Skip to main content
the mix

Photos of pigeons in Toronto.Tibor Kolley/The Globe and Mail

Free beer – for a song

For Canada Day last year, Molson Coors Brewing Co. built a beer fridge that could only be opened by scanning a Canadian passport. This year, just after landing an award in Cannes for it, the company has revamped the patriotic campaign. It is asking Canadians to sing for their suds.

The fridge has now been installed with software that can detect whether people sing the national anthem correctly. Once a successful rendition of O Canada is complete, the door opens and free beer awaits.

The campaign, created by ad agency Rethink, has taken many forms this year in some of Molson's most high-profile marketing. The fridge has been to a number of events, including the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia; it was sent to the remote Gili Islands in Indonesia to give a Canadian living there a taste of home. The company has said the campaign helped it to grow market share.

The karaoke fridge will be in Ottawa for Canada Day.

Slipping in the standings

Canada has always been a relatively small market for advertising. But its status is about to shrink even further. Within the next two years, the growth of emerging advertising markets will mean that Canada falls out of the top 10 list of countries with the largest global advertising spending. According to projections from ad buying firm ZenithOptimedia, Indonesia will bump Canada out of 10th place by 2016, and Russia will also surpass Canada to take 11th place.

Further up the list, China is expected to overtake Japan this year as the world's largest advertising market behind the United States.

Advertising spending around the world is getting a major boost this year from – what else? – the World Cup. All that money spent – to get Shakira to shimmy for a yogurt brand, to catch Neymar in competition with a rally car driver, and to have Cristiano Ronaldo appear in just about every ad out there – is making a dent in marketers' wallets. ZenithOptimedia estimates that the World Cup will account for $1.5-billion (U.S.) in additional advertising spending around the world this year. That will boost advertising's growth to 5.4 per cent in 2014, from 3.9 per cent growth last year.

A messy message

What's worse, spam or pigeon poop?

As noted on this page last week, Canada's new anti-spam law has created more spam, as businesses scramble to get consent to contact people ahead of the Canada Day deadline. But one Toronto advertising agency is attempting to reframe the issue.

Rather than another boring e-mail explaining the law and asking for formal permission, agency Giants & Gentlemen sent out an offer for its very own "poop free solution." The e-mail suggested that people agree to remain on its list, in order to avoid the mess of that natural alternative method of contact, the carrier pigeon. The missive came complete with a picture of a friendly pigeon and a number of ominous white splatters. It was lighthearted, different than all the other e-mails crowding consumers' inboxes, and fired a small shot at a law that businesses complain is leaving them without a reasonable, modern way to get in touch with potential customers.

Not to mention, it sold people on a relatively undesirable idea – mass e-mails. Now that's marketing.