Brides & Bowties

Sunday, 26 April 2015


First post from a new fantastic blog, Brides & Bowties!













Just a little teaser from the first post...



Can't wait to rave about more from this site.


The Whole World Smiles with You



"When you're smiling
Just keep on smiling

And the whole world smiles with you"




     If you were yuppie in the 70s or early 80s, this tune should get your taste buds flowing, for beer.  Labatt Blue to be exact.

     In the year 1847, a Canadian husband and father by the name of John Kinder Labatt founded Labatt Brewing Company in London, Ontario ("Labatt Brewing Co.”).  In the 150 years since then, Labatt’s beer has seen enormous growth and fame across Canada and the world.  One of its highest points in history came after - and as a result of - the long-running “When You’re Smiling” marketing campaign, which dealt specifically with Labatt Blue beer.  
     The campaign started in the 60s and continued promoting Blue well into the 80s, capturing the attention of millions of people across varying generations (Strategy).  Labatt Blue was one of the first brands to use television advertising, which appears to have paid off in the company’s favour.  After such a successful campaign, Blue became the number one selling beer in Canada in 1979 ("Labatt Brewing Co.”).  

     Below is a recorded clip of one of the first ever television ads in the campaign from 1968, titled “Wharf Party”.  Labatt Blue was originally branded as Pilsener Lager, which explains the unfamiliar lyrics to the jingle; however, the images and aesthetic depicted in the advertisement epitomizes the “When You’re Smiling” Campaign ("Labatt Brewing Co.”).  Over the course of the campaign, aspects of the advertisement were changed, such as the name from Pilsener to Blue, the lyrics, and the colour of the hot air balloon from red to blue, but the sense of fun and happiness is a constant throughout.

  

video
("Wharf Party")

     What’s so strong about this campaign is that its marketing strategies are effective on multiple levels, appealing to a variety of consumer interests and demands.  In all honestly, there doesn’t appear to be a single aspect of the advertisement that is unappealing.  If the same television commercial was played today, with slight technological updates of course, I’m sure it would have the same effect on consumers as it did forty years ago.     
     In one sentence, the campaign can be used to summarize Labatt Blue as the beer of Canadian summers with friends and family.  “Wharf Party” is the perfect depiction of that, with friends out on the water, enjoying good classic fun.  
     The lighthearted music, with relevant lyrics sung by Peggy Lee, appeals to the consumers’ desire for relaxation and happiness, while Blue’s patriotic catchphrase “Canada’s True-Blue Lager” appeals to the patriot’s interest to support Canadian products  (“Wharf Party”).  A classic Canadian summer with a classic Canadian beer.  
     Furthermore, the campaign’s depictions of adventurous summer activities connotes friendship, togetherness, and a refreshing escape from ordinary life.  The commercials’ depictions of young adults in their prime catches the interests of a multitude of generations for the greatest consumer response.  As a direct result, Blue appeals to younger audiences’ admiration; invoking a sense of aspiration to be like the yuppies seen in the ads.  Equally effective, Blue appeals to older audiences’ memories of ‘the good old days’; invoking a sense of nostalgia to be like young adults in the ads once more.  


     Although television marketing has come a long way since the 60s, Labatt’s “When You’re Smiling” campaign remains one of the standout successes in my mind to date.  Advertising has acquired a bad rap since then; with appropriate ethics and morals often being thrown to the wayside in conceptualization and production to achieve greater gains.  Why not go back to fundamentals?  Original television campaigns such as that of Labatt Blue were successful purely because of their brilliant conception and production, without crossing any social lines.  My opinion may not count for much, but I believe we should look back in advertising so that we may move forward in a more positive direction.     

***

Works Cited

"Blue Smiles Along With You".  Labatt Brewing Co.  When You're Smiling Campaign.  1983. 
         Television.

"Labatt Brewing Co.".  Advertising Age.  Crain Communications, 5 Sept. 2003.  Web.  25 Apr. 2015.                         <http://adage.com/article/adage-encyclopedia/labatt-brewing/98740/>.

Strategy.  "50 Years of Labatt Blue".  Strategy.  Brunico Communications Ltd., 1 Oct. 2006.  Web.     25 Apr.         2015.  <http://strategyonline.ca/2006/10/01/bluetimeline-20061001/>.

"Wharf Party".  Labatt Brewing Co.  When You're Smiling Campaign.  1968.  Television.



Praise Nicole Antoinette

Friday, 17 April 2015

     


     When considering my online identity, I’ve been asked to take a look at other bloggers’ voices and how they come across through their writing.  As I have mentioned previously, I believe that my communication strategy is to connect and express my ideas in an honest and entertaining way.  Society is so concerned with censoring, modifying, and editing media that I think people are now seeing increasing value in truly genuine voices.  Everybody is focused on establishing a perfect image, but my goal is to tear that down and cross barriers through writing the world exactly as it is.  
     That being said, my research has led me back to a blog and fitness website that echoes the exact model I have in mind for myself.  This website is called A Life Less Bullshit and it is a series of posts chronicling the blogger, Nicole Antoinette’s journey to becoming a marathon runner.  Although her writing pertains most closely to runners or fitness fanatics, her words of wisdom are just that: words of wisdom.  Her writing is down to Earth and insightful, colloquial and comforting.  Each post is really thought-provoking and inspiring and she shares some really deep ideas while keeping the tone of the article slightly comedic through her vocabulary.  Here’s a sample from her blog to prove to you how she jumps through the computer screen:

     It’s been 22 days since I removed email from my iPhone.
     The problem wasn’t email itself (of course), but rather my relationship to it. I would refresh and refresh, all day long. While watching TV, while waiting in line at the grocery store, while working on creative projects – refreshing and refreshing, anxiously reading each message as it came in.
     And let’s be real, it’s not like I was performing life-saving procedures via email. It’s not as if someone wouldn’t be able to continue on with their day if I didn’t respond within an hour. How important do I think I am? Very, if that judgment is being made based on my past email habits.
     The truth is, I knew nothing terrible would happen if I checked email less frequently. It’s not like I was afraid anyone’s world would come crashing down, and it’s not that I was worried about missing out on a million dollar opportunity. Again, how important do I think I am? So it wasn’t really about that.
     It was about two things: being liked, and feeling busy.
    When you live in your inbox, it’s easy to feel special. People want things! They have questions! I can be helpful!
     If I spend an hour diligently answering emails, that means I was productive, right? Right? RIGHT????
     Because as much as I complain about being too busy, and as often as I lament my lack of free time, it’s all bullshit.

     As you have probably guessed, I’ve never met Nicole Anoinette, nor do I have any idea what she looks like, but this passage from a recent post of hers just oozes personality and charisma.  I cannot think of any other blog that demonstrates such a palpable sense of sincerity.  Her ideas are raw and deep and to-the-point.  As I reader, I can truly tell through her writing that Nicole is sharing her stories for the benefit of us all and I admire her for that.  


     If you haven’t yet been to Nicole Antoinette’s website, please do take a gander over by clicking here.  The world needs more writers like her.  

A Summer Scene

   There are two things I can’t get enough of: new car smell and old paperback books, both of which I happily soak up in the back seat of our 2015 Jeep Cherokee.  We’re going camping, Mom had told us this morning, You, me and your brother.  When she’d sent the two of us to pack, I’d grabbed my favourite lavender t-shirt out of the laundry basket along with a fresh seersucker one-piece swim suit from my drawer.  The rest of my duffel bag I stuffed with books.  Good old books that smell of must and ancient stories.

   Five minutes into the car ride, I pulled out the paperback closest to the top; a classic with countless dog-eared pages and snack stains.  Now, on the corner of Ford and Cornwall, I’m two chapters in, waiting happily for Mom to fill up the Cherokee with enough gas to last the trip.  Car engines are humming nearby, the brittle pages are smooth in my hands, and everything is right in the world for a moment.

   “Vroom vroom, whoooshhhhh!” Jake gurgles beside me, smashing two Hot Wheels into one another.  I unbuckle my seatbelt; it whizzes away as I stretch to flick the A/C off, keeping my thumb inside my book so I don’t lose the page.  The air vent is blurry before my eyes from the pungent smell of gasoline and grease, which seems to be magnified by the heat.  I slam the rest of the air vents shut before settling back into my novel.  No sooner have I crossed my legs underneath me than a miniature hunk of metal in the form of a Corvette collides with the side of my head. 

   “Boom!” Jake yells.  

   He’s lucky I didn’t get a chance to hurtle it back at him since Mom opened the car door just as I snatched the toy car off the ground.  

   “Everyone excited?!” she asks enthusiastically, jamming the key in the ignition.  


   Neither of us answers.  The putrid smell of the gas station is replaced by silence as the Jeep roars to life.   

Sour Cream Glazed Donuts

Sunday, 12 April 2015



If any of you are Canadian, you'll understand the beauty that is Tim Hortons.


You could drink Timmies coffee out of a sweaty running shoe and it would still taste better than Starbucks... (ouch, sorry)

Put it this way: Tim Hortons' coffee and donuts are heaven on Earth and there is no morning duo to replace it.  




And behold, the one, the only, sour cream glazed hunk of love.

(It's the one on the right, wink wink!)

This Timmies donut melts my heart, it's just so delicious.  But yesterday I came across a copycat recipe that I had to try out.  And yes, it worked! It worked!  I have to say it's not exactly a Timmies donut - I couldn't get my hands on any liquid gold unfortunately - but it's a good second.

Here's the recipe, adapted from The Messy Baker:

Ingredients

Sour Cream Old-Fashioned Donuts
2¼ cups cake flour, plus more for rolling and cutting
1½ teaspoon baking powder
¾ teaspoons nutmeg
½ cup sugar
2 tablespoons shortening 
2 large egg yolks
⅔ cups sour cream
1 bottle canola oil for frying

Simplest Vanilla Glaze
3½ cups confectioner's / icing sugar
1½ teaspoon light corn syrup / golden syrup
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
⅓ cup plus 1 tablespoon hot water, (plus more if needed)

Instructions

Sour Cream Old-Fashioned Donuts
Sift flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg together in a medium bowl, and set aside.

In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle, mix the sugar and shortening/vegetable lard for 1 minute on low speed, until sandy. Add the egg yolks, then mix for 1 more minute on medium speed, scraping the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, until the mixture is light coloured and thick.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in three separate additions, alternating with sour cream, mixing until just combined on low speed and scraping the sides of the bowl each time. The dough will be sticky, like cookie/biscuit dough.

Transfer the dough to a clean bowl and refrigerate, covered with plastic wrap/cling film, for 45 minutes (or up to 24 hours).

Using a candy thermometer to measure the temperature, heat oil (at least 2 in/5 mm deep) in a deep fryer, large pot or high-sided frying pan to 325°F/165°C. Roll out the chilled dough on a generously floured counter or cutting board to ½ in/12 mm thick, or about 8 in/20 cm in diameter, flouring the top of the dough and the rolling pin as necessary to prevent sticking. Cut into as many donuts and holes as possible, dipping the cutter into flour before each cut. Fold and gently reroll the dough to make extra holes (working with floured hands makes the dough less sticky), and cut again.
Shake any excess flour off the donuts before carefully adding them to the hot oil a few at a time, taking care not to crowd them. Once the donuts float, fry for 15 seconds, then gently flip them. Fry for 75 to 90 seconds, until golden brown and cracked, then flip and fry the first side again for 60 to 75 seconds, until golden brown. Transfer to a rack set over paper towels/absorbent paper.

Simplest Vanilla Glaze
Place the confectioner’s/icing sugar, corn /golden syrup, salt, vanilla and hot water in a large mixing bowl or in the work bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Using a whisk, or with the machine on low, blend until the mixture is smooth and all of the sugar has been incorporated, scraping the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula if necessary. If the glaze seems too thick, add more water, a teaspoon at a time.

To glaze, dip one side of each hot donut into the warm glaze, and let dry for 10 to 15 seconds before serving.






I sprinkled brown sugar and cinnamon on some and peanut pieces on others but they taste really good just plain!  Let me know how it works out for you or if you discover something else to make them even better.

Business & Brand Identity

Thursday, 9 April 2015



     In a world where we can do business from thousands of miles away, where transactions can be completed over the Cloud, and deals can be struck with strangers, a business’s ability to be successful relies greatly on the first impressions it leaves.  
     If your website doesn’t look professional, customers will simply move on to another hit from Google search.  
     If your company doesn’t conduct business the way its mission statement promised, a transaction can be canceled just as quickly as it was established.
     Indeed, we all have great ideas and innovative products that are sure to catch somebody’s attention.  But nowadays, it’s not a matter of whether your idea has value or not; it’s a matter of how you make people choose you above anyone else.  Hence the newly conceptualized field of branding and digital identity.  

     But before I get off on the notion of branding, here’s the thing:

     Boutique businesses are hard to come by, although that is exactly what our economy needs.  And the pattern of consumer habits over the past few decades leads me to believe that our collective interests will soon lean more toward individual enterprises than big box brands.  

     Think about the average mid-20th century city.  Mom and Pop shops; family bakeries; car repair shops run by a couple of old buddies; local produce; and more.  The majority of the local economy was fuelled by the people around the hub.  As a result, every city and every town had a collective identity different from one another based on the industries and businesses represented within its borders.

     The expansion of Sears marks the inflection point when the economy shifted from “family-run” to corporate heaven.  Since then, the past few decades have seen an exponential rise in the popularity of superstores such as Walmart, Target, and many chain restaurants and stores.  Cities nationwide are now essentially homogenous in the sense that you can be sure to find a Tim Hortons, a McDonalds, and a Walmart in every one of them.  What happened to individual identity?  It’s 2015; our country is overrun with big names and bureaucracy.  Isn’t it time to go back to basics? 
I would have to say that society is in need of an entrepreneurial revitalization.  
The problem is that when individual success if contingent on all sorts of government taxes, and the process of establishing a business is made to be a convoluted ordeal - involving various overlapping government offices requiring redundant amounts of red tape - people cannot do their jobs out of enjoyment.  Rather, we must work simply to make enough money to live comfortably or in some cases, to just live, period. 

     That being said, I am fortunate enough to live in Canada, which provides us greater opportunity to fulfill our own passions through our careers than some other societies might allow.  What I mean by that is that in a positive economy, there is a plethora of industries in which most people can be paid to do the things they enjoy.  However, the need to “put  food on the table” so to speak remains a large deterrent against new entrepreneurial ventures.  

     As gruelling as it may prove to be, becoming an entrepreneur, I’m going to make it my own personal crusade in the hopes of pioneering a new revolution.  Ideally, my business would be one to help other entrepreneurial ventures succeed.  Which brings me back to the notion of branding, since that is where I would come in.  



     If I had to write a personal mission statement for my business, it would go something like this:

Our mission is to use our creative and industry-specific resources to help your entrepreneurial venture reach its full potential.  You provide the business and we will provide you with a  stand-out brand identity fit for success.  

BDWP Creative does not deal in transactions; it deals in relationships where your business visions are transformed into tangible icons of your brand.

Our fuel is your passion for success and our dream is to see your dreams come true.

It all starts with your business’s identity.  Who are you?  BDWP Creative will help you find out.




     Having refined my business’s intentions, I am then able to construct a suitable identity.  After a little brainstorming, here are some key words that I hope to visually convey through my brand.  

  • MODERN
    • businesses will want their brand to be relevant
  • PROFESSIONAL
    • businesses won’t want my support in defining their brand identities if my own business doesn’t emulate the professionalism that they are looking to achieve
  • INSPIRING
    • businesses need to be assured that their goals are attainable 
  • KNOWLEDGEABLE & RESOURCEFUL
    • businesses need to know that putting their brand in our hands will give them access to the greatest human database available
  • EXPERIENCED
    • businesses need to be assured that we don’t just talk the talk, we walk the walk




     As you read through this blog and reflect on my vision, I encourage you to reflect on yours as well.  What do you stand for and what statement do you want to make?  Can your passion be turned into a venture?  

     If so, what would it look like?  Even just pondering these questions can be inspiring.  


     And perhaps, if you do become interested in going out on your own one day, BDWP Creative will be around to work with you.  But for now, I’m just a student and I need to get a degree before I can start making dreams happen!  

Spring Tea Cake

Saturday, 4 April 2015



Earl Grey tea sponge 
+ lemon buttercream
+ homemade strawberry raspberry jam
+ fresh flowers
+ brown sugar crumble







Feeling very British this weekend as I trade in the usual Easter Bunny chocolates for a Spring tea cake instead.




One zesty lemon all zested up and ready to zest!




45 long minutes.




The struggle was real.






Ta da!  Let me know if you want the recipe :)


 
Blogging tips