Author Archives: The Saint

About The Saint

Brendan Tully Walsh, CEO of Horse & Cart is a strategic marketing consultant with a decade and half of experience working with startups and fortune 1000 companies in technology, healthcare, retail and broadcasting.

Happy Holidays from the Horse & Cart family!

holiday-card

Click to view larger image.

We wish you a wonderful holiday and a Happy New Year from the Horse & Cart family!

It’s been a fun and eventful year for us at Horse & Cart and we thought what better way to express it than that with a mash up of miscellany.

With no intention of dipping into that dangerous territory called “year in review”, we thought we’d highlight a few. It would be a big year for any company that started with one name, in one office, moved and rebranded. Fortunately, our infrastructure largely constitutes laptop-on-a-table-and-a-chair. We’re also a branding company, so reinventing ourselves as Horse & Cart was squarely in our wheel house. We love this client (Horse & Cart) btw, and they seem to have nothing but glowing things to say!

With the big stuff in play we also had a parade of challenges big, small and enormous including our very first US network TV ad. If there’s one thing we’ve learned, (and it’s the very soul and spirit of Horse & Cart), is that it’s our extended team of colleagues and clients that make the magic happen. None of it would be possible without you, and we tip our hats, hoist our glasses and raise a cheer to you for a fantastic year.

As we look forward to 2015, we hope you all enjoy a warm, wonderful and restful holiday with the people who matter most, and take some time to appreciate yourselves and all your hard work and success.

As a small token of our thanks to everyone in our growing network of clients and partners, we give you this bit of one page love and a little link to our light and lovely holiday card “mini year in review”. We hope you enjoy it as much as we enjoyed putting it together.

All the best in 2015!

– The Horse & Cart Family

This year, “say it with socks”

Screen Shot 2014-12-18 at 9.20.03 AM

William is not an Artist, nor a stylist but by watching him, he grabs your attention. Everyone is seduced by his charm. They are impressed by his confidence.

Screen Shot 2014-12-18 at 10.42.36 AMA few months ago Brendan and I attended UX Camp Ottawa. On the first day we met two incredible designers and entrepreneurs, Francois Boisvert and Sylvain St-Germain, founders of Socks by William. Organizers of the event had commissioned Socks by William to produce custom socks for the event to be gifted to each attendee. They had also set up a booth at the event where they were showcasing their collections.

As luck would have it, Brendan and I had the opportunity to share food and drink with the “men behind the socks” at a funky wood clad bistro-brasserie in Vieux Hull called Gainsbourg. After a few drinks and a few prefunctory “Sock, Sock jokes“,  Francois and Sylvain invited us to share our ideas on how we might help them take their business to the next level. The rest is, as they say…history in the making!

Objective:

Pop up shop December 11th at Java U on Rue McGill.

Pop up shop December 11th at Java U on Rue McGill.

Working in collaboration with our two “Socksperts” our initial mandate was a complete look and feel re-fresh of their Shopify site geared specifically to hit Black Friday and close our 2014 in style. Our Black Friday / Holiday campaign was all about increasing engagement online and off. While working in paraleel on physical and social channels we did deep POS market testing at a lovingly designed pop up shop in Old Montreal and invited the influencer, fashion bloggers and host of prominent sock fans.

 

Challenge:

The challenge for our creative team was to create a visual story different from other sock designers while still adhering to time-honoured industry standards. To start things off, we needed to take Francois’ and Sylvians’ initial inspirations for the ten designs and further develop them into concise but compelling stories. As you’ll see on the site, and beyond the sheer beauty of the designs are the prominent artists behind them and story they tell through their choices of patterns and colour.  The ever popular Tour de France is a great example:

tdf-social-story

We designed a series of these graphics (In French and English) for Facebook and Instagram.

In order to accomplish this task we needed to get super creative and then a little bit more. All told, the H&C team spent triple digit hours in the boardroom cultivating and developing ideas.

The next big challenge came with the online shopping experience. We knew we wanted to do something different. We decided to create a continuously scrolling story that drew the user through the – pardon the pun – thread of the collection. With custom photography and a complete content re-fresh, we were able to successfully engage with the consumer through beautifully designed experience of beautifully designed products. And it seemed our work paid off. Within the first week of our launch of the campaign, three of the ten designs were sold out.

Moving into 2015, Socks by William has tasked us to expand their retail program, design new stories around each collection and continue to help grow their online community.

Technology:

Screen Shot 2014-12-18 at 9.29.39 AMWe custom designed and coded a responsive multilingual Shopify theme using original design concepts, photography, and content.

Check it out and tell us what you think.

Fun Friday Post – Hail to the Cookie Baby, It’s National Cookie Day!

“Me proclaim today National Cookie Day” – Cookie Monster

As luck would have it today is National Cookie Day! According to the Muppet Wiki it is a minor holiday that celebrates cookies in all their sugary glory.

A bit of history

Back in 1980 Random House published “The Sesame Street Dictionary“. In this book Cookie Monster playfully declares a National Cookie Day to celebrate his beloved addiction, however no date was ever specified.

In the summer of 1987 Matt Nader president of the Blue Chip Cookie Company, a small cookie company based out of San Francisco, told the LA Times it was time for a National Cookie Day, “It’s just like having  National Secretaries Day … It will just be a fun thing to do“.

So there you have it … sort of … either way we’re happy to indulge cookies this day or any day for that matter. Here are some of our favourite cookie memes etc.

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delete-cookies

e9b8funny-Cookie-Monster-moment-live-unpleasant

And I’ll leave you with this classic in honour of the king!

Paying it Forward on Halloween

elevator-selfie

Elevator Selfie

This year we decided to flip the concept of “trick or treating” on its head. The team gathered this morning in full disguise – A snowboard bum, Tetris block, Carmen Sandiego, a bank thief, “Grumpy Beard”, and last but not least Sherlock Holmes – and we went door to door in our office building handing out candy instead of asking or it!

Why? Remember that feeling you got as a kids on Halloween? The excitement of getting all dressed up as your favourite superhero or scary monster and hitting the streets with your buddies to collect as much candy as your pillow case could hold. And, let’s not forget the best part – getting home and going through your bounty, trading candy with your friends, and pigging out before your parents could stop you.

As a parent I get to relive those moments by watching my kids on Halloween. But, it’s just not the same. As an adult, Halloween is yet another of many “holidays” that has become an excuse to go out and party. We’ve traded candy for booze and bad hangovers.

Not this year!!! At least, not this morning 🙂 We thought it would be a nice treat, no pun intended, to pay it forward with our neighbours. Check out the video below and have a Happy Halloween!

Remember “Grumpy Beard“? Well, today Grumpy Beard leaped to life from the pages of his comic and terrorized the H&C team – all in good fun of course 🙂

the-real-grumpy-beard

Fun Friday Post – Our Favourite Halloween Pranks!

sun-o-lanternHalloween is not just about collecting candy with the kiddies. It’s also about scaring the s**t out of people! Even the Sun got in on the fun this year turning itself into a sun o’ lantern 🙂

Every year YouTubers take Halloween pranks to the next level and we can’t help but laugh at other peoples fear. As a lead up to the spookiest week of the year we’d like to share with you our favourite Halloween pranks – enjoy!

Chainsaw Massacre – The Poet

What better than a retelling, in prank format, of one of the greatest horror movies of all time. Set in a parking lot the “VitalydTV” team put the fear of god into these unsuspecting passers-by …

Friday the 13th – The Saint

Another great retelling, in prank format, of classic horror. Who doesn’t like a good Jason Voorhees prank? This is a classic set up – lake, country, and hockey mask – priceless! You gotta love the “hero” in the first clip who throws the girl into the water as he runs in fear. If that is, or should I say was, his girlfriend? What a lucky girl!

Telekinetic Coffee Shop Surprise – Leila

Who can forget last years telekinetic coffee shop prank? It was one of the most viral videos of the year with close to 60 million views to date on YouTube and climbing. In this prank a young girl in a coffee shop has telekinetic powers that she unwilling uses on a man who spills coffee on her inspiring ultimate fear in those “lucky” enough to have walked into to the set up. On a side note, you gotta love the woman at roughly 1:42 who is screaming while filming it on her phone 🙂

Drive Thru Invisible Driver – Lisa

Really? Gurl! Hello? Are you serious? This is a classic halloween prank, or prank in general, and we’ve seen many iterations of it over the years. It never fails to inspire fear in the form of laughter.

Devil Baby Attack – Moniba

Ok, not really a Halloween prank, but a really good piece of prankvertising that scared the s**t out of New Yorkers, which is not an easy task. Back in January of this year the “DevilsDueNYC” team set up a prank on the streets of Manhattan for the upcoming movie Devils Due. They built a fully animatronic devil baby and remote controlled stroller for this prank. Oh, and at roughly 1:35 the baby gives the finger to the NYPD 🙂

Killer Clown Returns – Drew

Another great pre-halloween prank from the “DmPranksProductions” team. This is one in a series of pranks that features a psycho killer clown. The music box is a classic touch and just the right thing to reel people in. I’m sure these guys have something incredible planned for Halloween.

Personalized Treatment Options With Dr. Nikolis

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My philosophy revolves around providing my patients with the best possible result.  – Dr. Andreas Nikolis

facilities-bgA few months ago, Jeff Hart partner at Victoria Park, reached out to us to help him build an online brand for renowned plastic surgeon Dr. Andreas Nikolis who has a treatment centre at Victoria Park.

With this project we had the opportunity to build the good doctor’s brand from the ground up: identity, story, design, photography, etc., and put some of our new team member’s skills to the test. One of the best parts of this project for us was having almost total creative control over the design of the website that included an on-site shoot to creative direct the photography for the site – and the results speak for themselves! If you subscribe to our newsletter you’ll be familiar with this month’s issue where we discussed the importance of good photography. Images that are custom-tailored to a web experience will be worth a thousand more words than stock.

When we collaborate with our clients to produce custom stock for web, print, or any experience, the story is far more beautiful and intriguing. With Dr. Nikolis we were lucky to have this opportunity.

Objective:

Working in collaboration with Jeff Hart, Leisha MacDonald (Marketing Director at Victoria Park) and Dr. Andreas Nikolis, we were tasked with building Dr. Nikolis a modern and interactive Web site consistent with his  brand identity with strong SEO and client engagement. In the words of Dr. Nikolis “Make it modern and reflective of the caring and high quality of services we offer”.

Challenge:

The challenge for our creative team was to create a visual story from the ground up that was different from every other treatment center or medispa. We needed to ensure that it was clear that they deliver highly personalized treatments. We also had to ensure there was a level education on the topic(s) to build trust with potential clients. We knew we wanted to incorporate big, bold imagery, custom photography, and modern typography to help tell this story.

Technology:

Screen Shot 2014-10-16 at 12.11.13 PMWe developed the site using ThemeFortress’s WordPress Reverie theme built on ZURB’s lightweight Foundation framework. Thinking mobile first, we ensured that the site is fully responsive for the ultimate experience on any device or screen. Taking Reverie to the next level we integrated a ton of custom features for end-user management.

Check it out and tell us what you think.

Fun Friday Post – This is Lunacy!

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“Theres a bad moon on the rise” – John Fogerty, CCR

End of the world theories, doomsday sayers, false prophets, and apocolyptica are nothing new. Every so many years, a few crazies will crawl out of the wood work and claim they had a premonition or discovered some hidden secret buried in ancient text that prophesies the end of the human race and/or world.

We thought – since this week marked the second of 4 blood moons in a tetrad – that we would roundup some of our favourite apocalypse prophecies  online, not to be confused with last week’s post “Our Favourite End of the World Movies” 🙂

Solar Storms

Solar Storms

Leila is partial to a prophecy that may not be so farfetched. Many doomsday sayers cry about the end of the world every time the Sun becomes active and starts spitting out solar flares. The theory is backed by science, that a solar storm big enough would cause massive devastation on Earth by taking down our power grid, melting our ozone, messing with plant life, and potentially triggering volcanic eruptions and tectonic plate shifts. Sounds like fun! For more information check out the Mother Nature Network post on “11 ways the world (as we know it) could end“.

Genetically Engineered Beatles

Genetically Engineered Beetles

The stuff that movies are made of! Rick Tobin, the latest YouTube self-proclaimed prophet, has an outlandish theory that genetically engineered beetles will be our downfall. Oh, and he goes on to talk about government conspiracies and even old school Nazi experiments. For more on Rick Tobin and his monster beetles check out this post on webwire “New Frightening YouTube Prophesy:Beetle Apocalypse After 4 Blood Moons“. Great find Drew!

Viking Apocalypse

Ragnarok – Viking Apocalypse Myth

Moniba dug up this great piece of viking lore that tells the story of Ragnarok, the last battle between Viking gods. According the prophecy the last Viking gods will battle and in doing so will split the Earth in half ending mankind. Then, by some magical Viking power the Earth will be re-born and the new Viking gods will inhabit it.

Like so many other prophecies before it’s time, this prediction failed nearly a year ago. But, perhaps a motion picture is on it’s way? For more information on this “Hollywood-esque” prophecy check out The Daily Mail’s post “Are you ready for the Viking Apocalypse? Norse myth predicts world will end this Saturday“.

Blood Moon Prophecies

Lunar eclipse myths from around the world

Maxime brings us “Marauding demons, murderous pets, and ravenous jaguars” to name a a few believed myths surrounding a lunar eclipse.

For more information check out the National Geographic post “Lunar eclipse myths from around the world“. personally I’m partial to howling at the moon, but then again I always fancied myself a Werewolf – muah ha ha ha…

The best for last? Perhaps. I bring you the “Warning Signs: IT HAS BEGUN IN AMERICA! (OCTOBER 2014)“. According to Jason A,  a YouTuber who compiles footage into “End of World” prophecies, attempts to connect politics, economy, crime, poverty, civil unrest, Isis, Ebola, D68, Jewish Holidays, and more to the Lunar Eclipse tetrad by piecing together video footage, interviews, and other web sourced imagery. Better to watch the video.

Do you believe?