Throwback Thursday: Camay’s creepy old commercial is just wild

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Camay's creepy old commercial is just wild. And not in a good way.

In our quest to find the quirkiest and most culturally significant videos of days past and present, we have come across some pretty strange stuff. We’ve found Scott Hoy, we’ve found awkward Jeff Goldblum, and of course, we’ve found Marlene. For the most part, we highlight videos out of love, especially the classic ones. But we recently found one creepy old commercial that was so awkwardly gross we just had to share it. Let’s all cringe together at Camay’s wildflower soap commercial.

Let’s just walk through it bit by bit, okay?

First, before we even start on the action and the dialogue, get a look at the pea-soup coloured bathrobe the man is sporting. As a general rule to advertisers, if you’re not sure if something crosses the line into creepy territory, add a bathrobe and you’ll know for sure.

But now onto the action. First, why is the woman asked to wear a blindfold? What kinda sick 50 Shades stuff is this? It’s all so elaborate just to smell some soap. Unless the man wanted the woman to think he actually brought her wildflowers or fancy perfume. “Hah, just kidding! It’s soap from the drugstore!” (And really, if they’re gonna use a blindfold, why is that one so cheap and shoddy looking? This looks like someone cut up an old T-shirt).

So now that the lady knows it’s plain ol’ cheap Camay, he starts… bathing her face in it?

“What are you doing?” What does it look like he’s doing? He’s scrubbing your pores clean! And should you really be putting heavily fragranced body soap on your face? This was, of course, prior to the era of awareness surrounding all the chemicals in soap, and rules around depicting nudity in commercials may have forced them to keep it above the shoulders.

Still, there has to be a better way to show how to use the soap than to just slather her jaw in it, right? It looks like he’s prepping her for a hot shave.

“Mmm, now I really smell the wildflowers!” Yeah, of course you smell the wildflowers. Because he’s washing your face with it! Enjoy your breakouts, lady.

“To me,” says gravelly-voiced pea-soup bathrobe man, “It just smells wild.” Apparently, it doesn’t smell like total humiliation. Now kiss your wife on her soap beard!

This commercial is so creepy and so awkward it actually makes that weird phase Herbal Essences went through in the 90s where women would squeal with erotic delight over their shampoos seem normal.

For the record, we were so entertained/disturbed by this creepy old commercial that we had to question whether it was real or not. Not only was it real, but Camay made essentially the exact same commercial with a brunette man and woman (this time with a navy bathrobe). Still creepy.

On the different varieties of bullshit

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We got really, really into creating this anti-bullshit infographic.

We’re known to be a little blunt when it comes to video, marketing, and, well, anything we think we know a thing or two about. And that means we have zero tolerance for some things — mediocrity, complacency, bullshit. We know it’s not “PC,” but we get a little intense sometimes.

When we put together our most recent infographic, we started thinking about a subject we really love — authenticity. We’ve talked a lot before about authenticity versus polish. Sometimes one is more appropriate than the other. But then we got to talking about what it really means to be authentic, and we realized that the natural enemy of authenticity is, well, bullshit.

In developing the infographic we wanted to make sure we were giving the most genuine advice possible. We really feel that the best way to know what to do is to look at what not to do and show how to avoid it. To go along with this infographic (which looks pretty fine, if we do say so ourselves), we wanted to identify some of the different kinds of bullshit people put out every day.

Bullshit method number one: Omit and avoid

You could be bullshitting by omitting truths and avoiding the tough questions and having a knack for spinning any conversation in the direction you want it to go (and away from challenges). This is a classic maneuver in politics or for anyone who has a guard-dog PR firm behind them.

The problem with this is that people know when questions are not answered. It’s just awkward, and downright cringe-worthy when a person thinks they’re being clever by how creatively they avoid a question or steer out of a tough situation. It’s pretty simple: you either answer a question or you don’t. So if you mess up, fess up, and if you aren’t able to answer a question, just say that.

Have a laugh at this video of British broadcaster Iain Dale and some of his favourite non-answering politicians throughout his career (the good stuff starts at 0:22).

Bullshit method number two: Overstating your qualifications

Everyone wants to look good. Everyone wants to boast about the things they can do and have done. And if that means claiming to be an expert in something you studied for about a day, what’s the harm in that, right?

We shouldn’t have to explain that there’s plenty of harm in exaggerating your qualifications or over-playing your experience with something. When push comes to shove and you’re asked to demonstrate, you’ll surely be exposed. Pro-tip, it’s better for you in the long run to step back and admit your shortcomings than to end up becoming known as someone who exaggerates and can’t be trusted — or someone who thinks they can fool experts.

Last year, when Free People created this commercial to promote their new dance wear line, the poorly-trained actress they hired might have fooled the untrained eye, but many of their target audience — dancers — felt insulted that Free People tried to pass off an obviously novice-level dancer as a ballerina ready for pointe shoes.

Bullshit method number three: Hiding behind a smile

Confidence is key, right? Fake it ’til you make it, right? It’s always good to come off like you know what you’re talking about. The problem is, you have to assure that you know something about, well, anything. You can only get by for so long smiling and saying nothing of value — unless, maybe, you’re into beauty pageants.

Let’s get real: Yes, once in awhile, we’re all thrown into situations we aren’t prepared to or have to fake our way through something we don’t know a ton about. But in truth, those situations are (or at least, should be) few and far between. If you find yourself in a situation where you have to fake knowledge on the daily (like, say, your job), that’s a sign that you need to study up and start supplementing that confidence with actual skill.

Have you discovered you’re a bullshitter?

It’s okay. We’re here for you. Seriously, everyone’s been caught with their pants down once or twice. But now that you know that you’re not fooling anyone, it’s time to get serious. It’s time to get real. We think our infographic on how to go from master of BS to the genuine article helps make it pretty simple.

Why you might want a graphic-based video

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Graphic-based videos can help explain more abstract or intangible concepts.

Many clients aren’t sure off the bat if they want a graphic-based video or a live video. Some aren’t even sure of the different strengths of the two, and think that you could use the two for the same types of projects.

There are major differences between graphic videos and live action, and both serve very different purposes. While both are awesome (and we must say, we’re awesome at doing both), to think that the two are interchangeable in terms of purpose and what they can achieve.

When graphics work

If there’s a concept that requires explanation with elements that aren’t tangible or something that is more abstract and broad and can’t be conveyed in a single scene, this is definitely a sign that you should look at animating your video.

Good examples of this include videos explaining how a new system or process works, one which incorporates statistics, might use graphs and charts, etc.

Graphic-based videos are also the smartest choice for projects with multi-lingual roll-outs. Finding perfectly multilingual on-screen talent is rare, and even if you find a single performer who can do it all in any language under the sun, it still requires double the scripts and shooting time. (Of course, a graphics-based project usually still requires voiceover talent).

Just looking to save?

Graphic-based video projects are generally regarded as cheaper options than their live counterparts, because you’re not pouring resources into talent, location, costumes or a huge production crew. Because of this, it’s easy for anyone to say they would prefer a graphics-based project. After all, saving money is good, right?

But there are, of course, things that are far more challenging through graphics. The most obvious is a human connection and emotional resonance. Humans talking to humans — it does serve a purpose.

Live videos are far more useful for guiding people through concepts that don’t need as much of a technical breakdown, and for adding a necessary emotional touch. If there’s a tangible product that you need to see, that can’t be done effectively in an animation. Anything with a narrative story is also best left to a real face on screen.

Which is right?

Sometimes you’re still not sure, and your video plan might have elements that work more in live action or more in graphics. The right video production company will guide you through the steps and stipulations, weighing your wants, needs and resources to help you find what’s right for you.

Check out some of our graphic-based video work to get an idea of what you can do with them.

Why we like Sport Chek’s take on branded content

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Sport Chek's branded content is an example of doing it right.

Sport Chek started off 2015 with a unique new video project — a three-episode web series, #FirstTracks, documenting Canadian snowboarder Mark McMorris and skier Noah Bowman’s preparations for a sponsored snowboarding trip.

The three episodes, which capped off last week, follow McMorris as he visits with sponsors, talks gear and, of course, shops at Sport Chek.

The videos have drawn a decent number of hits, and Sport Chek is hoping to see success translate into more in-store buzz — including for its current promotion that would see anyone who spends more than $300 on skiing or snowboarding equipment get early access to participating ski parks.

Branded content and native advertising are nothing new. Taking a brand and making it into a narrative is becoming a new standard in marketing. But Sport Chek’s take might be an example of branded content really coming into its own — using it not to boost same-store sales, but to build credibility.

What’s the point?

What separates branded content from traditional advertising is that the narrative style makes it easier to sell an experience over a product. But there are a few different takes on how to best use branded content and native advertising. Some of it can feel like a showcase folded within a story, with a mission to introduce and explain new products, pulling in new consumers and making believers out of skeptics.

But branded content can go far beyond fishing for a boost in sales or building appeal outside of existing demographics. Branded content can be used to preach to the converted, to engage in conversation about the brand and to build credibility.

This is what Sport Chek has done here with #FirstTracks series. Sport Chek, in fact, already dominates the ski and snowboard market in sales, but in a sport where many enthusiasts are concerned with street cred and authenticity, the end goal wasn’t necessarily attracting new customers but happier, more enthusiastic returning customers.

How to use branded content to build credibility

The familiar faces of Mark McMorris and Noah Bowman are part of what makes the #FirstTracks have an authentic, documentary-style feel rather than a commercial feel. It’s not just that they’re noted athletes who happen to be Canadian. McMorris captured some serious attention after winning a bronze at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, and just two years earlier, Bowman came home with a silver medal at the X Games. Getting people whom you know your target audience will actually care about and respect is key.

Of course, it also helps that the two are young, telegenic and charismatic. They offer enough knowledge to appeal to the hardcore fan-base, but they don’t go over anyone’s heads or intimidate — so more novice or younger consumers can remain engaged in the content.

Then there’s the matter of writing and subtlety. Though original web content often screams “Look! Sponsors!” there’s an art to doing it without seeming cheesy or like you’re trying to pull a fast one on viewers. Sport Chek does this well with #FirstTracks, with the two stars referring to “our sponsors” instead of trying to hide the connection (which is always where sponsored content goes poorly) but also not smacking you across the face in it.

All in all, the combination of things they’ve got going This might not attract those who have never set their feet into a pair of ski bindings before, but it will probably interest hardcore snowboarding fans, so we think Sport Chek did this right.

Six things you can learn from the failure of Target Canada

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Target Canada's failure comes with a lot of lessons to learn

It’s been a week since the announcement that after only two years, Target Canada would be closing its doors. It’s an announcement most expected but perhaps not so soon. But as time unfolds and discussions about Target’s flop deepens, we can’t help but feel reminded of one of our core beliefs: that if you’re going to do something you do it right. You have to be competitive, you have to be better, you have to give people something to make a big deal over.

You don’t have to be a retailer to take valuable lessons away from this. Anyone can learn something from this failure.

1. Do your research.

The North American retail landscape was already shaky for department stores. The downfall of Sears has been in the works for a while, and overall consumers were gravitating away from bricks-and-mortar one-stop shops and toward online shopping, or specialty stores and boutiques. (Walmart, however, continued to thrive because it was the best option for lower-income people).

Basically, channel your inner-boy scout and always be prepared. Knowledge is power.

2. If you can’t be original, be better.

“Getting there first” is vital in most markets, but if you can’t get there first, you can still win — by being different and being better. The “Target experience” from South of the border set up big expectations for low prices (competitive with Walmart) and tons of stock. So when prices weren’t as low as its US counterpart and shelves were notoriously low in stock, Target already failed to give something different. So the “Target experience” became the “slightly more expensive than Walmart” experience. They didn’t give anyone anything that they were lacking.

Basically, there’s no excuse for not being the best at something. Good enough is never good enough.

3. Don’t get too big for your britches.

As another one of Canada’s biggest success stories turned flops Blackberry could caution you, the idea of rapid expansion is enticing, but could be a recipe for disaster. Target already shot itself in the foot when it went into Canada operating on assumptions and not taking into account things that could go wrong, but what sealed the deal was its quick roll out. Most moved into former Zellers locations and many of those were less desirable geographically than those of Walmart. Expanding on as short of a timeline as they did gave Target more to fix when they started having problems.

Basically, dream big but keep it reasonable. Accept your limitations and don’t ever get ahead of yourself.

4. Set yourself apart.

People love exclusivity, and in both Canada and the US, designer partnerships and “high-end” in-house labels have proven to be success stories for many retailers (see Sobey’s partnership with Jamie Oliver’s line of food products). While Target US offered an exclusive line from designer Isaac Misrahi in the fashion department, Canadian stores couldn’t do the same. Even when Target began to carry the sought-after Vitamix blender, they were unable to offer prices any lower than the health food stores and kitchen boutiques that also carried it.

Basically, you have to be different, prove that you’re different, and give people something they literally can’t get anywhere else.

5. Stay true to yourself.

“Expect more, pay less.” With a slogan like this, it’s almost like Target Canada was daring people to find a problem with it. Because of the advent of online shopping, customers know what they can get at Target in the US — so to find that Canada was lacking those things was a let-down. In the video below, a beauty blogger shows just how underwhelming Target Canada’s cosmetics selection is in comparison to the US.

If you promise to exceed expectations, you have to know that people are going to build expectations. It’s that simple.

Basically, you can’t make promises that are simply empty words.

6. Assume nothing.

Most of the problems listed above came down to Target making assumptions — assuming that shoppers would chase the “Target experience” despite non-competitive prices. They assumed that the novelty would stay alive despite early missteps. It didn’t give consumers enough credit and failed to deliver what they desperately needed. It was as though they went in blind to all other factors.

Basically, you have to prepare to make mistakes, prepare for things to be difficult, and prepare to have to work to make people care.

Throwback Thursday: Marketing Hall of Legends

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Paula Gignac, a 2012 inductee to to the Marketing Hall of Legends.

It’s just eight days until we don our fancy(-ish) duds and head to the biggest event in Canadian marketing. The American Marketing Association’s annual Marketing Hall of Legends (MHOL) gala will be taking place next Friday, January 30, in Toronto, and we’re humbled to have been a partner in this event since 2011.

We love being a part of the MHOL each year because it’s all about celebrating what we’re most passionate about — the extraordinary.

The great thing about this event is that that it honours not the work but the great minds behind the work. It’s all about everything put forth by an individual, the creativity and the ideas that come from their minds. This is our third year profiling inductees, and each year we feel privileged — not because of the profile or the exposure, but because we’re fully aware of how rare it is to get to be able to connect with successful, experienced people on this kind of level.

It’s an opportunity to get to sit down and have genuine, intimate conversations with each inductee and take away real knowledge from them. It’s not about resumes, it’s not about specific work. It’s about their philosophies, their outlooks and skills that go beyond specific jobs — a perspective that can only be honed through experience.

We wanted to share a few highlights from the past three years of working with the Marketing Hall of Legends (it was tough to pick).

We shortlisted these videos (among many — you can see the others that we had the tough task of choosing from on our Youtube page) because these were great examples of people who had great life lessons to spread to anyone, not just marketers. With Aldo Bensadoun, we loved the passion that he brought to the human side of the business. Paula Gignac impressed us with not only the wealth of knowledge and her perspective on the digital ecosystems and management, but also her commitment to excellence. Miles Nadal was tenacious and unapologetic about his philosophies, and he really sets himself apart from the pack.

Of course, there’s a lot to be learned from any of our previous inductees, so don’t let us tell you which to watch. There will be even more this year, and we’re so excited to see the amalgamation of so many people’s hard work.

If you’re interested in attending this year’s gala event, details and tickets are available at

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