I enjoy watching, and analysing, marketing and brand-building campaigns.
Some ads are really stupid! They make such an effort to be creative or fancy and you enjoy watching them but in the end you say: “what were they advertising?”

“Thanks for the entertainment, whoever you are. I think you just wasted your money, though.”

Then there are those that turn their contact information into a ditty you’ll never forget. Very effective, whether you like or hate the ad. As long as I live, I’ll never forget: “Call one eight hundred, two six seven, two thousand and one . . . Al-a-a-a-a-a-a-rm Force!”
There are those that are so creative or silly around their product, their name or their offer that their message burns itself into your brain. The current Sponge Towels ad I see at the national curling playoffs, or the Fountain Tire, four-for-three ads, or the ever current Michelin Man ads fit that category.

But the most effective brand marketing, and a testament to the genius of their founders, is to create a whole culture around your product. Starbucks, Apple, Google and Facebook are the finest examples. Consider Starbucks: people willingly pay extra for their coffee, to buy the culture that goes with the coffee.
But the one that has me going these days is Facebook. I resisted the culture for years, having no interest in plastering my life out there for the world to see, and super computers to keep track of.
Yes, I did sign up my business. It’s an important ingredient in the successful marketing of any venture these days, and I really don’t use it enough. But, it’s also quite different from the personal Facebook.
I finally succumbed.
I needed to be a part of several “groups” in order to keep on top of some of the things with which I was involved: e.g., other members of our Professional Association, travel companions from my recent trip to India.

Did I become part of the “culture?” Alas, I fear I have been had. The bombardment has started. Every time someone I’ve “friended” opens their mouth (i.e., their computer), I get another email “so and so has updated their status”. I was already getting 50 too many emails every day. Now the bombarding force has accessed even heavier artillery: the “friend” requests are accelerating.

Can you imagine what will happen to my Inbox once the geometric progression of “friends,” raised to the power of “status updates” takes over the world? I fear the status update from friend X (five minutes ago) will already be on page two of my Inbox before I have even learned that he just went for a haircut.

Which makes me ponder some important questions: How the heck did all these potential friends suddenly find me? Do they have access to the super computer? Does Mark Zuckerberg tell them every time someone new signs up for Facebook? Do I have a mole on my “friend” list?
And secondly, Why do all these people suddenly want to be my friends? I have several theories.

1. They’re lonely and need more friendship. But, really, I doubt that. They probably already have hundreds of Facebook friends and, raised to the power of status updates, get plenty of friend interaction every day.
2. They think I’m lonely and need more friendship. Sorry, guys, I’m doing okay.
3. They’re secret (or not so secret) agents who think I’m going to share my life story with them and, hence, the world. Or, alternatively, simply voyeurs who’d like to pry into my life.
4. They’re admirers who’ve finally tracked me down. (I won’t give that idea much credence.)
5. I’m not important enough in their lives to communicate with personally but the “friend” request says: “I haven’t written you off completely.” I suppose I should be grateful!
6. Here’s the one I think most likely, though: They’re so enmeshed in the culture that they want me to become a part of it, too. A missional endeavor, to be sure, like you find in fervent religious communities or direct marketing campaigns. Besides, building their friend list increases their status within the culture created by this product.

If that’s the case, my hat’s off to you, Mark Zuckerberg!
Rent 2 Own tip:
The Fraser Valley market remains really strong, with record-breaking sales in January and February. This demand is pushing prices up, with single-family homes now going for about 20% higher than December 2014. This is making it more challenging for hopeful buyers to qualify for a mortgage. Rent 2 own definitely provides an alternative, if you find yourself in this situation.
In their recent budget, the BC government announced several initiatives to try to soften the escalating prices. However, in my opinion, these measures are minimal and will have only minor influence as long as the greater market forces, specifically the low Canadian dollar attracting a lot of Asian money, remains.

Quote of the Week:
It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it.  – Lou Holtz