BSL Wins the Bid for NAC

BSL is celebrating an important encore this season, having been awarded another two years as Agency of Record for the National Arts Centre.

“BSL was the successful agency following a thorough RFP process. Their successful bid was founded on their superior project management skills, ability to handle large volumes, excellent client relations, and fair price”
Shannon Urie, Associate Director of Marketing

Since 2007 BSL has been the Agency of Record for the NAC, and in this role we have developed marketing strategies, communications plans, media strategies and media buys through to creative concepts, design, artwork production and print management.

BSL has been responsible for the creative development, media planning and buying for all single-ticket salescampaigns for NAC Presents, NAC Orchestra, NAC Dance and NAC English Theatre, as well as other featured projects. In the last two years we have had the opportunity to develop both the NAC Orchestra and NAC Dance subscription campaigns, as well as the 2010-2011 English Theatre subscription campaign.

Over these last four years BSL has gained invaluable experience navigating through the unique requirements for each NAC discipline (and their respective audiences) to deliver compelling, on-brand, results-driven marketing pieces and effective advertising campaigns with targeted imagery and messaging.

New Faces on the Design Front

When BSL stumbles on great creative talent, we find it pretty hard to resist. This season our creative studio swelled with the addition of two new graphic designers, Zoey Liu and Filippo Di Trapani. Here’s a little background on why their talents were so hard to ignore.

Zoey Liu
Originally from Beijing, Zoey holds a background in fine arts, which inspired her to pursue a career in graphic design. After moving to Canada, she attended the three-year Algonquin College Graphic Design program, where she achieved honour status and several MAD Awards for her exceptional work. Having studied both traditional and new media design in school, Zoey is particularly interested in designing for the web. She comes highly recommended from her placement at the Canadian Museum of Civilization.

Q&A with Zoey:
What drives you crazy about bad advertising?
Awful typography.

What movie have you seen a million times, and could watch again right now?
I’m a big fan of cartoon movies. I’ve seen Kung Fu Panda five times and am willing to watch it again.

Name a book that has taught you something you will always remember.
‘Who Moved My Cheese’ by Spencer Johnson.

Filippo Di Trapani
Filippo was raised in South Africa and moved to Canada in 1998. Having sprouted an interest in art and design at an early age (thanks to a penchant for comic books), Filippo graduated from Algonquin College in both the Graphic Design and Interactive Media Design programs. His experience in the field grew transcontinentally, with a year spent in Italy working at an interactive multimedia agency, while freelancing for clients in Canada. After returning here, he worked as a Graphic Designer for iBrand and the Canadian Wildlife Federation, after which he expanded his experience as a User Interface and Interaction Designer and Applications Developer for Real Decoy.

Q&A with Filippo:
Name a book that has taught you something you will always remember.
‘Long Walk to Freedom’ by Nelson Mandela.

What career might you have, if you weren’t in marketing?
I might have taken university courses in Industrial Design, Architecture or Computer Science.

Whose advice are you most apt to take?
My wife’s.

BSL Helps QNX Recruit Ottawa’s Hottest Talent

Responsible for developing the world’s leading real-time operating system technologies, QNX Software Systems harvests the most talented technical and business teams in the embedded software industry. Those who are lucky (and skilled) enough to join the QNX team are awarded a career that has them pushing the boundaries of innovation, and developing solutions that truly make a difference in the world, all over the world. QNX approached BSL to design and develop a recruitment campaign that would:

  • generate buzz around the exciting possibilities of a career at QNX.
  • acquire 200 high-quality software developers over a six-month period.

Our approach to the campaign theme was to acknowledge the ol’ “been there/done that” many developers are faced with when looking for a new job. Software development positions can be dry and uninspiring – but a job at QNX offers more. It offers excitement and impact. Nowhere else in Ottawa is a developer able to work on systems for brands like Blackberry, Corvette or NASA.

Campaign elements included print (Ottawa Citizen, Metro, OBJ, 24Hours) and outdoor media (king bus boards and vinyl headliners) as well as on-campus advertising (backlit signs, large banners and floor decals at Algonquin College, Carleton University and University of Ottawa). Elements also included larger-than-life video projections displayed on walls in high traffic areas in the Byward Market during Winterlude 2011. These projections were featured in May at FITC, a Design and Technology Conference held in Toronto.

The number of qualified applicants has tripled since campaign launch, which also translates to a three-fold increase in the number of subsequent interviews and hires. During the campaign’s peak advertising spurt, visits to the QNX Careers page doubled – averaging approximately 2500 to 3000 visits per week, with one week reaching 3500 visits.


Print ad

Transit Ad

Iridium Makes Their Mark at SAT 2011

Since 2008, BSL has played right-hand man to Iridium Communications in helping to shape its image on paper, online and in person – all over the world. When it comes to translating the brand in person, nothing lets us flex our marketing muscles quite like a good event.

BSL is often asked to help Iridium plan for key industry events like tradeshows and conferences. Many weeks, sometimes months of planning are required – all to ensure that every single element is ready for one specific day (events are the very definition of a drop deadline).

Held in Washington DC, SATELLITE 2011 is one of the industry's largest global conferences and welcomes vendors from around the world to network, conduct business and share some of the exciting things that are happening in communications right now (and some that aren’t even happening yet). Iridium is known for breaking convention, so it was only right that their presence at SATELLITE 2011 reach beyond the traditional.

As such a global powerhouse, we really wanted Iridium to get the most bang for their booth. The final structure featured two levels, equipped with a conference room on the second floor. Beyond the functionality of the booth, we also took great care in developing its form. We enhanced the structure with product displays built into the exterior of the booth, and featured a series of looped promotional videos (also developed by BSL), displayed dynamically throughout the space.

No booth is complete without your standard fare of signage and collateral including roll-up banners, welcome signs, brochures, fact sheets and giveaways. We also helped brand a series of PowerPoint presentations that were used by Iridium executives at the event. BSL was able to successfully deliver all pieces to Washington, intact and on time.

“I am extremely proud of the way (BSL) organized and executed this event. Everything went off without a hitch. (BSL’s) efforts made Iridium look like the professional and successful organization that it is. I received many compliments on this from both inside and outside the organization.”
Don Thoma, Executive VP of Marketing, Iridium Communications Inc

To get a closer look at the booth, check out our Flickr page.

Putting The Calgary Stampede on the Map

The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth will soon be celebrating its 100th anniversary, and to prepare for the big birthday, BSL and Canadian Geographic are helping to draw even greater attention to the massive world festival.

The Calgary Stampede is an annual rodeo, exhibition and festival held every July in Calgary, Alberta. The ten-day event attracts over one million visitors per year and features the world's largest rodeo, a parade, midway, stage shows, concerts, agricultural competitions, chuckwagon racing and First Nations exhibitions.

The Calgary Stampede will officially hit the hundred-year mark in 2012, and to commemorate such a significant milestone in Canada’s cultural history, Canadian Geographic asked BSL to develop an online, interactive map of the fairgrounds (also known as Stampede Park). The map is designed as a tool for visitors to plan their visit and learn more about the many venues that the Calgary Stampede has to offer.

Designed and developed by BSL, the colour-coded map invites users to click on each venue to learn about its history, what to expect at this year’s Stampede, as well as a list of specific events. The interactive tool provides visitors with information on the best dining and shopping spots in the city, as well as a gallery of images from past Stampedes. The tool also features an online function for visitors to purchase tickets to the event.

BSL began work with Canadian Geographic in 2005 on the award-winning Canadian Geographic Online Atlas, a national educational tool that is still successfully expanding today.

Place d’Orleans Gets Personal

On the heels of the recently released Place d’Orleans App for the iPhone, the shopping centre is continuing efforts to enhance its interaction with audiences, by way of a few facelifts on the Place d’Orleans Facebook page. To better personalize the conversation between fans and hosts of the page, BSL has designed a dedicated ‘Team’ section, giving fans a few snapshots into the personalities behind the posts.

These personalized profiles have already had an impact on user interaction, with wall conversations increasing in casual tone and fans becoming more frequently inclined to share their thoughts, ideas and opinions on a variety of topics.

Establishing this stronger connection with fans has also facilitated some unique approaches to contest engagement. The recent Father’s Day ‘Who’s Your Daddy’ contest invited fans to share insights about what kind of dad they’re lucky to have, and these insights determined which prize they would be entered to win.

Another way Place d’Orleans was able to successfully leverage their dialogue with fans was through Facebook polls, asking fans to choose which movies they would like to see at the shopping centre’s ‘Saturday Free Movie Nights’, happening throughout the summer.

BSL has worked alongside Place d’Orleans throughout all development phases of these new social media engagement tactics.


Social Media – the “shoot-out” of marketing

The more I think about it, the more I am convinced that social media is to marketing, what the “shoot-out” is to the NHL.

See if you agree…

Purists don’t like it
In 2005, when the NHL introduced the shoot-out to decide regular season tie games, purists didn’t like it. They felt it cheapened the game. It wasn’t real hockey. To some of us who’ve been in marketing for a while, social media is unsettling in the very same way. Older, more traditional marketers rejected it. “All this weird sharing. It’s just not right. I want it to go away!”

Fate in the hands of individuals
The shoot-out transforms a team game into an individual match-up. You have the same basic elements, people and environment, but it doesn’t follow the same rules… Sound familiar? With social media, instead of “women 18-49”, you need to take on “blogging millennial yummy mummy”. Scary.

It’s Exciting
You can’t deny it. 20,000 fans are on their feet screaming about what might otherwise have been a "meaningless" regular season game. Similarly, on social media platforms people are expressing their passions more than ever before, and inspiring incredible action. Just look at what happened in Egypt.

The conclusion that I’ve come to is the following. I love and support the NHL shoot-out, especially since I’ve seen it live and experienced its sheer excitement. And when I look at social media the same way, I feel inspired and intrigued. It’s exciting and people love it, so how might I make it work for my clients? As in the shoot-out, the same basic skills and principles apply – be clear on your objective; analyze your target; leverage your strengths… and then just decide whether to deke, dangle or shoot!