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Modrobes signs with Toronto Rock lacrosse team

The Toronto Rock lacrosse squad isn’t your typical sports franchise, and Modrobes isn’t your typical fashion brand. That’s why a sponsorship deal between the two entities was a no-brainer for Modrobes founder/designer Steven Saldebus.

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Biking is serious business for Martin’s

People that are into downhill biking are usually seriously into it, and therefore, they’re also seriously into the gear – shocks, grips and apparel. That’s the message conveyed in a new campaign by Toronto agency Flavour for the specialized bicycle shop, Martin’s, of Southampton, Ont. (about 230 kms north of Toronto).

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More Movies means more popcorn

Popcorn and flicks go together as readily as J.Lo and fashion crimes, which is why Alliance Atlantis has picked the popular snack to highlight its More Movies package in a new campaign – the Toronto-based broadcaster’s largest effort to date for its digital services.

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Record labels sing new marketing tunes

‘A whole generation of young people is growing up believing they don’t have to pay for music’ and technology is letting them get away with it. That’s the number-one reason why music sales are plummeting around the world, says Brian Robertson, president of the Toronto-headquartered Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA).
But desperate circumstances often produce desperately creative counter-measures, which is why marketers are coming up with a fascinating variety of fight-back efforts, from anti-piracy education campaigns to a slew of premium and incentive schemes.

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Toy biz plays on retromania

In the 1983 flick Trading Places, a down-and-out Eddie Murphy explains the economics of the hood to his filthy rich co-stars; if he doesn’t return home clutching a G.I. Joe action figure with a ‘Kung-Fu Grip,’ he won’t be getting any action from his wife, who wants to present the coveted plaything to her kid for Christmas.
This scene depicts the renown of the toy way back when, and interestingly enough, Hasbro has just reintroduced the popular 70s ‘Kung-Fu Grip’ function to its 2002 G.I. Joe collection.
But the military man isn’t the only toy making a comeback from earlier decades, as marketers strive to connect with the nostalgic mind-set of parents post 9/11 by unveiling dated properties, often with a contemporary twist for today’s kids. There are a slew of them – Cabbage Patch Kids, Strawberry Shortcake, Incredible Hulk, Care Bears, and Masters of the Universe, to name a few.

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Baseball’s on, but boys of summer still striking out

So there will be a World Series after all. While the ugliest word in sports – strike – has been averted, this year, to put it lightly, has not been good for professional baseball, especially in Canada. We asked a panel of marketing pros for their suggestions on how to save the game in Canada.

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Toronto film fest expands, promotes its brand

Sharp marketing has been a cornerstone in the rise of the Toronto International Film Festival from a mid-level alternative player to one of the major stops on the festival calendar. In the last decade alone, TIFF has evolved into a bona fide brand that would make the top brass at Coca-Cola or McDonald’s proud.

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Film Distribs plan festival marketing strategies

Toronto hosts what is considered the second-largest film festival in the world, but for Canadian filmmakers, the paradox of the Toronto International Film Festival is the odds against homegrown talent finding and winning over buyers in what sometimes seems like a Turkish bazaar.

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Basking in the starlight

How do you hitch a ride on the most glamorous coat-tails of all? You cough up whatever it takes to sponsor activities at a top film festival. Then you break out your glad rags and prepare to party with the glitterati – and with your board of directors when annual report time rolls around and you end up looking like a star.
Film festivals are now seen as such enticing investment opportunities that, beginning next January, 14 major American fests will begin marketing their sponsorships jointly, with multi-venue packages ranging from US$300,000 to US$600,000.

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Brands draw on art in lifestyle campaigns

I walk into a groovy little warehouse space in Kensington Market called Presto. It looks like any Toronto hotspot: a devil-may-care mix of collage art, mismatched vintage furniture and turntables. But as I glance over at the athletic gear lining the walls beneath the graffiti and the huge document which proclaims: ‘This venue is supported by Nike, to support the launch of our Presto brand,’ I realize this is no ordinary hipster hang-out. Welcome to the new age of experiential marketing.

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Second Cup starts up rockin’ promo with Stones

As all working stiffs know, a cup of coffee (or two, or three) in the morning is a shot of much-needed fuel. But for java slingers like Second Cup and arch rivals Timothy’s and Starbucks, driving morning business to their fine caffeine emporiums is an ongoing battle.
Kicking the morning coffee wars up another notch, Toronto-based Second Cup has enlisted some rather unexpected foot soldiers: Mick, Keith, Charlie and Ron of the tireless, rock ‘n’ roll super-band, The Rolling Stones.

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‘You’ve got to get ‘em from hello’

Whatever industry you’re in, if hitting the trade show circuit is a key part of your job, it’s crucial to have an effective game plan for getting the most out of a gruelling exercise.
The stakes are always high at these events. But the biggest, baddest, do-or-die trade shows of all are in the entertainment industry, where cut-throat, multi-million-dollar deal-making turns each trade show into a pressure cooker.

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The mainstreaming of streetball

Beneath the hoop, four brawny, shirtless streetballers are gathered. The one clutching the basketball starts bouncing it as he chats with his chums. Seconds later, the camera shifts to the famous Fruit of the Loom ‘Fruit Guys.’

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Branding in the ‘Sindustry’

For traditional, comfort-based brands, the potential to build long-term competitive differentiation is great. But can the same be said of brands in the categories perceived as more taboo? Can you build brands where either public perception or regulations limit your ability to message directly to the customer?
For ‘sindustry’ brands, such as tobacco, alcohol, gambling and sex, the answer is yes – providing their brand-building initiatives are holistic in nature.

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Too many men on the ice?

It’s a sports fan’s dream. There are now more sports channels on television than there are straight-up news networks in Canada. In fact, thanks to the launch of the digitals last September, there are now a dozen of ‘em, compared to just a handful of news-only channels – and that doesn’t include the sports segments in the regular newscasts. It would appear the jocks have taken over.