Sizzling (and fizzling) trends

One-stop meal shopping, radio, hyper-speed and donuts are hot while square corners, Facebook, QR codes and cupcakes are not.

It’s hard to navigate the ever-evolving marketing trends. Jason Dubroy, VP managing director at DDB’s Toronto-based shopper marketing agency, media maven Lauren Richards, founder of Toronto-based consultancy Pollin8 and creative guru Zak Mroueh, CEO of Toronto agency Zulu Alpha Kilo, share their thoughts on what’s hot and not.


One-stop meal shopping: It’s all about in-store meal solutions, Dubroy says, which Unilever’s Knorr’s “What’s for Dinner” campaign did pairing all ingredients (including non-Unilever products, like meat) next to recipe cards in a single display.

Radio: Richards says radio is the hot place to advertise. With so many distractions, where else do you have a captive audience than when people are driving alone in the car?

Hyper speed: Brands are getting nimble to stay relevant by putting out ads directly tied to newsy events, says Mroueh, like Oreo’s Super Bowl blackout ad or Workopolis’ print-based cartoons that play off the day’s news.

Donuts: Every major city in Canada now boasts at least one gourmet donut shop, and with Food Network’s Donut Showdown, Dubroy says it’s moved into the mainstream.


Square corners: Who knew – rounded corners are easier on the eyes. Hard edges in stores make us avert our eyes, Dubroy says, because as kids we’re conditioned to avoid anything sharp.

Facebook: More than 1.5 million Canadians disconnected from Facebook as of April, while new social properties continue to pop up, intensifying competition.

QR codes: Everyone is touting the (continued) death watch of QR codes, says Mroueh. First, you have to hope people have a QR reader, then they have to take the time to try and scan, and then still feel engaged enough to read the content. You lost us at “take the time….”

Cupcakes: This town is only big enough for one deliciously sweet treat.