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Best Buy goes low tech with Rogers publishing division deal

The Beastie Boys (L-R) Mike Diamond, Adam Horowitz and Adam Yauch are photographed at the 2006 Sundance film festival in Park City, Utah, in this January 22, 2006 file photo.


Tech retailer Best Buy Canada is getting into the print publishing business.

Working with Rogers Communications Inc.'s publishing division, the glossy magazine Life & Tech this week launched with pages of articles paired with holiday gift ideas available at Best Buy. A Q&A with comedienne Kristen Wiig, for example, promotes the sale of the film she gave her voice to, Despicable Me 2, on DVD. And book reviews promote e-readers for sale. The company plans to publish the magazine, available free in its stores, four times a year. This type of "content marketing" is a growing trend for advertisers: Last year, Wal-Mart partnered with Rogers to launch its own magazine, and in September, Rogers title Chatelaine struck a deal with Target Corp. on a sponsored issue with "content inspired by the editors' own shopping trips to Target Canada."

"We sourced a quantity of real old-fashioned coal for the delivery … it will be designed as a very visible gesture."

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Robert Froese, CEO of ad agency Bob's Your Uncle, which is aiming to put some coal in Toronto Mayor Rob Ford's Christmas stocking this season. The agency launched the website "Coal for Ford," and has pledged to have "Santa and a few elves" deliver a pile of coal to Toronto City Hall on Dec. 20. For every click on a button on the website to add a piece of coal to the pile, the agency also pledged to donate a dollar to a Christmas toy drive, up to a maximum of $5,000. They have quickly passed that goal: as of Thursday afternoon, more than 800,000 people had clicked on the button. The agency will deliver a more "symbolic" amount of actual coal – it does not have the capacity to deliver nearly a million pieces – but Mr. Froese said that given the unexpectedly robust response, they are hoping to enlarge the pile slightly.

How very cheesy

If a lump of coal means you've been naughty, what is Santa trying to tell you with a pile of melted cheese and greasy pepperoni?

This week, Pizza Hut Canada is offering pizza-patterned wrapping paper to its fans looking for unusual ways to present their gifts to loved ones. The fast-food chain has a history of unusual promotions: last year it created its own perfume, distributed to fans on Facebook. With its agency, Grip Limited, the company has been working on developing its social media presence to build love for the brand. Fans who write on the Facebook page with the most compelling reasons why they deserve the paper, will be sent a roll in the mail for some marinara-themed holiday cheer.

Fight for your right

The rap group Beastie Boys filed a lawsuit this week against toy maker GoldieBlox, which grabbed headlines and millions of online viewers last month with an ad that used the group's song Girls. The ad rewrote the lyrics with a girl-power message to promote the line of construction toys. GoldieBlox then went to court asking for the parody to be declared "fair use" and to protect itself from legal action. The company then backed off slightly, pulling the music from its video. Beastie Boy Adam Yauch (a.k.a. MCA), who passed away in May, 2012, left a will stating that his music should never be used in advertising. The estate of Mr. Yauch is also involved in the current lawsuit. The documents point to other instances in which the toy company has used music without permission in promotional videos. The group is asking for damages and an injunction preventing GoldieBlox from using its music or infringing copyright in future.

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