Author Archives: jeffbutler

Branding lessons from Santa Claus

I had the most extraordinary experience the other day. I accompanied Santa Claus on a visit through Toronto’s hip West Queen West neighbourhood, singing and playing Christmas songs on the guitar behind him as he handed out candy canes and had his photo taken with shoppers and passersby. Witnessing the instant effect Santa has on people […]

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Branding Lessons from Santa

I had the most extraordinary experience the other day. I accompanied Santa Claus on a visit through Toronto’s hip West Queen West neighbourhood, singing and playing Christmas songs on the guitar behind him as he handed out candy canes and had his photo taken with shoppers and passersby. Witnessing the instant effect Santa has on people […]

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Canadian wins in CBRE Urban Photography Awards

The real estate/consulting firm CBRE has an annual urban photography contest every year with entries and awards from all over the world. Canadian Christopher Martin won for the Americas division. I’ve posted a couple more pics and here is the link to the full Winners Gallery on the CBRE site as well as Christopher Martin’s site

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Power Workers Union

These commercials were done for the Power Workers’ Union of Ontario to get the personal stories of the people of Kenora who would be most affected by the closing of the local mill due to power costs. I interviewed  families in Kenora, the Mayor and workers at the mill to get very human, very touching […]

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The softening of a cheese brand

I first ran into Balderson’s cheese in the early 1990s. J.M. Schneider was one of our clients, and I was in a specialty foodie store with someone who had worked selling their cheeses to stores. He said to me “if you like cheese, this is the best brand to get”. I figured he knew what […]

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Yes, BellMedia, I think scolding people will work

Last week the new President of BellMedia, Mary Ann Turcke, decided to launch her public awareness in spectacular fashion in her first speech – to the Canadian Telecom Summit – by suggesting that what would stop Canadians from using false addresses etc. to access and enjoy the much bigger selection of content on Netflix USA […]

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Apple, Spotify (and Pandora and Rdio) and CDs

I spent 5 years (from 2007 – 2012) trying to cobble together financing to launch a national TV channel in Canada of independent/emerging music and met a lot of smart people with a lot of smart, well informed thoughts about the future of music distribution and sales. This was in a world caught between CDs […]

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Thinking outside the box…and inside the kettle

‘Let’s think outside the box here’ is one of the trite cliches trotted out every now and then to encourage the incubation of fresh ideas, products, services and ways of approaching challenges. A laudable sentiment, for sure, but unfortunately a lot of the ‘out of the box’ thinking that is supposed to arise from these ‘brainstorming […]

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The problem with internet advertising: 2

I’ve written about this before, and it still confuses me. I know for sure that Google and lots of other companies that want to decide which advertising I am shown when I go to a website know all kinds of information about my browsing habits. But when I look at the ads presented to me, […]

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Target’s fail and the Canadian psyche

Plowing through all of the analyses of why Target didn’t succeed in Canada (as well as a couple of opinions that said they would have succeeded if they’d only been able to hang in there and keep losing money for another 5 years or so) I was struck by two themes: 1: That they just […]

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The difference between Brand and Branding

The past couple of weeks I’ve been helping out a couple of friends and relatives launching businesses and in chatting with them, the subject of ‘branding’ came up. Everyone told them they needed ‘branding’ ‘What’s your branding?’ ‘Have you done your branding?’ ‘Who’s doing your branding?’ ‘You have to have good branding.’ Of all the […]

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The new mantra: IWWIWWIWI

I’m not really one for acronyms. One of the best lines I ever heard about them was years ago when I asked a tech guy what FTP or something stood for and he replied: ‘It’s just another TLA’. It had already taken up most of the gumption I had to look like a fool and […]

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Isn’t it not ironic

I was moved to write this post about irony because an announcer in one of the ALCS baseball games I have been watching lately noted that some Famous Baseball Player A played in a game and lost to another Famous Baseball Player B in a championship game and then they had kids and then those […]

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The Cellphone, the Landline and the Skype

Today I was in a conference call – three people – and what happened made me realize how far the world of communications has changed in just a few years. Two of us were on Skype. We had arranged to add the third person by calling their office. Person three doesn’t work at a huge […]

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Foster’s Garden Party: Writer

  When Foster’s Lager was launched in Canada, the decision was made to write Canadian versions of the very popular and effective British campaign with Aussie Paul Hogan poking fun at the snooty British ‘toffs’. I was asked to be the writer on the Canadian campaign in conjunction with Art Director Derek Chapman and we […]

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The problem with internet advertising

I heard a very smart person on the CBC today chatting about big data and what advertisers know about us, and how they use it. I am not about to jump into the fray about the ethics or morality of how social networks and websites and advertisers gather and use information about current and potential […]

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A very cool advertising format

I saw a very cool advertising format on television yesterday, on yesTV of all channels. I hadn’t heard of yestv and after a little Googling I was surprised to find out that it is the  former Crossroads  Television – let’s just call it the Christian Channel – that is owned by Crossroads Christian Communications, and […]

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Right to Play: Story Editor/Writer

  Johann Koss is the founder of Right To Play, a charity which uses sport to bring the semblance of normal life to refuge camps, war-torn and other third world communities. As writer of the CTV documentary ‘A Team for Peace’ I worked with Johann and he asked me to help him develop this presentation video. […]

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Women’s College Hospital: Director

    One of a series of three commercials done for the Women’s College Hospital using the words of the real doctors to position it as a leader in new medical philosophies and methodology. I also directed the corporate presentation, a 5-minute video that included interviews and scripted portions by the President of the hospital […]

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Blue Jays: Writer

  When the Toronto Blue Jays got into the World Series, I created a newspaper campaign that used a red and white baseball with a maple leaf on it as the mnemonic. And when they won that first title, Bill Vronsky of Labatt got all of the Blue Jay players to sign the ball that […]

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