires and motivates me to re-examine my current educational path.  I thought I took my education seriously until I met them. 
These students have brought a refreshing perspective to my view of education and truly demonstrate the dedication it takes to be a successful student. 
International students are not only learning business knowledge and skills; they are learning our language, customs, behaviours, and cultures. 
And yet, they exude a sense of calm, once comprehension has been obtained.  At this stage, learning is like breathing – constant… even … sustaining.
I hope you have enjoyed this exploration.  Take a trip along your own learning path to make sure you are making the most of your time and education.

This week's blog is dedicated to my tutees: you inspire me to be a better student.
Thank you. 

Friday, October 7, 2011

A World of Change: Technology and Possibility

“We can open a window on a world where all is sound, our creative powers are formidable, and unseen threads connect us all.” (Zander & Zander)
This past week has been ‘transformational’. 
I chose this particular word, when asked to describe the World Business Forum, a two-day conference held on October 5 & 6 in New York City.  Although I was not in NYC, I had the opportunity of a lifetime – right here in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. 
Confused?  Let me explain. 
Thanks to St. Lawrence College and SIFE SLC, especially Pam Bovey-Armstrong and Wahida Lakhani, the World Business Forum was streamed live from NYC to a theatre in the Cineplex Odeon at Gardiners Road. 
This was the first and only live streaming event of the World Business Forum in Canada.
This is extraordinary!
This is extraordinary because we live in a world where technology and possibility provided local business professionals, educators, and students with the opportunity to be part of this international event - within Kingston.
I witnessed some of the most innovative minds and engaging speakers of our time. Bill Clinton, Jack Welch, Seth Godin, Howard Schultz, and Malcolm Gladwell were among the headliners.  Yet, my favourite was the captivating orchestral conductor Benjamin Zander.
I am not unfamiliar with Ben.  Last semester he opened my world to possibility when I discovered his TEDtalk online (enjoy below). 

I read The Art of Possibility, the book he co-authored with his wife Rosamund Stone Zander. 
Ben was beyond inspiring Wednesday afternoon - in fact, I am still digesting and absorbing his insights.  However, I will leave you with a couple of thoughts,
·        Awaken the possibility in others, by radiating possibility yourself
·        Rule #6: Don’t take yourself so goddamn seriously
See you next week :)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

A Brand New Me

"Everyone has a brand, and anyone can be a strong brand!" (McNally & Speak)

I was in the middle of writing my first quiz in Kathy’s Into to IMC class when it hit me!  No, not all the right answers.  Branding. 

Branding.  It’s everywhere.  Just open your eyes and its staring back at you, with one eye on your wallet.  Brands are on what you wear, drink, text … but I wondered.  What about my own personal brand?  What can I do to build that?

As a strong product or service brand is built over time, so too is a personal brand.  However, the difference is that my brand is all about me and how I want others to perceive … me.  To accomplish this, I must define who I am, what I stand for, and what USP (Unique Selling Point/Proposition) I can offer to my customers.     


Perhaps to a seasoned professional but I am just building the foundation of my personal brand empire.  Now I think to myself, what would Seth Godin do?  Seth has a distinctive personal brand.  He posts to his blog at least once a day and offers his followers consistency and style.   

As I’ve learned so far, blogging is an powerful and far reaching tool.  It can help propel careers, such as that of IMC graduate Brook Johnston.  It can also promote magazine and book sales for authors such as Bruce Philp.   

Hmm… maybe I’ll be more of a pro after I read “BeYour Own Brand: Achieve More of What You Want by Being More of Who You Are.”

Although, I was always taught that practice makes perfect.  I guess A Brand New Me is actually a W.I.P. – Work in Progress.

See you next week :)