We recently launched a Facebook application to support Campbell Canada’s Help Hunger Disappear™ campaign. As of July 27th the app has 12,846 users.


  1. We developed a custom Facebook application to allow users to give their friends virtual cans of Campbell Soup. Campbell Canada will then donate a matching real can for every can given and accepted on Facebook. We focused on making the application simple to use and easy to spread virally.
  2. We built Campbell a professionally designed, custom website through which visitors could explore all the parts of the Help Hunger Disappear™ campaign, and be directed to the Facebook application.


Click here to go to the application’s homepage on Facebook. You need to be logged in to Facebook for the link to work.

Visit the www.helphungerdisappear.com website.

The Facebook Application:


Campbell Help Hunger Disappear Facebook app - reception screen

Campbell Help Hunger Disappear Facebook app - share screen

Campbell Help Hunger Disappear Facebook app - status-update-edit

Campbell Help Hunger Disappear Facebook app - profile-page-w-context

Campbell Help Hunger Disappear Facebook app - boxes tab

The www.helphungerdisappear website

Help Hunger Disappear website screengrab


Facebook users have not reacted that positively to overtly branded applications. Brian Morrissey mentions a few of the high profile brand failures in this article from ADWEEK. As I wondered as to why this might be (and how to avoid becoming another statistic) I hypothesized the following:

  • Facebook users care most about how their network perceives them. Social status is the currency of Facebook.
  • Most actions on Facebook are done by users to enhance how their network feels about them. i.e. they send their friends a funny video, a photo or a fun game so they can be seen as the source of humour. They post photos of the hot guy kissing the new girl at the party so that they can be seen as the source of news, gossip etc. See the graph from McKinsey & Company below.


  • Activities that allow the user to increase their social status are likely to do well.
  • On judgment, I thought that many Facebook users would think that being seen donating to the foodbank was good for their social status as long as the application did not look like purely a shameless sales pitch.

In 3 weeks the app reached over 8,100 users starting from two people and spreading virally. The app has reach 12,846 users as of July 27th.

We’d appreciate any comments or feedback you may have on the application.

Thank you for visiting www.strategycube.com

I spent the last 2 days at SES Toronto 2009, a global conference on Search Engine Marketing. Aside from catching up with friends and old colleagues, I enjoyed meeting Emanuel Rosen, the author of The Anatomy of Buzz Revisited and his was by far the best session. I liked it so much I bought his book and I swore I would not buy any more books until I had read the 5 beside my bed. Sound bite: 73% of buzz (viral sharing about brands) is in person, 17% by phone and 10% online. The top category people talk about is …… Food! Three meals a day… I guess it makes sense.

Most of the booths (other than Microsoft, Google and Yahoo) were small tech startups providing incredibly niche services that most of my CEO clients would be hard pressed to understand.  And there is so much hype in this space. If you are not careful you can start to feel like you are a total loser because you didn’t name your kids based on the available domain names and google keyword bid estimates. Everywhere you turn someone is taking a photo with their iPhone and posting to Twitpic and Facebook. I had to send someone into the bathroom ahead of me to make sure the coast was clear.

Microsoft has a nice big booth promoting their new search engine bing.ca. Bing looks interesting and I’ll give it a try. I like competition – it keeps everyone on their game.

I came away with several good ideas on how to develop more successful social media campaigns for CPG clients – which is one of the biggest challenges out there. Here are some other random things I learned:

My big learnings from the SES Toronto 2009 conference:

  1. You must stimulate your happy customers to talk in order to overcome the 30% of brand buzz that is negative and comes from people who have never used your brand.
  2. We imitate some people and we distance ourselves from others. Fairly key ☺
  3. If you want buzz you must give people something to talk about. There must be a good story.  Check out “Will it blend iPhone” on YouTube below this list or Tom’s Shoes.
  4. Dispersion matters. People are clustered into social silos and you must get buzz from across a diverse group of people, including across different social clusters, to predict success.
  5. You have to prepared to do 10 social media initiatives to get 2 winners. Paraphrased from Jim McDowell of BMW.
  6. Mobclix is a great tool for iPhone app developers. Great stats on best apps by category.

Jonathan Burns is an online strategy consultant based in Burlington, ON but serving Oakville, Mississauga & Milton.  Jonathan is the only online strategy consultant in Oakville who is an ex Procter & Gamble Brand Manager – so he brings a unique combination of packaged goods brand strategy and in-the-trenches small-business online marketing know-how. Jonathan’s passion is helping small and mid-sized businesses grow through smart internet marketing including:

  • having a contemporary looking website managed by a Content Management System (CMS)
  • choosing your keywords very carefully based on keyword research and understanding organic search rankings
  • improving organic search rankings using Search Engine Optimization (SEO) best practices including on-page and off-page SEO.
  • driving extra traffic using Pay Per Click (PPC) campaigns on Google, Facebook or LinkedIn
  • using email marketing and marketing automation best practices to build a following that you can cultivate and sell to over time
  • harnessing social media. His favorite starting points:
    • A Facebook page
    • A twitter account
    • A social media management tool like Hootsuite or Tweetdeck.

Jonathan can help you sort out the hype from the elements that really work, based on your unique business and target market.

Online Strategy Case Studies

Zwell.ca website and online marketing strategy including marketing automation, email marketing, video marketing, e-commerce.

Lifespring Clinic website and online marketing strategy

other examples of online strategy work can be found here.

Thank you for visiting www.strategycube.com

How NOT to respond in an agency creative presentation:

I often see a new person on a marketing team get invited to a creative presentation from an agency that’s presenting work started before they joined the team. The most common thing on their mind as they walk in is, “how will I comment on this when the agency, or my boss, asks me what I think?” Generally they just respond with some comments about whether the ads look nice or not – which is really just a waste of air in most cases.

So what should they do? Well, the most important piece of feedback the client needs to give the agency is whether or not the creative is on strategy or not, followed by whether or not it is well executed (and therefore elicits the desired emotion and response from the viewer).  In order to comment on the strategy, you need to have it written down somewhere. So the first thing you should ask if you are the new person who gets asked to sit in on the creative presentation is, “where is the creative brief?” You can only assess if the creative is on or off strategy if you have something to compare it to.

Here’s how to respond to a creative presentation:

  1. If you have a strong gut reaction, give it, but perhaps not as your first comment.
  2. Even if you have lots of negative comments, try to start with something positive. Creative people need encouragement.
  3. MOST IMPORTANT – Compare what you see to the Creative Brief and especially to the Advertising Strategy (Benefit, Brand Character, Design Theme). You have to have an Advertising Strategy to do this and it should have been in the Creative Brief. Your most important assessment and feedback is: is this ON STRATEGY or OFF STRATEGY.
  4. Either send a follow-up email after the meeting summarizing your comments and requested changes or ask the agency to send you a follow-up email containing that.

For more perspective on why and how to write a good creative brief, check out this post.

You can purchase a detailed Creative Brief template with notes and explanations at www.bestcreativebrief.com, one of my sites.

Thank you for visiting www.strategycube.com

When you hire an agency to make a marketing piece for you, do you take the time upfront to write out a detailed Creative Brief? Most people don’t, but great marketers do. As an Assistant Brand Manager at Procter & Gamble my Brand Manager always insisted that I write one. I often resented the time it took, just like I resented much of the process P&G forced me to follow as a new hire there. I was a young punk right out of business school and I knew everything. I just wanted to call the agency and tell them over the phone that I needed a direct mail piece made. But then I eventually became a Brand Manager and I too insisted that my staff take the time to write a creative brief before every project that involved contracting an outside agency. So what happened to me?

Well other than becoming Proctorized, I became convinced that the upfront time invested in a Creative Brief pays out in spades versus the “just call the agency and then add new requests every few days for the next month” method.

The purpose of writing a creative brief is to clarify our thinking upfront and to force us to make decisions at the beginning of the project so that the agency can start working on it with a complete picture of what we want. This process allows the design and production process to happen efficiently and therefore less expensively. People who don’t take the time to write a creative brief frequently end up making many changes to the requirements of the project during the project and this causes rework and ultimately leads to missed deadlines, higher costs and frustrated designers and agencies. A good creative brief should be so complete that if we handed it over to the agency and disappeared for the duration of the project, the end result should be pretty close to what we wanted.

Objection: If I spell all this out then why I am I paying my agency so much? Isn’t this their job.

No it’s not. The client owns the “strategy” (the content of the Creative Brief) and the agency owns bringing that strategy to life creatively. They are very different skills. Strategy is primarily about research, numbers, analytics, decision making models, and ultimately making clear choices. (In a small organization it is often just knowledge we have about our organization and stakeholders that we can’t expect the agency to know combined with some careful thought around the options and a sense of where we want to go in the future.) The creative process is about taking dry, sterile words and miraculously turning them into ideas and eventually executions that resonate, and produce emotion and action from the target audience.

Good agencies need the information in a Creative Brief in order to produce creative material that is “on strategy” for your brand. If we don’t give them a Communication Strategy then we are expecting them to create one for us out of thin air and that’s not their job. Their job is to take our Communication Strategy and bring it to life creatively in the elements we have asked for.

When we see their creative concepts or executions we should compare them back to the Creative Brief and ask, does their creative version communicate the message we asked for, even if in different words? If yes, then their creative is said to be “on strategy”, which it needs to be. If no, then their creative is “off strategy” and needs to be revised.

You can purchase a detailed 20 page Creative Brief template with notes and explanations at www.bestcreativebrief.com, one of my sites.

Thank you for visiting www.strategycube.com

Google SketchUp design exampleGoogle SketchUp is a free 3D content creation tool that has been available since April 1996. It was originally developed by @ Last Software and released in August 2000. Google acquired @ Last Software in 2006.


The Tool:

Google SketchUp has the potential to radically alter the design playing field. While there will be many people who just download and use the tool for fun, it puts commercial quality design tools in the hands of anyone with a computer and access to the web.

One of the major changes of the past 10 years is that smart people living in the developing world are able to buy a computer and get web access at a reasonable cost and with that start to compete with North American based workers in fields like software coding, web coding and graphic design. They earn substantially more than their peers even when they charge rates that represent massive cost savings for North American companies.

With Google SketchUp these changes are coming to the commercial design industry.

The Community:

Google is great at creating communities and there is already a community developing around SketchUp. That community will only grow and it provides companies that currently design in North America and Europe an opportunity to access design talent from anywhere in the world and substantially increase the rate of new product innovation while lowering their costs.






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