Highway of Heroes by Bob Reid

November 8, 2009

Anyone who lives in or around the Greater Toronto Area, even in Canada, will likely have heard about or experienced the Highway of Heroes phenomenon which occurs whenever a fallen soldier is returned from the field of battle for a medical autopsy in Toronto. Whenever this happens, there is a spontaneous lining of the 401 by Canadians who show their support for the soldier and the troops in general.

My esteemed colleague, Bob Reid (he of Touchdowns and Fumbles fame) was so moved by this that he wrote and a song about this outpouring of support. After its debut on the Bill Carroll show, Bob spent the last year recording the song and this last Tuesday it was finally released!

The song is embedded below and if you like it, please mozy on over to HMV, iTunes or CD Baby where you can buy the song – proceeds from which will go to the military charity, Wounded Warriors. If you love the song, there are a whole bunch more people who do as well and you can connect with them on the official Facebook fan page.

Congratulations to Bob for this momentous release – I hope it is the success it deserves to be!


Link/Comment Baiting

April 29, 2008

Something I don’t do a good job of on this blog is letting the reader into the inner workings of the iStudio office. Partly because I’m a pretty shocking blogger right now and partly because I think that’s more for the iStudio blog. Which I’m equally delinquent on.

So perhaps that should stop and for my first trick, some blatant link/comment baiting which adds no real value apart from to direct you, the reader to some super smart people and to thank them for providing great, thought provoking content.

I was recently asked to provide a list of my favourite PR/marketing blogs for an internal elearning course. As I’ve got everything in an easy-to-cut-and-paste format, here they are, in no particular order.

Thanks guys!

Note – * donates a conflict such as past/present colleague/client

Public Relations

Shel Holtz – http://blog.holtz.com/

Colin McKay – http://canuckflack.com/

Mike Manuel – http://www.mguerilla.com/media_guerrilla/

Origin of Brands (Laura Ries) – http://ries.typepad.com/ries_blog/

Jeremy Pepper – http://pop-pr.blogspot.com/

PR Squared – http://www.pr-squared.com/

*David Jones – http://www.prworks.ca/

Stephen Davies – http://www.prblogger.com/

Strumpette (although this falls in the “guilty pleasures” bucket) – http://strumpette.com/

Peter Himler – http://theflack.blogspot.com/

Brendan Cooper – http://brendancooper.com/

Paull Young – http://youngie.prblogs.org/

Richard Bailey – http://prstudies.typepad.com/weblog/

Dave Fleet – http://davefleet.com/

Leo Bottary (more client service but he’s a PR guy) – http://clientserviceinsights.blogspot.com/

*iStudio – http://blog.istudio.ca/

*High Road Communications – http://www.highroad.com/blog

*Martin Hofmann – http://www.martinhofmann.net/

*David Bradfield – http://navigatecommunications.com/

*Kristen Zemlak – http://zemlak.wordpress.com/

Chris Clarke would also be in there but a) he barely posts any more and b) his site is nearly always down ;-)

I also subscribe to the PR Voices feed for the “hottest” topics in the flak-o-sphere: http://prvoices.com/

Marketing

Andy Sernovitz – http://www.damniwish.com/

Sean Moffitt – http://buzzcanuck.typepad.com/agentwildfire/

Jackie Huba/Ben McDonell, Church of the Customer – http://www.churchofthecustomer.com/blog/

Sean Howard – http://www.craphammer.ca/

Forrester Marketing – http://blogs.forrester.com/marketing/

Joseph Jaffe – http://www.jaffejuice.com/

David Armano – http://darmano.typepad.com/logic_emotion/

John Dodds – http://makemarketinghistory.blogspot.com/

Kate Trgovac – http://www.mynameiskate.ca/

One Degree – http://www.onedegree.ca/

Seth Godin – http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/

Mitch Joel – http://www.twistimage.com/blog/

Douglas Walker – http://www.webwalker.ca/

*Matt Dickman – http://technomarketer.typepad.com


Eight things you don’t know about Ed Lee

January 3, 2008

Another one of the dreaded self-centered”tag-and-meme” things is going around the flak-o-sphere and Dave Fleet (who’s blog you definitely should be reading) has tagged me.

Here are eight things you don’t know about me, but what I’m more interested in is finding out eight things about you – the BMBY reader. Please dive in and introduce yourselves in the comments!

1. I was privileged to go to an excellent private school in the UK that gave me a superb, well-rounded education, as well as most of my best friends.

2. I regret not choosing my A-levels by what I would do well at, rather than what I was interested in. As a result I chose Maths, Economics and Politics rather than Politics, Biology and History.

3. When I play team sports (which I love), I get very competitive and SHOUT VERY LOUDLY (which my wife hates). I doubt I’m as competitive as this fellow though…

4. I once “crashed a fag” from Uma Thurman when she was filming The Avengers.

5. There is nothing I like better than lying on my sofa, zoning out and watching sports.

6. Following in my dad’s footsteps, I’m a pretty handy cook. Roast chicken with sweet potatoes, celeriac and fresh thyme is a personal favourite.

7. This list has taken me ages – I get easily distra….

8. My maternal grandfather is my hero. However, I never met my other grandfather but my dad has told me he used to shoot crocodiles in his native Malaysia. With a revolver?!


iStudio "Corporate" Holiday Card – 2007 Edition

December 5, 2007


“Physician heal thyself” is a common refrain when it comes to talking about how marketing agencies market themselves.

As a rule, PR agencies do not do enough work to get themselves ink (although this story featuring my boss’ boss and FH Canada supremo Linda Smith says otherwise for Fleishman-Hillard); you rarely see ads for advertising agencies and direct marketing agencies rarely send you unwanted mail to get you to sign up with them.

…and it’s often the same at iStudio. We’re so busy doing great work for our clients that we don’t have time to turn our analysis and insight on ourselves.

iStudio Holiday 2007

Until, that is, the holidays come around. iStudio has a rich and award-winning history in the holiday card and this year is no different.

This year, after hours of brainstorming, voting by proxy and hanging chads, we went for a regifting theme – the Do Not Want Ads. That’s right – we’ve put up our old unwanted gifts for you to claim as your very own.

In the iStudio tradition, we’ve done it with our usual irreverent style and you can see right from our Flash intro that this ain’t your usual holiday card.

Once you’re into the main site, we have a classified ads theme so you can navigate around the “newspaper” with your mouse and select the products you’re interested in. Each product page has a write up from its “owner” along with some images and the ubiquitous “share on a social network/news/bookmarking site” buttons. The cool thing is that you can submit your reason for wanting each gift and the iStudio-er who submitted the gift will choose who wins that gift and has it shipped to them. Free of charge!

If you don’t want to claim the gifts for your own, you can always inflict the gift on others – virtually that is, through our Facebook app. Torment your friends and family with the miniature Genghis Khan doll or Teen Diva set by sending it to them over the magic of the Facebook.

Being iStudio, we also put in a few Easter-eggs – links to things we’ve liked over the last year and links to past holiday cards. I can guarantee you, you won’t be bored if you check it out.

Travelling Sisterhood of the Divine Ya-ya Pants. Or whatever this movie is called.

I can highly recommend bidding on the “Weopanized Testerone-killer“!

Capture-1

Integrated Internet Communications at Work

The 2007 iteration of our corporate holiday card goes a long way to showing off what we’re all about. From a consulting viewpoint, we’ve created a multi-channel integrated online communications campaign. We had an email campaign (fully compliant with CAN-SPAM regulation) that drew traffic to our campaign micro-site. We had online outreach where we included leading Canadian marketing bloggers on our list. We even have a Facebook app to support the main application and, we have had a blog and twitter push of the campaign.

Creatively, our design team really got to show off their chops with some really fantastic Flash work, wonderful animation and a user interface to die for. When you’re designing for big companies, branding guidelines can get in the way of what you really want to do with a design, so this let’s the gang really express themselves.

Similarly, the tech team did a great job putting it all together, and doing all the boring database work behind the scenes that makes the site do what we wanted it to do. And of course, we all tested the site and provided quality assurance (QA) to make sure it was all spick and span when we launched it yesterday.

So happy holidays, from all of the iStudio crew. We hope you enjoy this as much as we enjoyed putting it together for you!

**Update**

Adrants was kind enough to cover it.

One Degree was also kind enough to cover it (scroll all the way to the bottom).

More iStudio Holiday Card 2007 coverage here.

Of course, if you want iStudio to create a holiday card for your organization, please just get in touch! elee@istudio.ca

iStudio Do Not Want 2008

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The business of business cards

August 21, 2007

Seth Godin get’s all American Psycho on us for poor business card design. He says:

“The point [of business cards] should be to demonstrate that you have good taste”

Very true, as I’m sure Patrick Bateman (VP at Pierce and Pierce) would agree.

Business cards truly are one of the most effective forms of personal/organisational branding and marketing I can think of -

  • They are permission (sometimes request) based.
  • Everyone reads them.
  • No-one throws them away.
  • You can be creative with them.
  • A large amount of information can be communicated with them. Email. Web site. Blog. Telephone. Key messages. Images.
  • They contain many different calls to action – see above.

Personally, I only have one ask when it comes to business cards – they should have enough space on the back for me to write down where I met the person and a couple of tid-bits of information about them.

Of my favourite three business cards currently in my collection two are creative – Sean Moffitt’s Agent Wildfire cards (with actual wildfire coming off the edges) and Colin Douma‘s moo cards – while the third belongs to Dyson‘s Head of International Public Relations and is more a small product brochure than a business card.

In fact, it’s a perfect example of micro-marketing from a truly remarkable organisation. (I am a proud owner/operator of a remarkable Dyson DC18)

However, I should say that I’m hardly an authority on business cards. The back of the iStudio business cards look like we work at The Gap

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House Rules!

February 23, 2007

If you’re in London on Friday March 2, I can strongly recommend you hustle over to the Artesian Well in Clapham for London’s hottest underground dance party – House Rules.

Friends from my university days are hard at work ensuring anyone who goes will have the time of their life with the tracks to go with it.

Gareth Wyn (a resident at super-club Cream), Haran De Lucas, Whaid “Tiesto” Hussain and David’s P, Duffield and Griffiths will be spinning a mix of fresh, funky and downright dirty house music for your entertainment.

I’ve been to a few of these nights, back when they were in Bristol and called “Total Wreckage”. The wreckage was indeed total and they’ve always been a great night out.

If you want to get a feeling for how the night’s going to look, feel and sound, check out the boys’ Web site where you can also download some fantastic hour-long mixes. Whaid’s April 2006 is going to be on my most played list for a while!

If you’re in London, make me jealous and get thee to House Rules.

**UPDATE** Listening to Gareth Wyn’s mix and am getting really annoyed that I couldn’t be at what must’ve been a great night.


Wiki Wild Wild West

February 21, 2007

My colleague, Neil Johnson and I attended the Third Tuesday event with Anthony Williams along with sister agency colleagues Dave and Julia. Anthony authored a book called Wikinomics which I’m going to go and buy this lunch time.

Joe Thornley was also there with his camera. Don’t we look good after a hard days internet communicating?!

See more pictures here.

Anthony’s talk on the use of wikis raised two great questions:

1. How can you get to the critical mass of users needed to reap the benefits wikis can provide? [Sacha Chua]

2. How open are wikis? Another post to follow on this. They’re exclusive to those with Internet access, who have had the time and energy to learn whatever coding language the wiki uses, and to those who actually notice they can edit a page. Jason has some thoughts here and here. [Omar Ha Redeye]


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