Vol 1, #36, Nov. 17, 2009
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November 17 , 2009


Are Canadian's purchasing decisions influenced by their online friends?
PayPal campaign uncovers savvy holiday shoppers
Innovative contest gives new hope to fed-up renters
North American charity utilizing Shopster e-Commerce
High Road Communications wins new business from TELUS
NBC.com offers social media app for desktops
Salvation Army launches online holiday drive with iKettle
VISA takes Olympic "Go World" campaign global
Top 5 highest Zombie populations in Canada revealed
Expand your email marketing message with NewsLetterTree.com

Are Canadian's purchasing decisions influenced by their online friends?

To discover the impact that Tweets and Status Updates were having on Canadian purchasing decisions, Delvinia went right to the source. A survey of 1,000 active social networkers from AskingCanadians, Delvinia’s proprietary research panel, found out the influence of digital ‘word of mouth’ is alive and well.

Notable highlights include:

Canadians who have active social media accounts read status updates very frequently:

  • Over 56% of Canadians read their friends’ status updates/tweets at least once/day
  • Over 5% of Canadians do so more than 10 times/day

Canadians share product/service experiences through social media outlets:

  • Almost half (49%) of Canadians share specific product/service experiences at least once/month.
  • Over 11% share this information at least every other day!

Even more Canadians see the product/service experiences of their friends through social media outlets:

  • 65% see their friends sharing such information at least once/month.
  • Over 25% see their friends sharing such information at least every other day.

These shared experiences via Social Networking have ‘purchasing impact’ :

  • 26% of Canadians would be likely to purchase products or services than receive positive reviews from friends via Twitter or Facebook.
  • 33% would be likely to boycott products or services based on hearing about negative experiences through status updates and tweets.

“Canadians actively using social networking are influenced by their online communities, and even more so when tweets and status updates are about negative experiences with brands,” said Adam Froman, president and CEO of Delvinia. “The active social networking world listens to their friends, and in fact the majority are listening everyday.”

Froman adds that listening to these conversations is an important part of understanding a brand’s customer base. “Our clients are successful because we help them understand their digital customer, which is critical for us in order to design a meaningful and successful digital experience for them.” Top of Page

PayPal campaign uncovers savvy holiday shoppers

With the holiday shopping season about to kick into high gear, a new integrated communications campaign from PayPal Canada is revealing some interesting information about this year’s holiday shopper.

The holiday campaign takes a look at how savvy Canadian shoppers will be spending both their money and time this holiday season through a public relations campaign based on the results of an online Ipsos poll.

The survey reveals some helpful information for PayPal’s merchants. One third of Canadians are planning on doing at least some of their holiday shopping online and the same percentage indicates that they are doing so to avoid the long lines and the crowds at the mall.

The survey also reveals that consumers are becoming smarter about their spending by comparison shopping and taking advantage of special offers and promotions. In fact, the Ipsos Reid research study, conducted on behalf of PayPal Canada, reveals that almost 90 per cent of Canadians will comparison shop to find the best price and the same percentage will also take advantage of special offers and promotions.

PayPal is executing the bilingual, integrated communications campaign to encourage consumers to go online to find great deals and promotions on everything on their wish list.

The marketing campaign will engage existing and new PayPal customers through e-mail offers, onsite banners, display advertising, and a holiday microsite at www.paypal.ca/holiday that will alert them to special promotions from merchants like Dell.ca, La Senza and LUSH Fresh Handmade Cosmetics. The campaign is being rolled out in three cycles with different offers, deals, and marketing assets tied to each cycle.

“Our research reveals that Canadians are planning on sticking to a strict holiday budget this year,” said Nicky Mezo, head of marketing, PayPal Canada. “We’ve teamed up with a number of Canadian merchants to ensure that shoppers are still fulfilling wish lists by taking advantage of the best holiday deals and promotions.”

The marketing campaign is being supported by Publicis Modem in Toronto. The public relations campaign is being handled by Environics Communications. Top of Page

Innovative contest gives new hope to fed-up renters

Mice in the kitchen? Holes in the roof? Noisy neighbours? A new contest is giving a voice to fed-up, frustrated and worn out Toronto tenants.

Until December 31, Toronto's premier, one stop real estate shop - BuyingBlock - is giving irritated renters a chance to blog their way to a "rent-free" New Year. With a click of a mouse, renters can log onto BlogYourWayHome.com and share their harrowing experiences.

Renters are invited to share why their rental situation is unbearable. They can use words, pictures, graphs, charts - anything goes, as long as it's suitable for family viewing. The BlogYourWayHome.com community will then vote for the most deserving - or possibly, the most disturbing - entry, and that lucky blogger will win free rent for the month of January 2010.

Once the lucky winner is announced, they will have the option of working with the experts at BuyingBlock to find an affordable home. Not only will the friendly team at BuyingBlock make the search process a breeze, but they will also pay the closing costs, including:

  • Free first month's home insurance premium
  • Free real estate legal fees
  • Free home inspection fees
  • Free energy audit
  • Free moving expenses
  • Free Canada Post home redirect

"BlogYourWayHome.com is really about fostering community and connecting people. There are renters out there with stories to tell - funny stories, strange stories, sad stories, angry stories, and probably more than a few unbelievable-but-true stories," says BuyingBlock.com cofounder Rodney Litigio. "This contest helps people share their stories, learn about their fellow-renters, and pick up some valuable tips and strategies. And of course, one lucky blogger will have plenty to smile about as they blog their way to home ownership."

Interested bloggers, or those who just want to read and vote for their favourite entry, can register for free at www.BlogYourWayHome.com. Top of Page

North American charity utilizing Shopster e-Commerce

In the chaos of a 37-year civil war, traditional weaving for women of the Maya culture had become a lost art. A group of local women from Taltimiche, in Comitancillo, Guatemala, hoped to change this, and formed a co-op to teach each other the skill, supplementing their families' incomes through sales of the finished weavings. A Calgary based charity group, Dentistry for All (DFA) came across the beautiful crafts while working in Guatemala, and knew they could help the women's sales by introducing their products to North America.

Having raised money to build the co-op its own building and purchase new weaving looms, DFA teamed up with Shopster e-Commerce to bring these third world treasures to the online market. To date, DFA accounts for 80% of the co-op's sales, and sales of the hand-woven goods have allowed the co-op to increase the number of Guatemalan women it employs from 35 to 140.

"The world uses Google," says Canadian DFA Director Brad Krusky, "Anytime anyone asks anything about us (DFA) they ask for a website. Shopster provides the building blocks we need to get online."

"We are pleased that DFA has used our software to help such an amazing team of women in Guatemala. Shopster was built to enable producers of unique goods get their products to market, and we look forward to seeing their sales grow as they build their presence online." says Shopster CEO, Sarath Samarasekera. Top of Page

High Road Communications wins new business from TELUS

Toronto-based Cundari Group and High Road Communications have won new business from TELUS. In a hotly contested campaign pitch for TELUS Business Solutions, Cundari was the only new agency among six invited to present, and was notified this week of a favourable decision on the creative. High Road will continue as the lead agency for all PR and social media.

"Because we were the only new agency to be invited to pitch, it allowed us to really come with a fresh point of view and challenge their convention,” said Brent Choi, Chief Creative Officer at Cundari. "Most importantly, it was about providing TELUS Business Solutions with a powerful concept that would leverage their leadership position in business technology innovation and enhance communications with their customers."

Jeff Lowe, the Calgary-based VP marketing for TELUS Business Solutions, said “At TELUS, we believe in providing Canadian businesses with greater access to innovative technology and communications solutions that enable them to prosper and grow. We look forward to nurturing and cultivating this belief in partnership with High Road and the Cundari team – further developing their concept that will be fundamental to the TELUS business brand moving forward.”

“This is a great extension of our relationship with TELUS as we develop new and highly integrated campaigns that drive awareness and start more conversations that engage directly with Canadian businesses,” said Justin Creally, President, High Road Communications. "TELUS Business Solutions is harnessing the power of PR and social media programs to help drive their business forward in 2010 and beyond.” Top of Page

NBC.com offers social media app for desktops

NBC.com announced the debut of the NBC.com Communicator, an all-new fan platform developed by Itibiti Systems Inc., that offers users an exclusive, one-stop mix of custom NBC content, services and communication tools including computer-to-computer voice calling over IP, right on the computer desktop.

Developed and powered by Itibiti Systems Inc., the NBC.com Communicator is free to use, and is ready as soon as the computer is turned on. Featuring unlimited computer-to-computer voice calling and text services, the conversation is easy to join, anytime, anywhere across the USA. With just one desktop tool, fans can stay connected while engaging with their favorite NBC programs including "The Office," "The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien" and "Heroes," a premium selection of news and entertainment feeds, community and more.

"At NBC.com we work to bring fans' favorite shows into the digital space with creative and technical innovation, and the NBC Communicator is part of that tradition," said Stephen Andrade, Senior Vice President, Digital Development and General Manager, NBC.com. "This new effort gives our users a powerful, easy to use set of communication tools integrated with the best of NBC programming."

The itiBiti platform features the power of Microsoft Live Services, and has been acclaimed by Microsoft Corp. as "the next generation of integrated social media applications." Once inside the NBC.com Communicator, fans are instantly connected to the world's most powerful network of active users, with features including Windows Live Messenger, all at the ready.

"We're delighted to be working with our partners at NBC.com as they bring the Communicator experience to life for their loyal audience nationwide," said David Lucatch, President Itibiti Systems Inc. "itiBiti is a unique social media platform that re-imagines the way people connect with friends and family, and the way brands connect with their audience." Top of Page

Salvation Army launches online holiday drive with iKettle

The Salvation Army today announced the launch of the 2009 National Christmas Campaign aimed at raising money to combat the spread of poverty during the Christmas season and throughout the year. The iconic Salvation Army kettles are manned by hundreds of bell-ringers, who will try to top last year's total of $16 million raised through kettle donations.

In addition to the traditional Christmas Campaign of kettles and bells, The Salvation Army will continue its iKettle campaign this year. iKettles have become a popular way to fundraise money online, and last year more than $130,000 was collected through virtual kettles. This easy-to-use online tool allows donors to customize their own kettle and invite others via e-mail to get involved. Additional information about the iKettle program can be found at www.SalvationArmy.ca/ikettle.

"Filling the Christmas Kettle this year will mean that you are directly supporting millions of Canadians currently experiencing hardship," said Graham Moore, Territorial Secretary for Public Relations and Development for The Salvation Army Canada and Bermuda. "As we carry on our mission to serve, it becomes increasingly apparent that the number of Canadians living in poverty is growing at an alarming rate."

Nearly 3.5 million people, or approximately 10 percent of all Canadians, live in poverty today. This year, The Salvation Army conducted social service studies, indicating that there have been significant spikes in demand for basic services, including food, shelter and family assistance programs.

"This year's findings indicate that the global economic recession has had a significant effect on the poor," said Graham Moore. "With between 15 to 20 percent of our annual fundraising revenue collected during the Christmas season, it is vital that the Canadian public continue to give this year, so that the Army can support those living with limited resources." Top of Page

VISA takes Olympic "Go World" campaign global

In the ramp up to the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver, Visa is taking its “Go World” campaign global after successfully launching it in the U.S. for the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics.

The campaign includes TV spots, digital, out-of-home, merchant activation programs and promotions to drive transactions and volume and, when activated overseas, will be localized in Canada, Russia, Japan, Korea, China and Latin America.

“What we have seen is that this sponsorship has helped us build our business over time,” Jennifer Bazante, the head of global brand marketing at Visa, said. “Sponsorships are fantastic opportunities that we can extend to our banks that issue Visa cards and merchants that accept Visa cards.”

Visa long ago found success with sports sponsorships, which provide a wide range of venues to conduct promotions combined with millions of energized loyal fans. It began its relationship with the Olympics in 1986 and recently extended its long-time partnership with the National Football League through 2014. It is also a FIFA World Cup sponsor.

“In 2008 in Beijing, we had 573 clients in 41 countries pick up the Beijing assets and run promotions directly for their customers. So this just shows the power of the sponsorship,” Bazante said.

At the dedicated Web site, a comprehensive blend of content, video and promotional offers and product information sets the stage for the excitement leading up to The Games and Visa’s product push. Videos will show athletes training, as well as their personal stories. Visitors can download athlete photos and training playlists. The Team Visa athletes featured include, Julia Mancuso (alpine skiing), Lindsey Jacobellis (snowboard, snowboard cross), Ryan St. Onge (freestyle skiing, aerials), Angela Ruggiero (ice hockey) and Paralympian Alexi Salamone (ice sledge hockey). The Web sites in Canada and Russia will be customized by those countries and their athletes.

Much of the content will also be available on mobile phones.

Athlete widgets can be downloaded and posted on social media sites. Visa cardholders will have access to special savings.

To support the program, many national and international merchants are installing P-O-P materials.

“This is the type of property that marketers just dream about having,” Bazante said. “It’s a wonderful property that has such fantastic values and what a difference these types of events make in the world as well.” Top of Page

Top 5 highest Zombie populations in Canada revealed

If you live in Toronto, New York City or Rio, there's a high chance you have zombies in your neighborhood.

McAfee Labs has tracked down the top Canadian, U.S. and global cities with highest number of zombie-infected computers

A zombie is a PC that has been infected with a virus or Trojan horse that allows hijackers to take control of it. The hijacker uses it to generate spam or launch denial of service attacks. Your PC can be turned into a zombie and used to attack others if you click on any virus infected link or download a malicious file. This can be done unbeknownst to you.

Top Five Canadian Cities with the highest zombie population

  1. Toronto
  2. Montréal
  3. Vancouver
  4. Calgary
  5. Winnipeg

Why are these cities at high-risk for zombies?

The data collected is based on the number of infected IP addresses in the specific geographic location. An IP address is the numeric address your computer uses when it is connected to the Internet, kind of like a phone number represents your telephone on the phone network. The high urban concentration in these cities, Internet popularization and lack of reliable anti-virus protection may contribute to these cities topping the list.

How can you protect your PC from becoming a zombie?

You should remember that it only takes one person armed with an infected USB stick or an unprotected computer to bring zombies into your town. McAfee security experts urge consumers to buy comprehensive security software such as McAfee Total Protection, McAfee Internet Security, and McAfee VirusScan Plus and to keep subscriptions current. Top of Page

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Consumers can find useful information, gain knowledge and safeguard their privacy.  Many businesses offer coupons, discounts and promotions exclusively to people who read their newsletters.  Other businesses offer practical industry insights that can give consumers a competitive edge.  Now everyone can benefit from this information without cluttering their email inbox.  www.NewsLetterTree.com will index and publish newsletters on the World Wide Web, increasing the chance that prospective clients can find them and subscribe to newsletters they find informative. Companies put out newsletters daily, www.NewsLetterTree.com allows companies to expand their email marketing list by directing interested parties back to their website.

www.NewsLetterTree.com is a Nova Scotia Canada based company which operates the largest network of online newsletters worldwide.
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