Vol 2, #5, Feb. 2, 2010
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February 2, 2010


TouchPlay offers new publishing experience
I Love Rewards drives referral marketing campaign
SMAK now offers media strategy from all angles
Rogers Sportsnet launches smartphone applications
680News goes local with iPhone app
Sweetspot.ca, UNICEF Canada team up to help Haiti
University of Ottawa Heart Institute has new online look
Good things come in threes at Sweetspot.ca
BlackBerry Messenger a magnet for hoaxes?

TouchPlay offers new publishing experience

On the heels of the introduction of the Apple iPad, a company called MobSpree has premiered their new TouchPlay™ interactive engine, an entirely new publishing experience that taps into the full interactive and rich media capabilities of iPhone OS devices including the newly announced iPad.

Ordinary Mary’s Extraordinary Deed is the first in a series of TouchPlay experiences created by a co-publishing collaboration between SnackLogic and Gibbs Smith. SnackLogic has also created a TouchPlay adaptation of The Tale of Peter Rabbit. Both are available now from the iTunes App Store for $3.99 and are being optimized for the upcoming iPad release. Unlike an eBook experience, The TouchPlay engine brings these heart-warming stories to life in an entirely new medium that includes professional narration and voice characterizations, interactivity and creative play.

Inspired by the ‘acts of kindness’ theme in Ordinary Mary, SnackLogic and Gibbs Smith will dedicate $1 of the purchase of each of these stories to the Red Cross towards Haiti earthquake victim relief for the foreseeable future. 

“MobSpree developed the TouchPlay engine to enable any business with a story to quickly create and publish an iPhone OS-optimized experience without the cost and difficulty of programming a one-off app. SnackLogic and Gibbs Smith have done a fantastic job of adapting and optimizing their content into engaging TouchPlay experiences. Any parent with an iPhone has discovered the power of the device to occupy bored children, but we think parents will really appreciate these companies for creating an exciting new literary experience that parents and children enjoy together. We’re looking forward to the many upcoming TouchPlay experiences SnackLogic and Gibbs Smith are working on for children and adults.” said Brian Sevy, MobSpree Co-Founder and Chief Mobile Strategist.  

The TouchPlay platform supports the way that mobile consumers actually consume information—in brief, highly visual and interactive media “snacks,” Sevy noted.

“As a publisher who specializes in materials that are educational, beautifully illustrated and highly appealing to a number of lifestyle interests, we are extremely pleased to lead the movement to new methods of electronic publishing,” said Christopher Robbins, CEO of Gibbs Smith. “The TouchPlay experience is particularly appealing to our readers. Unlike other methods of digital publishing, it incorporates narration, images, animation and interactive play. We have witnessed both children and adults immerse themselves in the stories, create their own scenes using characters from the story and then share them as email postcards with friends and family members.”

“With a TouchPlay experience, even young children gain positive exposure to works of literature and engage in the interactive experience for as long as an hour,” Robbins said.

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I Love Rewards drives referral marketing campaign

I Love Rewards, the leader in online rewards and recognition solutions, announces its innovative referral marketing campaign. Every individual who submits a qualified referral to I Love Rewards will receive a ballot to win a brand new 2009 Smart Car Passion Coupe.

"I Love Rewards is successful largely in part of the referrals received from our network," said Razor Suleman, CEO and founder, I Love Rewards. "Our net promoter score is 82.3% which is higher than many reported companies; our clients aren't shy about announcing the success they have had using I Love Rewards' solution. In fact, 27% of new business in 2009 came from current clients."

I Love Rewards expects over 250 referrals from the Smart Car referral drive. Based on past marketing campaigns and the existing close ratio of 5%, closing deals will average $125,000. For every $1 spent, I Love Rewards expects $92 in new business which is a 1% customer acquisition cost.

Contest closes February 28, 2010. The winner will be announced early March. See the website for more details.

I Love Rewards is a leading web-based provider of employee rewards and recognition, sales incentive and service award solutions. I Love Rewards works with top employers and leading companies such as Microsoft, BlueCross BlueShield, Bell, SIRIUS Satellite Radio and Marriott. The company has been recognized as a top employer, Top 10 Tech company and human capital leader. Top of Page

SMAK now offers media strategy from all angles

Smak, www.smak.ca, an impact-driven experiential, media and PR agency, today announced the addition of its integrated media planning and engagement services. The new offering was created to meet the growing demands of its clients, which were looking to improve budget efficiencies by dealing with all of their media needs under one roof. Smak continues to offer both experiential and public relations services to its growing client roster.

Jeff Berry has joined the Smak team as partner and director of media integration and will lead the new media services. Jeff brings 15 years of experience including leading both Media Experts and OMD’s Vancouver operations. His work extends across multiple categories from both a regional and national perspective, including clients like TELUS, Boston Pizza, BC Hydro, BMW, McDonalds,MINI Canada, Best Buy and Future Shop.

“We are very excited to have Jeff join the Smak team,” said Alan Bedingfield partner and director of operations, Smak. “The media landscape is continuing to evolve and our clients need us to stay ahead of the curve to help them maximize their bottom line and exceed their goals. By adding Jeff and his media expertise we will be able to better serve our clients by coming up with the right mix of media, experiential and PR that will deliver a measurable return on engaging target audiences.”

“We recently used Smak to execute both media strategy and an experiential campaign and the result was a creative execution that delivered 125,000 consumer engagements,” said, Mark Bernardo, marketing director, Mt. Seymour. “As a marketing director it is imperative that I can deliver a real return on our investment. We need to not only show that we are seen, we need to show that we made an impact with our consumers. Smak helps us achieve that by taking a 360 degree approach.”

Smak still leads the pack in coming up with truly integrated ideas that will make an impact with consumers. Its growing client roster includes, Future Shop, Movember, Dairy Farmers of Canada, Metropolis at Metrotown, Vancouver Whitecaps and BC Hydro. Top of Page

Rogers Sportsnet launches smartphone apps

Rogers Media announced that it has launched mobile applications on three platforms for Rogers Sportsnet, its highly popular sports television service.

SPORTSNET.CA's mobile trio will be available to BlackBerry, Apple iPhone and Android device owners. These applications will provide breaking news, opinions, scores, schedules and more exclusively to Rogers Wireless and Fido customers.

The application will offer a customizable, up to-the-minute updates, articles and analysis from the best writers in the business. Coverage will include National Hockey League (NHL), National Football League (NFL), Major League Baseball (MLB), National Basketball Association (NBA) and soccer. Features of the service include: latest headlines from around the world, live score updates, boxscores, player and team stats, team schedules, and game and event previews.

"Sportsnet's mobile applications will ensure that Sportsnet fans will get their Sportsnet updates no matter where they are," said Claude Galipeau, SVP, Digital Media, Rogers Media Inc. "These applications expand Sportsnet's content directly into the hands of sports aficionados everywhere." Top of Page

680News goes local with iPhone application

Rogers Media announced that it has launched an Apple iPhone application for 680News, its highly popular, Toronto-based, 24-hour live radio station.

The 680News Apple iPhone app will be available exclusively to Rogers Wireless and Fido customers with up to-the-minute news stories, traffic and weather information, along with live streaming, live traffic cams, and on-demand weather and traffic updates.

Featuring the latest in local, national and international news that affect people living in Toronto, the 680News Apple iPhone app offers the latest traffic and business reports as well as live radio streaming.

"The 680News Apple iPhone app is news you can use on the go in the Greater Toronto Area. This app builds on the trusted 680News brand for local news, weather and traffic," said Claude Galipeau, SVP, Digital Media, Rogers Media Inc. "The application continues our digital efforts in local information and ad solutions, and complements the popular 680News BlackBerry application released last year."

The Apple iPhone application can be downloaded for free from the iTunes app store or by visiting 680News.com. Top of Page

Sweetspot.ca, UNICEF Canada team up to help Haiti

Sweetspot.ca has partnered with UNICEF – the lead agency for water and sanitation, nutrition, child protection and education – to help Haiti through its recovery.

Donations to UNICEF Canada’s Haiti relief fund will now go even further, thanks to the sweet readers at sweetspot.ca. If a reader donates a dollar, sweetspot.ca will donate twice as much. Combined with the Canadian Federal Government’s matching program, the impact of their contributions is automatically multiplied.

“What happened in Haiti is devastating, and we want to do what we can to help families and children in need,” says Heather Clark, Director of Marketing at sweetspot.ca. “By partnering with UNICEF Canada, we know our contribution will go directly to helping children and their families through life-saving supplies and relief services.”

“We are delighted to partner with sweetspot.ca to give Canadians the opportunity to help Haitian children and families who are suffering from the catastrophic earthquake,” said Nigel Fisher, President and CEO of UNICEF Canada. “With the continued support of Canadians, we can provide life-saving support to Haitian children and work towards a better future.”

This campaign will be communicated through e-mail newsletters and run-of-site ads, directing users to sweetspot.ca/helphaiti . Here they will find an information page answering questions about the partnership and where donations go. For example, if a reader donates $50 to UNICEF Canada (which becomes $150 through sweetspot.ca), UNICEF can provide a basic family water kit for eight households, with detergent, soap, wash basin, towels, bucket and water purification tablets. The government will also do its part to match Canadian donations. Top of Page

University of Ottawa Heart Institute has new online look

Meet their very large team and see how they help make the Heart Institute even more extraordinary every single day. The site will share details of the latest treatments, laboratory discovery, and training programs.

Some of the most significant research in cardiovascular medicine is performed by their scientists and physicians. The web site can help you understand genetic discovery and how it will bring an end to heart disease, explain their work with estrogen receptors, cardiac imaging and in surgical innovation.

It will also show you how to look after a healthy heart, how to apply best practice guides in treating heart disease and choosing a career with the Heart Institute. The site will tell you all about heart disease, risk factors and why it is important, for example, for heart patients to understand depression. Top of Page

Good things come in threes at Sweetspot.ca

Cooperman has taken on the exciting role of Editorial Director at sweetspot.ca. She will oversee content for sweetspot.ca’s website and newsletters, which include SweetLife, SweetMama and SweetHome.

“I’m very excited to join the online world and be part of such a vibrant, creative team,” says Cooperman. “I’m looking forward to growing what is already an established and well-loved brand.”

She joins the team after 12 years of experience in print, where she helped launch properties such as Hello! Canadamagazine and The National Post. At sweetspot.ca, she will implement new measures to increase readership and continue to share the “sweetest things” from coast to coast.

Sweetspot.ca is thrilled to welcome Cooperman – as well as two more new faces – to the team.

Bonnie Malott recently joined the company in the role of Associate Editor. She has blogged at glow.ca, and written for ELLE Canada, Chatelaine, Oxygen, where.ca, WeddingBells and Lush. Candice Kirkby has taken on the role of Account Manager. She brings years of experience on both agency and vendor side to sweetspot.ca’s sales department. Top of Page

BlackBerry Messenger a magnet for hoaxes?

Are hackers now turning to mobile devices to distribute hoaxes? Today, McAfee Labs published a blog post on hoaxes that are now being spread via BlackBerry Messenger. McAfee Labs believes this notoriously “secure” smartphone is being exploited through social networks and a new BBM features that allows you to add new contacts by taking a picture of a barcode, specifically created for your BlackBerry pin.

It’s now easier than ever for hackers to access personal information like IM handles when users are careless with security settings and McAfee has seen a number of barcodes posted on social networks and forums.  Top of Page