Thursday, November 30, 2006


I recently started a new job. I'm enjoying the pace, the learning, the work...maybe a bit too much, so much so my supervisors are now taking to standing over me demanding that I go home.

Used to be, I would pontificate that workaholism is just a symptom that something is missing from life. I'm starting to re-evaluate my thesis.

I don't feel that anything is missing from my life. I love my life. I mean, c'mon, I have a healthy obsession with being on vacation, preferably somewhere with beautiful beaches to look at, healthy reefs to dive on, and good food.

But this Workaholic Quiz is forcing me to re-evaluate. No, I'm not a certified workaholic...not yet, but it sure seems like a slippery slope I need to avoid like the plague.

How thin is the line between a healthy passion for work that fulfills and an unhealthy fixation?

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

How cool is this recruitment ad??

While browsing through Cool Hunter, I saw this very cool recruitment ad from Diesel. No, not the lame jpeg on this post. WAAAY cooler.

You have to take a moral aptitude test.

Turns out I'm wicked.

Second Life...Creepy Life?

At precisely 8:05:45 AM PDT on October 18, 2006, 1 million virtual citizens inhabit this online world called Second Life. It's essentially a virtual world where you can live your virtual life exactly as you script it: you can buy real estate, run a business, even go to a music concert by a real-world band (Duran Duran!). There's even a Wikipedia entry about it.

About 5% of of land owners in SL are corporations, and GM's Pontiac brand recently acquired an island, naming it MotoratiLife. Leo Burnett is the first ad agency to hang its shingles in the virtual world.

On the one hand, I find this fascinating. It's like Star Trek but better! And man, here's my big chance to look this good!

On the other hand, there's something creepy about this whole alt-world and virtual-reality reality that makes my skin crawl in ways that I can't yet articulate. It'll come to me.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Through the Looking Glass

What's it really like to work at an ad agency?

A brave soul by the name of Kirsten Chase wrote a tell-all piece (from her personal perspective) called Bullies and Brats published in the Sept 25, 2006 issue of Marketing Magazine. Suffice it to say, Ms Chase was less-than-impressed.

The responses were equally entertaining. Suffice it to say: They were less-than-impressed.

Along the same lines, one of my favourite bloggers posted a similar, albeit more artful piece here.

As for me, I'm going to pretend for now that I'm American and have 5th amendment rights against incriminating myself. :)

PS Ouch...the slamming just doesn't end.

Staples Easy Button

I like the new Staples Easy Button campaign. It's everywhere, and it radiates. I like that word much better than integrated. That's a bit of a 4-letter word to me; along with BCE, that whole myth of convergence has thankfully been exploded. But I digress.

The Staples Easy Button is everywhere: on TV, in print, and now, in a Staples store near you! Gotta love it!

When I first saw it, I thought, "Oh brother, WHO would donate $5.98 plus taxes to the Staples cause?" So, I came home and did a focus group...of, well, one. My SO loves marketing, all aspects of it...most days, he enjoys the ads on TV better than the programming. Anyway, he actually claims he would buy one as a gag gift.

It's obvious, I'll grant you that. I just know that the folks that dreamt this idea up are salivating at their visions of millions (OK maybe a slight exaggeration) of office types with this button on their desk, enacting their own Easy Button scenes. VoilĂ ! Viral! Beautiful.

But sometimes, the obvious can work.

Guess who's getting an Easy Button in his Christmas stocking this year?

Cyber fame

I google myself every now and then to see if I'm getting any more famous with the passing of time. Well, so far, this is still the only entry I can find.

It was a campaign from 2 years ago that was done for Jeep's sponsorship of the Exclaim! Tour. The Tour featured up-and-comers in the local alternative music scene. The poster we created played off the classic Jeep trope: a mountain scene. You think you're seeing a scene of snowy mountains, except the mountains are actually white guitar picks we shot and painstakingly worked up in studio.

To this day though, I'm still a bit miffed that we had to include a shot of the Jeep TJ into the layout. It was much better simply signed off as Jeep. Oh well...when you don't hold the purse strings, you learn to live with compromises for the greater good.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Pole Dancing

Yesterday, I had a very enjoyable meeting with a headhunter, whom I shall not name in order to protect his identity!

We were discussing my interest in a real estate career, at which point he made a face, and instead of "Bah, humbug!", said, "Pole dancing!"

He's certainly not far off the mark: I've been researching this field for the past 3 months, and there are certainly quite a few revoltingly greasy specimens out there. (Surely you don't need me to provide examples.) Then again, there are some others I've met who come across as highly professional.

After I left his office, the headhunter's, that is, I thought a bit more about his pole dancing analogy and couldn't help but come to the realization that in many ways, the marketing agency business is not immune to that sub-species of slathering sycophant. You know what I'm talking about: we've all seen it and likely been sickened by it. And if you protest the analogy, maybe it's the sting of truth hitting home? Fiction, in film and in print, have dramatized this particular creature.

After all, us marketing agency account types are nothing more than sales people. Those who are not in the business or who aren't very successful in it, don't know this, of course. But the truth is, we're not too many f-bombs from Ricky Roma and the gang at Rio Rancho Realty. You're selling ideas, and once those are bought, you're selling the products engendered by those ideas. Sometimes, it feels as if you're selling your soul, or at least your dignity.

I'm not saying that you have to be Ricky Roma to be a successful marketing agency account guy (I'm using "guy" as a synonym for "man" here). I'm just saying it's a sales job; and like any sales job, you can bring a high level of discipline and professionalism to it. Or not.

As for me, the natural born geek, it's simply easier for me to be disciplined and professional. I will never be the proverbial Cool Account Guy who charms her way through the day. That's a persona I have to work hard at; and I do work at it because I think it's important to be charming, at least a little. It's a bummer as it is that we have to work; why shouldn't I do my part to make life a more pleasant journey to be on? However, at the end of the day, behind my mask, I'm still the geek who wants to make sure the i's are dotted, the t's are crossed, and the lights are switched off as I leave the office for the day.

My Resume


Strategic business planning & execution

  • Developed and executed multi-discipline marketing launches for more than 15 new niche and volume products from cradle to grave
  • Supported senior management with business plan development by providing SWOT analyses, product positioning strategies, portfolio management recommendation
  • Increased channel business by 80% as a result of identifying new consumer segment using market data analysis

Business / financial operations management

  • Forecast, planned, and executed multi-million annual marketing production budget; responsible for monthly and annual budget control reports
  • Supervised planning and execution of multi-million dollar annual advertising budget
  • Maximized business efficiencies for positive impact on P&L’s by creating and implementing operational best practices, knowledge databases and workflow processes


  • Headed production of international marketing campaign with six-figure budget, liaising between Canada, US, and Mexico agencies, clients, and vendors

MindBlossom, Inc.

Senior Account Manager, current

  • Strategic planning and management for The Home Depot of Canada e-comm business unit (; responsible for account growth
  • Currently supervising / project managing 9 new launches, plus ongoing media campaigns
  • Direct supervision of 1 account manager and 2 project managers

BBDO TORONTO – AUTOMOTIVE GROUP, Agency of Record (AOR) for DaimlerChrysler Canada
Account Supervisor, 2000 – 2006

  • Executed and supervised collection and interpretation of target market research, including industry sales, media consumption, focus groups for purposes of strategic media and creative planning
  • Systematized accountability for strategic alliance programs by formalizing evaluation metrics for program selection and for post-campaign ROI analyses
  • Localized US marketing campaigns to achieve Canadian business objectives; develop and execute original Canadian solutions where appropriate
  • Mentored and managed 1 direct report, 3 indirect reports; provided leadership to team of 8 media strategists; created and led multi-discipline teams across different functional platforms on project-by-project basis to ensure integrity of strategic and logistics planning, as well as execution of deliverables
  • Awarded bonus every year for outstanding performance in client care, including strategic planning, leadership, business operations management

Account Executive, 1999 – 2000

  • Promoted to account supervisor within 2 years
  • Achieved client’s inventory objectives using only 50% of client proposed advertising budget by analyzing stock distribution data
  • Balanced client’s advertising budgets by setting up billing protocols and budget control reports
  • Organized and executed corporate branding as well as national dealer / channel marketing campaigns

COSSETTE COMMUNICATIONS (TORONTO), AOR for General Motors’ Saturn/SAAB/Isuzu dealer groups
Account Executive, 1998 – 1999

  • Organized and executed national dealer advertising (print and collateral); timely and accurate publication of retail offers and catalogues

Account Executive, 1997 – 1998

  • Liaised with GM Zone Manager and 6 dealer marketing associations to coordinate regional and national marketing campaigns
  • Planned and controlled retail consumer programs that consistently out-performed projected response rates
  • Safeguarded client’s weekly price competitiveness by analyzing competitive pricing actions and recommending proactive tactics


Account Manager, 1997

  • Recognized by clients as trusted advisor within 3 months of tenure
  • Conferred with clients regarding specific needs
  • Researched and recommended media vehicles
  • Copywrote recruitment ads
  • Booked media space


Proposal Writer, 1997

  • Wrote proposals with 90% win rate


  • Ph.D. candidate (English – Renaissance & Medieval Literature), University of Ottawa (1996)
  • M.A. (English – Renaissance & Medieval Literature), University of Western Ontario (1994)
  • B.A. Honors (Economics & English), University of Western Ontario (1993)
    Multiple Dean’s List and scholarship recipient


  • Phase I, Ontario Real Estate Association licensing exam (scored 97%) (Sept 2006)
  • Phase II, Ontario Real Estate Association licensing exam (in progress)


  • Master Scuba Diver Trainer, Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI)
  • Member, American Marketing Association – Toronto Chapter


  • Available on request