Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year Resolutions

To all NHL hockey players, that your contracts contain a clause that you are not to operate a camera, smart phone or gun without an adult’s supervision

To any and all politicians, that you will not use the word transparency

To Bruce Jenner, Joan Rivers, Kenny Rogers, NO MORE PLASTIC SURGERY!

To Wes Craven, another Nightmare on Elm Street sequel starring Bruce Jenner as Freddy, Kenny Rogers as Freddy’s twin and Joan Rivers as sister Frida

To Power 97 new morning show co-host TJ Connors, no references to Miami

To Cam Carson Power 97 morning show replacement, no more ov glove references

To Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz that you will use the disgraced Mayor's holiday serving set in your new restaurant at the Goldeye's Ball Park 

Monday, December 24, 2012

My Christmas List Part 2

  1. A monopoly game for Lindsay Lohan.  It has two get out of jail free cards
  2. A gift certificate for Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz to the Cathay House
  3. A haircut for Liberal head honcho wanna be Justin Trudeau
  4. Justin Bieber’s hair for Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper
  5. A key to the City of Winnipeg for Sandy Shindleman, he owns everything else in town
  6. A plaque for both Premier Greg Sellinger and Sam Katz quoting George Costanza, “its not a lie if you believe it”
  7. Sam Katz’s Winnipeg home for Bomber’s Joe Mack so he can stay the winter and Sam can spend the winter in his Phoenix home (Oh yeah he does that anyway)
  8. Miles Gorrell and Chris Walby in their prime playing in front of Buck Pierce
  9. For NHL players and owners to switch places and start the negotiations over again
  10. Grace for those who are offended to hear Merry Christmas and to all a good night

Sunday, December 23, 2012

My Christmas List

  1. A bar of soap and etch a sketch for MP Pat Martin
  2. Lie Detector for Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz
  3. A box of erasers and an Accountant for Manitoba Premier Greg Sellinger
  4. Refresher school for those in charge of Winnipeg’s signal lights
  5. A real estate license for Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service Chief Reid Douglas
  6. New friends for Winnipeg City Councilor Justin Swandel
  7. A big brother and an etch a sketch for Winnipeg Jet Evander Kane
  8. A razor to NDP big boss Tom Mulcair
  9. The book, How to win friends and Influence people for Justin Trudeau 
  10. A winning season for Bomber head honcho Garth Buchko

Friday, December 14, 2012

George Tannenbaum On Smarter And Dumber

George Tannenbaum writes a great blog.

Love his take on being smart, er being dumb.  You decide.

Ad Aged: Smarter and dumber.: Nicolas Kristof has written an op-ed in today's "New York Times" on how the IQ of humanity has increased over time. The trend of rising in...

Monday, December 10, 2012

Going Google

Had a client tell me no traditional media for 2013.

Going Google and want to grow organically.

They are in a competitive industry and probably in the top three when you think of their product. But dropping all traditional media for Google is risky.

 I have a feeling they will be back in 90 days.  Keep you posted.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Platitudes I Wish I Never Hear Again

Why is it that every second ad includes, "friendly and knowledgeable staff".

And why is it that I get served by every roll of the eye, rude, obnoxious and stupidest person in the world!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

QR Codes

I don't see any reason for them if I am going to click on it and you direct me to your website.

But go ahead fill your boots

What I don't get is some of the dumbest spots for them.  

Like on a bus.  Really.

Worst yet is a bathroom at the movie theatre.

It just reminds of the Seinfeld episode with Rebecca De Mornay.  

Get that phone out of here.

Oh yeah, its the other Rebecca De Mornay.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Why Drive Traffic To Your Facebook Page

Why not just drive them to your website?

The biggest motivator for liking brands are promotions and discounts, followed by free giveaways according to a report by lab42.

So back to my question?

Why not just drive them to your website and avoid the chance of them going to your facebook page and the promotion or discount is not to their "liking" and they move on?

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Political Debates Are Useless

I don't bother to watch them.

They will say anything to get your vote.

How about attaching both candidates to a lie detector?  Maybe not.

The detector would likely go off the entire debate.

Maybe a reverse lie detector.  In other words, when they tell the truth it doesn't go off.

On second thought whats the difference.

"Hi I am Barack Obama and I am Mitt Romney" buzz buzz.

"Thank you for listening, I'm Mitt Romney.  Please remember to vote for a change on November 6th. 

And I am Barack Obama and we look forward to serving you for another four years."

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Emailing And Texting Has Made Us Lazy.

I understand its the way we communicate today.

It's easy.

Today is not my birthday but if it were, as I blow out the candles, my wish would be;  no internal emails one day a week, forever.

I spend half a day deleting emails that could have been avoided with a 10 step walk to my desk to tell me what you emailed me.

It's no wonder that social skills are so lacking nowadays.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Annoying On Line Ads

Like traditional advertising, I can flip channels when ads come on or turn the newspaper page.  I can control the intrusiveness.

On line, I cannot.

Case in point.

I have spent a couple of days looking to book a winter vacation and also looking at ordering glasses on line.

Now, every time I am on line, I am bombarded with ads for both.

Memo to both advertisers, I didn't buy from you.

Now if I can just turn those annoying ads off.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Text Messaging In The 1800's

Using the original text messaging and a salutation for Canada today.

.- - .
.- - .
-.- -

- -.
- -.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Facebook update

Now that Facebook has gone over the one billion users, how many of those likes have you turned into a sale?

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

CNN Isn't The Same Without Larry King

Don’t you wish that tonight’s U.S. Presidential debate could produce one of those sound bites that will go down in infamy? The 1988 debate between Senator Lloyd Bentsen to Republican vice-presidential candidate Senator Dan Quayle.

I just wish that somebody would go on Piers Morgan’s show and lay a sound bite on him.

"Piers, Larry King is an interview icon, we believed in Larry King, we invited Larry King into our living rooms for over 25 years. Piers Morgan, you are no Larry King.  You, Piers Morgan should pack up and head back across the pond because you and your show suck!"

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Social Media Should Not Be Your Entire Marketing Plan

Should social media be part of your marketing mix?  Of course.

Problem is that far to many have bought, the social media IS my advertising campaign, hook line and sinker.

Social media such as facebook, twitter, pinterest, google+ etc etc is not an advertising campaign.  

But if you think a like on a facebook, tweet, a share on google+  at the expense of your traditional advertising  is going to make your cash register ring, think again.

If that were the case, you and your friends would all drive the same car, wear the same clothes and all eat at the same restaurant.

Monday, September 24, 2012

A No Guilt Signal

I hate it when my government run liquor store asks me to donate.

But how can I say no at checkout with a line full of people staring at me?  When I hear someone in front of me say no, I get a little taller but usually cave when its my turn.

There should be some sort of "NO" signal to the cashier.  A yawn, scratching of the head or pretending to be on the phone.  Oh wait, the phone thing won't work because there is always some yahoo in front of me on the phone.

The best no would be for the government run retail store just not ask.  I donate every day when I buy something: its called taxes!  You use the taxes and donate.

And if I wanted any more guilt, I wouldn't call my mother for a day.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Why Radio Is A Great Now Medium

Thanks to George Kennedy at for sharing this great radio ad.

A Ford Dealership in Fort McMurray, Canada, had a robbery and the owner used the event for the basis of his next radio ad.
You have to love the creativity of the business owner and the immediacy of radio.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

When Price Is An Issue

"Price is never the issue, unless it is the issue.  And when price is the issue, it is the only issue."

From the book, Becoming Preferred, by Michael Vickers

If your business is based on the lowest price the road to profit is a long climb.  There will always be somebody who will sell for less and you will find yourself cutting your profit margin to compete.

When your ads focus on lowest price you are simply telling the buying public to shop around.  Instead your ads should focus on why the buying public should buy from you.  When what you sell solves a problem or fills a need, price is not the deciding factor.

When price is the issue, it is the only issue and there will always be a Walmart to undercut you.

Friday, August 31, 2012


Bonehead move of the century.  Avis dumping their iconic, "We Try Harder".

Best explanation of the car buying public from twitter guy wildernessron.  "Car buyers don't buy a car because its the end of the month or to win a fishing rod nor do they buy because of a limited time offer.  Car buyers buy because the NEED a car when they NEED a car."

Best TV ad this week for Carlton Draught.

And we exit with the great Dobie Gray.

Happy Labour Day Weekend.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

MYTMC Is A Really Cool Coupon App

I will admit that I have bought those coupon books and they end up collecting dust.

MYTMC is a simple to use FREE mobile phone app that gives you fantastic coupons/deals from local and national businesses around your geographic location and its all right there at your finger tips because as we all know, that mobile device is like a body part.  Get the app, you won't be disappointed.

But they also deserve cudos for a great promotion to help launch the app as they have teamed up with some former Big Brother stars in Evel Dick, Porche and Janelle and are throwing a season finale party with these three stars and the only way you can attend is download the app.

It is a great example of using local radio and social media for the event.  Check out their facebook page.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

When The Actor Insert Works

TV is still one of the kings of media.  Even with all the doom and gloom of the internet, DVR's and the likes predicting the death of TV, viewership is up.

Which brings me to the ads.

When ads are produced locally, you get stuff like this.

Kernhill bombarded TV and also had a media mix that included radio.  The owner starred in his own ads and  voiced his own radio ads, become a local celebrity and sold a ton of furniture.  And what you see and hear was written by him.

Now take this ad.

There was likely an ad agency involved and a pretty good production budget.  
I would love to have heard the creative folk sell the idea to the client of having the the two insert actors singing the lines?

I have a bridge I need sold.

Monday, August 27, 2012

What Facebook Likes Are Worth

I just read an article in Business Insider on what a facebook like is worth.

It is talking about a study conducted earlier called the facebook factor and four companies are listed.  Best Buy, Coke, Walmart and Blackberry.

"Someone who Likes Best Buy on Facebook is going to spend, on average, over $200 more per year PLUS are nearly 100% more likely to recommend Best Buy to a friend or relative".

Really.  These studies are always about companies that spend a gazillion dollars in advertising.  And in this case you notice two of the four companies are on life support?
I wish these social media experts, would give it a rest already.

Let's see how facebook likes work for Afansiev Shoe Service.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Yada Yada Yada

Call me jaded.

Because I pay homage to Seinfeld in this blog, there is the Yada Yada Yada episode where instead of finishing sentences, they yada yada yada them.

Back to my jadedness.

I wish some of the news today was yada yada yada’d over.

Prince William is naked…yada yada yada

Katie Holmes is getting $400,000 in child support, yada yada yada.

Tom Cruise couldn’t pay restaurant tab..yada yada yada.

Who really gives a flying…yada yada yada!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Can I Check Your Coat And Smartphone?

A restaurant in Los Angeles is offering a discount if you check your smartphone

I wish some businesses would take it one step further and not allow their employees to use their phones while working. 

A friend shared a recent incident at a popular restaurant.  The server was busy multi tasking.  Serving them while checking his iPhone.  It was pointed out that the server was very rude and the server answered back that his boss wanted all the servers to be checking social media sites to make sure there wasn't anything negative being said about the restaurant.  

Here is what my friend wrote on the back of the bill.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Another Reason Apple Is Cool

I downloaded my first book to the Kindle app on my Ipad.

It also is downloaded on my iphone.  I was waiting for a client yesterday so I thought I would read a few pages on my iphone.

This morning I opened my kindle app on my ipad to read the book.  This message displayed.

Apple is very cool.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Thanks Amazon

Tried to order Bob Hoffman,  The Ad Contrarian's new book

Who knew Amazon USA operates independently with Amazon Canada.  Here is their email message back to me.

"Thank you for writing to us at

I have checked your order #D01-xxxx and found that it was placed with our partner site

Our international web sites operate independently of each other and don't share order information, so we are unable to assist you regarding the order placed with

Therefore, due to the nature of your inquiry, you will need to contact our partner site regarding the order placed with them.

You can contact them at the following URL:"

Just wondering Amazon, but couldn't you just help facilitate this order?

I thought that was the whole purpose of not having bricks and mortar?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Bob Hoffman, The Ad Contrarian on Social Media

"I think social media can provide value. The problem is there’s a lunatic fringe in the social media community that wants us to believe that social media is the answer to all problems, that it has “changed everything”, that advertising, marketing, television, and everything else is “dead”, that social media can give us a 4-hour erection and cure athlete’s foot. In the eyes of intelligent and thoughtful marketers these maniacs are viewed as snake oil salesmen. Worst of all, these are the people who the press loves to quote. It’s doing a lot of damage to the credibility of the industry."

You can read the rest of the article here at

Friday, August 10, 2012


Thank God it's Friday.

I can check my brain at the door and watch Tiger Woods try to win the last PGA  of the year and my beloved Canada bring home more medals.

And I am looking forward to the first episode of Anger Management with Charlie Sheen Sunday after the closing of the Olympics.

I leave you with the two most absurd tag lines this week.

Both from car dealers.

1.  Employee pricing.
2.  We're not completely satisfied until you are completely satisfied.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Do You Get This TV Ad From Nissan

I have never been able to connect with Nissan's advertising.

I remember some print one of the dealers in town ran that featured beautiful people but never really had any continuity to the pictures and the message.

Last week one of their tv ads was a combination of Glee and the movie Grease.

But this one I just don't get.  I get that the car gets great gas mileage but a break up? Really?

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

An Example of Very Poor Customer Service

Below is an incident a colleague shared with me.  He was looking for some funny ads he heard a car dealership had and when he went to the website to search for them  he was greeted by a representative who engaged him in an online conversation.

Can you say lack of customer service 101?  And what is with "Alright"?

Catherine] May I help you find what you're looking for?

[Visitor] No thank you I was looking to find your ads..I was told they are funny

[Catherine] My name is Catherine. May I please have your name so I know who I’m chatting with?

[Visitor] Mario

[Catherine] Hello Mario! How may I help you?

[Visitor] Like I said I heard you had funny ads and I was looking on your website to see if they were there

[Catherine] Alright! Are you also planning on buying a vehicle soon?

[Visitor] Nno

[Catherine] Alright! Thank you for chatting with us. Please do not hesitate to contact us again if you need further assistance. Take care!

[Visitor] So because I am not buying a car, that's it? What would have been really cool is if you could have told me where I could find those ads.

[Catherine] Okay. I would need to verify that with our Internet Manager to be sure and get back to you with the details regarding any ads that we may have. Would that work for you, Mario?

[Visitor] No thats okay......and you are only doing it because of my remark...maybe next time you won't be so quick to dismiss someone..have a good day

[Catherine] Alright. I apologize for that. Would there be anything else I may help you with?

[Visitor] Catherine, I appreciate it your time. Have a good day.

[Catherine] You're most welcome, Mario. It’s been nice chatting with you. Thank you for contacting us. If you have any further questions, please don't hesitate to contact us again if we can be of further assistance. Have a great day ahead!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Does the QR Code Belong

I remember seeing one on the side of a bus.  Just wondering how that conversation was presented from the transit marketing department  to the client.

"Bus riders all have smartphones and while they are waiting for their bus they will have time to snap your code."


The advertiser was an art gallery. 

QR codes are a waste of space, period.

Do you want more proof?  Saw this one.

This is a hand towel dispenser in a bathroom at a golf course.


Friday, August 3, 2012

Free For All Fridays

So now that the CBC has been awarded the 2014 and 2016 Olympic games, will they hire back Brian Williams?

Can we finally agree that QR codes are dead?

Spiderman in 3D was not worth the $18 ticket.

There should be more of Dave Randorf and less of Michael Landsberg on TSN's Olympic coverage.

Pop up ads on webpages are very annoying and please stop trying to hide the X to close the ad!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

A New Twist On Direct Mail

Thanks to Ryan Caligiuri for this story on Direct Mail and Porche. 

Is it award winning creative or did it sell cars?

I like what Ryan ended this piece on.

"By the way, I didn't mention anything about the number of tweets, views on Vimeo or Likes on Facebook because those are all "nice-to-haves" and secondary metrics that are not directly tied to business growth. Yes I understand the importance of awareness and getting people talking, but try selling those intangibles to CEOs who respect their CIOs and CFOs more than their CMOs because they speak a clear language of X + Y = Z. In other words, CFOs and CIOs are ROI focused, where every dollar spent must have a measurable, quantifiable and positive impact on the company’s Profit and Loss statements."

Monday, July 30, 2012

How Are You Growing Your Business

For one company to grow it is at the expense of a competitor.

How are you guarding your market share?

Do you know why your customers shop with you? 

If so, are you using those whys to tell others why they should shop with you?

Always be protecting against your core business.

Defending against market threats will not go away. 

And never lose sight of your competitor.  For them to grow their market share it has to come at someones expense and that could be you.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Free For All Fridays

Jerry Seinfeld is back with a new show broadcast on the internet,

I still believe Tiger can win the US Open.

Reading The Tower of Babble, written by former CBC boss, Richard Stursberg makes me want to poke my eye out for not taking the job with CBC 25 years ago. I could be retired now thanks to taxpayers who shell out over a billion dollars a year for the public broadcaster.

And try not to walk and text in public this weekend.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Why Ad Agencies Still Target Young Demos

A colleague was preparing a pitch for an ad agency wanting to reach men 35-54 for a sports outdoor outfitter.  I am not a hunter and fisher but have friends and acquaintances who live to do both.  They are all pushing the other side of 50.

So why then such a narrow age target?    Isn't the 50-65 a very lucrative age group considering that age group is getting into their best earning years with probably less expenses at home?

When will the ad world wake up to baby boomers?  Thanks to Chuck Nyren for this video.

Is there disconnect in Nissan's latest TV ad

Nissan has a new TV campaign, Summer Saving Days.  The have taken and rewritten the lyrics from Summer Nights, a song featured in the movie Grease. 

The ad looks like Glee doing Grease.

The movie came out in 1978.  If you are under 40 you likely don't know the movie.  So for those of us that do, why didn't Nissan at least dress their actors like the movie?  That I can relate to.

Monday, July 23, 2012

QR Codes Fad or For Real

A QR code  is a matrix bar code.  They are likely to appear in print advertising.

I am just not sure what purpose they serve.  The ones that I have seen just clutter the page.

And most of the ones that I have clicked on, for the most part serve no purpose other than take me to the company's homepage or if its a contest to that page to enter.

Question. You have invested in a website. Why not use every bit of advertising to brand your website address?

Friday, July 20, 2012

Big or Little Coincidence

There is a Seinfeld episode with Elaine arguing that there are big coincidences. Her combatant insists there are no degrees. It either is or isn't.

This was running through my head as I took a phone survey about my cell phone service.  My answers based on a scale of 1 to 10 with 1 being no and 10 yes. 

That leaves a lot of assumption from 2 to 9? 

Big coincidence they haven't figured it out because I still have lousy service!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Will your business survive on just social media

The all day dim sum caught my eye of the new restaurant in my neighborhood. Our server happened to be the owner. I was surprised they had been open 6 months. I asked what he is doing in the way of advertising. He shared the disappointment of his mailers and discount calendar. But he was excited about the social media expert he hired to create a facebook page. The only thing that facebook page will do is chronicle his demise. Social media is not advertising.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

WWW, Digital Media And Short Attention Spans

Fact. The information at our finger tips is doubling every day because of the internet. Ok, I am making that up. Fact. A lot of the information on the web is useless. Lot of truth to that. Fact. The digital world has created short attention spans. Hey you listening to me? Or you just another Klondike guy. "> And for the love of Paul, George, Ringo and John, the next time you go to a movie shut your frickin phone off! Whatever it is can wait.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

How is your social media really working

I must have a facebook page and twitter account. After all it's about engagement. Okay so riddle me this batman. I have a Blackberry playbook with problems. Called helpline only to be given an incident number and someone will be in touch. A month in and bumpkiss. I engaged them on twitter and two months,using hashtags and @, more bumpkiss! Memo to RIM, Rome is burning. Oh I guess you knew that. In reality, I don't need the tablet, I bought an iphone.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

A whole lot about nothing

In a Seinfeld episode Kramer finds a Merv Griffin Show set in a dumpster. He sets the pieces up in his apartment creating and hosting his own make belief show. Soon the show becomes stale and he has "to retool". "Rabbit Ears" is a retool. Introducing "85 words". My life is all about 85 words, the length of a radio ad which is what I sell for a living. Advertising observations will continue but like Seinfeld, 85 words is a whole lot about nothing!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Facebook is a social medium not an advertising site

The next time you log on to your facebook site, look at the ads on the right hand side.

"What ads you say?"

Right. But just for fun have a look. Those ads are supposed to be matched to your profile. They are targeting you. In my case, last time I looked, only 1 of the 4 ads listed applied to me as I had been searching online for glasses. The other 3 not even close.

So before you jump all in with your advertising on social media sites and forego your traditional media, remember, Facebook is a social medium not an advertising site.

Tony Mariani

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Is Facebook really worth 100 Billion?

The Ad Contrarian is Bob Hoffman, ceo of Hoffman/Lewis advertising in San Francisco and St. Louis. Bob is former ceo of MOJO USA and ex-president and creative director of Allen & Dorward. Bob has created advertising for McDonald's, Toyota, Shell, Nestle, Blue Cross, Chevrolet, Pepsico, Bank of America, Seagrams, and more companies than he cares to remember. Bob is author of the books, The Ad Contrarian, and 101 Contrarian Ideas About Advertising. I would think Bob knows his way around media.

He also writes The Ad Contrarian blog and has latest piece is whether or not Facebook. If you are thinking of shifting money from traditional advertising to Facebook read his take on Farcebook.


Tony Mariani

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Have you seen any good QR code uses

QR codes are becoming the new black.

In browsing through a Saturday edition of the Winnipeg Free Press there were 10 ads that contained qr codes.

Using my blackberry messenger scanner I clicked on all 10. First off, I had success scanning only half of them. I couldn't get the others to produce a result even with using a different scanner called I-nigma.

Here is some food for thought for three of those qr codes:

1. For the Ballet featuring the next show, shoot a short video with the the principal dancer or say artistic director discussing the show.

2. To the car dealer, how about a video of happy car buyers or how about a click on the qr code take me to a page and win an oil change with a 40 point inspection all for just leaving my contact information.

3. For the educational facility looking for students, have the qr code take me to a video of the school and what you offer. Or how about a video of students and why they choose your institution to attend.

I have yet to see an ad with a qr code that has done anything more than send me to the main website. I have seen a qr code on a bus board and thought, "what was the marketing manager thinking". But I digress.

Leave the shiny new digital marketing tool off your ad if your website address is in the ad.

Tony Mariani