Smoothies + Freezing Rain + Mobile Stage = Top 200 Billboard: A How To

Think our math doesn’t add up? Think again.

When you have a band as great as Ubiquitous Synergy Seeker (USS) whose dedication to their fans is untenable it’s a no brainer. Wanting to give back to their faithful followers, Ash and Human Kebab along with their record label, Coalition Music, came to Jam Van to design an interactive experience to promote their new album, New World Alphabet, being released January 13, 2017.  The strategy was simple: travel around Toronto doing pop-up concerts on the street connecting with as many consumers as possible.

New World Alphabet Album Cover (January 2017)

The result was using the Jam Van as a mobile stage with the band performing new songs from the album as well as old hits to groups of fans who came out in freezing rain and below zero temperatures just to see their favourite band. The campaign included full billboard media branding on the outside of the Jam Van and targeted key hotspots that matched the demographic. USS also handed out ramen noodles at a few locations. However, the big hit came with smoothies made by the band itself!

Lining up at McMaster University in Hamilton, ON to see the pop-up concert (January 2017)

Surprisingly, there are still companies that question experiential marketing and Out of House Marketing. Wondering how to make it work or conform to their antiquated and often outdated rules and guidelines based on decades old data that no longer apply in today’s fast-paced technology driven world. Budget conscious clients will trim OOH first not realizing how valuable the experience of getting up close and personal with the consumer can truly be.

Handing out handmade smoothies to adoring fans. (January 2017)

New geo-targeting technology as well as social media are leading OOH and experiential marketing into a new era. Shaping the horizon of the entire marketing world. Being able to go where consumers are is a tremendous advantage. The fear of missing out leads the consumer to want to try anything from virtual reality to augmented realities.

Mobile concert hall, fan meet-n-greet, and food truck all rolled into one activation! (January 2017)

Everyone loves being handed free smoothies but who wouldn’t love being handed a free smoothie made especially for them by their favourite band member? As the crowds back in January attest, lots of people appreciate it. It also helps having a client like Coalition Music and the fantastic guys of USS who were open to all ideas. Over the course of two days 15.3 million impressions were generated using the hashtags #USSNWA #USSday. Along with national media coverage on CP24 and 102.1 The Edge. The basis of the whole campaign was thinking outside the box and utilizing tools that only an experienced agency would know. USS hit #2 on Top 200 chart and #3 Top 200 Billboard.

Still think the math doesn’t add up?

Coalition Music Case Study (January 10-11, 2017)

 

 

Will Awareness Equate to Dollars?

By Viktor Arzethauser, Senior Account Manager

So you’re in the planning stages of an exciting new product launch. Research & Development have spent the past 5 years developing an innovative new product and now it’s time to build a 360 marketing campaign concentrating on awareness. Or is it?

Awareness can be a subjective term and is thrown around all too often as a KPI for CPG. Sure, you want your target demo to know all about your sexy new offering, but is just knowing about it really enough? Will they even care? While likes and shares look great on a client report, what weight do they really carry when it comes time to actually move product off the shelves?

Awareness is just the first phase of the consumer journey, so why not focus on the end goal, the mecca of CPG – the shopping cart.  Now I’m not saying awareness doesn’t have its place, but awareness for awareness sake is missing the mark and a somewhat irresponsible use of resources and budget. From its core, the marketing strategy should work in tandem with the sales strategy and “awareness” campaigns should engage consumers in a way that feeds the sales funnel.

Krave Jerky mobile sampling in Vancouver, British Columbia (November 2016)

As marketers, I think we often miss this point and may ideate evocative, beautiful and even award-winning campaigns, but if the sales aren’t there to back up the product, it may not live to see the shelves of next year and the budget allocated for your campaign will be diverted elsewhere in the next fiscal. In this regard, it behooves us to think like sales people and filter the data through the eyes of a marketer.

Recently I had the opportunity to sit down with the GM of one of Toronto’s most prolific mid-sized agencies. Over the past few years they’ve acquired a number of smaller boutique shops with competencies ranging from packaging design to shopper marketing, in order to offer clients a complete 360 sales strategy, not just one-off marketing campaigns. Her biggest challenge right now is increasing the connectivity between the various departments in order to create all-encompassing strategies that utilize every facet of the business. While obviously beneficial to the agency, clients also see the benefit to their businesses as it offers an holistic approach to developing strategies that engage consumers at every touchpoint throughout the sales journey.

Product sampling for LCBO at TURF festival (September 2016)

Obviously not all agencies have the luxury of a robust menu of competencies, but often there are additional resources at your disposal, you need only ask. While you may be working with your clients’ marketing department, why not get input from the sales, R&D or other pertinent teams as well? Maybe there is something in their long-term sales plan or research done during product development that offers an insight that may completely change the focus of your strategy, which will in turn help you create a successful campaign.

At the end of the day, a collaborative effort will almost always trump a siloed attempt. I will admit that there are times when you’ll run into a “too many cooks in the kitchen” situation, but if navigated correctly, the input of an eclectic team towards one goal will create something that will put real dollars into your clients’ pockets which will then, in turn, end up in yours.

Nordstrom experiential campaign to promote store opening (August – November 2016)

How to Best Market and Sell Music

By: Sabrina Paniccia

Who has the answer to this one?  With the vast amount of marketing and advertising agencies available to music studios, there are many ways to accomplish this task. Frankly, I personally don’t think anyone has the ultimate solution to this.  I think we’re all attempting to achieve THE answer, but we can only base this answer on each of our individual experiences. This is mine.

Music sales campaign, experiential marketing
Universal’s Canadian Music Celebration at Elvis Festival in Collingwood, ON (July 28-30, 2017)

I have been working for Jam Van for five years, an experiential marketing agency in Toronto, that has worked closely with the major record labels for many years.  I can honestly say I’ve seen a lot of changes happen in a short period of time.  When it comes to music marketing, many efforts have been put forth to achieve the height of sales that most artists had before the Internet and streaming. Times have changed and the music industry has evolved. Selling music, whether through CDs, iTunes, etc. has become much more of a challenge. With Napster and LimeWire long gone, the industry now faces new trials, or successes with partners and competitors, like Apple Music and Sirius Satellite.  Free downloads and streaming continue to be a possibility with the availability of the Internet. When one application shuts down, 10 more pop-up.  Technology has played a huge factor in affecting what goes on the radio.

Mohawk College Student enjoying a Pop Up Concert from USS (Coalition Music)

Marketing and advertising are the usual immediate solutions. Street teams still linger; although, most have turned into large XM initiatives, that reach further consumers and are able to focus on more niche target demographics.  The question remains: is there one preeminent approach to marketing and selling music? The answer to a category that keeps changing – I can only give you my opinion, based on what my experience has taught me. Just to give you a quick look at what Jam Van has created in the past, here are a few examples:

Pop Up Music Shop for Warner Music Canada at the Canadian Country Music Awards (September 2017)

I mostly enjoyed working on Jam Van campaigns because of my passion for the entertainment industry, the fast moving pace, ever evolving campaigns and the excitement that only an experiential marketing agency can offer.  From my expertise, here are some tips on marketing and selling strategies for the music industry:

(L-R) Jam Van’s Jennifer Chan and Duane Jackson with Serena Ragogna of Ole Label Services

1.  Timing is Everything:  Set up the release of the album on the day of the artist’s biggest upcoming concert, or opening act – With all the hype surrounding the concert, not only would sales see a significant jump, but the artist would receive more public exposure.  To piggyback on this – release the album in CD and vinyl format before the digital release date (This would intrigue the devoted fans to purchase the CD right away, which is worth more value to the labels.)

The Human Kebab of USS “crowd surfing” with fans (Coalition Music)

2.  Contesting:  Always run a contest for a meet-and-greet – Fans always want to meet their idols. Giving fans this opportunity creates a much more memorable experience.   

Tegan & Sara (Warner Music Canada) at the 2016 MMVA’s
Tegan & Sara (Warner Music Canada) included a social media contest to win swag and merchandise

3.  Reasonable Pricing:  Keep the prices AFFORDABLE and REALISTIC – Overpricing gets you nowhere (I relate this to the tale of the Tortoise and the Hare – slow and steady wins the race, so does fair and realistic).

Vinyl Merchandising at Field Trip Music Festival

4. Target Appropriately:  Stick to your target demographic – Don’t over reach.  Just because you have two pop artists doesn’t mean they draw in the same crowd – One could be a younger generation and one could bring in an older generation. (eg. Backstreet Boys vs. One Direction).

Hashtag Printer used for Stompin’ Tom Campaign (Ole Label Services)

5.  Get Digital: Find creative ways to digitally market to millennials, but also design unique programs geared towards an older generation.

The #USSDay Pop Up Concerts (Coalition Music) included a social media campaign

6.  Bring Talent on Board:  Whether it be a meet and greet, or an entire surprise pop up concert, nothing generates excitement and attention like bringing an artist to fans via a mobile pop up stage!  Autograph signings are also a great way to drive sales.

Olly Murs Autograph Signing on Board the Jam Van

7.  Be Inquisitive:  Always ask yourself – Who’s spending the money? The Kid? The Mom & Dad? Grandma?  Is this THE answer to our burning question, give it a try and get back to me!

To discuss any music marketing and sales campaigns, please reach out to me at Sabrina.paniccia@jamvan.com

 

The CAA Rewards Street Squad is Back!

Article Written by Jenny DeSousa, Associate Director 

Starting at Jam Van was a huge step for me.  I came from another agency in an Account Supervisor role and was entering the marketing world into a more executive role as an Associate Director.  I know a lot of people in the industry and was confident I had a lot of experience, but the new role and the robust job description scared me a little and made me question whether or not I could do this.

Here I am, a year and a half later, with a great roster of clients and so many more meaningful relationships in my life.  I remember landing my first big client and campaign here at Jam Van with CAA.

We went into their office and I was nervous to present but we did a great presentation and I knew right away this wonderful group of people were going to be amazing clients and become great friends.

We began building out the campaign in 5 weeks – crazy right?  Anyone who works in the Experiential Marketing world knows that this time frame is less than ideal.  We went in head first making decisions and working very collaboratively with the CAA client.  I have worked on a lot of portfolios and with a lot of clients but this one was really special for me.  I was given the rope to hit the ground running and make all of the decisions – a notion that was very foreign for me.  I set up some weekly meetings with the CAA team and we created a true partnership and built an 8 week program that was going to last the summer of 2016.

We had a reveal at our client office and I remember that day feeling so nervous and hoping I brought their vision to life.  When we showed up and set up our mobile pop up, the client was so happy and impressed.  I remember feeling so good that day and feeling so proud. Pretty much the whole office made an appearance and came out to see what initiative the CAA Marketing team had put together with the help of Jam Van, and they were just as impressed.  Check out the 2016 promo video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uqSFo0KP4kI

We launched on June 15th, 2016 and it was 8 weeks of fun!  What I loved was that I met with CAA weekly and we worked together to make changes, improve the activation and had a true open dialogue and transparency on the program and course corrected together.  This was the most seamless campaign I had ever put together and worked on, from start to finish.

CAA. CAA Street Squad
Jenny DeSousa and CAA Rewards Street Squad Team Lead, Miles Miller

To explain the campaign a little bit, we were tasked with rewarding CAA members and thanking them on behalf of CAA.  This was not an acquisition campaign but truly a campaign to say thank you to CAA members.  We took the opportunity to educate members on the CAA rewards program and let them know that CAA offers so much more than just a “tow truck”.  We had a spin wheel on board the Jam Van and CAA members were given the opportunity to spin the wheel for a prize which their partners kindly provided to us.  In order to spin the wheel, we were asking CAA members to present their cards to swipe and be entered into a contest as well.

CAA had a target of getting 50 swipes, and as the program went on and the weeks went by, we were doing so well in getting CAA members to swipe, the targets grew as well.  Towards the end of the campaign the goal was to be in the thousands and I am proud to say that we were able to achieve almost 10,000 swipes in the course of 8 weeks!  This is a number even I was unsure we were going to hit but with the help of my team and encouraging our field teams with incentives, we achieved success. We made it happen because that is what you do in this business – you make the impossible happen!

CAA Rewards Holiday Tour 2016

We pride ourselves in doing our due diligence and research for our clients and finding the best locations for them to be and this is exactly what we did for CAA.  They were able to achieve this success because we helped ensure they were in prime locations and we made sure we had the best staff.

My main contact at CAA was Dina Fernandes.  A client relationship that has now blossomed into a friendship.  I take pride in creating these friendships and true partnerships with my clients.  Below I have a testimonial from her I would like to share:

Spin Wheel game to win CAA Reward Partner prizes!

“We worked with the Jam Van team last summer to promote our Rewards program. Creating an experiential campaign was new to our team and with minimal experience we relied on the expertise of the JV team to help us navigate our ideas and work closely to ensure we met our targets. We had one point of contact Jenny who kept us on track, advised us of any concerns, provided us with weekly status updates, met weekly to address any larger questions we had and always delivered. We look forward to working with the Jam Van team again to continue to build on the exposure of our program.”

Right Photo: (L-R) Dina Fernandes, Jenny DeSousa, Laura Craven-Santal. Left Photo: Louiza Szacon & Jenny DeSousa

Testimonials like this are what make getting up in the morning and doing my passion worth it.

Back for a second summer, we are currently activating with the CAA Street Squad across the GTA!  Launching on July 15th at the 2017 Honda Indy in Toronto, the Street Squad is coming for you with a huge roster of prizes from CAA Reward partners.  Don’t miss the chance to win some gift cards, swag and great prizes as well as learn about the CAA Rewards program for further discounts in the future.  Visit the CAA website and track us on social media by clicking here.

If you want to chat more about the work we do at Jam Van, contact me at jenny.desousa@jamvan.com

Cheers,

Jenny

Jenny DeSousa, Associate Director

Why Activate Your Brand in Vancouver

Article Written by Jennifer Chan, Account Coordinator 

Vancouver is exciting on so many levels when it comes to experiential marketing. Sure, it’s not the bustling hub that is Toronto or the multicultural diversity of Montreal, but it certainly has a laid back coastal appeal in its own way. When you combine the excitement of the city painted on a backdrop of pure nature, the experiences are endless. With the Vancouver population of 2.5 million and more over the scope of British Columbia, it makes this metropolitan area a great target market for many campaigns. From Granville Island to Whistler, from downtown to Coquitlam, people on the West Coast are open to opportunities to try different things. In which case, campaigns that are experience-based thrive on reaching out to all the five senses creating unique and memorable events for this crowd.

Power Rangers Activate in Vancouver

Just to touch on some of the key points that make Vancouver a wonderful place for experiential marketing include: it’s beautiful scenery, infrastructure, accessibility to fresh seafood, and friendly demeanour of its metropolis. With picturesque mountain tops, breezy waterfronts, cobblestone roads, and modern landscapes, Vancouver lends itself to versatile promotional strategies. The fully-automated SkyTrain supports the flow of people so the daily routine consists of many activities; many touch points for brands to be noticeable.

Krave Beef Jerky Sampling in Vancouver

Including Stanley Park, Granville Island, English Bay, and BC Place, there are plenty of hot spots for activations. Yaletown is an area of Downtown Vancouver bordered by False Creek and by Robson and Homer Streets. Formerly a heavy industrial area dominated by warehouses and rail yards, it has been transformed into one of the most densely populated neighbourhoods in the city. The marinas, parks, high rise apartment blocks, and converted heritage buildings constitute one of the most significant urban regeneration projects in North America. Yaletown, with its bounty of restaurants and pubs, stylish fashions, and upscale living, this neighbourhood draws in all kinds of branding promotion. Even with the amount of rainy days in this city, patio season remains busier than anywhere else.

Power Rangers in Gastown, Vancouver
Power Rangers On The Road
Film Promotion with Popcorn Giveaways

The national historic site of Gastown attracts unique companies to promote in that space. Gastown is a mix of “hip” contemporary fashion and interior furnishing boutiques, tourist-oriented businesses, restaurants, nightclubs, poverty and newly upscale housing. In addition, there are law firms, architects and other professional offices, as well as computer and internet businesses, art galleries, music and art studios, and acting and film schools. Our own agency has certainly had success bringing sample campaigns such as Krave Jerky and promotional programs such as Power Rangers the movie to its consumers at street level. Its beautiful architecture creates a relaxed, easygoing atmosphere that allows locals and tourists alike to take the time to stop and speak with brand ambassadors. People strolling in this area have the leisure to engage with street teams.

Sprinkled throughout the island include the many parks where people go to maintain their active lifestyle in Vancouver. The seawall in Vancouver, a stone wall that was constructed around the perimeter of Stanley Park to prevent the erosion of the park’s foreshore for example. Colloquially, the term also denotes the pedestrian, bicycle, and rollerblading pathway on the seawall, one which has been extended far outside the boundaries of Stanley Park and which has become one of the most-used features of the park by both locals and tourists.

Clodhoppers in Beautiful Vancouver

Many out-of-home media strategies incorporate some form of person-to-person interaction in a comfortable outdoor setting.

And only a couple hours outside of the city, most would be familiar with the Music Festival in Pemberton, GO Fest Whistler’s Greatest Outdoor Festival, and FVDED in the Park in Surrey. Event marketing agencies flock to these areas to take advantage of the hoards of millennials and trendy hipsters partying and enjoying life. This is always great exposure for campaigns looking to gain viability while influencing the young minds.

Jennifer Chan getting her #BakeOn at Chipits

If you want to learn more about my brand activation experiences in Vancouver, contact me at jennifer.chan@jamvan.com

Cheers,

Jennifer Chan

Account Coordinator

One Year at Jam Van: Key Learnings from a Guerilla Virgin

Business Development Manager, Louiza Szacon

I recently celebrated my one year anniversary at Jam Van Inc! About 15 months ago, I joined as the Business Development Manager and began my adventure in the world of guerilla and mobile marketing experiences.  I am so fortunate to work with such a fantastic, dynamic and creative group of people, who I am also lucky to call my friends.  Our work offers loads of excitement, entertainment and exposure to some of the coolest brands in Canada!  I started off my work with the launch of Estée Edit in Toronto!

Estee Edit Jam Van Campaign

My past experience has largely been in event marketing via sponsorship acquisition, development and campaign execution.  I worked with luxury and technology brands in defined spaces, where the execution focused on acquisition and forming strategic partnerships.  I also executed pop-up shops and events in blank canvas spaces like fields, festivals, event venues, conferences and parking lots.  A blank canvas is very inspiring and awesome – until you start planning the execution and realize just how much you need to actually create your experience.

Now, having had experience in standard event marketing, I can contrast and compare a guerilla mobile activation against a non-mobile activation, like an in-store pop-up shop. Here are a few of my key learnings:

1.   Turnkey saves lots of dollars.  Turnkey must be the largest advantage of a Jam Van mobile marketing truck – everything is built in!  I remember executing pop-up shops at storefront venues and watching my budget bloat and bloat and bloat.  Even with a healthy budget, there are so many additional costs that creep into a developing campaign in a blank space that has zero turnkey equipment. For example, sourcing and installing audio and visual equipment, lighting, furniture, Wi-Fi, special effects, transport and logistics for load-in/load-out of all the equipment, labour for installation, etc.  These costs add up quickly!  I have learned that with Jam Van marketing truck, the entire machine is turnkey, simplifying lots of headache, logistics and dollars that come with event marketing.  It’s like a “press play” marketing machine. Moreover, because it’s turnkey and customizable, it’s entirely possible to work within a variety of budgets.

2.   Public Access is key!

Jam Van is very fortunate to be grandfathered into the “food truck” movement almost 20 years ago, when the company used to sell CDs directly from the truck.  Due to these permits to sell merchandise, we are able to activate, sample and promote from the Jam Van.  Our clients love this opportunity because this allows us to park and activate in dense pedestrian traffic areas, without requiring a budget for private permits.  Rather than pay for hefty vendor or venue rental fees, we are able to reallocate budget to augmenting the experience!  Some of our favourite locations in Toronto include King and Spadina, Liberty Village, Queen and Soho and Yonge and Dundas.

3.   Mobile

Jam Van Inc. specializes in mobile marketing experiences – and I never realized just how efficient mobile could be.  Rather than choose one location for a pop-up shop, why not hit up multiple desired locations?  This approach eliminates the need for a robust public relations budget to inform the public of your pop-up shop. Rather than drive consumers to your location, we can drive  directly to the consumers and target multiple locations daily to reach demographics at various parts of their day.

4.  Cost Efficient

I touched on this earlier, but my goodness – a turnkey mobile pop-up shop is far more cost efficient than a standard store front activation.  This allows room to allocate budget to premium swag items, influencer relations, social media strategy, or making the customizable showroom and experience stand out. 

BMO Mobile Marketing
Bank of Montreal Jam Van

5.   Jam Van Inc. is a Wholesaler

Yep!  We designed, developed and built each one of the Jam Van units in Canada.  The process was lengthy to ensure that every component was accounted, making the Jam Van invention turnkey and versatile to suit many types of brands. Because we own our products and technology, this means that your brand is getting the rock bottom costings for your activation.  With agency partners, we are able to be fully white label!

Marketing Truck Fleet - Toronto

6.   Full Execution

One time, I remember renting a photo booth experience and being left to manage it on my own.  At Jam Van, the team offers full turnkey mobile marketing activations, complete with all sourcing, staffing, and project arrangement – if you prefer.   With many of our clients, we also offer concept and creative ideation, leveraging our years of experience in guerilla marketing to create a memorable experience.  How many event venues will manage all logistics?

Each Jam Van includes an Operations Manager/Driver who is an expert in all the onboard technology. We won’t leave you hanging or expect you to drive this monster marketing truck on your own!  We can totally appreciate that maybe you don’t have the time to manage an activation.  You have ads to buy, campaigns to plan, reports to write, and administrative duties.  The goal is to remove these headaches, and develop and execute an unforgettable activation.  Our events team wil handle all the troubleshooting and nuances that come with experiential and event marketing.  Turnkey full execution is one of our largest selling points due to the vast array of campaigns that we have managed.

What is your preference – mobile or venue activation?  Have you experienced any of the challenges that I outlined?  Please get in touch to discuss.  I would love to hear your thoughts!  I can be reached at Louiza.Szacon@jamvan.com

Photo Credit: Jay Clendenin

Louiza Szacon

Manager, Strategic Partnerships

Office: (416) 203-2375 ext. 25 | Mobile: (647) 521-5684 | Fax: (416) 203-2737

Email: louiza.szacon@jamvan.com
Jam Van Inc. | Expose. Engage. Excite!
18 Widmer Street, Suite 100, Toronto, ON  M5V 2E7

How to Create a Successful Vehicle Wrap

Article Written by Duane Jackson, Project Manager

When I joined the Jam Van team I wasn’t exactly sure how I would fit in and what I would have to offer to an Experiential Marketing company given I came from a technical background.  I quickly realized that having an eye for detail and a creative imagination was all I needed to find my niche and make my mark on the production side of the business.  Creating a space station at the corner of Yonge and Bloor Streets in the heart of downtown Toronto was where it all started.  Although opportunities like that don’t happen every day, Jam Van vehicle wraps are something that happens more often.

Besides having six interchangeable billboards and two video screens, the Jam Van offers our clients the opportunity to use our vehicles as their canvas to create a beautiful eye-catching advertising space that will be seen by many people.  It transforms the van from a mobile billboard with ad space to a marketing experience with a touch of class!

Marketing Truck Fleet - Toronto

Many vehicle wraps are made of large, printed vinyl stickers that are applied to the surface of a vehicle. However, designing these effective ads can be a little complex. Any designer who decides to undertake a vehicle wrap project should at least be at an intermediate skill level with standard graphic design programs such as Adobe Illustrator, and with the help of Adobe Photoshop you can achieve beautiful, high impact results.  For me that was a challenge at the beginning, but after several painstaking hours/days of mistakes and wondering how the heck am I supposed to turn blah into wow, I finally made it to the junior intermediate level.  And I am sticking to that.  Fortunately for me most of our clients design their own wraps with their creative teams but we work together to turn my “WOW!” into “BAM!”

Full Wrap of the Motrin Van with the UnStoppable Woman
Full Wrap of the Motrin Van with the Unstoppable Woman

To make everything work I provide clients with a mock-up which allows me to show them the potential of what they can do with their campaigns.  Sometimes we call in the big guns to give us an artist’s rendering of a full campaign.  This is both fun and nerve racking especially when I have no idea what a client wants to do.

The process I use for creating a final design, whether it’s me creating it or our client, are as follows:

  1. Before I go to the final design I give our clients a scaled Design Template of the Jam Van so they have a clean canvas to work with.
    Blank Canvas Jam Van – Illuminated Billboards and Back Wrap Only

    Billboards and Back Warp for Estee Edit
  2. Create layered artwork so you can easily change components and pictures to your liking. Sometimes your first choice is your least favourite.

    Interchangeable Holiday Billboards for Chip-Its
  3. Use bold colors and one main point of focus might work best to make your design eye-catching.  When the Jam Van is parked or in motion the first thing that catches peoples eye is colour and when it pops alongside good high-resolution graphics we have already captured the eyes of passersby.

    Full Wrap featuring CAA Rewards Partners
  4. Always try to keep it simple. Overly complex designs will often defeat your purpose, both in being visually confusing and difficult to install.  Too much information on a wrap will work against a good impression.

    Nordstrom Features Clean, Minimalist Billboards and a Full Vinyl Wrap

Once all the artwork is complete, I review it and look for details that might need to be adjusted and make any suggestions.  Often our clients miss things like door hinges, frames, curves, etc.  Also, I work with the printers to make adjustments, double-check measurements between your digital template and the actual vehicle to avoid any costly mistakes.  Designing “flat” artwork to fit over an irregular three dimensional object can be tricky, so I work closely with your printer and installer to achieve the best possible outcome.

And that in a nutshell is how we create a successful vehicle wrap!

Cheers,

Duane Jackson

Project Manager

Dear Diary… My Trip to the Mirren Live Conference

Marketing Conference

Article Written by Gary Francis, Managing Partner

I couldn’t have planned it better…

I had just come off a great family vacation in Jamaica, where I relaxed in the sun and got to see my son play in the surf and sand and fly on a “big uppa” (his word for airplane) for the first time – he’s 2.  After only a couple days back in the office, I had to push reset and fly again, this time to New York for Mirren Live, The 2017 New Business Conference.  My boy sat this one out and opted to go to his day job as Chief Colouring Officer at Day Care.

This trip was the opposite of a vacation.  My mind was not dealing with simple decisions, which seemed challenging at the time, like choosing between a Red Stripe or Red Stripe Light at the swim up bar. Instead, from the moment I entered the conference I was greeted by more stanchions than I experienced catching a plane from Pearson to LaGuardia.  Here, I to had to listen carefully for where to go next.  It felt like sheepdogs were barking instructions on how to get to my feeding post.  I could have opted out of the round up and instead dive into the ¼ inch thick glossy, ring-bound conference manual with small type font and a legend on every page, but I knew inevitably I would have put myself in the neck-breaking front-row of the 400-person theatre; not a relaxing way to kickback.

Also in contrast to my vacation where I didn’t have to carry or wear anything but the RFID wristband, I had to write everything down and determine at an accelerated rate if what I was writing was necessary, how I would later decipher this information, and how it related to the notes I made to myself in the top hand corner of the page.  This was work that would require more work, if anything I wrote and learned about was going to work in practice.  And I loved every minute of it!

I’ve been to a few conferences during my time at Jam Van – some local and small in scope, some large and international – but I took a great deal more from this conference than any other.  Many of the sessions I joined were not just relatable, but provided clear, concise, and most importantly, actionable ways to duplicate the success of the speakers.

One of my favorite session speakers was Brent Hodgins, Mirren’s own Managing Director, who I later found out is a fellow Canadian.  They are a business consulting agency, who get paid to come into organizations to provide guidance on uncovering their business ethos and solutions for building new and organic business.  Fortunately, Brent was able to convey the value a conference producer and consultant could bring to potential attending clients, by sharing very relevant and practical material and forthcoming responses to tough questions, which is not often the case at these types of events.  In all honesty, he set the stage and a very high bar for the other speakers to follow.  Some of the other speakers didn’t connect as well as he did with the audience and some were still perpetuating dated clichés and redirecting and “key messaging” when challenged with direct questions.  This is much more typical, I find, of conference and motivational speakers.

I found Brent provided some “sans PC” answers to questions, sometimes before being asked about issues that plague agencies and business development people.  Most of us, learn through trial and error which too often leads to few consequential wins, especially when you compare to how often you’re told “you came second” with not as much as a ribbon to show for your efforts, not to mention any real insight on how to better your efforts next time.  He gave welcomed insights on who we as an organization – without knowing anything about Jam Van or myself – should be targeting for new business opportunities, how to categorize that list of targets and utilize research to create compelling content to connect with target and adjacent (indirectly related) prospects.  It was like listening to how a chef focuses on creating a main dish, and makes other great dishes from the “waste”, usually yielding greater margins.

Aside from Brent, he and his team at Mirren brought in other straight shooting speakers, whose humility captured the audience’s attention and built trust – speakers like Bob Kantor from MDC Partners, Zach Rosenberg of MBMG and Laura Maness, CEO of Havas New York, who shared simple, grounded and effective ways to proactively reach out and secure business – without going through a competitive review.  Other notable presenters like Havas Chicago, Chief Client Officer, Tatia Torrey provided insights to turning project based clients into long-term retainers, a welcome topic that helped unravel the mystery of how to make a client want more or as she put it, “turn a first date into a marriage”.

Lastly, some provocative and interesting quotes came from conference speakers that I hope serve me well to remember and advocate, such as, “a lot happens between PowerPoint and implementation.” Although this was reserved for a conversation between management consultants and agencies – a hot button at the conference – the idea resonated for me, when you consider what experiential marketers do to make activations a success for client(s), brands and targeted consumers.

A very popular session to Mirren Live, which turned out to be a great way to end the first day of the two-day conference (besides the open bar), was the Live Pitch Competition.  This was as exciting as it was inspiring and informative.  I saw how coming in second is only good for you and your team to know, if you’re told what cost you first place and what set you apart from the competition – aside from budget! As important, the Live Pitch Competition revealed the client’s perspective and the finite amount of time you have to communicate your credentials and show-off your response to the RFP, before you lose their attention. I genuinely felt for clients, having to listen to multiple presentations.

Following the first mentally exciting and exhausting day of the conference and later a wonderful night of good company, exquisite food and drink that you can only find in the epicurean epicenter of the world, I was praying the second day would be as invigorating as the first and the morning Keynote at 8:30 a.m. would be worth rolling out of bed early, knowing the session was titled Growth Strategy: Inspired by Personal & Social Values.  I didn’t think it would be a stretch to think this was not going to be too jarring, or loud but perhaps a little preachy – perhaps time I would use to think about how to install more solar panels on the roof of our Jam Vans.  Boy was I wrong!  The speaker, Scott Harrison, was magnetic.  He woke and sobered everyone in the room and even received a standing ovation following his presentation. He even put Brent, the Managing Director of Mirren and event host to tears.  Moreover, like a joystick, he moved everyone to the right, left, in-behind and in-front of me.  Talk about passion, humility and marketing prowess – I stumbled out of the conference room, where I was supposed to remain for the next session, whispering to an attendee “I didn’t come for this. He killed my high, but somehow empowered me!”  If you ever have a chance to experience this man’s presentation, you will never feel the need to be braggadocios to be heard again.  It was too humbling an experience to explain, however a very simple message and solution to grasp. The following snippet only captures a fraction of the emotion felt in his live presentation.  

http://www.charitywater.org/thespringfilm

If ever there were an example of 360 marketing, this was it. I’m a convert and will commit to support the commodity, Charity: Water, as long as the “good” is available!

Charity Water Presentation at Mirren Live

Although the experience was a 180 of a sun-filled vacation, I came back to work invigorated and looking forward to reviewing the live broadcasted sessions and watching others I was unable to sit in on with my team.

After this past month, I believe more strongly in the adage of taking a vacation to re-charge the batteries, even for a workaholic like myself.  I love working.  Creating and making a difference for all those I work with and for gives me great pleasure.  I would however, like to add to this adage and say before quickly running back into battle (to begin the process re-depleting the batteries) it’s a good idea to make time to re-align your goals and strategy before suiting back up. Find something or someone to help you rearm, to continue the good fight and hopefully you’ll find a more rewarding and efficient way to do battle.  I think even a workaholic can appreciate this strategy. So, for next year I plan to do this again, take a vacation to rest the mind and soul then follow up with an invigorating conference like Mirren Live.  This one will stay with me for some time. Here’s to Jamaica X Mirren Live, 2018!

Cheers,

Gary Francis

Managing Partner

Jam Van Inc.