This Christmas the North Pole has really upped their game with apps that allow kids to connect to Saint Nick himself. Long gone are the days of mailing a letter, thanks to digital innovations the magic of the holidays becomes more alive then ever before.
Google Voice lets parents create personalized phone calls from Santa Claus, and of course Google Maps is on top of all your Santa tracking needs. Apple offers a Fake Call from Santa app to ensure children are keeping themselves on the nice list. Canon’s North Pole PIXMA runs through the company’s Facebook page and allows wish lists to be sent directly to the North Pole. And to prove they got there alright, Canon plays a video of the elves in Santa’s workshop receiving them. Your Santa Story is a website where parents can create a personalized DVD message from Santa that is sent to their home to be played on Christmas morning.
It’s mocked up to appear just like every other you may come by in the grocery store or magazine stand, but this one has a been designed to shed a rather shockingly bright light on issues facing young women around the world. Child slavery, sex trafficking, forced marriage, abuse, and mutilation are just some of the horrifying realities girls face every day. Catapult is an organization that aims to raise awareness and funds for these girls, and put an end to the suffering.
Old Spice’s 2014 ad campaign, titled Momsong, has already gained over one million views on Youtube in the past 4 days. It is the ad to beat for 2014, with Super Bowl ads not even out of the gate yet. In the spot, mothers of teen boys lament that Old Spice has “sprayed men” of their sons, as they stalk them under sometimes humorous, other times creepy disguises.
Momsong is to be followed by a bigger campaign titled “Smellcome to Manhood”. Taking a direct hit at competitor Axe Body Spray, Old Spice aims to educate teenage boys on how to spray responsibly. You may be aware that pubescent over-sprayage is a common offense in gym locker rooms and high school hallways alike.
As an Integrated Marketing Communications student, I’ve spent a semester referencing Old Spice as an example of successful online advertising. I was sad to see the absence of The Man Your Man Could Smell Like.
Some are hailing Momsong as shear brilliance, others claim it’s nightmarishly disturbing. One Youtube commenter mused, “Is there such a thing as a REVERSE Oedipus complex? ‘Cause if there is then that Old Spice commercial definitely has it.” Personally I believe the genius lies in a viral ad that not only pulls in views and gets people buzzing, but also generates sales in the process. I’ve watched many a quirky, uncomfortable Skittles ad in my life and never been tempted to buy a bag.
With 2014 quickly approaching we are drawling out our typical resolutions for the upcoming year. Lose weight, quit smoking, eat healthy, work more or perhaps work less. A favourite of mine this holiday season came from a friend who has resolved to cut back on her latest addiction, Pinterest.
Pinterest is a social media platform that has been around since 2008. The main premise is it’s used to collect images of things you like and “pin” them to boards. Boards can be named based on categories, such as “arts and crafts”. Other users can then browse and “repin” your pins and like your images. It’s so simple some people have planned their weddings using Pinterest.
It’s all very simplistic and similar to many of my other favourite haunts on the Internet; Tumblr and WeHeartIt. The beauty of these type of image-sharing social media sites is they are unlike Facebook and Twitter. They offer an escape from relationship statuses and “Twitter drama”. I once watched an episode of Oprah that suggested the creation of “vision boards” as a tool to defining what you really want in life. The concept? Step One: Cut out pictures from magazines of things you love. Step Two: Paste them onto board. Step Three: Realize your life’s ambition. Thus is the idea behind Pinterest, sort of. Perhaps pinning pictures of cats to your Cute n’ Cuddly pinboard won’t cause a revelation, but it is offering the user a retreat into a world of their own happiness for a while.
Companies are catching on to Pinterest as well. In 2012, cosmetic retailer Sephora discovered many users were pinning their favourite Sephora beauty products onto boards. Sephora created a Pinterest account and is utilizing the site to its full potential from a business perspective. Sephora even incorporated Pinterest into their email campaigns by making products shown in their emails pinnable directly to recipients boards.
I like Pinterest. It plays to both my love of images and my slight OCD. My favourite board is my Closet board, where I keep pins of clothing, jewelry and shoes. I like curling up in an oversized sweater with a cup of tea and pinning pictures of Norway and places I’d like to visit one day. The images are beautifully displayed and the layout is so simple. It’s a comfortable place to get lost in.
Marks and Spencer is a major department store franchise in the United Kingdom known colloquially as “M&S”. It carries everything from clothing to household goods, much like Sears or The Bay. M&S hold a tradition of featuring British celebrities in their holiday ad campaigns. In previous years they’ve included Britain’s X Factor contestants, former supermodel Twiggy and Wallace and Gromit.
The advertisement itself is a decadent, opulent enchantment that appeals to both young and young at heart. The always stunning Whitely models each fashion piece with playful, glossy vivacity while telling the story of a girl stumbling upon a whimsical make-believe world in the midst of the Christmas season.
In the conclusion of the ad, Marks and Spencer invite viewers to “Believe in Magic and Sparkle” and incite them to use the hashtag (#) #MagicandSparkle, a clever play on their initials, M&S. The ad has pulled in over 1 million views since it was posted to Youtube on November 4th. In my personal opinion, it is M&S’s finest holiday advert to date, and one of the most ingenious and imaginative commercial I’ve seen this holiday season.
I’ve been enraptured in a tailspin of post-traumatic presentation stress and caught in the undertow of 12 page papers. But I am alive and…reasonably well and back into the blogasphere for a few updates.
The final week of work is upon me. I’ve already shed most of my usual class schedule. Four classes are officially complete. Two more hang in the balance. As I slave away in the Mac Computer Lab or cram coffee and knowledge in equal amounts in the eerily quiet school hallways, visions of holiday cookies and never hearing another marketing term for a whole month dance in my head. Even now my finals stress is eating away at me, causing my sentence structure to become recklessly long and laced with comma splices.
I can’t believe it was 3 months ago I was innocently adjusting to college life. I knew this day would come. As the sun set on summer weather and school year started to bear down on me I should have realized it could only get worse. I knew if I chipped away at projects, got a head start and scheduled study days I would be laughing come finals week. But somehow I ended up leaving projects until 3 am the night before. Hashed out on each page are the words of a Redbull fuelled, sleep deprived zombie and not the studious note taker I was in our first week of classes.
This news I’m sure will not hit most people in my age group as hard as it hit me. Sitting in Kathy Paterson’s Integrated Marketing class it was casually mentioned that department store catalogues may be on their way out and online shopping may be the only option in the years to come.
Boom. It doesn’t surprise you does it? After all everything is online these days. The concept of a catalogue sent in the mail and then having to call in to the store by to place an order probably seems archaic to most. I’m in a generation where what was once considered science fiction when I was 10 is now reality at 20. I used to live by the tradition of receiving the Sears Christmas catalogue in the mail and excitedly flipping through it’s glossy pages to look at all the toys.
There’s a sense of tactility in books and printed media that we as a society are vehemently moving away from. I was peering at a woman on the city bus yesterday who was scrolling through a novel on her Kindle. “Buy a real book!” I grumbled to myself. I feel as the world pushes towards a digital future I’m the only one pushing back.
It’s not because I’m trying to be “cool” or “hipster” by veering away a little from this technological undertow enveloping everyone. I think it might all just be happening too quickly for me to keep up. Give me my Christmas catalogues. Give me a call on the telephone. Heck, give me a VHS tape. Let’s all slow it down for just a moment.