1. Toronto shop john st. spoofed the industry by imagining the first ad agency devoted entirely to online cat videos. Even though that was a joke, one feline Web star is breaking into advertising: Maru, a big-boned Scottish Fold cat with a penchant for jumping in and out of boxes, has attracted nearly 175 million views on YouTube. Japanese clothing retailer Uniqlo is using Maru to promote its new San Francisco store, with an ad for a game in which Maru will jump into a box to select a prize that each player can redeem at the new store. It is not the first time Maru has appeared in a commercial; his videos were also used with permission in a spot for Fresh Step kitty litter. His commercial appeal has led to revenues for his Japanese owner from a calendar, DVD, and books as well.
2. Hell hath no fury like an unhappy customer. People who have a bad customer service experience are more likely to share that with their friends than with the service provider, and those reports can prevent companies from winning new business, according to the latest Consumerology survey conducted by The Gandalf Group on behalf of ad agency Bensimon Byrne. Of the 1,500 Canadians surveyed, 56 per cent have stopped using a brand or product after a bad experience, and 49 per cent have refused to visit a store or use a product because a friend or family member gave it a bad review. Some industries have a particularly bad track record: in the private sector, telecom companies, law firms and major airlines showed the biggest gaps between customer expectations and the service reality.
3. Your run-of-the-mill internship applicant does not usually cite as a reference, "any woman with a pulse." But the creator behind Dove's "Evolution" ad figures she has a broad audience to vouch for her work. Nancy Vonk is just one of eight top marketing industry executives offering to work as an intern for the highest bidder, to benefit the the National Advertising and Benevolent Society. It's the second year NABS has run the online auction, which begins Friday and runs through Sept. 30, to support its work helping those in the marketing industry who need career counselling, or financial assistance due to injury, illness or unemployment. The prospective intern list also includes DDB Canada chairman and CEO Frank Palmer, Leo Burnett Canada CEO and chief creative officer Judy John, OMD Canada CEO Cathy Collier and others. They will fetch coffee, speak at conferences, and any other activity that does not conflict with their day jobs.
4. Canada's fashion retailers are getting a little push. The "Fashion's Night Out" event was created in New York in 2009 to address flagging consumer confidence and boost the fashion industry during the economic downturn. Now, the brainchild of American Vogue, the Council of Fashion Designers of America and others has come to Canada. Thursday night's event in Toronto was sponsored by MasterCard, offering discounts to cardholders and a VIP shopping event. It's an expansion of MasterCard's sponsorship of fashion events such as Toronto Fashion Week, and its push to connect with local businesses, for example through its "Priceless Cities" initiative and its "Stylicity" program that provided special offers to cardholders at local businesses during Fashion Week.