Thursday 17 September 2015

Watermelon Milk. Surfin. Has Gone To The Dogs. Burt Reynolds Surfaces. Taylor Swift Corn!


Newest shark bait in California – Dogs on Trays! Watermelon Fermented Milk. Burt Reynolds is alive and attending cowboy beer fests! Taylor Swift Gets Her Own Field of Dreams.  It is Press Release Friday, albeit six days late. A whack of interesting press releases that crossed my desk in the past seven days.

Lifeway Foods announced this week that it has successful launched its new Low-fat Watermelon Kefir drink!
Watermelon Kefir, the company's first summer flavor, generated the strongest sales of any limited-edition kefir in Lifeway's history and will remain on store shelves through September,” reads their press release. “In 2016 the company will also be re-releasing its popular Birthday Cake flavored Kefir in honour of Lifeway's 30th anniversary.
Watermelon Milk.Pumpkin Milk And More!
Kefir is not a well known drink in Canada.  According to Wikipedia Kefir, keefir, or kephir, milk kefir, or búlgaros, is a fermented milk drink made with kefir "grains" and has its origins in the north Caucasus Mountains. It is prepared by inoculating cow, goat, or sheep milk with kefir grains

In California dogs have been taking part in surfing competitions for over a decade, and now pup owners around the world are getting their animals to climb on board too.
Last week the Helen Woodward Animal Center' staged  the 10th annual Surf Dog Surf-A-Thon in San Diego. The phenomenal success of their dog surfing competition has turned 'dogs on surfboards' into a platform to raise life-saving funds and awareness for orphan pets at similar events worldwide.
Helen Woodward Animal Center's canine surf contest is the largest of its kind in the country and featured more than 80 dogs surfing in four different weight class competitions. Winners were selected based upon their ability to ride the waves, have fun and stay on their boards. Celebrities, surf pros and aficionados judged each surFUR heat.
Sur-FUR dogs brush up on their surf skills 
Emmy-nominated Executive Producer Michael Levitt, an avid animal welfare proponent and creator of the groundbreaking nationally televised dog rescue spectacular, FOX's Cause For Paws, served as a costume judge at the event, reads press release issued by the Animal Center. “Teen actor Lou Wegner, is showed his support for the annual Surf Dog fundraiser by serving as a costume judge. The young animal-focused philanthropist has appeared in such movies as Trouble With the Curve (starring Clint Eastwood, Amy Adams, and Justin Timberlake), The Pledge, A Christmas Tree Miracle and many more.

For the past 19 years Summers Farm has dared to be different in Maryland’s agriculture-entertainment industry. This year the farm is daring to be different in their 12-acre corn maze.
Corn Maze:Taylor Swift and Dare to Be Different Message

Every season’s corn-carve challenge hinges on inspirational creativity -- and this year’s attraction depicts one of America’s hottest musical stars who exudes boldness, courage, and passion, reads the farm’s press release. Maze-goers will have to rely on “Taylor-made clues interspersed throughout to find their way out of the cornstalk labyrinth. For Swifty fans, that might not be so easy. The farm has sown over 300,000 corn plants in the field.
This year’s harvest festival, which opens September 26 and runs daily through November 1. The Taylor Swift Maze experience includes hayrides, a pumpkin patch, live music in the silo (don’t look for Taylor there though) and pig races!


Burt Reynolds, a TV and movie star from the last century (Dan August, Deliverance, The Longest Yard, and Smokey and the Bandit) has seemingly dropped out of the public eye, until now!

Boot Hill Casino & Resort and Roundup Rodeo has announced Burt’s celebrity appearance in Dodge City, Kansas this weekend!  The casino is staging a tribute to the Gunsmoke TV Show and has invited back some of the stars, including Burt!
 “Gunsmoke has been part of cultural history for sixty years this September, reads their release. “From 1955 to 1975 families gathered around their television sets to se the latest drama unfold in the Wild West. The series still stands as the longest-running prime time, live action show. Sixty years later, audiences still cheer on the Gunsmoke characters as they bring justice to the streets of historic Dodge City.
Burt Reynolds
Burt Reynolds, who portrayed Quint Asper on the series from 1962-1965, and Buck Taylor, who portrayed Newly O'Brien on the series from 1967-1975 are two of the last three remaining series regulars. Both are scheduled to attend Anniversary events in Dodge City, Kansas.
Reynolds is expected to sign autographs and meet with fans at many of the weekend events including their Wild West Beer Fest, a Jared Daniels Band concert, and an outdoor drive-in screening of some of Gunsmoke’s best episodes!

SHORT PR BLASTS - Gameloft, a leading digital and social game publisher, and Hasbro Inc. announced the launch of smart phone launch of one of Canada’s greatest Games. TRIVIAL PURSUIT & Friends mobile game will be soon available globally on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Android and Windows Phone.
The TRIVIAL PURSUIT & Friends offers players endless fun with fast-paced gameplay wherever they are,” reads the release. With new relevant content, the mobile game invites everyone to get in on the trivia action.
CONQUERING DEATH BY POWERPOINT. Post-secondary students have until October to upload to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter photographs of the most cluttered, crowded and convoluted Power Point slides shown by professors in their classrooms. The winning entry will receive $1,000.
"We started this contest to improve the quality of classroom education," says Eric Bergman, author of 5 Steps to Conquer 'Death by PowerPoint' In a recent press release. "The research is absolutely clear: The more cluttered the slide, the less effective the lecture." 

Tuesday 8 September 2015

Fred And Wilma's House For Sale. Solar Panel Flowers. Baby Jesus Makes Room On The Tree!


Fred and Wilma's home is finally up for sale. Put a solar panel in your flower garden. Will Baby Jesus make room for Yoda on the X-Mas tree? It is Press Release Friday, albeit a few days late. 3 interesting press releases that crossed my desk in the past 7 days.
The Flintstone Home

The Original Flintstone Home
FRED FLINTSTONE’S HOME, 5-MILLION YEARS LATER it is still not in a Rubble. I received an advance notice listing from California based Alain Pinel Realtors. They sent along a press release announcing that the “The Flintstone House” near San Francisco, California will go up for sale next week.
The iconic Hillsborough California landmark was designed in 1976 by architect William Nicholson. “The single family home received its nickname for its unique exterior which boasts multiple stone domes in an organic flow,” says the release.
“The unique appearance of the home is the result of Nicholson’s use of experimental architecture and non-traditional building materials,” continues the presser. “The bubble-like domes were constructed by spraying shotcrete onto steel rebar and mesh frames over inflated aeronautical balloons. Originally painted off-white, the one-of-a-kind building was painted orange in 2007 and now includes a purple accent dome. The exceptional residence has been admired by tourists and travelers alike. However, it wasn’t always loved and initially met resistance in the community.”
Asking price for the three-bedroom, two-bathroom house? $4.2 million. But, if a bidding war develops, expect to pay way more before you can yell “Wilma I am HOMEEEEEE!”

Star Wars for the X-Mas tree
As Retail / Marketing excitement builds for the Dec. 18 release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Hallmark Cards has just announced new tie-in products coming to stores before the movie’s premiere. This new line features heroes and villains from the coming sci-fi film. Hallmark will be selling Star Wars inspired Christmas Cards, Wrapping Paper and Christmas Tree Ornaments.
“The Force Awakens slate from Hallmark kicks off Oct. 3 when the Kylo Ren branded ornament joins the ranks of other Star Wars Keepsake Ornaments on Keepsake Ornament Debut weekend,” reads a Hallmark launch press release. “The chrome-armoured Captain Phasma ornament (one of the Christmas Tree friendly bangles) will become available starting Nov. 6.”
“Greeting cards for all occasions will feature characters and spacecraft from Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and will be available for sending this Fall. Additional Christmas ornaments, including decorative ball sets and sculpted figures of new Star Wars characters will be at participating retailers nationwide.”
Hallmark anticipates a huge response from consumers when the products hit store shelves and on the company’s website. They are already limiting the number of units you can buy at any one time.. So if your children urges you to jet over to the mall and attempt to fight you neighbours for that Star Wars Christmas“stuff” remember what Yoda says - “Do. Or do not. There is no try.”


The Smartflower Garden Power Plant

In just one hour a new backyard solar panel gadget can be installed and automatically tracking sunlight to provide power to your home. And best yet, this green machine looks like a giant metal flower!
The makers of smartflower™ sent out a press release last week announcing a backyard friendly solar panel system that looks like some futuristic robot flower. “ With smartflower™, we have created the world’s first all-in-one plug & play photovoltaic system” that will cheaply generate electricity for your home or cottage.
“Smartflower™ follows the sun by means of GPS controlled tracking, even in cloudy conditions. It is possible to find the position of the sun at any location worldwide. This ensures that smartflower™ always provides the highest possible output (of electricity)” continues the release. “It is mobile! And this is an essential advantage in comparison to conventional systems. If you move house, simply take your private solar power plant along with you.”
As the Beatles say – Here Comes the Sun and Power to the People. The release doesn’t mention how much the Sunflower sells for. Oh by the way, it comes in the colour of your choice.

LITTLE BYTES: Maureen Downey, named the "Sherlock Holmes of Wine" by Bloomberg ,issued a press release which announces the official launch of, the first  of its kind resource for sellers, buyers and producers of fine wine.  
The Sherlock Holmes of Wine
The aim of the subscription service is to raise awareness of wine fraud and counterfeiting issues in the wine trade and among consumers. “The mission of the site is to make it difficult for wine fraudsters to thrive by raising awareness and knowledge, as well as increasing due diligence,” reads the release. “The ultimate goal is to end wine counterfeiting and fraud, creating a more transparent and authentic global wine marketplace.”
Unfortunately for me the site doesn’t consider that there is any danger of box wines being counterfeited.
High school athletes who play on sports teams smoke tobacco products at a lower rate than non-athletes, but use smokeless tobacco at a higher rate, according to a press released by the US based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Chew down on this – “the lower use of combustible tobacco products might result from athletes' awareness of how smoking can hurt athletic performance. The higher use of smokeless tobacco (ie chewing tobacco and snuff)  suggests athletes may perceive these products as harmless, socially acceptable, or perhaps even as a way to boost athletic performance.”
“However,” continues the release “smokeless tobacco contains nicotine and cancer-causing chemicals and may increase the risk of death from heart disease and stroke. Notable athletes with a history of smokeless tobacco use have been diagnosed with or died from oral cancer.”

Sunday 6 September 2015


How to say cheese in your very own TIFF selfie

The family that shops together selfies together for TIFF

The 40th annual Toronto International Film Festival starts in 4-days, but, for the social marketing wing of the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC)  their sponsored  Film Festival guerilla marketing campaign has long been underway.  
At the always popular Saturday morning market at the downtown Toronto St Lawrence Market, the bank's marketing team was on the job early. A team of young workers quickly set up a step-and-repeat wall covered in TIFF and RBC logos. The wall was framed with dark blue movie theatre curtains, two movie theatre style sign boards and a deep blue carpet. Shoppers were encouraged to walk the carpet and get their pictures taken against the logo wall.
"Shouldn't the carpet be red?" asks one woman as she stood in front of the wall waiting to get her 15-seconds of fame.
" No, our bank's colour is Blue. Blue is the new Red (Scotiabank's colour is red)," explained of the RBC TIFF  street team. 
No matter the carpet colour, shoppers streaming by the installation took their turns in front of the logos. Perky marketing people take "selfie" pictures using the smart phones, tablets and cameras of the shoppers.  Pictures taken they are given a chance to get a gift of either a $5-off movie ticket, or a small sample bag of flavoured Kernel popcorn.
The team has taken thousands of selfies this week in the downtown core. They say they are trying to get the "buzz on" for the popular 9-day September movie festival. People who get their pictures taken are encouraged to post those pictures to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.  Even though the back wall is devoid of movie images and is simply a corporate tarted up ad, no one seems to mind.
The campaign is cheap, cheerful and mildly fun.  But will it work? Unless someone like Tom Cruise stops by for a selfie, it is unlikely that any of the pictures the team takes will get posted and go viral.  And, it can work against them - check out my TIFF monkey shot.  I am wearing my own guerilla marketing logo campaign for Scotiabank and the Toronto Caribbean Carnival. And, as you can see, my version is going viral!

Stephen Weir stealthily promotes Scotiabank for the RBC cameraperson