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SAIT Polytechnic: Aging billboards

Created: Billboards go old school

Recent ad campaigns for institutes of higher learning seem bent on reaching youth by being more hip. A new campaign for SAIT Polytechnic, however, is more hip-replacement than hip. The Calgary technical institute is paying tribute to seniors in outdoor ads created by its agency of record, WAX Partnership. As the tri-panel billboards spin, we see a student's face in three stages of aging. The aging theme carries over to online banners, where the student's face ages with a click of the mouse. The trick is accomplished through a Facebook app - created by SAIT - called " The Seniorizer," which allows us to upload a photo and then watch ourselves grow old, complete with hair loss for men and crow's feet for women. The tagline for the campaign is clever: "Get a career you'll never want to leave." Now if the school can come up with a way to get rid of our laugh lines, sign us up! Dianne Nice

Noted: Seal of disapproval

Every time we write about the guidelines regulating advertising in Canada, readers unload on what a pathetic, nannying state is this country of ours. That may be because we rarely bother noting the pathetic, nannying regulations in the U.K., France, Spain, the U.S. and elsewhere. So today we bring news of a tiff south of the border, where a Miller Lite campaign touting the beer's special "Taste Protector" caps and lids wrongly implied the company was doing something new with their bottle-sealing technology. The National Advertising Division Council of Better Business Bureaus, known as the NAD, urged Miller to drop the claim of a "special seal." So who, you may wonder, brought this pressing matter to the attention of the NAD? Its rival Anheuser-Busch, of course: There's no evidence of any single beer drinker caring about the issue. Let's all raise a glass, then, to the free market, a place where oligopolistic companies are always telling regulators to get out of their way. Right up until they can use those regulators to hurt the competition. Simon Houpt

Quoted: Oh, grow up

I think it makes the ads even more memorable.

Marta Ibarrondo

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Think Alec Baldwin is a big baby? You're not alone. Since early December, a guerrilla campaign for the New York-based infant wear company Egg Baby has seemingly shoved fat blue pacifiers in Baldwin's kisser and that of his It's Complicated co-star, Meryl Streep. The campaign, involving the distribution of 5,000 pacifier stickers on bus shelter posters for companies that also include American Eagle Outfitters, Gap, Links jewellery, Crate & Barrel and Chanel No. 5, drives people to, where they can watch videos of grown-ups acting babyish and find goofy downloads. How this sells baby clothes is anybody's guess, but Marta Ibarrondo, the independent creative director behind the campaign, says traffic to Egg Baby's website has quadrupled. "Things are so scary now that people love to evade and escape reality and just be babies right now," said Ms. Ibarrondo. If the cops press charges of defacing property, does that mean she'll be able to cop a plea as a juvenile offender? Simon Houpt

30-second spots: Arousing some interest in Ad Ball

Dianne Nice

Last week we reported on next Friday's Ad Ball in Toronto, and suggested that its "Fashion Fetish" theme was probably not as interesting as it sounded. Suddenly, our inbox was flooded with photos we hope will not get us fired. Images of whip-toting, stiletto-wearing ad folks have caused us to change our minds about the event, which culminates Advertising Week. The images, from an agency crawl in search of the industry's "King and Queen of Kink and Couture," are certainly interesting, we'll admit. There, we've said we were wrong. Now please, don't hurt us.

The world returns to advertising

Ad-spending trackers around the globe are upbeat this week, raising their revenue forecasts for 2010. Deloitte Canada forecasts ad spending will increase 2 per cent overall this year, with online ads picking up greater market share. Magna in the U.S. says it expects revenue to be the same as last year, which is better than an earlier forecast that called for a decline. In Australia, RBS Equities called for a 6.7-per-cent rise in the overall ad market for the first six months of the year. And in Britain, the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising says that, on average, ad budgets for this year are being raised compared with 2009.

A mutual fund for marketers

Will all this bullish sentiment surrounding advertising, it's too bad there wasn't a way for us to profit from it. But wait - now there is! Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal & Partners, a unit of Toronto's MDC Partners, this week launched the KBS&P Client Stock Index, a mutual fund that tracks the stock market performance of 18 of its clients, among them BMW and Capital One. Kirshenbaum's employees will be offered a stake in the index, which is being launched with a $500,000 investment from the agency. If clients do well, so does Kirshenbaum. The agency calls it putting some skin in the game.

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Gnome on the range

Well, Whistler may be home to the Winter Olympics, but Banff is bringing home the gnome. Banff beat out Whistler this week to be crowned Canada's favourite " Cure for Cabin Fever," garnering 69 per cent of online votes on Facebook, according to Travelocity. The travel website launched the contest to promote its package deals, allowing participants to map out a winter adventure for its mascot, the Roaming Gnome. The gnome will now travel to Banff National Park to take in some skiing and ride the luge. We just hope he's got a helmet for his little ceramic head.

A real cliffhanger of a tale

Of course, if the gnome does take a spill, he could enter Travel Guard's online competition for " World's Unluckiest Traveller." The travel insurance provider is inviting accident-prone tourists to post their horror stories on its Facebook page, with the unluckiest of travellers eligible to win camcorders and dream vacations. The goal of the year-long campaign is to persuade us that travel insurance is indeed worth buying. After reading about skiers breaking pelvises, sightseers falling off cliffs and cruise ships hitting freighters, we've decided we don't need insurance because we're never travelling again.

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