HAWK Marketing expands, acquires Halifax-based digital agency Modern Media

(Left to Right): Bill Whalen, CEO of Hawk Marketing, Jeff Gaudet, President of Hawk Marketing, David Spriet, President of Modern Media

(Left to Right): Bill Whalen, CEO of Hawk Marketing, Jeff Gaudet, President of Hawk Marketing, David Spriet, President of Modern Media

New Brunswick’s largest full-service communications agency, HAWK Marketing is expanding into Nova Scotia through the acquisition of Halifax-based digital agency Modern Media. Together HAWK Marketing and Modern Media will be one of the largest firms of its kind in Atlantic Canada with an impressive client roster comprised of National and regional accounts including Irving Tissue, Atlantic Lottery, NB Power, CTV, Discover Saint John, Eastlink and St. Thomas University, among others.

HAWK Marketing CEO and Owner, Bill Whalen was excited to complete the purchase as both he and his team focus on continued growth. “Modern Media has been a strategic partner of our agency since 2010, and continues to raise our game related to digital analytics and implementation. Their capabilities and expertise complements our team well, and we are thrilled to now offer our clients completely integrated services.“

Modern Media President, David Spriet will continue operations and is equally optimistic about the future for both agencies. “HAWK Marketing is an agency that’s been in the region for over 40 years. HAWK has a proven resilience in their ability to innovate and adapt within an industry, as other agencies in Atlantic Canada have struggled to do. They’ve built an exceptional leadership team, and their client roster speaks to their ability to consistently deliver results. We’re excited to be a part of their team, and look forward to now offering fully integrated marketing solutions to clients in the region.”

Modern Media’s former CEO and Founder, Jamie Davison will continue his active involvement as a technology innovator both within the start-up community of Atlantic Canada as well as other organizations. “As a founder, you hope to one day build a product or business others see value in. HAWK has been a great partner. Together we’ve delivered results I’m proud of, in addition to some extremely innovative programs for our clients. After ten years, I’m looking forward to the next challenge and know Modern Media is in good hands.”

Together, Modern Media and HAWK will have a team of 30 full-time employees and will have offices in both Moncton and Halifax.

“It’s an exciting time for our agency,” said HAWK President, Jeff Gaudet. “Modern Media has delivered exceptional results for our clients. The relationships they’ve established with global brands such as Salesforce Marketing Cloud, and Google truly are unique to our region. They have an extremely dynamic and talented team and as we push to deliver more data-driven results for our clients, Modern Media’s expertise across all digital disciplines is a huge game-changer for our agency.”

For more information please contact HAWK Marketing President, Jeff Gaudet at gaudet.jeff@hawk.ca or 506-875-0532. Modern Media President, David Spriet can also be reached at  dspriet@modernmedia.ca or 902-422-6905 ext. 224. 

Posted on October 3, 2016 .

Connect With Your Customers

By Jeff Gaudet, President, Hawk Marketing Services

[The following article appeared in this month's issue of Progrès Magazine]

DISCOVERY, ENGAGEMENT, CONVERSION. Three industry buzz words which in isolation have very different meanings, however when brought together can serve as the platform for any business or brand to establish an integrated communication strategy. Let’s be honest, the digital landscape in 2016 has changed how we communicate in all facets of life.  Whether you frequent digital platforms as a consumer or marketer, the world as you knew it has changed drastically and will continue to as technology evolves and new tools and platforms surface daily.  For many, it’s both unclear and over-whelming.  The truth is, it doesn’t have to be.

Questions I hear most often from clients, “with so many social channels now accessible, how do I know which to focus on?” or “I’m investing in digital, how do I know if it’s working?” Both fair questions and truth is, no one right answer for either. That’s why we often attempt to elevate the conversation to ensure both digital and social channels are not viewed in isolation, rather as a compliment to a broader communication strategy tailored to help achieve goals.

To evaluate the role digital channels can play within your broader communication strategy you must have clarity around three specific areas:

What is the key objective for your brand or business this year?

Who are your customers, and what relationship do they have with your offering?

What is driving your sales today?

A little data, can go a long way.

A smart lady once told me, “the best predictor of future behavior, is past behavior’. By understanding the basics of how your customers interact with your brand today, you have the ability to influence future efforts. Consider the path to purchase, and all potential touch points where your consumers ‘could’ intercept a brand message. Whether you represent a CPG brand or offer a professional service, become your customer for a moment to think through the process of how they would find you, and when they do what messaging you can convey to increase their consideration. Many refer to this as DISCOVERY. Evaluate what channels are generating the most activity for your brand and build on them. Many times our clients are surprised to see first-hand where traffic is being generated and how targeted messaging can help improve performance.

Be interesting.

Essentially anything can be found online. It’s often referenced there are only two types of internet users, time wasters and time savers. Your content may be interesting to you, but what about your target? Does it add value to their day, does it make daily tasks more enjoyable or will it help them save money for future purchases? It’s a two way street, if you can demonstrate a continued ability to be meaningful and provide useful content they in turn will increase their consideration for your brand. When you have a solid view of your customers and how they intercept your brand, its then about ENGAGEMENT and establishing a content strategy tailored to your customers and what matters most to them. Great content is the result of listening and observing you customers, the relationship with you they value most.

 Deliver results. 

Ultimately brands needs sales to survive. When you know how your customers intercept your brand and the content or messaging they’re most interested in, it’s a matter of now using that knowledge to help achieve the business goal you’ve established for the brand. CONVERSION can happen in many different ways, for some it could mean direct sales online for others it could be delivering direct purchase incentive, opt-in to your CRM database, entry into a contest or something as simple as a visit to your website. Set goals, and monitor regularly. Over time, you’ll have the ability to evaluate which channels are driving the highest referrals in addition to what offers generate the highest conversion rate.

Digital channels are most effective when delivering against a defined business objective, and part of a broader integrated marketing plan. With this framework, you set the goals and build the consumer journey most likely to deliver your desired outcome, with real-time data guiding you at each step.

Posted on July 26, 2016 .

Small Team. Big WINS.

When you love what you do, it’s bound to show. When that hard work goes on to achieve recognition on a global scale, well, that’s just a bonus. A fantastic, exciting, awesome bonus!

We are over-the-moon ecstatic to announce that HAWK won 7 awards at the 22nd Annual Summit International Awards, making 2016 our most successful year to date for award-wins.

Over 5,000 submissions from agencies across 21 countries were judged during the competition. These wins truly speak to diversity of skills we’ve grown as an agency and our passion for the work we do with our incredible clients. Here’s a look at the award-winning creative:

ROYALE Tiger Towel won SILVER in the Social Media Contest/Event category

 

New Brunswick Tourism's 2015 Travel Guide won BRONZE in the Magazine/Publication category

 

Discover Saint John's "Saint Awesome" campaign won GOLD in the Out-of-Home category and won BRONZE in the Digital Advertising Campaign category 

 

The Friends of The Moncton Hospital Foundation Annual Campaign won BRONZE in the Healthcare Campaign category and won SILVER in the Healthcare TV category

 

New Brunswick Petroleum Alliance's new logo won BRONZE in the Consumer Logo category

Posted on June 8, 2016 .

ROYALE & HAWK WIN at Super Bowl 50

The Broncos may have won the game, but ROYALE was a champion in the advertising field. According to a Bell Media study, ROYALE’s Tiger Towel “Food Truck” took the top spot for ads during Super Bowl 50.

And we have Ed & Roxy to thank for that!

Ed & Roxy are food truck owners who needed a strong paper towel that could hold up to the daily demands of their workplace. Food service can be extremely busy and messy; efficiency and speed are key. So, Ed & Roxy put ROYALE Tiger Towel paper towel to the test. From scrubbing baked-on cheese off a grill to washing a greasy pan underwater, they discovered just what Tiger Strong really means. At the end of a hectic day, they came out on top, thanks to a strong towel that pulled its weight and more.

That’s the creative story behind the spot that said to customers, “If this product can work in this environment, it can stand up to messes in your daily life.” Looks like they heard us loud and clear.

It’s so thrilling to see our spot breakthrough to an audience upward of 5 million, and for our client to come out on top at such a competitive time for advertising.

If you missed the spot during the Super Bowl, you can catch it here:

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Posted on April 14, 2016 .

Turning A New Leaf

By HAWK Associate Creative Director, Chris Farella

I’m not a Leafs fan – never have been, never will be. I’m a born and bred Habs fan, so let’s get that out of the way right now. I am however, a fan of strong brands and strong brand identities. And whether I like them or not, the Toronto Maple Leafs are keepers of both. So, I felt compelled to offer an opinion on their new logo. Here’s the truth: I like it. I like it a lot. And I think the reason I like it so much is because they chose to pay homage to their WINNING history, resisting the urge to change for the sake of change.

 

The new 31-point Leafs logo the organization unveiled Tuesday night (February 2nd) is actually a slightly tweaked throwback to the crest worn by Toronto teams in the 1940′s, 1950′s and 1960′s, a stretch during which they won 10 Stanley Cups.

Unfortunately, the 50 plus seasons that followed were not quite as prosperous. It doesn’t take 20 years of marketing experience to know that long stretches of futility have a way of severely damaging a brand, and its identity. Yet, I have many close friends who, through it all, STILL bleed blue and white. That, dear reader is BRAND LOVE. So, I hope they like the logo as much as I do, because loyalty like theirs needs to be rewarded. They deserve a logo that reinstills pride into all of Leafs Nation. Especially coming into their 100th anniversary (2016-2017) season. Which you know will swing the sporting spotlight directly on the center of the hockey universe. 

The good news is Toronto is starting to do things right again, folks. Ask any true Leafs fan, seeing Dave Keon standing at center ice a couple weeks ago, receiving a standing ovation after a bitter 40-year feud with the organization was huge. And it’s no coincidence that Mr. Shanahan is the man at the helm. Here’s a hockey guy who understands you can’t rebuild a home without fixing the foundation first. And that means having every single Leafs player and every single Leafs fan understand and respect the players who wore that logo before them. It should bother Leafs fans that kids today recognize Tim Horton more for his coffee and donuts than his all-star defensive skills. I know it would bother me. I’m sure it bothered Shanny.

Over the long-term, this new logo may turn out to be as important as the hiring of coach Mike Babcock. Now when a young star like Morgan Rielly is searching for that reason to dig deep or find that extra gear, he can look down at his chest and understand through simple iconography who and what he’s playing for. The Toronto Maple Leafs and Leafs Nation. 

That, in my books, is one powerful logo. 

Posted on February 5, 2016 .

If You Don’t Capture #EverySecond How Will You Know It Happened?

By Hawk Creative Writer, Liz Wiltshire

Have you heard about IKEA Canada’s new campaign? It’s called Make #EverySecond count. Here, take a look at the spot

The heartwarming commercial does a great job of reminding us that home truly is where the heart is; it reminds us that our most cherished memories are often built off of the little moments spent doing everyday things; and it encourages us to enjoy every second because they are precious and must not be wasted.

Now take a minute to go to IKEA’s website (www.ikea.com) where you get the rest of the story. There you’ll find out that if you capture and share your favourite moments with IKEA, you could become part of user-generated commercial (aka: “the ask”). IKEA wants us to soak up every moment of home life possible…yet break that in order to spend time on social media and their website talking about it.

Wait, what?

It only takes 30 seconds to make soap Mohawks, but everyone knows that it takes several minutes to grab your phone (if it isn’t glued to your hand), activate the camera and capture that moment you didn’t want to pass you by (and that’s if you don’t stage it first (#nofilter, yeah right.))

What’s interesting to me is this: Go back and look at the commercial. Who’s taking a “time out” to capture those moments? Not a single device can be seen in any of the scenes. The people who are having all the fun and savoring #EverySecond are the people who are IN THE MOMENT. Sorry, cameraperson, but it looks like you’re missing out.

I appreciate that IKEA gets WHO they are talking to (people who are starting out and need furniture to feather their nests (millennials) and HOW to talk to them (we are living in the digital age of oversharing, after all) but doesn’t “the ask” (share with us) seem counterintuitive to the philosophy (make every second count)?

As a millennial myself, I’m constantly at war choosing between my FOMO (fear of missing out – hence the need to be in on the conversation), my need for recognition (hey, I overshare with the best of them) and my desire to live my life more organically.

And just as I find conflict between who I want to be and the social norms of today, I find myself equally conflicted about this campaign.

What do you think?

Posted on January 14, 2016 .

Celebrating Partnerships That Really Shine

Sharing brand stories is at the core of what we do, so when we see consumers embracing our clients’ brands and continuing the spread of that brand love, well, it’s one of the best markers of success we can hope for. It’s also great when industry peers recognize the impact of all of that brand love (and the SMART Creative behind it) as well.

It’s with immense pleasure that we announce that creative developed for Wyverstone, ROYALE, Atlantic Cancer Research Institute, and St. Thomas University recently went on to receive 4 Summit Creative Awards.

The Summit Creative Awards exclusively commemorate the work of small to medium-sized agencies. Thousands of submissions pour in from all over the globe each year, so to have realized success on a level such as this is a huge honor. This international recognition for our New Brunswick clients is an achievement that strikes particularly close to home because we simply love supporting local businesses!

To our clients, thank you for continually inspiring our brand love and giving us the opportunity to work on your business. Congratulations because this win is yours, too!


Wyverstone Capital Financial Planning & Insurance's Logo Design WON SILVER in the Financial Marketing category 


ROYALE's Osc'Purrs campaign WON SILVER in the Microsite category

  For a deeper look into this campaign's results, check out the video below:

 

For a deeper look into this campaign's results, check out the video below:

 

   


Atlantic Cancer Research Institute's “Close To Home” TV Spot WON BRONZE in the Public Service Television category



St. Thomas University's 2015 Viewbook WON BRONZE in the Magazine category 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted on July 24, 2015 .

Who Do You Spread Brand Love For?

Ever love a brand so much that you don’t think you could ever live without it? Its products complete you. You aspire to be connected to it. You just can’t get enough of it. We get it, which is why we live and breathe BRAND love day in and day out.

So what brands do WE love most?

 

Ben Wilson - Account Executive

My BRAND LOVE is for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Growing up in Vermont, I was a die-hard fan living in Bruins territory, but that didn’t stop me. My childhood room was (and still is) painted in blue and white. My phone background image, my computer’s wallpaper, my online screen names – all Leaf-themed. I follow Leaf blogs, watch Leaf game reaction videos, listen to Leaf podcasts, and wear Leaf clothing… I just can’t get enough; I’m a true fanatic. The last time they made it past the 1st round of the playoffs I was 10 years old and yet I still watch every game regardless of their ranking because that’s how loyal I am to this brand.

 

Errol Girvan - Graphic Designer

SABIAN (specifically, the HHX series) is definitely my pick for BRAND LOVE. One of my greatest passions is music, and as a drummer, I demand quality sound from my equipment and SABIAN consistently delivers. I also enjoy scouring the Internet, classified ads, and second-hand stores for obscure or discontinued models of SABIAN cymbals. They’re literally all over my house, hanging on my walls like art. I’m proud to say I have worked on their business in the past and think it’s great that they are a family-run company based in New Brunswick with world-renowned products. How cool is that?

 

André Levesque - Vice President, Client Services

My heart and BRAND LOVE belong to Blue Moon Brewing Co. I am constantly looking for quality craft beer that’s unique and enjoyable. I stumbled upon Blue Moon six years ago when on vacation. Always eager to try something different, I grabbed a six-pack of their Belgian White Ale and it was love at first sip. The craftsmanship and subtle twist on the traditional wheat ale behind Blue Moon’s Belgian White makes your taste buds dance right down to the very last drop. If you think I’m exaggerating, I urge you to try it and tell me I’m wrong. Whenever I’m travelling in the US, a great smile comes to my face whenever I see Blue Moon’s beautiful blue labels on tap or on shelves. 

 

Sarah Munn - Account Director

Google has my BRAND LOVE hands down. Few companies, in my opinion, have had as large an impact on our daily lives as Google. Remember when factoids stayed on the tip of your tongue, when you travelled with big, bulky maps, or when all your research had to be done at a library? Thanks to Google, that’s all in the past. It is everywhere, powering our enormous access to information and how we connect with each other. From YouTube to Google Earth to Google News – it has transformed how we process information. It is even changing how and what our brains are choosing to remember. How do I know that? I just ‘Googled it.’

 

Alessandro Corazza - Account Director

I would have to say my BRAND LOVE is Honda, not so much for their cars, but for their motorcycles and power equipment. The company was started by an engineer, and is one of the rare cases where saying a product was “designed by engineer” isn’t a slur. They’re quietly competent without being flashy. When they push the envelope it’s on the product itself, not by making lofty claims. I love that about this brand.

 

For more declarations of our undying BRAND LOVE, visit:

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151982511456681.1073741829.182314581680&type=3

Posted on April 10, 2015 .

Is Technology Making Us Not-So-Social?

We have all been guilty at one time or another of dividing our attention between the people around us and our mobile devices. But did you know that studies show that using your phone around others actually affects their perception of you?

Click here to find out the surprising things that happened when this person put away their phone for 1 week.

 

Posted on April 2, 2015 .

Something for Everyone: 16 Apps We Can’t Live Without

We asked the team at HAWK what Apps they can’t live without and each person had a different pick, for different reasons.

Chris Choiniere, Senior Art Director

Toggl timer. It’s a time tracking app that is super easy to use. It’s great for creatives to have on their phone – you just flip it on and create efficient and accurate time logs whether you are sitting at your desk working on a file or brainstorming on the couch.

Gil Jackson, Art Director

WhatsApp. This App is great because it lets you text and send videos, pictures and audio files to an individual or a group of people (who also have the App) anywhere in the world, without having to pay for text messaging services. I love this App because my sister-in-laws live in Holland and that’s how we keep in touch. We send texts and share pictures, so I get to see my adorable little niece growing up.

MyFitnessPal. I also like this calorie counter and fitness App because it keeps me honest when it comes to dieting and exercising.

Maggie Fowler, Account Coordinator

Trivia Crack. I haven’t tried it yet but all my friends are addicted to it. I know it’s only a matter of time before I download it.

Lori Morice, Production Manager

Houzz. I’m currently renovating my house and this is a great App to see what’s currently in style and how to bring together different ideas within a single room.

SkyView and Planets. I am completely fascinated by the night sky. Both of these Apps are great for discovering what’s out there and what’s visible based on the different hours of the day or times of the year.

Chris Farella, Associate Creative Director

Martin Tuner. No matter what your skill level, you can benefit from this free guitar-tuning App. You can expertly tune your guitar, practice to become a more efficient ear-tuner and the ‘Pro-Tip’ videos are extremely helpful in teaching you everything from properly stringing your guitar to using a capo.

Francois Giroux, Vice President and Creative Director 

PS Express. This App is like Photoshop ‘mini.’ I love how quickly it adjusts flat and lifeless iPhone pics into more life-like images. I use this App to adjust my iPhone pics, especially when I go on bike rides on the marsh. Take a look at the results on my Pinterest Board.

Errol Girvan, Graphic Designer

TASCAM PCM Recorder MK II. As a musician, this is my go-to App for rehearsals. Basically it’s a portable stereo recorder. You can check fader levels and frequencies for better sound quality and to prevent overload and distortion of sound. It also allows you to save your recordings to listen to or share later.

Andre Levesque, Vice President Client Service

Flipboard. I would go bonkers if I didn’t have this App, it’s truly a diamond in the rough. It’s like having your own personalized magazine. You type in your subject of interest (or you can choose many) and you’re delivered a constant stream of articles about those things; things like news, product information, industry trends, personal interests, whatever! It’s even a great distraction if you have 30 minutes to kill. 

Susan Jones, Vice President, COO

OverDrive Media Console. This eReader App is my absolute favourite. It will let you view several different formats of eBook, you can download things you’ve purchased on Google Books, you can borrow from a library, and you can manage everything on the same bookshelf. It works on any device and is excellent.

Ben Wilson, Account Executive

Side Chef. I love this step-by-step cooking App! It has photos, instructions, an automatic timers, and even accepts voice commands to keep things moving when you’ve got dirty hands and don’t want to get your phone or tablet messy.

Steve Thompson, Account Executive

Peekaboo Barn. Nothing stops a 15-month-old from freaking out, and calms them down better, than this educational game.

Posted on February 20, 2015 .

Concerts on the Hill: Looking beyond the economic arguments

By Hawk Vice President and Creative Director, François Giroux

Every time a show is announced for the Magnetic Hill concert site a debate ensues about the economic viability of holding such an event. Those debates are not reserved for our hometown alone. Take for instance Montreal, a city known for its world-renowned festivals and events, some still question the numbers and demand to see concrete dollars and cents in relation to how those events will impact the city’s balance sheets.

But despite our need to be responsible managers of public funds, it’s also important to look beyond just the numbers to calculate the other real advantages of hosting major concerts in our city. What we can learn from Montreal is that there are intangible effects that a balance sheet will not show.

There’s no denying that mega events like the Montreal International Jazz Festival or Festival Juste Pour Rire have greatly contributed, over time, to Montreal’s reputation as one of the great entertainment cities in this country, if not the continent. That fame does not only attract tourists, it encourages locals to stay in town and spend their dollars at home. But perhaps more importantly it contributes to reinforcing Montreal’s persona as a creative city, one that attracts artistic talent – people with ideas, projects, and visions.

In the same fashion (albeit on a smaller scale), the succession of large concerts hosted by the city of Moncton, combined with the many annual festivals held here, are contributing into branding Moncton as “The Entertainment Capital of the Maritimes”. Events like the Magnetic Hill Music Festival not only help promote ‘brand Moncton’ on a national stage (which is an incredible benefit for a city our size), they add to the cultural health of this city.  They help keep Moncton youthful, energetic, and position it as fun place to live and play.

The Montreal example clearly demonstrates that there are intangible effects that a numbers alone will not show, ones that we should be considering when deciding whether or not to host big events here, because they are things that work towards defining our city’s brand.

Let’s keep looking at art and entertainment as a viable way to not only bring in new revenues, but also energize our city, keep us in a good mood, and perhaps most importantly, help shape the image we and future visitors have of this city.

Because Moncton totally Rocks!

Posted on February 13, 2015 .

UGC & Brands That Nailed It

When brands relinquish the reigns of a campaign to their customers, they hope to unearth the precious material known as user generated content (UGC), the potential makings of content gold.

A UGC initiative, when done successfully, develops deeper brand interactions, creates a sense of pride among the audience, and adds to the brand’s credibility. It can also go a long way to secure brand loyalty.

Brands can motivate UGC participation with incentives (prizing), by inspiring the audience (appealing to their interests), or by promising visibility (a level of fame that comes with sharing and crediting the idea to the originator.)

Our work with ROYALE is an example of a non-incentivized UGC campaign that converted the audience’s love of kittens into a successful social media story:

What better way to celebrate a 50th anniversary than with a HUGE party… with kittens! ROYALE fans were invited to upload pictures of their furry friends and join in on the festivities. Over 1,800 pictures were uploaded (700 of which were shared by ROYALE fans) and one paid post reached over 783,064 Facebook users! Kittens have been reigning king for ROYALE content ever since.

http://on.fb.me/1KEUeKA

Here are just a few other UGC campaigns we loved:

David’s Tea “TeaFF”

Premise: Tea lovers nominate a pal who loves tea just as much as they do for a chance to win a prize pack. Submissions include an image and a story that is uploaded to a wall for everyone to see.

Motivator: Incentive/Inspiration/Visibility

http://davidstea.com/TeaFF

IKEA #HouseRules

Premise: Users share their holiday #HouseRules with the world

Motivator: Inspiration/Visibility

http://www.ikea.com/ms/en_CA/about_ikea/houserules.html 

Starbucks “White Cup Contest”

Premise: Fans were asked to create their own white cup designs. The winning cup would be manufactured and available for sale in stores.

Motivator: Incentive/Visibility

http://www.pinterest.com/starbucks/white-cup-contest/

Doritos “Crash the Super Bowl Contest”

Premise: Fans have a chance to create their own TV commercial for Doritos. The winner has their ad played during the Super Bowl.

Motivator: Incentive/Visibility

https://crashthesuperbowl.doritos.com/gallery/?type=semifinalists

iPhone “iPhone Photography Awards”

Premise: iPhone, iPod and iPad users have a chance to submit the undoctored images they’ve taken with their Apple devices for a chance to win an annual award and recognition.

Motivator: Incentive/Inspiration/Visibility

http://www.ippawards.com/gallery/

Posted on February 10, 2015 .

U de M’s Controversy Over a 1.6-Second Kiss

By Hawk Vice President and Creative Director, François Giroux

Sixteen years ago, I designed a series of posters for a New Brunswick university as part of an identity launch. The black and white posters, shot in the style of a Calvin Klein ad, featured extreme close-ups of male and female students sporting a tattoo of the University’s new logo on their bodies. The creative adopted a visual language that the students could relate to; it was dark and somewhat sexy and the tattoo idea demonstrated school pride and commitment (perhaps a modern version of the pennant.) Soon, students were taking the posters off the campus building walls and putting them in their dorm rooms.

But some just couldn’t get behind a campaign that did not specifically and directly talk about the ‘quality of education’ or show happy students with books. Some of the faculty organized a debate about the appropriateness of the posters. Media got involved, and well… Here we are again, sixteen years later with another controversy, this time about a kiss, and another university advertisement that doesn’t “fit the mold.”

1.6 seconds. That’s the length of the kiss in Université de Moncton’s new commercial. The spot has gotten an exaggerated amount of media attention because it features a male and female student sneaking a kiss in the university library. I think I even saw a bit of tongue, what do you think?

1.6 seconds is the length of time I thought this controversy would last when I first saw the video. After all, it’s ONE vignette amongst a series of at least twenty showing a slice of life at U de M. Pretty tame on the morality meter in my humble opinion, but I’m no authority figure on the subject.

The message of the spot (somewhat lost in the controversy) is quite important and cleverly crafted around the word ‘langue’ (language) which also means ‘tongue’ in French. It’s obviously directed towards a francophone audience ­– presumably Acadians – whose post-secondary options consist of primarily English universities and colleges. In case you missed it, the spot makes a case for the French language being one to be proud of – it’s the language of progress, ambition, science, business and… other business (that’s when the tongue comes into play). In other words, choosing to study ‘en français’ will not limit you.

The president of the university’s professors’ and librarians’ association called the spot “pathetic,” claiming that its tonality is that of a beer ad. Others less critical have said that the spot, now known as ‘The Kiss Spot,’ failed to mention the ‘quality of education.’

In actuality, the U de M commercial is about quality education. But it’s also about more. It’s about the complete experience! It adopts a confident (even defiant tone) while the visuals feature driven students in various academic, sports, cultural and yes, social settings. It says loud and clear that you can be successful and fulfilled studying in your own language, at a university you can call your own.

Plus it celebrates the uniqueness of the Atlantic region by closing with a wonderful shot featuring a small group of students gathered at the beach for a bonfire, complete with beer cooler. (But let’s be real here, September to April, when most classes are in session, isn’t really prime beach-going weather—alas, the spot’s only ‘miss’ for me.)

In the end, the message this commercial conveys is not too different from the tattoo example mentioned above. Both exhibit symbols of pride and belonging. It’s really too bad that all of this is being lost over a debate about beer and a French kiss, both of which, I will remind you, are usually good things.

Posted on January 23, 2015 .

5 Things Every Real-Time Marketer Should Know

 

Real-time marketing is on the rise, particularly during high profile and pop cultural events, when brands take to social media to become part of the conversation with the hopes of awareness, acknowledgement and going viral.

But there are a few things to keep in mind if you’re about to set out on a real-time campaign excursion:

Be Relevant – Is there a need for your brand to participate in real-time marketing? Does joining the conversation make sense for your brand? Is this something that your audience will find interesting? You want to add value, not clutter, to this space.

Be Authentic – Don’t force it. Being authentic with real-time marketing comes naturally when you truly know your audience and know how to “speak their language.” Sometimes the on-the-fly nature of real-time marketing can enhance this and limit a brand’s penchant to “over edit” their thoughts on a subject, but that can go the other way, too, when you forget who you’re talking to and why.

Be Timely – Don’t lose sight of timeliness when it comes to real-time posting, and the effectiveness that can have on serving your audience (in addition to being in the right place at the right time). Maybe your audience would better benefit from messages before or after an event, rather than during.

Be Mindful of Quality – Often in the race to be on-trend quality of content is sacrificed, doing more harm than good for a brand’s image. A little pre-planning might help to avoid this.

Be Smart – This likely isn’t your first foray into the digital world. In fact, you’ve likely been tracking your other online performance for some time now. Use that data to your advantage! Data helps improve decisions about what kinds of content work with your audience, so you can identify and build shareable content with greater ease.

Remember at the end of the day it’s about your audience, not you, during real-time marketing scenarios. Give them what they want and above all, stay true to your brand.

Without due consideration, you could run the risk of falling prey to Reactvertising™, a term coined by Toronto agency John St. for what can happen when knee-jerk decisions prevail over all. Watch what that can look like in their video, here:

Posted on January 16, 2015 .

HAWK’s Holiday Favourites

The holidays have a certain talent for bringing emotions to the surface and encouraging us to take a walk down Memory Lane. Some memories tug on the heartstrings, while others have us shedding tears of joy. When asked what holiday ads stuck with them, this is what our team said:

Bill Whalen, CEO

Budweiser “Zebra Official”

Jeff Gaudet, President & Christie Arsenault, Community Manager

Sobeys “Star of Christmas”

Liz Wiltshire, Creative Writer

Kellogg’s 80s Corn Flakes Christmas:

Paula McLean, Receptionist

Target “Find Your Style At Target”:

Chris Farella, Associate Creative Director

Corona’s “Oh Tannenpalm“:

Sarah Munn, Account Director

Hershey’s Kisses “We Wish You a Merry Christmas”:

Francois Giroux, Creative Director

Coca-Cola 90s Christmas:


Posted on December 23, 2014 .

There’s More To These Logos Than Meets The Eye

Simple. Unique. Adaptable. Timeless. Appropriate. Memorable. These are the defining characteristics of a strong logo. Marry smart design with these qualities and voila, brand magic! But do you ever wonder about the story that lies behind logos?

Sometimes the “secret” message within a logo design is obvious. But others carry subtle cues that you have to look harder to pick up on. 

Here are a few of the logos we’ve created for our local clients that contain hidden symbols, and the stories behind them that led to their fateful design:

Trio

Story: The name itself suggests a possible link to the number three, but one glance at the restaurant’s specialty menu confirms the theme – meals and drinks that come in threes. The logo features a modern font for the trendy bistro, and the incorporation of 3 strokes to make up the letter ‘I’ in the word “TRIO”, bringing the theme full circle.

Action Car and Truck Accessories

Story: Action is a manufacturer of truck caps and Canada’s largest automotive accessory retailer. The design for such a brand commanded a bold font and look relatable to the audience. A simple but strong color palette was chosen and the letter ‘A’ morphed into a curving highway, a nod to the industry.

Magnetic Hill Zoo

Story: Rumored to have magnetic properties, Magnetic Hill is a famous attraction here in Moncton. Located on the same site is the Magnetic Hill Zoo. When the Zoo wanted a new logo, big cats were the focus of their latest campaign, and thus incorporated into the new design. If you look closely, you’ll see a magnet icon, pulled from the Magnetic Hill logo, to make up the eyes and nose of the lion.

Un Phare Dans la Nuit

Story: Translated to “A lighthouse in the night,” the event was brought about to shine a light on mental health. The logo featured colorful guitar picks (for the artists and performers who came together in support of the event) purposefully arranged to form a lighthouse at the centre.

Famous big brands use this technique of short storytelling through symbols, too. Take a look at some of them here.

Posted on December 19, 2014 .

Bring Business Home for the Holidays

Looking for inspiration when it comes to finding that perfect, one-of-a-kind or super special gift for the people on your holiday shopping list? Look no further than the small shops in your area! Aside from being beneficial to your hometown’s economy, shopping locally can yield unparalleled service, and be great for finding personal and even unique gifts for friends and family.

Take a look at what the HAWK team had to say about their favourite local shops:

CHRISTIE, Community Manager

I love giving handmade gifts and there’s no better place to find so many wonderful options from talented local artisans than at the farmers’ market. We’re lucky to have two to choose from.

LIZ, Creative Writer

I adore the little trinkets at Terra Verde. For anyone who loves unique gadgets or really enjoys cooking, it’s a great spot to find perfect stocking stuffers or that awesome Secret Santa present.

SARAH, Account Director

I love Les Gourmandes in Downtown Moncton. Their homemade fine cheeses, gourmet chocolates and truffles, and chutneys make great ‘little’ gifts, especially for teachers.

BEN, Account Executive

It’s a little bit outside of town but the Sackville Harness Shop does amazing leatherwork. Apart from the obvious items they sell (harnesses, collars, and leads), it’s a great place to find bags, belts, and boots that make outstanding gifts!

FRANÇOIS, VP & Creative Director

For music lovers, I recommend La Guitare. Big purchases aside, accessories, like a new set of strings, always make good stocking stuffers. They also offer music lessons, which is a cool gift idea for people who want to learn to play.

CHRIS C, Art Director

We are so used to big box stores now that it’s rare to get the type of personal customer service that you receive at Service Shoe Shop. Their advice is always honest – you can tell they are not just trying to sell you the most expensive shoe, but the shoe that is perfect for your needs. Even though you can get cheaper shoes online, I still take my business there because of the quality of their products and the amazing service.

BILL, CEO

It wouldn't be Christmas without a visit to MacArthur's Nursery. They bring the Christmas spirit to life with their amazing displays. And the hot cider they hand out to take the chill off helps too.

LORI, Production Manager

There’s a wonderful little gift shop in Sackville called Earth that showcases the work of several East Coast Canadian artisans. It is filled with unique one-of-a-kind pieces (artwork, pottery, jewelry, clothing) and is well worth the trip if you are looking to treat yourself or someone else this holiday season.   

DIANE, Receptionist

I was surprised at just how much Ivan’s Camera offers when it comes to photography gift ideas; stuff I didn’t even know existed! They are bilingual, helpful and very friendly. When given the chance, I’ve learned that smaller businesses will go out of their way to help.  

DAVID, Production Manager and Print Specialist

I can spend lots of time (and money) at Read’s Newsstand on Main Street finding unusual and specialty magazines for friends and family! They carry a great variety of publications for all interests and are great for everyone who still appreciates the look and feel of quality printing and paper.  

SUSAN, VP Strategy & COO

One of my favourites is Service Shoe/Cara. They are one of the few locally owned spots with really good quality shoes, plus they offer a lot of neat services like heel repairs and re-stitching. They also have a good portfolio of cleaning and protecting products, as well as work footwear available at the Mechanic Street store, while Cara goes more high fashion. One of the few places in town you can get FLY London shoes (very cool!) The staff is pleasant and the environment at both locations is very authentic. I only own a few pairs of their shoes because quality costs money, but I do confess to watching for sales. 

Posted on December 5, 2014 .

The 9 Types of Holiday Shoppers

Hey marketing experts, are you ready for holiday shoppers?

You know that all shoppers are not created equally and you want to make your customer’s shopping experience a smooth one. So how do you do that, especially during the busiest shopping months of the year?

This year, understanding the growing role that digital plays in the purchase decisions will be crucial. Online shopping is predicted to account for almost 50% of holiday sales this year, but people are consulting their mobile devices while in-store too, scanning reviews and ratings, doing price comparisons before buying, and posting about their experiences, making their smartphone the ultimate shopping companion.

And with Canadians expected to spend on average $885 (per person) during the 2014 holiday season, it’s no wonder that you’d want to pull out all the stops to capitalize on sales.

This helpful infographic details 9 types of holiday shoppers and the best ways to reach them.

Posted on November 21, 2014 .

How Far Will Fans Go For Their Brands?

Enthusiasts, advocates, loyalists, supporters, die-hards, fanatics – no matter what you call them, these consumers are all about showing off their brand love. And that love is good for business.

What they love, they share, and the results create something extremely valuable: User-generated content (UGC), an open and authentic dialogue initiated by a fan, not the brand. And because it’s user-generated, it tends to do wonders to boost credibility and spark interest in the brand. Paired with other campaign initiatives, user-generated content helps companies grow their fan base, encourages customer loyalty, and can mean an increase in sales. Here are 3 brands who put their user-generated content to work for them with great success.

Coke

Due to the booming success of this year’s Share a Coke campaign, Coca-Cola will be bringing the personalized bottles back next year. But the campaign wasn’t just a sales generator for the brand. It also led to a stream of creative user generated content, like this unique baby announcement:

Starbucks  

Starbucks was inspired by the cup art customers were coming up with, so they turned it into a UGC contest. The winning artist’s design appears on a limited edition reusable cup that can now be purchased.

MINI

MINI Cooper fanatics are aptly called ‘MINIacs’ – enough said! From photo and test drive challenges to coast-to-coast road trips, MINI is known for having some of the most loyal and proud customers in the auto world and this passion has effectively translated into an abundance of user-generated content for the brand. 

But what is the ultimate form of brand fanaticism? How about being branded… with a tattoo:

So, how far would you go to show your brand love?

Posted on November 3, 2014 .

5 Billboards That Rock

There are times when a creative idea cannot be contained within a single TV screen or a full page magazine ad. That’s where traditional and technologically enhanced out-of-home advertising comes in. It’s non-invasive but impactful nature can make it a wonderful complement to your overall campaign efforts and strike a chord (and perhaps a conversation) among your audience. Here are a few that certainly did.

Posted on October 24, 2014 .