York wants Globe’s ads pulled

Toronto’s York University sees copycat creative, but The Globe and Mail sees only great advertising in its new outdoor and print campaign, wrote Marketing Magazine in its daily news Web site Feb. 7.

The Globe’s ads show how different sections of the newspaper might interpret a common object. One billboard in downtown Toronto shows a chicken surrounded by three different headlines. The headline from the International News section reads “Bird flu not yet ready for prime time.” The Globe T.O. headline says “The best curry chicken in Toronto,” and the Globe Sports section reads “Why some hockey players refuse to fight.” Each headline is connected to the chicken with a dotted line.

Marketers at Toronto’s York University claim the concept is derived from their ongoing “Redefine the Possible” campaign, created in 2004 by Toronto creative shop Doug. That campaign shows how various academic disciplines interpret everyday objects.

One York ad, which also uses a chicken, runs with the text “A biologist sees a pandemic. A dietician sees an excellent source of protein. A philosopher sees what may have come before the egg.” Each line of text is connected to the image with a dotted line as well.

“I started getting calls from people around the university and from people I haven’t worked with for many years saying this looked very much like my campaign,” says Richard Fisher, chief marketing officer for York University. “There it was as clear as day. To me it’s an identical strategy with identical art direction.”

York’s campaign includes 30 executions to date and has run in print, transit and online. “Redefine the Possible” ads also appeared in the Globe as recently as November.

“Whether it was intentional or not, they should have done a scan of their own advertisers at the very least to find out if there’s anything similar in the marketplace,” Fisher says. “We’re all in the business of building distinct brands and that can’t happen if people are going to use identical executions and strategies.”

The Globe campaign was developed by Toronto’s Naked Creative. Peter Shier, president of Naked, deferred comment to The Globe and MailRoger Dunbar, vice-president, digital media, business development and marketing at the Globe, says he was involved with the creative process throughout. While he admits he did not see the York ads until after the fact, he stands by Naked. “I’ve been supportive of the integrity of the process they went through,” Dunbar says. “I was there most of the way.”

Dunbar would not comment directly on York’s claims, saying he plans to meet with them to discuss the situation. Fisher confirmed that a meeting with Dunbar and Phillip Crawley, the paper’s publisher and CEO, is being arranged.


Glendon grad Ghomeshi travels down memory lane in Mini


He made headlines as a singer and songwriter for the folk rock band, Moxy Früvous, in the 1990s, wrote The Globe and Mail Feb. 7 in its Wheels section. He’s still on the airwaves, but in a different capacity. Broadcaster and York alumnus Jian Ghomeshi (BA ’95, Glendon) hosts “Q”, a daily arts and entertainment show on CBC Radio One. When he’s off air, the 40-year-old travels down memory lane with his brand-new 2008 Mini Cooper S convertible.

"As a kid in the ’70s growing up in England, I remember those little Minis. I always had an affinity for them. In fact, I had a little toy Mini, a play car you push with your hand. I’ve always had this natural predilection for the Mini. I always thought it was cute, compact and represented a part of my own history as well as being this iconic little car that’s associated with the U.K."

"I live in the city [Toronto]. For me, having something that’s compact and not polluting the environment, that’s easy to park and handle in Toronto makes a lot of sense." Ghomeshi graduated from York with a degree in political science and history, noted the Globe.

FES prof says uranium mining creates dangerous waste

"Uranium-mine tailings are among the most difficult to manage wastes on the planet," said Mark Winfield, a professor in York’s Faculty of Environmental Studies, commenting on a proposal by a company to mine the ore in the Maritimes, which was featured in The Daily Gleaner (Fredericton) Feb. 7.

"They contain toxic substances, particularly heavy metals. About 85 per cent of the radionucleides from the ore end up in the tailings, so it’s radioactive. They’re typically acidic and semi-liquid and hard to contain."

Winfield, who has conducted research for the Pembina Institute in Alberta, argues the proposed ventures in the Maritimes are of particular concern because they represent marginal business propositions. "In the Maritimes, because you’d be dealing with relatively low-grade ore, you’d tend to produce more tailings per tonne of ore."

Singer-songwriter alumnus says he’s still hungry

Sometimes the best songs are the ones that take the least amount of effort or thought, wrote the St. Catharines Standard Feb. 7. And, because of that, Mark Lalama (BFA ’87), a graduate of York’s Faculty of Fine Arts, is still working on the presentation he’ll give at the Canadian Authors Association workshop on Feb. 20.

The 44-year-old, who is the well-known pianist on the CTV show “Canadian Idol”, grew up in Welland, Ont. and got his start in the music business from his family. After graduating in 1987 with a bachelor of fine arts degree, Lalama, who is married to Jacqueline and the father of two daughters, kept trying to improve as both a performer and musician.

"You have to be willing in the early years to not make any money, to not know where you’re going to get the rent money for this month," he said. "You have to perform and play to keep the hunger. I still have an incredible hunger for knowing how to solve problems."

Real estate tax change report includes Schulich prof’s research

A report by the Canadian Real Estate Association – “Reinvestment in Real Property” – recommends the federal government amend the Income Tax Act to promote increased reinvestment in property, wrote the Calgary Herald Feb. 7. The amendment would affect a deferral of both the capital gains tax and the capital cost allowance recovery for all property investments when an investment property is sold and the proceeds are invested in another property within the subsequent year.

The real estate association report included research by Prof. James McKellar, academic director of the Real Property Program at York University’s Schulich School of Business. McKellar’s research looked at the "lock-in" effect that occurs when holders of old assets with relatively low returns hold onto them for tax reasons, rather than reinvesting in new assets with higher returns.

On air

  • Alumna Joanne Track (MBA ’95), a graduate of York’s Schulich School of Business and founder of marketing Web site Sweetspot.ca, spoke about her work as a trend spotter on BNN-TV’s “Workopolis TV” Feb. 6.