What's the best business card you've ever seen? We've seen it all, the quirky and notable, the minimalist to the grandiose. (We once got seven from the same person, all variations on a theme, and promptly chucked six of them.) But we never realized how perfectly a card could fit with a company's brand until we came upon a whimsical little laser die-cut balsa wood number for Norburn Model Aircraft Supply which can be assembled into an actual tiny flyer. It was created by Vancouver's Rethink Communications, whose work also includes a pair of cards for a local bike shop: a rubber number that doubles as a tire patch, and a metal card that is also a pocket tool to help adjust spokes and bolts. The possibilities are endless: bankers' cards made of real money; lawyers' cards made of real invoices. We just wonder: If Rethink were to create a card for The Globe, would they recommend doing away with paper altogether?
The Toronto International Film Festival, which winds up on Sunday, consists of several simultaneous and interdependent orgies: bacchanals of film, of stars - and of sponsorship. (Someone's gotta' pay for those red carpets and free drinks, right?) But too often, to our eyes, the sponsorships reinforce the tone of exclusivity that dominates TIFF. (What, you couldn't get into that party?) Which is why we found it refreshing to see Energizer Canada, one of the fest's minor sponsors, sending dozens of dancers and drummers streaming onto the street at College and Bay the other day for a Bollywood-style flash mob. The stunt promoted the battery company's "positivenergy Machine," a giant bubble-gum-style machine which dispenses large pink eggs containing gifts to passersby, and asks them to "pay it forward." If you see the machine out on the street this weekend, tell it we still don't understand why Haley Joel Osment had to die.
"Advertising is the poetry of our times."
- Martin Goldfarb
We always thought poetry was the poetry of our times, but in his first book, affinity: Beyond Branding, the long-time Liberal pollster and market researcher Martin Goldfarb indulges his lyrical side in drawing a line between the shamans of old and the marketers of today. Pointing to the primacy of cars and diamonds and iPads in contemporary civilization, Mr. Goldfarb - who wrote the book with the political consultant and publisher Howard Aster - insists: "One should never underestimate the power of artifacts in our own or in any other culture." He cites the cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead as an inspiration, and argues for embracing a culture in its totality before trying to sell it products or services. Where to start? "Listening … listening … listening again … that is the key!" he advises. (Well, we never said the whole book was poetry.)