Here is a collection of notes, articles and answers to common questions some of our clients have asked. We want to share our wisdom so we hope you will find these useful.

Thinking about pulling your advertising during a recession or times of uncertainty? Below is a link to a terrific article from Forbes Magazine with some insight. Spoiler Alert! Don’t stop advertising.

History is full of examples where brands captured significant market share during challenging times. One of the most notable examples is Kellogg’s Cereal. Leading up to the Great Depression, Post was the category leader in the ready-to-eat dry cereal. But during the Depression Post significantly cut its advertising budget while rival Kellogg’s doubled its advertising spend. Kellogg’s profits grew by 30% and the company became the category leader, a position it maintains to this day.

In a nut shell, the 3 main benefits to continue advertising are:

  1. Brands project the image of corporate stability during challenging times.
  2. The “noise level” in a category or industry can drop when competitors cut back on their ad spend.
  3. When companies cut back on their ad spending, their brand loses its “share of mind” with consumers.

Like managing a financial portfolio, there are significant opportunities during a crisis – if one has the foresight. During the Financial Crisis of 2008, Apple traded between $13 and $22. As of this writing, even in the middle of a global pandemic, Apple is $276.

Stay focused and let Bluesumac help build your brand.

Here is a link to the Forbes Magazine article, “When A Recession Comes, Don’t Stop Advertising.”


Updated for 2018!

Total media ad spending worldwide will rise 7.4% to $628.63 billion in 2018. Digital media will account for 43.5% of investments, thanks to rising global e-commerce spending and shifts from traditional TV to digital.

It is expected that in two years time, digital’s share of total advertising will be close to 50%.

Other notable highlights:

  • Mobile is the big winner, garnering 67.3% of digital and 29.2% of total media advertising this year.
  • Driven by rising demand, competition and increased prices, mobile’s share of total spending alone will rise to almost 42% by 2022.

Summary by Region:

  • North America will remain the world’s largest market, at $232.48 billion, a 6.6% rise from 2017. This accounts for 37.0% of the global media spend.
  • Asia-Pacific will account for 33.5% of worldwide ad spending at t $210.43 billion. It is the fastest-growing region, with its 10.7% growth rate driven largely by China.
  • Latin America will grow 8.7% to $38.04 billion in 2018.
  • Western Europe will reach $104.57 billion this year with a growth rate of 2.8%


Source: eMarketer inc.

Bluesumac is pleased to announce the creation of a specialized Market Research Lab. The Lab will have a staff of senior market research professionals with over 20 years experience working on brands such as Hudson’s Bay, Sears, Canadian Tire, Ipsos, Market Probe, TD Bank, Intuit, IBM, Ramada Hotels, AstraZeneca and Chiquita Brands International. The Bluesumac Market Research Lab will focus on these seven areas of specialization:

  • Market and Category Studies
  • Brand Measurement and Tracking
  • Customer Experience Measurement
  • In-Store Assessments
  • Campaign Evaluations
  • Path to Purchase Assessments
  • Concept Testing

Click here to download the PDF 1-page memo for more information and an explanation of each of the studies. For more information, please contact Peter McClelland at 416-408-2224, ext. 21 or by email at peterm@bluesumac.com.

When You Think Research, Think Bluesumac.

Do you know what a Gravitationally Completely Collapsed Object (GCCO) is? If you are a physics geek you probably do. But back in the 60’s the average person had no idea. And they didn’t really care. The theoretical physicist, John Wheeler spent a lot of time studying them. He and the rest of the physics community always called them gravitationally completely collapsed objects. This accurately described what they were, but was too abstract for people to care. Then in 1967, Wheeler used the term “black hole” during a lecture. The name stuck. And more importantly the whole world became interested in the phenomenon. It changed how people thought.

If your job was to come up with a name for a product like a massive exploding star with a powerful singular gravitational force, we don’t think you can do any better than a black hole. It’s simple. It does an exceptional job at communicating what the thing is – and does. And it’s highly memorable. And therein lies the power of branding. Inspire curiosity, keep it simple and make it memorable. Especially the make it memorable part.

If your company or product is suffering from GCCO Disorder™, give us a call. We are experts and we’ll help change how people think.

At Bluesumac, we strongly believe typeface is an integral part of the brand. And we like collecting fonts. So, after a detailed and careful selection process, we decided to update our corporate typeface. Our new font is called Averta. It is designed by Kostas Bartokas from a foundry called Intelligent Design located in Leeds, UK. Averta, from the Greek, ‘αβέρτα’ means to act or speak openly, bluntly or without moderation, without hiding. We like that.

Intelligent Design describes Averta like this: “Averta brings together features from early European grotesques and American gothics. It is a new geometric sans serif family with a simple, yet appealing, personality. The purely geometric rounds, open apertures, and its low contrast strokes manage to express an unmoderated, straightforward tone resulting in a modernist, neutral and friendly typeface.” We like that too.

averta font billboard



One of the most common online display questions we get asked is: “When I search for one of my ads, I can’t see them. Why?” This could happen for a variety of reasons. It could be your IP address could be out of the Geo-targeted area. It could be your budget could have run out earlier in the day. Or it could be your campaign is on ad scheduling. For a more complete list of answers and detailed explanations, download our Online Banner Advertising FAQ using the link below.

If you still have questions or want to speak to a human, please fill out the form on the Contact page and we’ll get back to you asap.

bluesumac online banner advertising FAQs

Great question. A creative brief is a collaborative document written by the Bluesumac (us) and the client (you). It’s based on preliminary meetings, interviews, research and discussions before any work begins. As the project evolves, the creative brief is used to inform and guide the work. The Bluesumac creative brief includes these questions:

  1. Who is the target audience?
  2. What are the objectives?
  3. What is the single message?
  4. What are the credentials:
  5. What are the mandatory elements?
  6. What are the references?
  7. What are the specific deliverables?
  8. What is the timeline?
  9. What is the budget?
  10. Who gives the approval?

For a more complete guide to the Bluesumac creative brief, use the link below and download our creative brief document.

Bluesumac Creative Brief template_2015


Download our History of Branding PDF. It’s 4 slides and you can read it in less than 35 seconds. Discover how branding got it’s start, how planned obsolescence was created and who developed brand theories.

download: Bluesumac’s History of Branding

Whenever we pitch a new client, we inevitably get asked the question: “What experience do you have in our industry?” While industry experience is important, we don’t think that’s the right question to ask. The problem with too much industry experience is messaging gets recycled and creative gets stale.

We think the right question is: “What successful brands have you built?”

Here are two stories about brands we created and helped manage.

Enunciate Conferencing

A few years ago, we were approached by two ex-Bell telephone sales reps that had just started a phone conferencing company. They were going to be disruptive in the market by offering customers substantially lower conferencing costs. At the time the incumbents were Bell and AT&T. They charged outrageous fees for conference calls. Enunciate was going to offer prices at 50-70% less. We developed their brand and their marketing material. The brand was all about empowerment and freedom. It was fun and full of energy. We used imagery of young, happy, active people who were enjoying life. We also convinced the owners to hang up posters and ads we created all over the office walls. This communicated to employees that the brand was real, it was valuable, and the owners were proud to show it off. We also helped develop branded internal sales tools the sales reps used every day. The company did very well. Within 3 years, they had revenues of over three million dollars. By their eighth year they were closing in on 12 million in sales. Then they were approached by a US-based conferencing company and were purchased for $35,000,000 – 3 X their revenue. And while it was not a line item on the balance sheet, the equity and maturity of their brand played a role in getting such a high multiple. The buyers saw the company as having a solid brand that was reflected in all their sales tools.

enunciate logo


Traxtal Technologies

When we first met the husband and wife team behind Traxtal Technologies, we could not figure out what they did. After our first meeting we had no idea what they were talking about. It would take 2 more presentations in our board room before we could grasp what they had invented and what they were selling. The husband, Neil, was a PhD and had invented surgical software that used multimode image fusion to facilitate pre-operative and intra-operative instrument tracking that compensated for patient motion and respiration. If you know what that means, consider yourself very smart. Our biggest challenge with this client was to simplify. We had to tell their story like we were talking to a 6th grader. Their customers were large hospitals and surgeons, and we knew if we kept it simple, people would remember Traxtal more than all the other medical equipment products they saw every day. So we developed tag lines such as “GPS Navigation for the Human Body” and “Precision Soft Tissue Navigation.” We explained how the Traxtal system helped guide needles and probes used in surgery. The benefits were amazing: minimally invasive, 3D views of the inside of the patient and real time tracking of instruments. It was ground breaking stuff. We developed their master brand and several line extensions. We created their trade show booth, promotional videos and all their sales and marketing material. Three years later they were acquired by Royal Philips Electronics (NYSE: PHG). The day after the deal closed, Neil showed up at our office in a new Porsche. He told us Philips had commented they were impressed how sophisticated the Traxtal brand was and how all their products looked so professional. Well designed and properly managed brands add value.

traxtal logo