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The final Copeland post

18 Aug

Thank you for following the Copeland blog. We managed to write nearly 750 posts over 3 years, and were always appreciative of your support and thoughtful comments.

The company is now closed. However I am continuing to blog here on all those neat and irritating advertising developments you enjoyed on the Copeland blog.

Doug Brown's advertising blog

Be great to have you as a reader there too. See you in the blogosphere!



Out with the old, in with the new blog

4 Jan

After 3 years of forcing you to stare at the same design for the Copeland blog, we’re happy to present a new face to our readers.

While this was being redesigned, we also attacked our Twitter and Facebook pages. Our Zombie Intern Contest winner Danny Prew is the man behind the art director’s mask on these.

Is it a good idea to change your look?

Albert Einstein, an intellect of some standing, didn’t put much stock in it. He believed in only wearing white shirts and dark trousers – and he had a closet filled with identical garments.

But this is advertising, not quantum physics.

Hope you like it.

Have a say in what you read here

14 Dec


I noticed this morning that this post would be our 700th and I wondered how many of those posts our readers really connected with.

As we move into 2012 and hurtle towards post #701, it’s a good time to ask you what you like to read about.

Would you be so kind as to take a minute to click on all the areas that interest you?

Whatever our readers tell us through this poll you will see reflected back in the content of our upcoming posts.

Huge thank you from me and the Copeland blogging team.

Zombies, polls, skulls and beer: our year in review

12 Dec

“Change is inevitable. Except from a vending machine.” Robert C. Gallagher

2011 was a year of operatic change for Copeland. We lost clients, we won clients. We lost co-workers, we gained co-workers. Some of our traditional revenue streams dried up and new ones began to flow.

Whatever else you can say about 2011, we attacked it with everything we had. We worked hard and we played hard. And we made substantial changes along the way.

Here’s a month-to-month recap of an unforgettable year.


Our 2-year old blog competes against 11 American ad agencies for Fuel Lines Ad Agency Blog of the Year. We finish second in the online poll behind Texas agency Square1.


We launch our Zombie Intern Contest. It nets us 3 excellent Island interns, including winner Danny Prew, from the Pacific Design Academy.

Copeland Zombie Intern Contest winner Danny Prew

The online contest also puts us on the homepage of the world’s largest advertising publication, Advertising Age.

Copeland Zombies in Ad Age


Heads down, powering through work for new client wins Academy of Learning, the Raptors at Church & State, Scansa Construction and Christina Hillborne.

factory workers


Awarded work for The Vancouver Sun and The Province newspapers!


Nominated in 3 of the 4 categories in the first West Coast Social Media Awards, including Best Blog and Best Social Media Campaign (for our Zombie Intern Contest).

West Coast Social Media Awards logo


Managing Director Doug Brown buys Copeland from long-time owner Steven Dagg. Sales of Pepto Bismol go up.

Marketing Online story about Copeland purchase


We hire Connect Hearing’s national marketing manager Jodie Carlisle to be our Director of Client Services.

Copeland Director of Client Service Jodie Carlisle


We move offices and are now strategically located between two of the Island’s best breweries. 😉

Laying down the rugs in Copeland's new office


Renowned Texas-based mobile marketing author and specialist Simon Salt joins Copeland in Victoria for 2 days of Mobile Marketing workshops. We host a tweet-up for him and invite guests via a mobile contest.

Doug becomes President of T-CAAN (Trans-Canada Advertising Agency Network) in advance of Copeland hosting the 50th annual conference in Victoria in 2012. Another spike in Pepto Bismol sales.


Our Managing Director 4 A Day student contest goes down to the wire, with U Vic’s Brandon Wright and Royal Roads’ Grace Campbell battling for the win to the very last minute of a 3-day online vote. Grace wins by 4 votes and is featured on CTV news story.

Grace Campbell winner of Copeland's Managing Director 4 a Day contest


Copeland busts out with a Mexican Dia de los Muertos party. We hire professional makeup artists Kristin Grant and Christina Cheply, and custom-label beer from Moon Under Water.

Andrea Merson and Michael Tension at Dia de los Muertos

Asmaa Methqal at Dia de los Muertos at Copeland

Jodie Carlisle chairs the 2011 Vancouver Island NABS fundraiser (National Advertising Benevolent Society) at Three Point Motors – a showing of the Cannes winners’ reel.


We introduce The Copeland Collective. What the heck’s The Copeland Collective you ask? We’ll spill the beans in January!

5 – er, make that 4 – essential ways to increase your blog’s popularity

25 Oct

Zombie hand with four fingers

There are about a billion posts out there giving blogging tips, so why bother reading this one?

The zombie hand of course. Beyond that, we’ve written nearly 700 posts in 3 years and have seen our blog not only bring us major new business, but been nominated for a West Coast Social Media Award and been runner-up in the US-based Fuel Lines Blog of the Year poll.

That’s our credentials anyway. Now onto your blog and how to boost readership. Here are 4 keys to building on your own successes.

1. Focus on your audience. Once you’ve defined to whom you are writing and have that fixed as a mental image in your mind, it’s simply of matter of speaking to them through your content and language. For example, when writing a post for potential new businesses, never make the assumption that they have the same level of experience in the bowels of your industry. Don’t just write about what’s important to you; write about what matters to them. “You” is still the most powerful word in sales.

2. Write about the stuff you’re crazy about. If you’re into wombats or zombies, find a relevant way to introduce this area of interest into your content. You personalize your posts when you do this, bringing your personality to the writing, which distinguishes your blog.

More importantly, you engage yourself, which becomes more important the more of the damn things you write! I might suggest to someone at Copeland that they write about the value of brainstorming, but I shouldn’t expect too many woohoos in response. But if I suggest they write about the value of brainstorming to survive a zombie apocalypse, different story.

3. Communicate the complex simply. Everything seems complicated at the moment. Technology that seems straightforward to you may baffle your readers. You need to distill the complexity, not just in terms of the language you use, but in the visual look of your post. If you can achieve that, you will have communicated that you are straightforward and easy to deal with as well.

This is where editing is key. Write your post. Let it sit for a few hours. Then revisit it with the intention of shortening it by 25%. Reduce the length of the longer paragraphs and eliminate the waffle. You get to the nub much faster this way, which respects your readers’ appetite for simplicity and recognizes that there are many other things they could be doing at that moment.

4. Make the posts looks tasty. Readers often decide in a glance whether they want to get stuck into your post or not. So make it visually appetizing. I advocate the use of exceptional photos or illustrations to give it some pop. A visual also can set a tone or create a personality for the post out of the gate.

Short paragraphs give people a chance to visually breathe during the read, especially important when they are skimming over a longer post. It’s as if they are crossing a pond on stones, and each stone (or paragraph break) is a place to regroup. You don’t want to have the stones too far apart.

There are certainly many more tips than these, but I’m out of fingers.

Kids must really like exploding things

21 Sep

(Guest post by 8-year old blogger Lola Brown)

Have you ever seen that Gushers commercial where that blue explosion comes out from the back of that white sofa. Really it’s a kid holding a pack of  Gushers.

Have you also ever seen that Kool Aid commercial  where that guy is painting the wall blue, and all of a sudden the girl has an idea.  Her idea is to blow in the straw until the juice box is filled with air and step on it so it explodes and paints the wall blue for the guy. Sorry my papa couldn’t find the video on youtube.

My first question is: do these things really explode like that?

My second question is: what really is the difference between these  two commercials?

8-year old Victoria BC blogger Lola Brown with popcorn

Sometimes spam tastes yummers

9 Sep

Colourful, sickly sweet donuts

You may think I’m an idiot for saying so, but I actually enjoy reading most of the spam we get on our blog. Akismet runs most of the entries into the garbage pile, but I admit I scavenge there looking for molding morsels.

I have collected some of my favourites from the past few months and offer them up to you now as evidence that not all spam is without cerebrally nutritional value.

Oh my dear, that is a salient point. (A PVC manufacturer left that. Very working class.)

How pleasant to encounter you deeply in this most exquisite post. (From something called Albino Midget Amputee Porn.)

I’m interested now. Is there someone in your organization I can speak to further about this? (In response to the post entitled: So What’s New In The World of Dead Flies?)

I have been pondering this question for some time! (In response to Copeland Gets New Digs.)

On the contrary. (From someone selling Huge Natural B00Bs Road. Not a road I am personally going down just yet.)

A very cute post! My mom never allowed us to read posts. (In response to How To Withstand An Orc Attack On Your Business. Evidently Mom had no issue with the kids watching Uruk Hai rip the heads off peasant farmers and eat them.)

Your reputation precedes you. I enjoyed this post very much and think you should be considered an expert on the subject. Very excellent points especially in the 4th paragraph. I wonder if you would mind me sharing this? I can imagine you would have something intelligent to say about my latest blog post too. (A curtain and drapery online wholesaler, in response to A Simple Way to More Creative Brainstorms, which has only 2 paragraphs.)

I’m not sure, but I think my dog may have an extra limb. What should I do? (Thought I would finish with this excellent example of all that you are missing by NOT going through your spam box.)

There’s just a lot of really weird shit out there. Share some of yours!

A Japanese woman with long eyelashes