12 Feb

Olympic Games Are Underway

Posted in News, Promotional Products on 12.02.10 by John Meloche

Finally! The time has come Canada! February 12th, 2010 marks the official start of the return of the Winter Olympic Games to Canada. Tonight, in Vancouver, British Columbia, the Olympics return to the Great White North for the first time since it took place since the 1988 Games in Calgary, Alberta.

As the CTV broadcasts made evident, even before the opening ceremonies, Vancouver was abuzz with people from all over the world who were visiting to take in the amazing festivities. Host of TSN?s ?Off The Record?, Michael Landsberg remarked how during a five minute walk through the streets of Vancouver, he met with people who greeted him in a variety of languages.

A true celebration of the world coming together is one way in which the atmosphere of the Olympic Games in Vancouver was described. The CTV broadcast also showcased a number of Canadian athletes who are expected to fair well in their respective events. Among them were alpine skiier Manuel Osborne-Paradis, short track speed skater Kalyna Roberge and of course, the Canadian hockey team.

The opening ceremonies were as amazing as expected. A spectacular sight, they featured a snowboarder sliding right through the Olympic rings into Vancouver?s BC Place. An awesome presentation with a Native Canadian theme showcased a variety of Canadians in aboriginal garb welcoming the world to the Games.

As this took place, massive ice sculpture totems rose from the stadium floor. The Canadian flag was escorted into the building by Royal Canadian Mounties and the national anthem was sung beautifully by Canadian jazz-pop singer, Nikki Yanofsky. It was truly a sensational event, and a great representation of Canada.

Very sadly, however, tragedy had beset the Olympic Games even before the open ceremonies. During a practice run, Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili lost control of his luge and shockingly flew off the track at a speed topping 140 kilometres an hour. He abruptly crashed into a medal girder that was part of the luge track structure. Kumaritashvili later succumbed to his injuries.

The fatal crash was broadcast on CTV creating a controversy as to whether or not the horrific incident should have been shown to the public. The Georgian athletes all arrived into BC Place each wearing black armbands and scarves. The country?s flag was also draped with a black strip in honor of their fallen athlete.

While it will be most difficult, there is great hope that all athletes will be able to bond in support of each other even as they compete against one another. Needless to say, the Games will carry on as planned but not without the looming reminder that a life has been lost and that there are certainly more important things than winning medals.

Synergy Marketing Consultants would like to wish all athletes competing at the 2010 Winter Games the best of luck and safety as they work to fulfill their dreams. However, we are especially rooting for our Canadian athletes to shine on their home soil and secure as many medals as possible. Go Canada!

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11 Feb

Innovative And Inexpensive Advertising Is Effective

Posted in News, Promotional Products on 11.02.10 by John Meloche

What makes your business different from its competition? What makes it more unique? What makes it stand out from all of the rest? Why should someone choose your brand over the others that are available out there?

Of course, these are all questions that should be answered by your advertising. Good advertising, as we all know, can make or break a business. Ensuring that you are not only reaching your target audience but making a meaningful impact on them is essential to your bottom line.

Also important to that very bottom line is not overspending while you are advertising how great your company is. At Synergy, we are very well aware that the promotional gift works wonders. Trade shows, business meetings, conferences and other important events all provide excellent opportunities to get your promo gift in the hands of potential clients.

However, there are obvious steps that must be taken so that you, as an entrepreneur, can even manage to experience such opportunities. Janet Attard of BusinessKnowHow.com suggests a number of things that business owners should do in order promote themselves without having to spend too much money doing so. The website offers up no less than 24 ?proven methods to help get your business off the ground without spending a fortune.?

One suggested method alludes to something we mentioned earlier. That is, to ?attend meetings of professional groups?. The site acknowledges the importance of attending such meetings as they allow for you to develop strong new relationships with others in your field. We couldn't agree with the following advice any more.

Says Attard: ?Every time you start to say 'My name is,' reach in your pocket for a business card. By the time you get to 'I run a…' (type of business), your business card should be deposited in the hand of the person with whom you are speaking.? Of course, we believe that taking it one step further and offering up a promotional pen, for example, will leave a far more significant impact than the standard business card.

This, of course, is an inexpensive method of furthering your brand, but it also does the trick in making you appear ahead of your competition. That brings us to yet another cheap solution to advertising offered up by BusinessKnowHow.com.

?Look for something unusual about what you do, and publicize it,? says Attard, ?Send out press releases to local newspapers, radio stations, cable TV stations, or magazines whose audiences are likely to be interested in buying what you sell.?

The more unique you are, the better. There are so many ways to advertise your business, but when you can show that you are different, chances are you will be more memorable. It doesn't have to cost you much. You just need to be creative and determined to succeed.

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10 Feb

Catchy Jingles Make You Memorable

Posted in News, Promotional Products on 10.02.10 by John Meloche

Today in the Synergy Marketing Consultants offices, a team member was commenting on how annoyed she was with some of the television commercials that she had recently seen. Interestingly, some others in the office remarked about how much they loved those very same commercials. It begs the question: how is it that one can despise something so much and others absolutely love it?

After a brief discussion about the specific ads, it became clear that there was one factor that tied all of them together. This same factor, it appeared, was at the heart of both the disdain and the praise for the commercials being discussed. They each had a catchy jingle.

Now depending on one's taste in commercials, or perhaps more accurately, taste in music, the argument can be made that not all ads with jingles are effective. However, an even stronger argument can be made that whether or not a person ?likes? a jingle or not is unimportant. It is whether or not a person ?remembers? a jingle that counts.

The bottom line is that each of these commercials with catchy jingles were being talked about. We are sure that the advertisers ? had they been flies on the wall ? would have been all too pleased to hear that their TV spots were the topics of a wild discussion. We couldn't help but think of all of those ads with a jingle that had stayed in our heads over the years.

Who doesn't know the one for mattress company, Sleep Country Canada? I can hear it now: ?Sleep Country Canada, why buy a mattress anywhere else??. Sometimes the catchiest and most memorable jingles are the ones that are the most simple.

With that, we pose this question. Have you ever thought of coming up with a catchy jingle for your company? Of course, this is something probably best suited for professionals who write these songs for the brands wishing to advertise either on television or the radio. But who says you can't come up with one for yourself?

Perhaps, at the end of the day, it all comes down to a witty slogan. If you can put that to a simple and fun melody, you've got your jingle! This may just work wonders for your business if you introduce this catch phrase of yours to your customer base.

Why not add this to a line of print on a snazzy promotional item you can buy from Synergy? It might be a good idea to hand out this great promo gift of yours while singing your jingle to its recipient.

Then again, maybe not. Like our staff member mentioned earlier today, many of these jingles can be annoying. But as long as they are memorable, you are doing yourself and your business a big service. It stays in the minds of your client base, and will likely be a topic of conversation somewhere. Wouldn't you like to be a fly on the wall for that?

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09 Feb

Olympic Advertising Commands Big Bucks

Posted in News, Promotional Products on 09.02.10 by John Meloche

With the 2010 Winter Olympic Games set to get under way in just a couple of days, companies from all over Canada are gearing up for one of their biggest advertising campaigns of the year. Undoubtedly, the Olympics will garner great interest and command a large television-viewing audience. As a result, hot on the heels of this past Sunday's Super Bowl, the Olympic broadcasts are sure to feature some very costly commercials.

As Toronto Star Business Reporter, Dana Flavelle reports today, a number of companies have ?paid dearly? to secure the rights to be official sponsors of the Winter Games in Vancouver. Among some of the largest are Petro-Canada, McDonald's, Samsung and Bell. As Flavelle reveals, these companies are paying top dollar to be official Olympic sponsors with prime-time advertising spots on TV.

Flavelle notes, however, that experts are beginning to question whether or not such hefty spending on television presence during the Olympics is such a wise move. With the advent of so many other forms of digital media, one wonders if the huge advertising dollars will pay off for companies who sponsor the Games.

Jay Handelman, an associate professor of marketing at Queen's School of Business had this to say: ?What I'm observing this year is companies are becoming more adept at using social media and even starting to forgo TV…Part of that is the economy. Automakers, which have traditionally been big spenders on the Olympics, are in bankruptcy protection and don't have that luxury now. But it's more than that.?

Broadcasters in the United States already seem to be aware of this change. Flavelle notes that NBC is actually ?projecting a loss on its Olympic coverage for the first time in 30 years.? Handelman added that he believes that at the next Winter Games in four years, there will be noticeable change in the way in which advertisers spend their money.

Nevertheless, the cost to buy broadcast rights in Canada is up at the $90 million mark. One of the biggest Canadian sponsors, The Royal Bank of Canada believes that it is well worth it.

According to Jim Little, the RBC's chief brand and communications officer: ?It's the biggest marketing platform in the world. We've been at this for 60-plus years. It's something that has allowed us to grow our brand and drive our business.?

By co-sponsoring the Olympic Torch Relay, RBC ran an online contest giving away the opportunity to be a Torch Bearer. As a result, their website received over a million hits, significantly increasing their marketing potential.

?It exceeded our expectations,? said Little. Of course, most companies cannot afford such enormous advertising costs. And that's where Synergy comes in. But regardless, we anticipate that the 2010 Winter Olympic Games will be a joy for Canadians to watch, no matter who is sponsoring the event.

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08 Feb

Super Bowl Ads Cause Quite A Stir

Posted in News, Promotional Products on 08.02.10 by John Meloche

It goes without saying that around Synergy Marketing Consultants, advertising is the name of the game. And of course, we advocate the inexpensive use of promo gifts and other items to market a business effectively. So while producing hugely expensive television ads has never been our recommendation, we can't help but sit back and enjoy the many wonderful commercials that have come our way.

Yesterday being Super Bowl Sunday, it was the perfect day to bear witness to some of the most unique and intriguing 30-second time slots of the year. In addition to the big game that would decide the National Football League champions (congratulations to the New Orleans Saints on a well-deserved 31-17 victory), yesterday's Super Bowl broadcast featured a yearly round-up of highly-touted commercials for products of all kinds.

Today, much ado was made about some of the best commercials to appear during the game. Among them was a very humorous and eye-popping ad featuring 88-year old “Golden Girls” actress, Betty White getting tackled during a pick-up football game. The Snickers commercial promotes the idea of the chocolate bar being a pick-me-up for those experiencing hunger, allowing for someone to play sports with more energy than the aforementioned White.

Critics believe that the ad was amusing and had a light-hearted humor that fit the chocolate bar brand. People were also very impressed with a new Google ad. Using the very simple technique of a screen shot showing text being typed into a Google search field, it told the story of someone traveling in France and seeking out destinations in addition to information on how to impress the local women. The ad was praised as a perfect presentation of how the Google search engine works.

Fans of “The Simpsons” were no doubt excited to see a full minute Coca-Cola commercial that saw Mr. Burns lose his fortune! Not all ads were winners though. Doritos struck out with their ad showing a man faking his own death to be buried in a coffin filled with his favourite snack.

Some were not exactly impressed either by the Taco Bell commercial featuring former NBA star, Charles Barkley. As FOXSports.com editor, John Galinsky notes, it didn't exactly help the restaurant's image.

Writes Galinsky: ?Take one look at Charles Barkley?s waistline and it?s easy to envision him rolling into the late-night Taco Bell drive-thru and stuffing his face with cheap, fatty Mexican food. Too many of the Super Bowl commercials feature celebrity spokesmen who are clearly there simply to pick up a paycheck, but this is a product the Round Mound of Rebound really seems to believe in.?

It's always fun to watch Super Bowl commercials. But business owners should take them as a reminder to always be mindful of the ways in which you represent your company. You want your advertising dollars to have lasting positive effects, and a strong return on your investment.

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05 Feb

Old School Is Still Cool

Posted in News, Promotional Products on 05.02.10 by John Meloche

We have often praised the concept of maintaining a strong online image. Even as recent as yesterday?s blog, we here at Synergy advocated the use of an intriguing video for your company website as a way to attract new business. But it should never be forgotten that some business owners, and just as importantly, their consumers are simply…well…old school.

Not that anything is wrong with being old fashioned, but some people just haven?t caught on with the latest technology. Believe it or not, there are still a good number of people out there who don?t own a Blackberry or an iPod.
By the same token, some entrepreneurs do not yet utilize the internet as a primary resource to promote their businesses. And some consumers don?t even bother turning on a computer when they want to learn more about a product or service.

That being said, there?s nothing wrong with a good old phone number. As Mark Evans of ME Consulting writes in today?s edition of The Globe And Mail, some customers still just want to speak to a real person instead of sending an e-mail or filling out an online contact form.

Even for those consumers who are computer-savvy, there is a feeling that they are not really receiving any type of customer service unless there is a human ear doing the listening and a human voice doing the talking on the other end of a phone line. Evans notes that some companies make the crucial mistake of forgetting to include a phone number in their website?s ?contact us? section.

His explanation is simple. Says Evans: ?Offering a phone number is an important step but it's just the beginning of the process. You also need to make sure that when a customer calls, someone at your end either answers the phone or callers are provided with all the information they might need, and/or options to get hold of the desired information or department.?

Obviously, the telephone is still a tool most often used to communicate by most people. Noting that Twitter and Facebook is fast becoming the wave of the future of communications due to their fast and easy contact methods with large numbers of online users and ?friends?, a phone conversation ?personalizes the relationship, and it provides opportunities to build a client-supplier relationship.?

The voice on the other end of the line can be very reassuring. We?re a big believer, here at Synergy, that the knowledge that someone is listening to your questions and concerns is a major factor in developing strong working relationships. A computer has no tone of voice. It?s impossible for any piece of technology to empathize or show understanding.

?The rule is simple,? insists Evans, ?You'll be amazing by the number of people happy to ring you up.? That being said, here is a phone number that we would love for you to dial: 1-877-748-9884. We look forward to speaking with you soon!

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04 Feb

Online Videos Powerfully Promote Businesses

Posted in News, Promotional Products on 04.02.10 by John Meloche

How would you rate your online presence? Of course, we at Synergy Marketing Consultants have always heralded the use of a daily blog to drive traffic to your website. We have also preached the importance of maintaining an easy-to-navigate and intriguing looking website to maintain your online popularity. But there are other ways to promote your business using the almighty internet.

Have you ever thought of posting a video online? Now, we don't just mean your standard anyone-can-do-it YouTube posting. We're referring to a professional looking piece that showcases the finer points of your brand. Today in The Toronto Star, Business Reporter Dana Flavelle highlights the importance of having a strong online presence.

Interviewing Catharine Fennell of The Original VideoBIO Inc., Flavelle discusses how communicating the strength of your company and increasing its positive perception in the eyes of your client base through online videos can work wonders. Fennell's company offers professionally shot and scripted three-minute videos that can be hosted on any business' website.

The videos allow for business owners to provide their own personal messages about their businesses in a unique and creative way. Fennell has offered up her video-producing services to entrepreneurs of all kinds including book publishers and real estate agents.

One such agent, Patrick Rocca of Bosley Real Esate, found that producing a video for his website really helped him to better connect with a greater number of clients. Said Rocca: ?I put it in all my emails. It's on my website, my Facebook page, my Twitter site. It adds a personal touch.?

He also insists that the process of producing the video was a fairly easy one that took less than a week to complete. Fennell describes the business of branding yourself through online videos as one that is catching on. As well, with the advent of so many new technological advances, creating, uploading and sharing these video files is becoming easier than ever.

New York-based personal branding expert William Arruda, head of Reach Personal Branding, shares Fennell's vision. Last year, the two formed a partnership. Arruda explains that companies no longer offer jobs for life so more and more people need to brand themselves in order to stand out in a variety of positions that they may hold.

Said Arruda: ?Your company knows you're not going to be there forever. But, while you're there, they want you to be the absolute best that you can be. Being the best you can be means you need to know what makes you exceptional. You need to know what makes you stand out and find a way to contribute that to the corporate brand.?

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04 Feb

Super Bowl Ads Still Draw Top Dollar

Posted in News, Promotional Products on 04.02.10 by John Meloche

We all know that strong advertising can help to make or break a company. At Synergy Marketing Consultants, we know better than anybody that cost-efficient marketing can go a long way. Some businesses, however, are willing to spend big bucks to advertise their brands. And this is certainly the time of year where big businesses dole out huge sums of cash to showcase their companies to the world.

That's right, it's Super Bowl time! With the National Football League Championship on the line this coming Sunday between the Indianapolis Colts and the New Orleans Saints, it is safe to say that many people throughout North America will be tuning in for the big game. It may even be safer to say that a good portion of those viewers will be tuning in to check out the commercials.

As strange as that may sound, each year Super Bowl commercials are talked about as much as, if not, more than the big game itself. And this is not something reserved simply for American football fans. As Stefania Moretti of the QMI Agency reports in today's edition of The Toronto Sun, advertising spots for the Canadian broadcast of the Super Bowl ?sold out ahead of schedule and at top dollar?.

According to Rick Brace, the president of revenue, business planning and sports for CTV, 29 companies grabbed approximately 50 available 30-second ad slots at full price. Among the companies that Canadian Super Bowl viewers will see ads from this Sunday are PepsiCo, Labatt (Budweiser), Ford, Wal-Mart, RBC, Subway and Hyundai.

Last year, a recession-hit Canada was offered reduced prices for commercial slots during the Super Bowl. Evidently, the economy is on the road to recovery. As Moretti writes: ?Brace said the early sellout proves the market has improved…This year, ad space on CTV sold out nearly two weeks in advance.?

Brace added: ?That?s a big change because we were right down to the wire last year.? It should be noted that with the Super Bowl being one of the highest rated television events of the year, paying for a 30-second commercial slot during the broadcast is nowhere near cheap.

And while CTV did not reveal the exact price tag for these slots, Moretti reveals that reports on last year's going rate was approximated at $117,000. That's $3900 per second of ad time!

However, Moretti reminds us that our American counterparts are shelling out upwards of $3 million or more to advertise during a 30-second commercial slot on CBS during the Super Bowl! And yep, those slots are all sold out too!

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03 Feb

Weather In Vancouver Threatening Olympics

Posted in News, Promotional Products on 03.02.10 by John Meloche

Here come the Winter Olympics Canada! On February 12th, the 2010 Games will finally get underway in Vancouver and Whistler, British Columbia. For the first time since 1988 when the Olympics were held in Calgary, Alberta, Canada is hosting the event that many believe was meant to be hosted by the Great White North. But is it?

Today, Sunny Dhillon of The Canadian Press reports that Vancouver?s unseasonably warm conditions at the moment are posing some major concerns for Olympic officials with just over a week to go before the Games begin. As Dhillon reports, not only is there a lack of snow for the alpine slopes but the indoor venues are being impacted by high levels of humidity.

As a result, organizers are trying to find ways to ensure that the outdoor events that require snow such as freestyle skiing and snowboarding go on as scheduled. In addition, the presentation of the indoor events like speedskating and curling is suffering some setbacks.

The humidity in the arenas is presenting quite a problem according to the sport manager for curling at the Vancouver Olympic and Paralympic Centre, Neil Houston. ?When spectators come in or anybody comes in and it?s been raining outside, your jacket dries off,” said Houston, noting that measures have been put in place to combat the issue.

“It's just like the environment. It evaporates up into the air and it's going to circulate and we work really hard to make sure that as it circulates, it does not come down on top of the ice surface,” he explains, “One thing that people don't know because we are an indoor venue is that the outside environment can have a very positive or negative impact on the field of play.?

Who would have guessed that Canada wouldn?t be cold enough to adequately host the Winter Olympics? Vancouver, of course, is known for its mild winter weather when compared to the rest of Canada. But snowless mountains and humid sports arenas are certainly not expected features of this year?s Games.

Interestingly, the more spectators that an arena holds, the greater the risk of indoor humidity. This obviously creates a concern for the ice surface that the Olympians must compete on. Organizers are apparently working frantically to ensure that there are no interruptions to the competitions due to potentially poor indoor conditions.

Apparently, Vancouver?s upcoming weather forecasts actually calls for rain. Meteorologist Matt McDonald says that this is no surprise as Vancouver?s close proximity to the Pacific Ocean lends the city to greater humidity than other Canadians cities. Humidity was at 87 per cent in January, he reports, as compared to 66 per cent in Calgary during January of 1988.

Canada, and the rest of the world in fact, hopes that this will not affect the Games negatively in any way. Especially when members of Team Canada are competing!

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01 Feb

The Great 2010 Calendar Giveaway

Posted in News, Promotional Products on 01.02.10 by John Meloche

Synergy Marketing Consultants is proud to present ?The Great 2010 Calendar Giveaway?! As you may have noticed on our home page, Synergy is in the midst of one of our greatest giveaway deals ever! We have an amazing selection of beautiful 2010 Calendars that include ad space for your company's name, logo and contact information. Available in special ?Auto?, ?Birds?, ?Food? and the ever-popular ?Tropical? editions, these calendars usually go for just $5 each!

Starting today however, and for the entire month of February, you can get no less than 100 copies of the calendar of your choice absolutely free by placing a minimum order of one of our six specially selected promotional items.

First up is our Double Walled 15oz Multi Color Translucent Desk Mug with stainless steel liner. Available in black, green, blue and red, these awesome mugs sell for just $6.99 each. A minimum order of only 75 mugs in the colour of your choice will get you 100 copies of your favourite calendar for free! This giveaway, of course, is valued at $500 but provides your company with a hundred more ways to effectively advertise at no extra cost.

If mugs aren't your thing, we also offer two innovative key chains as part of this promotion. Firstly, we present the 5 Function Excalibur© Key Chain. The stainless steel mini key chain and multi-purpose knife is equipped with a strong handle. Available in blue, the key chain includes an individual gift box and one location laser engraving for your company info. At only $2.99 each, an order of just 75 of these bad boys will also get you 100 free calendars.

We also suggest the Timberline 7 Function Rosewood Knife with rosewood handle and key ring attachment. Also including a gift box and one location laser engraving for your company information, this stylish key chain sells for $4.99 each. An order of 100 of these key chains will come with 100 free calendars as well.

Everyone who works on a computer loves our next available item. Also offered as promo gift that is part of ?The Great 2010 Calendar Giveaway? is the Aluminum Retractable Mouse Pad. Lightweight and compact, this silver, roll-up mouse pad is very unique. It is ideal for desktop or travel and also includes a gift box and one location imprinting for your company info. An order of 75 mouse pads at $5.99 each will give you 100 free calendars.

Also excellent for office use is the Jumbo Barrel Click Action Yellow Highlighter. At only $2.99 a piece, each highlighter comes with one location imprint for your company information. An order of 100 highlighters will come with 100 calendars as well.

Finally, we offer the 3 In 1 Laser Pen. Now, this item is really cool! It is a unique metal twist action ballpoint pen that comes with bendable LED book light, currency verification unit and laser light. Presented in a sleek, silver carrying case, these pens go for $10 each. Ordering only 36 of these fantastic pens will also give you 100 free calendars!

The time to promote your company with a fantastic promo item is now. We have never offered up such an amazing deal. Remember, you only have the month of February to get in on ?The Great 2010 Calendar Giveaway?! Order your promo gifts today!

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