Video of the Week: Mistaken Identity Project

Roughly a month ago, a San Francisco-based advertising company named Amazon Advertising released a series of videos that are too clever to overlook. As we know with most promotional material, the goal is often to set yourself, or your brand, apart from the similar. This idea and the struggles of forging identity clearly theme this set of videos, as Amazon Advertising created a mini interview series with regular Joes and Janes who share names with famous celebrities. In a sense, for the first time on this scale, the participants are creating their own brand as individuals, individuals with mistaken identities. We delve into their experiences with being constantly confused for someone of more notable social status. This in itself is pretty amusing, but it’s the ending twist that gives these videos their punch.

Within each clip, we hear the funny, creepy, and awkward anecdotes confessed by these people who share their names with Hollywood celebrities. Renee Zelwegger, Justin Bieber, David Letterman, Jon Stewart, and Alice Cooper account for just some of the (un?)fortunate few (up for debate) who will forever have their names associated with their famous name-twin. In consequence, some of these people have had the displeasure of stalkers, the surprise of love letters and locks of hair, and the obligation to frequently disappoint hotel and flight staff once they realize the reality of the situation. It’s an interesting predicament that most of us will never have experience within our lifetime.

During the tail-end of the clip, Renee Zelwegger (see how misleading it is?) expresses to the camera how excited she is to be shooting a commercial for Amazon, asking anxiously when it’ll air. She is then revealed that she isn’t shooting a commercial for the international commerce company, but instead the smaller advertising company “Amazon” that shares the same name with the juggernaut American brand. Watch her face drop. Essentially, she experiences the same firsthand let-down they bestow on others in their everyday… and it’s all caught on camera. You get to watch a little part of her crumble into oblivion as she unintentionally mimics the reaction of a disappointed “fan”, like those described throughout their stories.

Amazon Advertising is having fun and playing with the fact that they will more than likely be confused with and/or overshadowed by the larger Amazon brand. Instead of changing their name, they’re branding themselves as the unfortunate yet proactive victim of circumstance. It’s funny, and people respond to well self-debasing humour. They let us in on the laugh, while having fun with people who live a similar scenario. It’s a little meta and a whole lot of smart. Instead of trying to go toe-to-toe with Amazon or restructure their company name, they embrace the path of least resistance that many would probably avoid. It’s a kind of declaration that personifies their company in a positive sense all the while being entertaining.

Fun Friday Post: Just for Laughs, where to go?

It’s that time of year again, Montreal! We’re in the heat of festival season, having survived Les Francofolies and the Montreal International Jazz Festival. Now, we tune our senses for the international comedy festival, Just for Laughs. This massive spectacle brings together some of the biggest talents in comedy from all across the globe. It’s also a perfect time to showcase some of our homegrown laugh-masters as you sit in on some comedy legends. Here is a compiled list of some of our favourite acts. Humour is highly subjective and mine tends to lean a little on the vulgar, ridiculous, and socially sharp side. In other words, not normally PG 13 and ready to rattle some cages. I appreciate diversity in my comedy, and this list undoubtedly reflects that.

1. Miranda Sings

When / Where: Saturday July 26th, Métropolis

Miranda Sings is an international YouTube star who has been making spit-take quality videos for years now. Miranda is a character inspired by homeschooled, self-adoring, painfully oblivious, over-confident “singers” that “Miranda” actress Colleen Ballinger has taken cues from. Miranda is essentially the best and worst person you’ve ever met. Her show focuses on her claimed talents: singing, dancing, modelling, magic, acting, having a lot of boyfriends. The cherry on top is her dramatic recount of her hate-mail. Haters, back off! Watch one of her YouTube videos and you’ll understand why she’s racked up tens of millions of views. It’s a beautiful mix of laughing at and laughing with, leaving you wondering the entire time, is she really acting?

2. Hannibal Buress

When/Where: Wednesday July 23rd, Club Soda

I was very happy to see Hannibal Buress’ name on the Just for Laughs list. I was a fan of his on 30 Rock with Tina Fey, and coincidentally his role on Broad City (to be mentioned later), where he plays a relationship-hunting dentist and friend-of-benefit to one of the lead characters. Hannibal Buress has an unmistakably smooth delivery that makes everything he says funny. The pace of his comedy is a is taken down a notch, almost conversational, and his tone is killer. He comes off as a guy you’d kill to have a beer with… often.

3. Broad City

When/Where: Tuesday July 22nd, Club Soda

Broad City consists of two actresses, Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jaconbson, which also happens to be the name of their Comedy Central show, produced by Amy Poeler. The show which aired at the beginning of 2014 is a loosely autobiographical interpretation of these two improv actresses lives as broke, modern, uninhibited 20-somethings in NYC. The description may come off as generic, but their “blunt”ness (yes, I’m being punny), vulgarity, and refusal to abide by “typical womanhood” expectations has brought to the mainstream some very progressive comedy. These are two women to watch out for, and if their standup is anything like their television program (which they write), you’re in for a treat.

4. Amy Schumer

When/Where: Saturday July 26th, Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier

Oh, girl. If you haven’t heard of Amy Schumer, you can officially begin self-labelling as “out of the loop”. If that’s the case, you’ve been saved from some very explicit mental images. She’s crude, crass, and really doesn’t care if you’re not that into it. An ex “Last Comic Standing” alumni, Schumer now has her own show appropriately titled “Inside Amy Schumer” that airs on Comedy Central. I’ll put a disclaimer, it isn’t likely you’ll leave her show without feeling a offended and/or uncomfortable at one point or another. Although, her self-deprecating humour makes up for your discomfort but keep in mind, she takes no prisoners.

5. Aziz Ansari

When/Where: July 16th, TBA

Easily the act that I would sell a kidney to see. Aziz shot into the public eye as Tom Haverford in the Amy Poeler comedy “Parks and Recreation”. His metro, energy-pumped, misled-21st-century-millennial-capitalist demeanour made him easily one of the funniest characters on the already hilarious show. His standup is pleasantly different from his TV character, relying on smart, progressive, and socially critical material. With marksman-like precision, he calls out double standards while making you keel over from laughing too hard. It’s a show that makes you think.

Tidbit: Free entertainment

From July 12th to 26th, Place des Festivals is packed solid from morning till night with free comedy, music, and amusement rides for children. If you can’t make it to any of the mentioned comedy shows, spend an afternoon or evening enjoying the atmosphere being joyfully entertained FOR FREE.

Video of the Week: The Coolest Cooler

“This insulated box really does almost everything you could ever expect from… an insulated box.”

I don’t know about you, but I’ve become quite fond of crowdsourced funding platforms recently. If you take the time to browse through Kickstarter or Indiegogo, you’re more than apt to find a product or project that speaks to you and won’t shut up. When they’re good, they’re really good, and social media platforms are catapulting these public pleas into popular conscience. I was admittedly sucked into the Solar Roadways project, an idea most of us probably had collecting dust in back of our minds, but were politely waiting for someone else to execute. Now, the next “why-didn’t-I-think-of-that” product comes in the form of the Coolest Cooler. A cooler has never been high on my priority list of things to buy, but I am ready to drop some serious money after seeing this multifaceted technological masterpiece.

I know, it’s a cooler. How “cool” can this cooler really be? — Apparently pretty cool. With 45 days still left to fund the project, the grand total of collected funds is fast approaching the 5 million dollar mark. It’s a steep jump from the original 50 thousand dollar target. This insulated box really does almost everything you could ever expect from… an insulated box. It has a built-in blender attachment so you can make therapeutic margaritas for the camper who’s having trouble coping without margaritas, removable waterproof bluetooth speakers to blast Rihanna as bears protection, and a USB charger to revive your phone once that flashlight app you just downloaded demolishes your battery. I’m not kidding when I say this product is for real, will do almost anything you ask it, and looks sharp and retro while doing so.

So apart from me gushing, from a marketing point of view this product contains elements that almost effortlessly captured the attention of consumers. I would also say that it likely expanded into unsuspected markets, a telltale sign of a home-run. First of all, this is a formidable product and though seemingly excessive, appears commonsensical for the 21st century fair-weather outdoorsman. It allows you to enjoy many urban conveniences while doubling as an organizational tool.

As the product is so intense in nature, it was important to let it speak for itself. The commercial emphasized its family appeal with the legion of children dancing around it and demonstrating the limitations of the archaic (standard) model. A simple and personable voiceover lent itself to crisp closeups of the product while in use. The shots were mostly handheld, adding a layer of personality to the commercial, like a really, really nice home video. This was essential to repel a gimmicky image and showcase its fit as a lifestyle product. It also created an air of honesty and put a face to such a unique product that could easily have been the subject of an SNL skit. The Swiss Army Knife of coolers is a tough sell, but credit will be given when credit is due.

After watching this video, how set are you on taking the plunge?

L’œil du marqueteur: La Coupe du monde de football

Chez Brendan and Brendan on est  des marqueteurs, mais pas que…

On est aussi des montréalais, des québécois, des aficionados de sport (regarder pas forcément pratiquer), des dégustateurs de bières, des amateurs de bonne bouffe. Autrement dit, on aime la vie! Et si on apprécie toutes ces petites choses, on ne peut s’empêcher de les regarder avec les lunettes d’un marqueteur (il y a des défauts qui sont difficiles à corriger!). Conclusion, pourquoi ne pas vous faire part de nos réflexions sur ces événements qui nous concernent tous plus ou moins, de loin ou très près…

La Coupe du Monde de Football

Qu’est-ce que c’est?

Vraiment? Il y a besoin de présenter ce que c’est?  Si vous avez vu des petits drapeaux de tous les pays du monde (sauf du Canada) sur le toit des voitures, ce n’est pas un regain de nationalisme de l’immigration québécoise, c’est la coupe du monde de soccer. Si vous avez entendu des hurlements de joie/de rage chez vos voisins du dessous à des intervalles différents, c’est la coupe du monde de soccer. Et enfin, si vous vous êtes demandés pourquoi des bars étaient à ce point bondés en plein milieu de l’après-midi, c’est encore la coupe du monde de soccer. En bref, c’est un événement qui se produit une fois tous les quatre ans et qui réunnis des équipes de soccer nationale qui se débrouillent bien avec un ballon, et au bout d’un mois l’équipe la plus forte est sacrée championne du monde.

Comment c’est marqueté?

Très bien. Que dire de plus? Des chanteurs internationaux en font la promotion à travers des clips et pas forcément sous contrat avec les organisateurs de la coupe de soccer. Tout le monde en parle sans arrêt. Même des publicités pour la vente de sauce tomate  peuvent être amenés à parler de la coupe de soccer. Si, si, c’est possible :

’’Attention, attention elle arrive et GOOOOAL!!! Elle entre tout droit dans l’assiette en dribblant habilement les spaghettis et le fromage! Magnifique ce but restera longtemps dans les annales!

(J’exagère à peine.)

Un petit exemple en image ? Ça ne parle pas de sauce tomate, mais c’est dans le même esprit : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RLZUKqpXYzU

cocktail

En plus de tout ça, la Fifa (l’organisatrice de la coupe du monde) met les grands moyens : 70 millions de dollars étaient prévu. Et tout ça c’est sans compter les dépenses monstrueuses mises en place par le Brésil qui accueillait l’événement!

  • Les plus?

-le retour glorieux d’une équipe colombienne absente du championnat pendant 16 ans.

-du suspense. Ou on pourrait même dire un sacré coup de théâtre avec l’élimination du Brésil en quart de finale

- Les moins?

-Les brésiliens étaient majoritairement contre l’Accueil de la coupe du monde sur leur territoire.

- L’humiliation subit par l’équipe nationale du Brésil face à l’Allemagne.

-Mon équipe favorite a été éliminée en quart de finale (et ce n’était pas le Brésil)!

-Les trucs bizarres?

Le joueur uruguayen Suarez qui mord un joueur italien. (Ok, ça n’a rien à voir avec le marketing de la coupe du monde, mais c’était vraiment bizarre).

Conclusion :

Bon maintenant que la coupe est fini et que les allemands ont gagné on parle de quoi? Le débat sur l’euthanasie? Trop politique! L’Irak? Trop sanglant! Le Nouvel an chinois? Déjà passé! A suivre, vous aurez la surprise la semaine prochaine!

Fun Friday Post: We’re Bloody Rockstars!

Happy Friday! We can only hope your day is rocking as hard as ours. Granted, not every office space comes equipped with a drum kit. We appreciate our fortune. Here is the Brendan & Brendan (soon to be Horse & Cart) team showing you our signature drum poses. Top this.

digi

Brendan “The Dragula” Sera-Shriar

sarah

Sarah “Lethal Swirl Girl” Taki

drew

Drew “The Cross” Everett

moni

Moniba “Silent Killah” Ali

alex

Alex “Teen Angst” Arsenault

tully

Brendan “TITANIUM” Tully Walsh

Your move, internet.

Ushering in, Horse & Cart

hc-mc

Following the announcement in our newsletter,  Brendan & Brendan will be officially changing its name to Horse & Cart.

Are we horsing around? Not one bit! As you’ll glean from this introductory post, this is a move that’s been in works for some time, and one that we’re not only fantastically excited about but in practical terms one that better reflects the direction of our company.

Welcome to our next chapter.

To address any “what?” “why?” “huh?” “how?” or even “nooooooo!”s you might have related to the rebrand, we’ve also put together more formal, more beautiful summary of the Horse & Cart cause right here.

So, why the change you ask? Brendan & Brendan has grown a lot. Not just in the number of people but the very scope of our mission. Thinking back to the “making of” snapshot of the company, it just was two guys, passionate about producing top quality marketing, keeping it fun, and fixing the tired, broken patterns that have become, unfortunately the standard in the industry. Though these values haven’t changed, the internal composition of the company definitely has. We are now a proud team of seven lucky full-time marketing creatives and a trusted consortium of part-time and freelance collaborators. Our brand new space accommodates this expansion and as our team grows, so do our capabilities.

After two formative years of successful projects and collaborations we’ve had a chance to showcase what is truly exceptional about our company. As we move to new offices, embark on new, much larger projects and expand the team we have reflected on what that represents for us. Partly, it has been to focus more on the core of what we do, and through a process of discovery we fixed upon two simple terms to describe what we do – Strategy and Execution. Following precisely the kind of counsel we give our clients, we found these perfect pillars upon which to pivot our businessIt’s what we love, and what we’ve become known for. Horse & Cart encapsulates this precision and and our belief in what effective, quality marketing is about.

The name, as it suggests, is drawn from that critical old adage “the cart pulling the horse” – the very critique our very product or service-focused CEOs would throw down when our marketing efforts seemed to take a leadership role. Marketing is a driving force that propels what was once just an idea or sitting product. Marketing is no longer an elective add-on or end point. Without strategic and well-executed marketing, your goods may never make it to the market. We’re here to change that.

And what of the team?  We’re pleased to have found, retained and grown a fantastically talented roster of creatives that share in the promise of this next chapter. As Horse & Cart reflects the diversity and talent of this team it also provides an important departure for us as a truly team-driven brand.

For our clients, nothing changes. As we refine our focus and continue our upward on our trajectory, we look to expand our relationship and continue to work alongside some of the most inspiring technology and lifestyle product and service companies anywhere

And what of Brendan & Brendan?
While this will remain a well-guarded secret for now, the Brendan & Brendan brand does not die here. Our devious plot will be revealed in the coming months, but suffice to say no one who knows us well will be very surprised by what this founding trademark will become. 

 

Video of the Week: Case study – The Local Television Commercial

We’ve all seen them. Local television commercials are among the most fascinating media phenomena in existence. The style has been predominant among regional furniture chains who take marketing into their own hands and deliver beyond-puzzling sensory experiences. This style isn’t limited to furniture dealers, but survives as a genre in itself. Local businesses with low marketing budgets and/or an eager friend with a camera have, consciously or not, created and concretized an aesthetic that is both replicated in seriousness and in irony. Either case is assumed to be in pursuit of the same end– more traffic and higher sales. Welcome, the “it’s so bad, it’s good”, D-listed commercials.

The local television commercials in question appear to abide by certain unconventional characteristics, some of which seem almost exclusive to the genre. In the vast majority of examples, we see a direct, vibrant address to the camera. This address is normally long (pushing uncomfortable) and usually takes place inside or in visible proximity to the store. But, if you’re lucky, you might find yourself treated to a full green screen experience. The dialogue is blunt, a little sleazy, but aims for an authentic connection with the consumer. It’s essentially a 30 second plea that rests on directness to convey and convert potential customers. The intent is to market to their local community, giving it the (unintentionally) painful comedic edge.

The example are numerous. These commercials seemed to peak in popularity in the 80s and 90s, yet live on forever in Youtube as new additions join the ranks. These three examples appropriately demonstrate it’s evolution as they slowly adapt to pop culture trends and increased self-awareness. The first example is done seriously, the second attempts irony by exaggerating its self-awareness, the third is arguably modernized with less emphasis on irony, playing into a more contemporary comedic tone. Although all within the same family, it’s like taking a Darwinian snapshot of the evolution of a genre of cheesy marketing.

Are they ultimately successful? Tough to say. There is a strong case to be made arguing that this is a genre entirely comprised of “what not to do”. Low production value, choppy and abrasive dialogue, and the artistic depth of a sidewalk puddle should, in theory, amount to a marketing disaster. But in some cases, it’s the disaster that leaves them memorable. It’s difficult to imagine that anyone invested in these projects fathomed holding a candle to landing a spot on a “Top 10 best innovators” list. Infamy ultimately becomes synonymous with fame as shamelessness takes the wheel. This is perhaps why they’re parodied so often and still talked about today.

As a business strategy, I would strongly recommend against setting foot down this path. The gems from these videos seem to be the ones done with little self-awareness. The second you seem in on the joke, you’ve lost it. A cringe-worthy example is this furniture company, who has hired an–I’m going out on a limb here–amateur comedian to play a lisping interviewer. They titled the video “Worst Furniture Commercial Ever!”, evidently to coerce viewership and achieve their desired internet infamy. However, the commercial seems more closely likened to cruel and unusual punishment than viral trailblazer.

There will always be television time slots filled by small local businesses with smaller budgets and genuine cluelessness…and that isn’t a crime. From a marketing perspective, we know there are much more effective examples of media creation on a budget. For now, they serve mainly as laughable reminders of the progression of impactful marketing. It’s always good to be in on a joke and most of us have a soft spot for irony. But, as a business owner, we should be laughing with you. Who knows, maybe we’ll do our own spoof here at Brendan & Brendan and show you how hard we can bring it, old school, furniture style.