Friday, June 27, 2008

Award Emcee's listen up - know your audience!

Our company recently traveled to New York to accept an award for Excellence in Electronic Communications. It is a very prestigious award and we were thrilled to receive it. The Gala awards dinner and event was colourful. Great high points but one particular low point that cannot go unmentioned. The Emcee was a famed model, actress and host of her own ‘highly rated’ cooking show. But all of these things did not a good or well chosen Emcee make. I am not sure if it was the lack of knowledge about the event and subject matter or her cavalier style that left several people including myself wondering why this starlet was chosen to host. She admitted upon coming up to the podium that she had finished penning her speech during dinner and started her introductory comments peppered with yada yada yada. I mean, really, she’s not Jon Stewart! This kind of casual funny just doesn’t work on her.

After presenting the first series of awards, we were shown a self-promotional video which was followed by an adlib portion of her speech that was intended to relate her role to intent of the evening (better to stick to script). My personal favourite was her complete ignorance when it came to Canada and the world of the web when referring to our particular winning website entry appended with “dot Canada” instead of ‘.ca”. Instead of relating to her audience, she came off as insincere, trite and succeeded in trivializing the importance of the event and the achievements of the awardees. Fortunately the people in the room had a healthy dose of ego themselves which got us all through.

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Thursday, June 26, 2008

SWING returns from New York with award in hand!

We just arrived back from New York where we were honoured by the IABC with a Gold Quill award. I guess we are striking a chord with women, and marketers!

The IABC recently awarded the Define Yourself campaign with the Gold Quill award for Excellence in creating an electronic communications platform which effectively delivers a message and engages our community of boomer women.

We are thrilled that the IABC recognized our authentic approach in appealing to women around feelings and experiences, not sales.

Watch our thank you video.
Listen to our interview with Blog Talk Radio.

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Friday, June 6, 2008

It's Not Easy Being Green.

Aw, Kermit. If only we had known how right you were.

I've always been an advocate for the idea that small changes can make a big difference. I do not, however, appreciate it when the responsibility for a huge political and economic problem is passed along to the 'little guy'.

The influx of green products, and now the looming carbon tax, focus responsibility on the consumer to make better choices. That's all well and good, but Big Business needs to take their responsibility to make better, sustainable products more seriously- what need would we have for a carbon tax if there were more viable fuel alternatives, for example?

There certainly are viable alternatives to the way products are made and organizations operate - it's just easier for them to stick with the status quo. Change means work and, in my humble opinion, corporations are often much better at managing work than actually doing any.

Case in point, firms are able to sustain themselves quite well solely by doing it for them. IDEO, a design and innovation firm, published a joint report with Business for Social Responsibility, a nonprofit business association, entitled Aligned for Sustainable Design: An A-B-C-D Approach to Making Better Products this last week. The A-B-C-D framework serves as a guide for companies to Assess, Bridge, Create and Diffuse sustainable capabilities in their organizations. Perhaps breaking things down in Sesame simplicity such as this may make it obvious enough for Big Business to finally get the point.

The success of the Green category shows that people are more than happy to buy better. It's not their fault that things aren't made better, though time and again they are made to pay for it, literally and figuratively. Green would be a lot easier if the powers that be would stop selling it to us and actually buy into it themselves.

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Thursday, June 5, 2008

Carbon Tax - Good or Bad?

I think we all want to improve the way we treat the environment. How far will we go to ensure that we are doing all we can? On July 1st, BC will be adding an extra 2.4 cents per litre of gas at the pumps as part of introducing its new carbon tax. The carbon tax will also apply to virtually all fossil fuels, including gasoline, diesel, natural gas, coal, propane, and home heating fuel. This is an attempt to create a “greener budget for 2008” which would see consumers paying for their carbon use. Laura Jones, vice-president at the Canadian Federation of Independent Business stated that, "We know from our surveys that over 80 per cent of business owners are already taking action to get cleaner." By putting a price on carbon, people will theoretically use less, thus helping reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that are driving climate change. Is taxing people as a way to enforce more environmental choices an incentive to move us in the right direction or should we be left to making green choices on our own? I mean really, aren’t we taxed enough?

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Women and their cars

Gone are the days when women stood by and let their husband or father make decisions about their cars. Now women take their purchasing power into their own hands and in Canada they are buying 65% of new cars and influence 80% of all car purchases (source: 2007 Canadian New Marketing Report). So, where does the empowered woman go to find out more about what she wants in a car? Some start at, which is a site that aims to educate women on all aspects of cars. It is essentially a blog with clever and interesting information encouraging women to ask burning questions they might not otherwise feel comfortable doing in a dealership. This site provides supplementary information about cars, road trips and general auto maintenance while having an informal, fun feel appeal.

It seems that some women want to keep the car a fun place to be. takes the exciting aspects of personalizing your vehicle to a whole new level. In addition to its interesting tips, see 75 unique and helpful tip to enjoy road trips, a substantial portion of the site features items for sale ranging from Hello Kitty decals to decorative car seats. This site also has an entire section devoted to teen girl drivers and their accessories.

For the more car savvy woman or those who like to be a bit more edgy when it comes to their car purchases, go to It is an advice based site from the US has the latest car reviews, compares brands of cars and has information on loans and insurance. I especially liked the blog section because it highlights the variety of vehicles women enjoy – not just the minivan! Car loving women have a variety of styles and preferences when it comes to vehicles, from professional Nascar drivers to stay at home moms, women are voicing their opinions on what cars they like and why. For us Canadians, is a great source of automotive information and has a handy advice section. So don’t be shy any longer! Price compare and arm yourself with great information before walking into the dealership. Be proud fellow car lovers, be proud. Together we can kill the stereotype once and for all.

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Monday, June 2, 2008

Women and their offices. Designed to inspire.

One of my favourite new sites to check in on is -- a new site for women on the web launched by celebrities like Candice Bergen and Lily Tomlin. They are currently featuring their offices and what inspires them. This led me to think about women and their office environments in general and what we bring into our spaces that makes us feel great and gives us energy. I found this one -- the desk of Jane Wagner, particularly striking. Do the design aspects of female-friendly environments also appeal to men?

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