Archive | competition RSS feed for this section

Copeland hires contest winner

9 Jan

When we held our Zombie Intern Contest last February, we were looking to identify students on the Island who might become the advertising stars of tomorrow.

We were pretty sure we found what we were looking for when eventual winner Danny Prew first lurched up our stairs.


We’re thrilled to share the news that we’ve just hired him full-time.

Today is his first day on the job, although he has been a regular face in the office over the past few months doing some outstanding contract work for us.

This recent Pacific Design Academy grad is the complete package: Huge positive energy, beautiful design sense and an amazing team player. He will be mentored within the agency by another former PDA graduate, Michael Tension, also well over 6 feet tall.

Our readers will notice more than a passing resemblance to Canadian comedian Jim Carrey.

Copeland art director Danny Prew



Danny Prew


Comedian Jim Carrey



Jim Carrey


We can assure you that Danny is a lot funnier.


The rise of the Super Consumer

16 Dec

Female superhero flying

If you’ve been paying attention over the past few years, you’ll have noticed that your passive, trusting, free-spending customer has been replaced by a demanding, attention-deficient control-freak.

The new Super Consumer is also just as likely to be a woman as a man. The stay-at-home mom is as connected to the marketplace as the career-gal, and the old stereotypes are long out the window.

She wants you to play ball according to her rules and if you don’t, you can expect to hear about it before she vocally moves on to your competition.

What does she want from you?

She wants you to win her over. You will have to offer her value on two fronts: price and authority. By authority, I mean that you are the go-to product or service in your market or category. She is willing to pay more to have a better experience, but she still wants you to duke it out with your rivals over price. Think iPhone.

She wants a long-term relationship. She wants to know that after you’ve wooed her, you are going to repeatedly make her feel that she made a good choice. Or else she’ll say goodbye. Say hello to Customer Relationship Management.

She wants you to play nice. By that I mean she wants to know you are a forward thinking and ecological company. Increasingly, she will look for evidence of it. Given a parity in price and product, she will turn to values to make up her mind. What shape are your business values in?

She wants you to listen. The new Super Consumer is connected in a way that was simply unimaginable 5 years ago. She will talk about you and expects you to pay attention. She will make purchase decisions based on what she hears about you in online social spaces, and she will not be shy in sharing her own views about your performance. Or lack of it.

She wants to be in control. Your customer has had it with your one-way advertising messages and chest-thumping. She’s in charge here and tunes you out when you fail to recognize that. The ways she sees it, she is creating her own experience with your brand through a blending of technology, information and opportunity. And you had better keep up, bucko.

(Photo Courtesy of iStock Photo)

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!

Is SEO now a complete waste of time?

17 Nov

SEO, or Search Engine Optimisation is the mystic – or so the ‘gurus’ will have you believe – art of ensuring your website’s content is found organically by search engines and clambers to the top of search results. To clarify, when I say search engines, the efforts of SEO experts are generally focused on one search engine, the omnipresent Google. This is understandable as the SEO industry was born alongside Google and like the Pilot fish, has been swimming alongside, feeding off its oblivious benefactor ever since.

But has Google switched direction leaving the SEO experts out in the cold(water)? This may sound like a statement to bait a response – sorry I’ll leave the fish analogy here – but try typing ‘mobile phone’ into Google and what do you see? It’s probably something like this:

Google kills Search Engine Optimisation SEO

This is a screenshot from my desktop PC. The area inside the black tint is the full extent of a browser maximised for a typical 1024 x 768 screen, the green speech bubble is from the first organic result after web-traffic giant wikipedia which is nearly always going to appear first.

What this example shows is that three quarters of the available content space is devoted to ads. The organic – or non paid – links start appearing way down the page, below the initially visible screen real estate! This is fine if your digital marketing strategy is to ‘hope-users-ignore-everything-that-first-appears and scroll-down-to-find-your-result’. Good luck with that!

Is this indicative of a move away from organic search listings? Not quite – would you still visit Google if all you got was ads? It’s still going to provide relevant content to users, but the balance has definitely shifted to showing you relevant paid ads over relevant organic results.

The argument that Google is prioritising paid content is enforced if you look at your analytics. In October Google announced that for non Google verified sites it will no longer show you what keywords people used to get to your site organically (here’s a clearer analysis of the announcement). These ‘referer’ links are like gold dust for website owners and provide you with free keyword analysis with which you can further optimise your site.

Returning to the original premise. Is SEO a waste of time? Well, if your product or service is in a saturated or crowded market, and if you’re relying on your website’s organic performance in Google search results to drive business then there’s a good chance the answer is yes.

However, the good news, for the moment, is that SEO for organic traffic is still worth pursuing if your product or service is not in a fiercely competitive market. From my tests, search results for non saturated markets attract fewer, or no ads leaving plenty of space for your business listing to compete organically. A good SEO strategy will keep your content fresh, which will always appeal to customers and encourage repeat visits to your site. Additionally, if you buy  keyword based ads with Google, the cost of your ads is in part determined by the relevance of the content on your website.

Moving forward, to me it seems that to ensure your business gets found online you will soon need to widen your focus. Worry less about your placement in organic search results and start budgeting for keyword based ads. With Google starting to withdraw the freebies, the ad space is going to get more competitive. Unless you’ve Apple’s cash pile this means that the stakes are raised for every dollar of your online advertising budget.  Keyword analysis, online copy-writing, integrated marketing strategy and media expertise – to place, monitor and optimise the ads – are all going to be more important.

The free ride is coming to an end.

Tree planter to ad agency boss

18 Oct

(Guest post by our Managing Director 4 a Day winner Grace Campbell)

Copeland's Managing Director 4 a Day winner Grace Campbell of Royal RoadsThree months ago

I plant my 800,000th tree, pack up my tent, move to Victoria, and begin Royal Roads University’s Bachelor of Professional Communication Program. I have no Twitter account, no fixed address and no idea who Doug Brown or Copeland Communications are.

One month ago (to the day)

Doug visits Royal Roads to speak about online self-branding and invites my classmates and I to enter Copeland’s Boss 4 a Day contest. I immediately freak out about my lack of an online presence and my limited knowledge of social media. In a desperate attempt to prove (mostly to myself) that I haven’t “wasted” 5 years of my life planting trees I decide to enter a video in the contest.

Four days later

I create a Twitter account and use my first tweet to submit my video entry. I share it with friends and family on Facebook and YouTube just in case it goes somewhere.


Monday, September 26

I receive an email from Doug telling me that my video has been selected for the finals. I am so shocked that I forget to respond to his email. Doug has to email me back to confirm that I am still interested in the competition.

Tuesday, September 27

Boss 4 a Day contest goes to a live vote. I share it on Facebook and recruit my Royal Roads class of 39 students to my cause. I let the other finalists know that I am in it to win it!

Wednesday the 28th

Begin to use my new Twitter account to share my progress and keep followers (all 14 of them) updated on my progress.

Thursday the 29th

It becomes clear that Brandon Wright from University of Victoria and I are duking it out. So, I appeal to the Royal Roads community for support. I create little flyers with links to Copeland’s Facebook page that read:

Royal Roads University vs. UVIC


I hand 120 of these flyers out at the Royal Roads Fall Fair and make contacts within the three other on-campus cohorts to try and keep the buzz going.

I also create a Facebook group called “Grace Campbell Needs Some LOVE!” Strangely, this is my most successful campaign initiative, teaching me about the power of a simple slogan, no matter how desperate it seems.

The race is so tight that I begin to send personal emails asking for support.

Friday the 30th

I make sure to continue thanking all the friends, contacts, and organizations who have been supporting me. Even if I don’t win, I don’t want to be that annoying girl who asks people to vote for her and then is never heard from again.

3pm– Two hours of voting left and Brandon is 19 votes ahead. As my classmates head to the pub I ask one last time for their help and hunker down with my laptop in the now-empty classroom to virtually battle it out.

4pm– I can’t seem to catch up to Brandon. I send Doug an email saying, “I am chugging water right now to replace the fluids I have lost from sweating and the fluids I might lose from crying.”

4:55pm– My classmates are sitting in a pub with their laptops out, frantically trying to keep me in the lead. I now know exactly what “Too close for comfort” feels like, because I have been uncomfortable for hours.

5pm– I have no idea who has won, but I can’t take the stress any longer. I phone Copeland and beg for the results. 4 votes. I won by 4 votes out of over 1400. I am exhausted.


1. Appreciation for the value of both in-person and online networks.

I had no idea I had such an amazing network that would readily support me and share their influence. At first, my personal sphere of influence seemed small, but through social media and extended networks I had votes from Chicago, Korea, South Africa, Costa Rica, and beyond!

2. Importance of knowing my audience.

I had to learn quickly how to frame this contest in a variety of ways depending on my audience.

For example, with the tree-planting community I framed it as a chance for us planters to prove that we are not wasting our lives doing something we love!  But for the Royal Roads community, I positioned it as a David vs. Goliath story, in which we needed to prove to UVIC that we were worth competing against.

3. I don’t regret a single day spent tree-planting.

This competition was both rewarding and exhausting, a combination that all tree-planters are familiar with. The feeling of trailing by 19 votes with only two hours left is not so different from the feeling of facing nine hours of outdoor labour, knowing that the forecast is sleet and a grizzly bear has been sighted in the area. Both situations seem insurmountable. Both situations are entirely worth the effort.

Even if I hadn’t won in the polls, I learned so much more about marketing myself in four crazy days than I thought I could learn in months.

What about you? Have you ever faced a steep learning curve and decided to charge at it full speed? How did it work out?

(NOTE: Grace enjoyed her day of tyrannical rule yesterday, October 17. She was spectacular!)

Facebook is Your Volatile Nightmare Landlord

14 Oct

For a while now you’ll have seen TV commercials, magazine or online ads sign off with a Facebook link. If your business is using Facebook as its website you may already have invested a lot of time nurturing people one by one through the stages of engagement; interest, trial, customer and then friend. They may visit your Facebook page regularly and get your business notifications via their Liking you. All is wonderful in the land of Zuckerberg.

This is all fine as long as it’s understood that your business status on Facebook is that of a tenant. You have few rights, do not own your content and your landlord can change the rules whenever they like; even if that means torpedoing your business. Fantasy surely, but you only have to look to the moves Zynga announced last week.

Zynga is the social gaming giant of Facebook and its biggest app-maker. They provide free-to-play games, enhanced with micro-payments and with titles you may have heard of – Farmville, Cityville, Mafia Wars – they have been very successful. Their revenue in 2010 was $597 million of which $58 million was profit. In July of this year their profits plummeted. The main reason? Facebook.

Facebook Credits take a cut from your e-commerceIn July 2011 Facebook introduced Facebook credits and dictated that all transactions had to be conducted with their credits. Their cut is 30% and this slashed Zynga’s profits by 90% for the quarter.

I don’t see a 30% cut as particularly onerous by the way, it’s a lot better than Groupon’s 50% – 100%, but if your business’ online presence relies on Facebook, then I’d suggest you consider what you might do if they change the rules overnight. At  the very least check if your current page flouts any of the existing rules. This is especially important if you’re using Facebook’s native functionality to promote your business. For example, running a competition on your wall isn’t permitted by Facebook. Contravene it and they can just shut you down without warning. No more business page. And yes, they do check and they do enforce it.

Returning to Zynga. In their case they announced the launch of Zynga Direct. An effort to break their reliance on Facebook and get customers onto their platform without going through Facebook. Not an easy undertaking considering their business was built from the ground up on Facebook.

It’s vital to consider Facebook as one engagement channel and not your only channel. You need to spread your message across different channels, each tailored to the users and expectations of those channels. It’s harder to do and you may need an agency to strategise, co-ordinate, or set this up for you, but it allows you to be flexible and mitigates platform fatigue or failure.

You should also determine where your hub is; The place that your online visitors will end up at. Perhaps it starts with Facebook, ending at your own website where you control your content.

Let’s go a step further. What if your Facebook landlord decides to sell up and disappear? If there’s a constant in the digital world it’s that everything changes.

The biggest search engine in the world in 2000? Yahoo; the crumbling father of the internet, leaking CEO’s and market share like a North Korean submarine, exited search entirely in 2009, replaced by a company no-one had heard of 11 years ago… Google

What the little birdie saw: a Twitter view of an electrifying finale

1 Oct

As was correctly pointed out during the final few hours of our Managing Director 4 a Day contest, the voting was so close and the contest became so intense, work virtually ground to a halt while we hung on the see-saw battle between Grace Campbell of Royal Roads University and Brandon Wright of UVic.

Here’s how the contest played out on Twitter.
Copeland's Boss4aDay contest tweet 1Copeland's Boss4aDay contest tweet 2Copeland's Boss4aDay contest tweet 3Copeland's Boss4aDay contest tweet 4Copeland's Boss4aDay contest tweet 5Copeland's Boss4aDay contest tweet 6Copeland's Boss4aDay contest tweet 7Copeland's Boss4aDay contest tweet 8Copeland's Boss4aDay contest tweet 9Copeland's Boss4aDay contest tweet 10Grace Campbell contest tweetCopeland's Boss4aDay contest tweet 11Brandon Wright contest tweetCopeland's contest tweet 12Copeland's Boss4aDay contest tweet 13Copeland's Boss4aDay contest tweet 14Copeland's Boss4aDay contest tweet 15Nicole Sorochan contest tweetCopeland's Boss4aDay contest tweet 16Rhys contest tweetCopeland's Boss4aDay contest tweet 17Brandon Wright contest tweet 2Brandon Wright contest tweet 3Copeland's Boss4aDay contest tweet 18Althea's contest tweet

Great show Brandon and Grace. Inspiring!