Understanding Successful Advertising.

We continue our look at “advertising for dummies” by taking a look at how quickly careless advertising can backfire.

Argentina VS Brazil… Fails To Perform.

Anyone who follows World Cup Football (Soccer) knows that tensions run high and rivalries are deeply ingrained. These rivalries almost always spill over and out of the arena and are often reflected in the various advertising campaigns.

Past rivalries have seen some very “interesting” ad campaigns between rivals. Consider this little exchange between Argentina and Brazil. The top ad was Argentina’s opening shot, the bottom was Brazil’s response after Argentina “failed to perform” in such a way as to “stick it to” Brazil.

Oops, looks like Brazil had some performance issues.

Oops, looks like Brazil had some performance issues.

France Throws A Few Stones At Ukraine, Forget They Live In A Glass House…

For the upcoming Ukraine VS France Football match French fans were creating various posters of their chicken mascot showing dominance over other teams (in France the Rooster is one of France’s national animals… yes we know the irony and humour in France being represented by a chicken). Needless to say the campaign chucked a few stones towards the Ukraine who responded quite quickly with their own little ad.

The left is one of the French ad’s the right was the Ukraine’s response.

France VS Ukraine... Oh and they are playing a football match also!

France VS Ukraine… Oh and they are playing a football match also!

We have one word: “Owned”.

Consider The Backfire.

When advertising, one needs to always consider the various angles and possibilities of a backfire.

Consider it like this. When a parent is choosing names for their newborn, they often consider the many nicknames that can go along with it. “Ben” for example will 99% of the time result in such nicknames as: “Bendover, Benjamin Franklin, Bent, Bender, Bendy etc” (no none are very original). Guarding against nasty nicknames is a very common thought process for new parents.

Any instance of communication with the public (advertising, PR etc) must ponder things in much the same way. Angles need to be considered, public perception of events and materials need to be understood and the overall message being communicated must be honed appropriately. What could go wrong? What leverage may it provide your rivals?

History is riddled with ad campaigns that have backfired violently, damaging the brand they are meant to build up. This is only amplified by the wide-spread use of Social Media to share and spread the failure.

A campaign can start with good intentions but spiral quickly out of control if not properly researched and planned. Try as we may however, we cannot always plan for every possible outcome. To illustrate this, let’s return back to the metaphor of naming your child. I knew a young man whose parents named him Michael Hawk. Not so bad right? Until you start calling him Mike…. and then say his full name out loud, Mike Hawk. Go ahead and say that (quietly) to yourself.

Not exactly the name you want called out when stepping out onto the field for the first time or during role-call in a small high school. Let’s just say the rest of his first year was very good for “character development”.

The point we are trying to make is that one can only do their very best to plan for every possible outcome of an advertising / marketing campaign. You can only do your very best but YOU MUST DO your very best. Careless advertising can quickly backfire (as we see in the Football ad’s above). Consider your audience, consider what is appropriate and what is taboo, consider your wording and then polish your message.

Then fire away.

Just don’t use a chicken as your mascot.

Transition Marketing Services is a small business marketing firm in the Okanagan. Our passion Small Business Marketing. Educating and equipping small business owners with the tools and strategies to succeed. We have made it our priority to know Specialized Marketing. We keep up to date on what is new, what is available and what makes the most sense for businesses of all sizes and backgrounds. We recognize that every Small Business is unique, and their Marketing needs to be as well. Visit us at our website and let us know how we’re doing or if you have any questions.


#spammers named and shamed!

Taken from the great Andrea Britton’s original article. We recommend viewing the entire post here: #spammers named and shamed!.


Are you spamming?

Is spamming and promoting becoming one and the same?

Know this: You are wasting your own time and others and you are not achieving anything.

The internet has opened up a world of connection and enables you to show someone on the other side of the world what you are doing which is utterly fabulous, but have you considered whether they actually want to know?

When I was ‘learning the ropes’ on Twitter I got told off for shamelessly promoting my book; “hello! read my new book at ……..” It got no attention (apart from someone telling me off), no retweets or mentions. I tweeted about an issue in the book and that was a different story.

Mashable recently reported that social media spam increased 355% in the just the first half of 2013, it’s getting out of control and we have to put a stop to it! So, to get to the root of the problem, I thought it might be helpful to offer up a list of what is considered spam, in my opinion and what is not.  Here’s what I got in just a day and my interpretation…

1. Facebook: “XXXXX link. Listen to my new track, hope you like it” equivalent to sending a tape into Sony in the 80s – it will maybe make it to the right desk then collect dust.

2. Twitter: “DM: Hi thanks for the follow, now find me on Facebook!”:  Why? Lack of personality, generic and no effort needed to send that one! I won’t bother.

3.: Email: From”The XXX is out! October Edition” A time saving tool, yes,  but completely defeats the object of content sharing/marketing and building relations. I’ve used this myself in the past out of curiosity, but times up. We don’t want an automatic information collecting machine. It needs to be streamlined and personal to promote conversation. Ask yourself, does anyone actually get in touch with me about it? I very much doubt it.

spam4. Website: Comment “I am fat man”.  (Yes. Really)

5. WhatsApp: “My video is now live, watch here!”. Very unlikely unless it was from Prince. That’s unlikely too. Who are you and how did you get my contact number?

6. Twitter: “You must see this link..XXXX” – Must I? Is it going to change my life? Possibly should have told me why to be in with a chance of a click through. Delete.

7. Twitter: “Watching your calories? Avoid these drinks like the plague XXX”. No I’m not on a diet and if I was, I still wouldn’t like to receive a text reminding me that I am.

8: Linkedin: “Please check out my new single released soon.” Linkedin is not the arena for promoting your latest track nor is that the way to do it!


The Marketing ToolBox: Advertising In The “Loo”

Great... now I am craving toast!

Great… now I am craving toast!

Minding My Business & Taking A Pee. But There Was This Toast Staring At Me…

Alright we’re no mother goose so we’ll stop with the rhymes and get down to business.

Consider the ad on the left. It makes a valid point. Arguably a weird one… but valid nonetheless.

This ad was positioned over the urinals in a men’s bathroom.

Now let’s face it you are likely going to be standing in front of this ad for a minimum of 30 seconds (longer if your chugged that “team pitcher” all by yourself). You are either going to be staring at a blank wall, this piece of toast, or a carefully thought out and targeted advertisement.

Advertising works.

Consider this. If you had just finished a pint with your mates and found yourself taking a much-needed bathroom break, what ads might appeal to you?

  • A Taxi Service?
  • A Late Night Pizzeria?
  • A Reminder That Next Week is Fight Night?
  • A New Mobile App?

Advertising works and the options for ad placements are limited only by the imagination. If there is a venue on which to place an ad, then there is a niche market that it will appeal to.

What are some ideas for ad placement areas that would work for you?

The Marketing Toolbox: Have You Heard About “BenchAds”?

Transition marketing ServicesAt Transition Marketing, our passion is small business. Any day that we get to assist a fellow small business in some small way, is a good day. It gets even better when we can provide a small business some exposure AND showcase some marketing tools in the process.

Creating Advertising Opportunities. provided just that opportunity. They are a locally run company within the Okanagan / Shuswap area that provides exactly what the name indicates – advertising on benches. They provide a unique, budget friendly marketing and advertising opportunity to the local small business community. Needless to say when we heard about this business, we knew we had to investigate.

We had a chat with Carene Wooster the owner and operator of to see what marketing and advertising value they could add to local small business.

Based in Salmon Arm, BC, BenchAds is a family owned and operated company. The family has been connected with the business for as long as the benches have existed. Carene’s grandpa was in fact the one who originally fabricated the bus benches back when Salmon Arm’s Transit System first began.

Bus Bench AdvertisingTransition Marketing Services

The premise of the advertising is quite simple. Since the inception of the Salmon Arm transit system there has been a series of benches located through the city. Each of these benches provides a well situated, public advertising spot. BenchAds owns and controls these spots and for a small price you get to use them.

They are similar to the billboards you see along the highway, only slightly smaller and located in prime areas in the downtown core. They are priced at a fraction of what a highway billboard costs and provide a high level of exposure to both foot and vehicle traffic.

Outdoor advertising has undeniably always been effective. BenchAds provides this opportunity to the local business community at a highly competitive rate. If that is not enough to pique your interest then consider the following:

  • Unlike TV, radio or online advertising, viewers cannot change, mute or close the ad. If they are passing by the bench, then the ad is viewed – 24/7.
  • It creates brand exposure in new areas where none may have existed before.
  • Outdoor advertising is being seen by an increasing amount of traffic.
  • As mass transit increases in popularity BenchAds will increase in exposure.
  • According to the OAAA, outdoor advertising is one of the most cost effective advertising options in existence and provides a high ROI (return on investment).
  • Recent reports by Brandscience (via CBS here) found that for each dollar spent on out-of-home advertising, an average of $2.80 was received in sales.

Want more? Check out these case studies on outdoor advertising via the Pattison Group:

Let’s face it, small businesses need budget friendly marketing and advertising tools. offers just that; a unique alternative outdoor advertising option. One that places outdoor advertising within the reach of small businesses that could never afford that coveted highway billboard.

We’ll end with a note here from owner Carene Wooster:

We encourage our advertisers to advertise on more than one location. Personally I know that when I see a hamburger on a sign I honestly have a profound drawing to eat a hamburger!! Now, what happens if I’m driving around town and I see this big juicy hamburger 5 different times all from the same vendor? When I finally do decide to go get that tasty treat where’s the first place I’m going to think of? Advertising on multiple locations has a much greater branding effect.
One of advertising’s best kept secrets, bus benches can easily be overlooked when businesses are looking at their marketing strategies. People seem to get caught up in all the other forms of advertising and others naively think the viewing audience is limited to those who use the transit system! The fact is, everyone sees them! Next time you’re out and about, see for yourself! -Carene Wooster – owner & operator
For more info check out our website or like us on Facebook

Building Consumer Trust Through Consistency

Transition Marketing Services

Which is it? Consumers need to be able to trust a brand and it’s products / services.

Trust in business is absolutely crucial, no more so than for small business, where losing just a handful of customers can put you into ruin. To build a reputation of trust, you must be consistent in all aspects.

Consumers need to know what to CONSISTENTLY expect from you and your brand. They need to know that they can trust you and your brand to deliver properly and EVERY TIME. It is almost always the seemingly small inconsistencies that plague the small business owner, ask yourself:

  • Are you faithful in the little things?
  • Do you have a reputation for treating all customers equally well, regardless of purchase?
  • Is your service always good or is it hit and miss?
  • Do they wait until a specific employee is there or does your entire team consistently service them?
  • Can they expect better prices consistently on specific items or is it a waste to even check your store?

The main question to ask yourself is can they trust their hard-earned dollars to your expertise?

Or are they simply wasting their time?

Build customer trust through consistency and you will build an effective brand. Be consistent. Be honest. Treat customers with respect and always do the right thing.

What’s in a name? The Marketing Behind The Naming of Luxury Automobiles VS Regular Ones

Disclaimer: Recently on Reddit a discussion took place revolving around the question: Why do auto makers like Toyota, Nissan, Volkswagen, Honda, Ford name their cars something like Camry, Versa, Passat, Accord, Fusion; while luxury auto makers like Lexus, Infiniti, Audi, Acura, BMW only name their cars using a series of letters and numbers like RX, G35, A4, MDX, 328i?

One particular user /u/gaqua had incredibly informative things to say about it and was able to describe much of the market research and background behind these decisions. The following is this user’s comment which solidly articulates the product and market research, and many of the thought processes that take place when choosing a product name. The comment has been copied in completion below and has not been edited by us in any way. The link to the original post is here.


What /U/Gaqua Had To Say About The Market Research Behind Product Names:


“This is a huge part of it, and it’s based on solid market research.

“Premium” products and the companies produce them want you to focus on the brand, which is why very high-end items (or perceived high-end items) typically have model numbers.

In fact, Nissan, Toyota, and Honda all came to this conclusion in the mid to late 80s when they launched their premium brands (Infinity, Lexus, and Acura) respectively.

Those Acura still had names at the beginning.

This has evolved over time, in the past, high-end products still had names. Lincoln Continental, Cadillac El Dorado, etc.

You can sometimes see variants of this approach outside the auto industry.

For example, Apple does weird little sub-brands, but almost never change them. Very rarely do they add a real name.

iMac (Macintosh sub brand)
iPhone 3G, 4, 4S, 5, etc (iPhone sub-brand)
iPod 40GB, etc. (due to the tremendous success of iPod, they had sub-sub-brands, iPod Mini, iPod Classic, iPod Touch, iPod Shuffle, etc)
Macbook (Pro as a variant)
Apple TV (no variants)
In fact, Apple is so ubiquitous that the name “Apple” doesn’t even need to be used much anymore since everybody knows “Mac”, “iPod/Phone/Pad”, etc, are Apple products. Kind of like how GM doesn’t call it a General Motors Chevrolet Camaro. They let the GM part stay out of the marketing name.

There are a few basic assumptions we see today:

Very few people will ever use more than one or two words to describe a product. “I drive a Corvette”, or “I have an iPhone”, for example. You might see “I have a Samsung Galaxy” or “I drive a Toyota Camry”, but you’ll almost never see the 3rd word. “I have a Samsung Galaxy S2” or “I won a Toyota Camry LE” or whatever. The third word is usually reserved as a trim level or modifier.
The addition of a “model number” adds an aire of performance/technical prowess.
Part of this comes, in the US at least, from the way the military names their hardware. With the giant US defense budget and the idea that the US military is driving technology and research & development, the US public subconsciously has heard about all the high-end military hardware referred to by model numbers for years.

The M16, the M1A1, the F22, the SR71, the A10, the B2. These model numbers denote technology and performance in the US and as such, in the US especially, other companies have tied into that and used a very similar “letter followed by numbers” naming scheme. Auto manufacturers are the most obvious. Camera manufacturers do variants of this too. Nikon D700, Canon 400D, etc. Why don’t they use something like the “Nikon SuperPhoto” or “Canon UltraDef” or something? They keep those at the low-end. CoolPix and Powershot. The high end gets model numbers.”


Important to note is that the processes outlined above pertain to every industry, not just the automobile sector. There is a great deal of research that goes on behind the scenes of all of your favorite products. /U/Gaqua touches on information that applies to every business and the decisions they make when choosing names for their products and services.

Creating Experiences That Customers Share – Brand Advocates


We found this online. It was titled: “Why I love Virgin airlines”.

This little bit of fun on the part of a business resonated so well with a consumer, that he shared it online with millions. He instantly became an advocate for this brand by providing a direct “word-of-mouth” referral for Virgin.

“Word-of-mouth-marketing” is in fact a “thing” (it even has a lame acronym: WOMM). Although it works in a very similar fashion to “Referral Marketing” it is not identical and is arguably more effective. Why? for one the party making the referral is doing so without any profit to self.

And it is the selfless referral of a brand or business that resonates most with consumers. To see, hear, read or otherwise digest another consumer’s positive experiences speaks more deeply than thousands of dollar in advertising ever will. Consumers tend to trust their peers first and businesses second. When a fellow consumer provides a positive referral, they are taken at their word.

So how do you create these referrals? By providing experiences.

Good experiences.

Funny experiences.

Experiences that make good stories.

It’s the little things that we as businesses do. The little things that show our human side and tells customers: “Hey we’re just like you!”. Provide experiences that customers will want to share.

Just remember that it swings both ways and bad experiences are just as easily shared.