Category Archives: Events

This year, “say it with socks”

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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.

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 – 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!

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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Fun Friday Post – Top 5, Bottom 5 things About Being a Montrealer during F1 Weekend

Equal parts pain and joy of being a Montrealer is that each summer, we attract a lot of people. There’s nothing quite like heading downtown on a sunny summer afternoon and taking advantage of an awesome terrace, a sidewalk event or just a walk down St. Catherine or St. Denis to enjoy the unique shops and scenery. There’s also nothing like brushing shoulders with a bro sporting an XS tank top, his girlfriend shooting you The Look of Death and and their buddy puffing delectable cigarette smoke into your face. I suppose that’s the small price to pay for living in one of the coolest metropolitan hubs in the world, but either way, here’s some of the coolest and lamest things about Montreal’s Formula 1 weekend which takes place this weekend from June 5th to the 7th.

TOP 5

1. Crescent Street

An annual tradition in Montreal is to close of Crescent street during the Grand Prix weekend. From kiosks to concerts, from food to free swag, the whole street turns into one big block party. For this year’s 15th anniversary, the Corona-sponsored event is going all out, with all-day concerts, activities and a real Alfa Romeo pit stop.

2. St. Laurent street

Not wanting to miss out on the festivities, Montreal’s main is hosting their own get together with an assortment of sidewalk sales, middle-of-the-street celebrations and nonstop celebrations. The fun starts at 8 AM every morning and the party keeps going til 3AM. Watch the race on the street, or take advantage of the events going on St. Laurent between Sherbrooke and Pine.

3. The Cars

Whether you’re a “car person” or not, it’s still neat to watch some of the nicest, highest performing cars in the world dot the streets of Montreal. Last year, I witnessed a congregation of bros who were all about snapping new profile pics with the exotic sports cars that dotted St. Catherine street. Can’t afford a Ferrari? Wanna trick your friends into believing you can? Rest your arm on the hood, and give your best mean mug/peace sign look, and you’re good to go!

4. Free stuff

Dotted along St. Catherine, St. Denis, Crescent and Main, you’ll find every other company you can name tossing swag into the crowd. If you’re paying for t-shirts or energy drinks this weekend, you’re messing up hard.

 

5. New People

It’s one of the (many) weekends where it’s pretty acceptable to hit a bar before the clock strikes 12 (that’s noon), and what better time to do it when half the crowd probably aren’t even from MTL? Sure, people are people but Grand Prix Weekend draws a lot of F1 enthusiasts from pretty much everywhere, so here’s your time to brush shoulders and clink glasses with someone who might not like 4 blocks away from you.

BOTTOM 5

1. This Guy

This guy. This guy is attending Grand Prix Weekend.

2. Overcrowding

This one is obvious, but if you’re downtown for any reason other than to take part in the festivities, you’re gonna have a hard time getting much done. Expect way too many intrusions into your personal space and lines that are definitely way too long.

3. These guys

These guys love guzzling Jägerbombs and spilling drinks. They also love F1, and you can grab a couple drinks with these fine gentlemen at any point this weekend.

4. Traffic

Traffic. Yeah, the event is overcrowded, but if you’re trying to move from one side of the downtown core to the next, expect to slam your head against your steering wheel, because you aren’t getting to your destination anytime quick.

5. New People

Loud, obnoxious tourists drinking overpriced beers? I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I’m down with that.

Well there you have it. Let us know what your top and bottom 5 things are about being a Montrealer during F1 weekend.

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.

5 Ways to Breakfast – How Not Having Events is Killing Your Business

Keep Marketing Fun - Business Edition introIf you’ve met any of us who work at Brendan & Brendan and you are not already a client, chances are it was probably at an event. We love throwing events. Why? Because it’s like a better version of social media. While we love the blog, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram, Flickr, and even being interviewed (see our most recent interview here) nothing beats a little face time and by face time, we mean the, actual in the flesh kind.

Even though we’re a digital agency, and we don’t even meet a certain percentage of our clients face-to-face, throwing events helps us grow our business. Here’s how we leverage our events and you should too:

  1. Helps grow our community:
    All of our growth has been organic. We eat our own dog food, which means we employ the same marketing techniques and strategies that we advise to our clients. Throwing events has been instrumental in introducing us to many business, local and international.
  2. Builds traction:
    Events build social traction and help us build our business… which I’ll get to later. Our social media has grown by leaps and bounds during and after events simply because by throwing events there have actually been things to talk about.
  3. Networking at Keep Marketing Fun - Business EditionProduces new leads:
    This is part of how we build our business. A well-produced and well-timed event shows off our skills as a marketing company. Even if that’s not in your wheelhouse, it helps get your name out, and can show off the capabilities of your team.
  4. Builds company credibility online and offline:
    While you’re getting Tweeted about and Instagrammed, you’re gaining social proof – basically digital credibility. It shows that you’re real and that other real people have met you. It’s always nice not to be mistaken for a bot ;). But even more than that, it’s so much easier to connect with people IRL instead of being a disembodied voice or floating head on a screen!
  5. Attendess of Keep Makreting Fun - Business EditionInforms clients about our products and services:
    Your audience might not be captive, but if they came to your event, you definitely have their attention. This is a great way to show off your best side and announce new changes and even gain potential user feedback.

So when are you throwing your next event? Invite us! Want to know more about our events? Check them out here!