Thursday, June 02, 2005

Balle Conference at UBC

Well, I am off to the 3rd annual Balle Conference at UBC to spend the weekend hanging out with David Suzuki and taking in as much LOHAS related information as possible.

I'll keep you updated upon my return.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

The Ad Quiz - What Kind of Advertising Is Right For Your Business?

It isn't always as easy as putting out a flyer or a brochure.

The 30 sec TVC isn't always the answer either.

It begins by examining your business and deciding what kind of agency, medium, and strategy would be most useful to you.

Question One

How would you describe the message you would like to send out to the world?

a. I have a new product or a new offer that you have not heard about before.
b. When you need us, we are the first people you should call
c. This is something that you need, and I will tell you why
d. When you think about our product/service, we want to be the first name that comes to mind.
e. Our familiarity instills trust

Question Two

How would you describe how your customers are currently finding out information about you?

a. Word of mouth
b. Yellowpages
c. Television
d. Radio
e. Print
f. Other

Question Three

Is a large or small agency better for your advertising needs?

a. A small agency is less expensive due to low overhead from less staff, smaller offices, less administration, lower hourly fees. They have a flat structure, meaning that it is possible to get ahold of the senior people (creatives, CEOs, account directors) behind your account with one phone call. Likewise, senior people are often assigned to your account, without having it passed on to juniors. By being a large client at a small shop you can be guaranteed immediate, personal, priority treatment. Smaller shops are often started by the best senior staff from a large agency.

b. A large agency is able to offer you worldwide connections and accountability. Although they are much more expensive, they have recruited the best senior people they can find, some of whom may be working on your account. A large account will attempt to craft award-winning creative from your briefs, although this will bring them attention - it could compromise your account if their concept of creativity is not synonymous with business results.

Question Four

What does advertising mean to you?

a. A way of ensuring market share due to top-of-mind recognition amongst your competitiors.
b. It is a grudge purchase that you are afraid to go without. You buy it because you are afraid not to.
c. Advertising does not work. It is expensive and unnecessary.
d. A creative way of creating brand liking
e. It is akin to magic - it works, but I don't know why, when I place an ad people come, but I have no way of measuring the effectiveness of one ad to another.
f. A means of standing out and catching people's attention
g. A steady, constant reminder of your presence

Record your answers, I will post the rest of the Quiz later on, and then the answers.

Monday, May 30, 2005

New health woes emerge in Walkerton

Residents exposed to tainted water show an increase in blood pressure, kidney problems.

Walkerton residents who suffered through the town's tainted water tragedy five years ago are now showing up with new health problems, says a study published yesterday.

The study, led by Dr. Amit Garg of the Lawson Health Research Institute, found adults exposed to the contaminated water have higher rates of high blood pressure and reduced kidney function.

The conditions can lead to serious health problems such as strokes, heart disease and kidney failure.

Garg said the findings show the importance of ensuring drinking water is safe.

"No one before has ever looked at people who had gastrointestinal illness and recovered," he said.

Bruce Davidson, a spokes-person for the Concerned Walkerton Citizens group, said he hopes the scientists' work will drive home the necessity of preventing another Walkerton tragedy.

"This is the greatest fear we have for our children. What does this mean for the future?" Davidson said.

Seven people died and more than 2,600 became ill in May 2000 when the town's water supply was contaminated with E. coli and other bacteria.

The town's public utilities manager, Stan Koebel, was sentenced last year to a year in jail and his brother, Frank, was handed a nine-month sentence to be served in the community for their roles in the tragedy.

Davidson said he runs into people who view Walkerton as a "one-off "incident and question spending money on water safety.

"The real question is what is your life worth to you, what (are) your kidneys worth to you, what is your family worth to you?" he said.

"There is no economic trade-off that justifies this kind of unnecessary poisoning. We simply cannot afford to go down that road again."

Garg's study involved 1,958 adults who had no known history of high blood pressure or kidney disease before the Walkerton outbreak.

Out of the total, 675 remained healthy during the outbreak and didn't show symptoms. Another 909 had moderate symptoms of acute gastroenteritis, such as abdominal pain, some vomiting and diarrhea. The remaining 374 suffered severe symptoms that required medical attention.

In the healthy group, researchers found 27 per cent had high blood pressure.

Garg said that's probably the same results one would find in any closely screened community.

But in the group with moderate symptoms during the outbreak, the number climbed to 32.5 per cent. For the severe group, it was 35.9 per cent.

Garg, in Calgary to present his findings to the annual meeting of the Canadian Society of Nephrology, said the increase is significant.

The results were similar for reduced kidney function.

High blood pressure, also called hypertension, and reduced kidney function are both silent conditions that patients don't realize they have unless they're tested, Garg said.

The good news for Walkerton residents is the testing has been done and action can be taken to prevent future health problems, he added.

"By doing this research carefully, we are hopefully on top of the situation."