Category Archives: Community

Video of the Week – How Will You Remember?

remembrance_day-1Today marks Canada’s Remembrance Day. Millions of Canadians gathered across Canada to honour and remember the soldiers, sailors, and airmen and women who have served and protected the country. A ceremony is held to honour their bravery and patriotism. This includes the national anthem “O Canada,” the “Last Post” is played to begin the remembrance memorial service, which follows a two-minute silence at 11 a.m., and then speeches to show appreciation to ‘them’.

Remembrance Day marks two significant historical events – World War I that ended on November 11th, 1918 and World War II that ended in September 2nd, 1945. It is also known as Poppy Day, which signifies the red broaches of poppies that are worn by citizens on the left (next to the heart), starting two weeks before Remembrance Day. There is a poem by Maria Andrew that talks about poppies and in one of the sentences it is stated, “Red poppies can glow like bright little lamps,” which symbolizes how we will remember them. Additionally, whoever served in those harsh times, will glow bright today and honor their courageousness and devotion.

Canadian news outlets such as CTV News and the CBC have been live-blogging all day since this morning, where people have been tweeting, posting videos and pictures to acknowledge this memorial service whether or not they knew someone:

One excellent poem that demonstrates the importance of honouring this day was written by Moira Michael in November, 1918. Her words are vividly beautiful and poetical to the point that you feel the intensity of her emotions crawling out of the words.

We Shall Keep the Faith

“Oh! You who sleep in Flanders Fields,

Sleep sweet – to rise anew!
We caught the torch you threw
And holding high, we keep the Faith
With All who died.

We cherish, too, the poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led;
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies,
But lends a lustre to the red
Of the flower that blooms above the dead
In Flanders Fields.

And now the Torch and Poppy Red
We wear in honor of our dead.
Fear not that ye have died for naught;
We’ll teach the lesson that ye wrought
In Flanders Fields.”

Source: http://www.greatwar.co.uk/poems/moina-michael-we-shall-keep-faith.htm

“Lest We Forget”- Let’s stand in silence and remember how our armed forces have served the country during times of war.

There’s No Such Thing As Bad Publicity With #TechnologyNStuff

#TechnologyNStuffUnless you’re a fan, or there’s yet another scandal regarding performance enhancing drugs, baseball doesn’t tend to make a blip on most of our radars. And yet, the World Series reached 13.4M viewers in 2014 (yes, about 1/10th of the Super Bowl, but the numbers are still nothing to sneeze at).

Instead of the usual advertising song and dance, Chevy decides to do something special that will garner more attention and create great PR. At game 7 of the World Series in Kansas City, MO the Kansas City zone manager, Rikk Wilde, presented the MVP winner Madison Bumgarner of the San Francisco Giants with his very own Chevy Colorado truck.

And how does Wilde do?

He totally messes up! He stumbles right through, he looks like he’s going to have a nervous breakdown or a heart attack. The people on screen with him look nervous for him (with the exception of the guy fixing his hair). It’s a right mess. While trying to explain the virtues of the 2015 Chevy Colorado, he ditches his script and explains live on television at the championships of the World Series that this truck has “technology and stuff” such as wifi, etc. Technlogy and stuff, huh? How exciting! #TechnologyNStuff

And yet, Chevy takes it on and turns it around! The same night #TechnologyNStuff starts trending, they own it with this beautiful tweet:

Kudos on Chevy for owning it, and for their community manager for getting it together to spin it in such a positive way. Chevy was getting a bum rap online until they decided to own this hashtag.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how you recover from a potential PR fail.

Fun Friday Post – The Horsemen of the Non-Apocalypse

In honour of Montreal comicon this weekend, we decided to create ourselves in the image of some popular comic canon. We decided to play on the comicon theme by turning ourselves into marketing and advertising superheroes, using the forces of on-point strategy and unequivocal execution. With that, we present to you our version of the Justice League, the Horsemen of the Non-Apocalypse:

The Partners:

Brendan Sera-Shriar AKA Grumpy Beard
You wouldn’t like him when he’s angry, but give him some scrum cake and you’ll see what a great guy he is!

digi as grumpy beardBrendan Tully Walsh AKA Green Lantern
He doesn’t need a lantern to save lives and keep marketing fun – all he needs is his guitar!

tully as green lanternStaff:

Moniba Ali AKA Spiderwoman
Moniba weaves secure webs of code that trap clicks like nobody’s business.

moniba as spidermanLeila Nathaniel AKA Elektra
The only thing mercenary about me is my use of time and resources!

leila as elektraDrew Everret AKA Batman
He’s the sales and marketing guy Horse & Cart deserves (which is to say – awesome!)

drew as batmanJosh Camire AKA The Monarch
Ruler of the butterflies, his designs sting like a bee (as in, they are venomously legit).josh as the monarchPaula Washington AKA Catwoman
Strategic like a cat, Paula’s got your back in terms of marketing strategy!paula as catwoman Lisa Temes AKA Wonder Woman
She may not have an invisible airplane, but Lisa’s designs hone in on our clients’ needs as though she had ensnared them with Wonder Woman’s Lasso of Truth.lisa as wonder womanInterns:

Maxime Le Noë AKA The Spirit
The Spirit is a vigilante that the cops like and admire, not to mention he’s a true gentleman, pretty great qualities for an intern to have!   max as the spiritArmando Bajares AKA Atom Ant
“Up and at ’em Atom Ant” Armando is fast, strong and seems pretty invulnerable too!

armando as atom antGhalia Dawood as Supergirl
As Superman’s protégé, Supergirl can’t fight crime openly until Superman deems her ready – which is exactly why Ghalia is interning with us to learn more about keeping marketing fun!

ghalia as super girl…And that’s all folks! See you there!

Fun Friday Post: Our Faux Landing Page Roundup and What’s Next

As both Brendan & Brendan and now as Horse & Cart Agency we’ve put out a lot of great landing pages. Especially the landing pages about ourselves that are total jokes. We like to see who “gets it” and who doesn’t, and show that even though we’re a serious business and agency, that we don’t take ourselves so seriously. It’s important to be able to take a step back and laugh at ourselves and the industry from time to time. We’re not stopping anytime soon, but here’s a collection of our greatest hoaxes.

zenpersand
zenpersand was an April Fool’s joke. Taking on flat design and faux-Buddhist hocus-pocus we decided to play a joke on everyone and call ourselves “the agency formerly known as Brendan & Brendan”. Not many people got it, but it was a treat for those that did get that we were playing around with the concept of agency folk with huge egos and zen lifestyles.

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The Boys of Lost Forgotten
On International Goth Day, we decided to celebrate in true goth style. We created a “band,” an “album” and riffed on every goth stereotype we’d ever seen and laughed about. Looks pretty good for a band page too!

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Two and a Half Beards
This one happened after CT and digibomb took their sons to Mount Royal. It was a hilarious and fun day where the boys got to be boys and the men hung out. After they took this picture we realized this would make a great premise for the pilot – big men with big beards, taking care of their boys. We created the synopsis for one episode, named the production company “Ampersand Productions” and most people were really into it!

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derp designs
Some designs we’ve seen require no explanation. They’re just terrible. With Josh joining the team, we’ve been using that word a whole lot more, and finding the funniest “derp designs” we decided to create our own fake design agency page. Using the cheesiest techniques we could find, we created… derp designs.

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What joke faux-landing pages should we put together next?

Horse & Cart at WordCamp Mtl 2014

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Over the weekend, Horse & Cart attended the 2014 edition of WordCamp Montreal. For those unfamiliar with the conference, WordCamp is a weekend that brings together developers, designers, and writers, unified under the point of commonality that is WordPress. The conference is an event for talks, workshops, and networking to better one’s understanding on how to navigate and leverage WordPress and WordPress-related tools to sharpen your skills. The weekend was packed full of informative presentations and panels from industry leaders, assuring something for everyone.

Our very own digibomb was asked to speak on a panel that tackled making money with WordPress. He served as the agency voice among mostly freelance workers and answered transparently about the realities of determining price points, client relations, and WordPress strategy. The panel went notably well, giving way to a slew of audience questions and subsequent discussion. Defining the value of one’s work was arguably the largest takeaway, working either as a lone developer or agency. Everyone speaking did a strong job communicating their experiences in the workplace. Judging by the questions that followed digi out the door, it was clearly a burning topic. Two attendees with further questions for digi told us post-discussion that “the panel was pretty insightful” with one saying there was “more taken away from this panel than any other ones that I’ve been at today”. This was concluded with the conception of the newest digi-inspired hashtag, #lovethebeard.

There were also strong presentations on writing, and more specifically blogging. Liesl Barrell and Dan Levy of Unbounce allied together to break down and explain the various elements of effective writing, pitching, and promotion, using an impressive amount of “P” alliterations. As someone who always appreciates feedback, their advice was a strong motivator to continue pushing for personality in writing; Rules are meant to be broken (within reason), wordplay is an appreciated garnish, and red ink is your frenemy. One massive wakeup call was how trying to get into the perfect “writing zone” is by and large just another stalling tactic to keep you from hammering out your work. The talk was refreshing, especially given that both speakers were coming from complimentary positions as writers and editors.

All in all, the weekend was a smooth success. Everyone from the Horse & Cart team who attended took useful tips away that we all plan on incorporating into our practice. For those interested in learning more about WordCamp Montreal, you can check our their website here. We also managed to sneak a couple cool pictures, so please feel free to check out the others at our instagram for more of that fun. As always, if you have questions about marketing, agency life, or our operation here at Horse & Cart, drop us an email or come stop by the office for some coffee and a chat!

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Video of the Week: First Moon Party

“But you’ll miss the Vagician!”

HelloFlo is a startup that specializes in, get ready for it, periods. Normally I wouldn’t spend more than a hot second entertaining another tampon commercial. They’re often painfully generic, uncomfortably upbeat, and what is with that blue liquid? If your body starts producing neon-blue liquid, reach for your emergency contact’s number, not a tampon. Apparently HelloFlo got the memo. This short clip of instant viral success (1.7 million views in just two days) is doing more than just repackaging personal products. It’s repackaging how we talk about this taboo topic.

To position myself within this discussion, I have not had, and have zero inclination of ever having a period. That said, roughly half the population is positioned opposite to that, and by proxy, their partners, friends, parents, colleagues, and confidants. But even today, people hesitate talking about it. It’s one of those bodily functions still burdened by lingering Victorian body shame. HelloFlo tackles all of this head-on this with humour, information, and an awesome product.

The commercial is set almost mocumentary style, with video and audio confessional snippets overlapping the developing story. The main girl is desperate to have her period and join the ranks of her friends. Out of frustration, she takes it upon herself to drizzle a pad with sparkly red nail polish as her fraudulent ticket into womanhood. Leaving the evidence out for her mother to find, Mom decides to teach her a little lesson by hosting a “First Moon Party”. This is essentially a vagina themed Quinceanera, including special invitee Grampa and entertainment provided by a “Vagician”. It’s revealed that the party was designed to teach the daughter a lesson about fibbing and not to shame the monthly surprise. At the end, the mother hands her the HelloFlo Period Starter Kit.

First of all, can we focus on how genius this product is!? A box filled with information, supplies, and even candy to help answer all the questions a fumbled womanhood talk may overlook. After the fact, you can personalize a monthly package with whatever you desire, even with an organic option.

From a marketing perspective, this video is hilarious and highly successful. Let’s face it, it isn’t an easy subject to navigate. They created content that has people talking positively, that challenges archaic norms, and most importantly, hooks you into purchasing their products and services. Humour is the key tool that generates the viral momentum. The daughter is cheeky, the mother is a dry mastermind, and the brief comments from the guests are all landed punchlines. HelloFlo (also great name) looks progressive, intelligent, and on-point with their message. It’s very bold.

With this approach, HelloFlo has wedged themselves into a tight market as the alternative to blindly selecting products from the drug store. The brand is on the consumer’s team and importantly, is geared towards future clients. This could have come off as conniving, like cigarette ads targeted at youth, but the direction taken, to help, inform, and provide, almost turns the company into a (nice) big sister. When situations are uncomfortable, we like to laugh. Helping us laugh through this topic makes the directness palatable. No more blue liquids. Hello Flo!

Keep Marketing Fun – Landing Page Optimization

KMF-LPIf you haven’t heard, our monthly marketing event/meetup is just around the corner! On June 19th, come check out Keep Marketing Fun – Landing Page Optimization. The fun starts at  6 and we’ll be hanging out at our new space at 445 rue Saint-Pierre, Suite 302.

Being the self-crowned “Landing Page Kings of Montreal” this event is beyond just defining what a landing page is and should be. We have an awesome lineup of speakers eager to drop some knowledge about landing page creation, getting your landing page noticed as well as the science behind optimizing user flow for landing pages.

We supply the food and drinks as well as prizes! Once you register for the event, you’ll be eligible to win tickets to Social Media Breakfast Montreal, a Brendan & Brendan landing page (design and copy edit – valued at $1500), as well as services from our awesome partners Unbounce and Crowdvert. Crowdvert, who works with some of the world’s larges brands, is very excited to award three attendees content conversion consultation.

Psyched yet? We certainly are – REGISTER HERE and come Keep Marketing Fun with us at our Landing Page Optimization event.