Kony 2012

Not sure what to think about this, but WOW, one heck of a viral strategy.


Save the Paramount

Save The Paramount from Hemmings House on Vimeo.

Such an important part of our city! Let's not have another parking lot on King's Square.


Crazy Video

Ok so I realize I do not practice what I preach and this blog is horribly out of date. I'm simply too busy helping my clients create content to create my own. Still, this video is so insane I figured it was worth posting. LSD anyone?


QR Codes

Just playing around with this for my friends at Decourcey & Company. I wonder if it works? Let me know if you can use your phone to get to the link!



Happy New Year!

While I nursed my hangover & worked the camera, my girlfriend Heather and her friend Shauna took the plunge at the Mispec this New Year's Day. Way to go ladies...


How She Goin'

My pals Chris & Adrian over at Evolving Solutions were kind enough to remind me the other day that my own blog has become horridly outdated. Embarrassed into action, I'm proud to make my comeback by addressing their very cool new group buying service called How She Goin' that caters specifically to Maritimers.

The site will bring "power to the people" by giving sweet deals to members who take advantage of site sales crafted specifically to their group buying habits. This could develop into a powerful tool for both consumers and business alike. Apparently the deals will start rolling out when they reach 2000 members so take a moment to sign up at: http://www.howshegoin.ca/

I'm looking forward to seeing how this unfolds! It's a very cool concept for sure, so spread the word!



Scarface School Play

Probably not really at a school, but darn funny either way:


Only 7cms? My snowbank disagrees

Environment Canada is oddly reporting that Saint john only got 7cms of snow this weekend.


South End Days 2009

Come join the fun this weekend in Rainbow Park, Saint John!


5th Annual Canada Day Countdown

Proud to be a sponsor of one of my favorite events of the year!


Top 5 NB "Staycations"

With summer heating up here in the New Brunswick and everyone thinking about acting local I thought I would take a few quick moments to give you my picks for the Top 5 "Staycations" here in the province. Hope you enjoy! In no particular order:

1. Grand Manan - Hole in the Wall Campground - the cliffside campground in particular makes this trip to Island of Grand Manan an amazing experience. The views of the Bay of Fundy are unbelievable. You can watch whales right from your campsite. August is best for the most whales and the least fog. It's not the best spot for kids under 6 as a fall off the cliffs would mean certain death. Visit them online here.

2. Mt. Carelton Provincial Park - Anyone who hasn't visited the Maritimes highest peak is really missing out on one of the greatest spots in the province. Hiking & camping as good as any national park with only a fraction of the crowds. A true wilderness getaway. More info here.

3. St. Andrews By-The-Sea - Classic seaside vacation in one of Canada's oldest resort towns. While a bit reminiscent of "The Shining", the Algonquin Hotel is the centerpiece of this laid back funky town filled with cool shops and great restaurants. Kick back & relax!

4. Canoeing on the St. Croix River- A short (2 days -1 night) but challenging paddle right down the US/Canada border from McAdam to St. Stephen. A canoe trip is really the ultimate Canadian summer thing to do. Good luck at Little Falls! Look up a local outfitter if you don't have a canoe.

5. Salmon Fly Fishing on the Miramichi - it's hard to define the mystique that surrounds salmon fishing in the Miramichi River system. It's a world class adventure that is not soon forgotten. Every New Brunswicker should experience this nautral treasure we have right in our own backyard. Check out these guys in Fredericton to set you up before you go.

Hope you can all get out and enjoy New Brunswick at it's best this summer!


Market Square Boardwalk

Most Saint John residents enjoy the Market Square Boardwalk as sort of a "new-fashioned" town square where fun and events happen in the sun & fog all summer long.  This past week they launched a new website that captures some the excitment & action of the Boardwalk in an interactive format at: www.marketsquareboardwalk.com 

A neat feature on the site is the ablity to actually join as a member to receive updates & have a chance to win some cool prizes! 

You can also get live updates from the Boardwalk on Twitter at: twitter.com/attheboardwalk

I know I'm looking forward to the Joel Plaskett Emergency on June 30th for sure!


Harness Racing in New Brunswick

On Monday I headed down to the Fredericton Raceway to check out the racing debut of the horse "Khayam I Am". A Fredericton group dubbed "The Syndicate" recently chipped in and bought "Ky" and have been attracting some great attention to great tradition of harness racing here in the province of New Brunswick. I must admit it had been many years since I had been to a horse track here in the province but I was instantly caught up in the excitement. Winning a bit of money certainly helped my day as well!

In the end, Khayam I Am finished a strong second in an exciting race that apparently featured some of the greatest crowd cheers heard at the racetrack in years.  Check out the video of the race on Facebook here

Best of luck this season Ky! Hopefully we can see her down here in Saint John at EPR sometime.

 Here is a neat history of racing at the Fredericton Racetrack from YouTube:


Red Ball Internet

Had the chance to hang out with the guys at Red Ball Internet today and I was really excited to check out a growing New Brunswick company with such a cool product. Red Ball offers both the public & private sector the ability to pretty much mobilize anything, allowing a new way of thinking about doing everything from delivering a pizza to monitoring entire municipalities. After a few minutes with their team I realized the sky truly is the limit with the possibilites for their innovation.  Check them out online at: redballinternet.ca



Opera Bistro on Twitter

My long time friends at Opera Bistro in Saint John have jumped on to Twitter recently. By "tweeting" out their daily restaurant specials to a local network of followers, I think Opera is catching on to an important new wave of Twitter users: those that provide tidbits of useful information to their followers. Opera has been sending out the daily lunch special (sometimes with photos) around 11:30am giving hungry uptown office workers a sneak peak at their potential lunch. I find the CBC NB news feed and Crabbe Mountain ski report similar in their usefulness. I find it far more helpful then another "web marketing guru" adding me from Denver or San Fransisco. Hopefully we will see more of this type of local tweeting soon.

Follow Opera Bistro at: twitter.com/operabistro


NB Fly Fishing Net

I've been working a lot with Social Networks recently and have been having some fun with the development of the New Brunswick Fly Fishing Net. As home to some of the best Salmon fishing in the world, New Brunswick fly fisherman finally have a spot to share photos, tell tales and learn a few tips online. Now that the season has finally started, photos & action are starting to be added to the site. I just added some photos from our weekend trip to Doaktown. If you know anyone who is a fly fishing enthusiast I encourage you to pass it along at: www.nbflyfishing.net It's fun & it's free!


Elliot Brood

I was fortunate enough to take in the Elliot Brood show on Wednesday night here in Saint John at the AKhord club on Water Street. Despite a late start for a "school night" (12:30am), it was well worth the loss of sleep as the band put on an amazing performance. A three piece unit out of Ontario the band is surely one of the best acts currently touring Canada. They fittingly label their sound as "Death Country" and incorporate banjo, ukulele and even audience participation into their show (on pots & pans). The amazing guitar work of Casey Laforet combined with the raspy vocals of lead singer Mark Sasso creates a truly unique musical force.

I'll certainly be keeping a close eye on this band in the coming months and encourage you to do the same. I believe they are in Halifax and St. John's this weekend if you happen to be in one of those towns. Check out some YouTube footage here.


NHL Tweetup

I had a great time the other night here in Saint John as I attended the first NHL TweetUp hosted at Rocky's Sports Bar by my friends at the Hockey Zen and linked with over 30 cities worldwide as the Stanley Cup playoffs kicked off. The TweetUp was a fan based idea sprung on Twitter that was embraced by the NHL marketing team and deemed a great success.

Fans were able to link up and root for their favourite teams as a collective across the Twitter social network. The NHL must have been thrilled to see their fans develop a truly new interactive way to watch the games. I admit I have never felt so cool and so dorky at the same time in my life! Thanks to the guys at the Hockey Zen for hosting a fun event & Moe at Bud Light for providing some beer & prizes! It's always a good time at Rocky's for sure.


Consumer Saint John

I came across the "Consumer Saint John" blog the other day after my friend Saint John Shawn posted it on Twitter. It's a new blog but it seems to be off to a good start reviewing local business operations in Saint John and Atlantic Canada. I must admit I really dig the subject matter and the non-kiss ass style to the writing. I think it is also pretty cool that it is written anonymously so business owners won't be able to change their service level to cater to the critic.

Hopefully the author will keep up the good work.

Best of luck whomever you are!


Back to School?

To further demonstrate the growing popularity of web marketing and social media in modern society a UK school is now offering student's a master's degree teaching students about social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.

The one-year course at Birmingham City University will consider social networking sites as communications and marketing tools.

Sounds like a cool program but the idea of going back to school can't help but remind me of this scene in this epic movie...

The Triple Lindy in "Back to School"



One of the coolest thing about online marketing and the web in general is the ability for seemingly small quirky things to explode into international phenomena. We've seen it lead to the rise and fall of everything from singing babies to screaming politicians. There is no doubt that the web can have an incredible effect in spreading the word on almost anything.

Sometimes one off jokes can have actual impact on a business or brand. A great recent example is the new McGangBang sandwich from McDonald's. Never heard of it? That is because it is not on the menu (it's actually a McChicken inside a Double Cheeseburger). The McGangBang has been spreading underground via word of mouth on the net since last fall. Despite it's crude name and wacky ingredients it is surprisingly delicious and at some McDonald's outlets you can actually order it by name. (You can read a brief history of the sandwich here.)

So what does McDonalds think of all this? It's hard to know for sure, but it's safe to guess they are probably pretty happy about it. A viral campaign of this scope is hard to replicate and hasn't cost them one penny. My interest in the subject actually got me to go try one this past weekend here in Saint John (see photos above) and I must admit it was pretty darn good. I'd hate to know the calorie count but I'd encourage each of you to order one at your next stop to McD's. Good for a chuckle in the drive-thru at least.


The Web Olympics 2010

I got thinking the other day how different the fan experience could be for the next Olympics in Vancouver this 2010 in terms of getting live information via twitter and other web media sources. Tweets and blog posts will be streaming in from events giving fans access to information and insight previously unprecedented in terms of instantaneous coverage. You got to think (& hope) some entrepreneurial people are going to see this opportunity to do some very cool web reporting.

Maybe I should pack my bags for the west coast next winter? I could follow all Atlantic Canadian athletes and report back as the events unfold. Hmmmm...maybe I should start looking for a corporate sponsor.


Nice Article in the Telegraph Journal

I was pleased to see myself in the Telegraph Journal this morning with a nice bit of coverage on the launch of the Craig Allen Agency. I think reporter Rebecca Penty (twitter.com/rpenty) did a great job of capturing the essence of what I'm planning for the Agency. It was very interesting how fast Ms. Penty was able to come across the site within minutes of launching it last Friday via Twitter. Chris Nadeau mentioned it in his Twitter feed and I was speaking with Rebecca before I knew it.

Proves the power behind Twitter for sure!


For Those About To Rock

Looks like a great spring & summer of music in New Brunswick highlighted by a rumored AC/DC date in Moncton at Magnetic Hill on August 6th. Apparently the 6th is a full moon so that should make an already wild crowd even wilder. City officials continue to deny the date is confirmed, but let's hope the leaked reports to CTV news are true.

Beyond AC/DC there is a great line-up of acts coming through the province including:

-Neil Young April 11th, Saint John
-Elliot Brood, April 22nd, Saint John
-Joel Plaskett, April 23rd, Saint John
-Black Crowes (with Matt Mays), June 21st, Fredericton

And of course, my favourite show the Canada Day Countdown on June 3oth in Saint John! (Line-up info coming soon).

So after years of not much going on, looks like finally NB is back on the concert circuit. Enjoy! IT might not last forever.


Let's talk about Twitter

Seems lately the hottest topic in mainstream news is Twitter. The groundbreaking micro-blogging site is truly having a major impact on the media landscape. Everyone from Shaq to Anderson Cooper to Crabbe Mountain are blasting out "Tweets". So what exactly is Twitter anyways? How can it work for you? Here is the scoop in "Plain English":

While I think Twitter does have some great applications for local business to communicate directly with their customers, it is worth noting that some people do go a bit overboard and deserve a bit of razing. Check out this video for a good laugh.


Ready to Roll!

I must admit that after a few month hiatus I'm thrilled to be back blogging and ready to launch my own agency, the aptly named "Craig Allen Agency" offering online marketing strategy & service to New Brunswick companies.

After years working in the Atlantic Canadian marketing industry, I've noticed two things that I think people can use a hand with around these parts.

1. Using the web to engage their customers to the max. Most of the good stuff on the web is free now. People just need a hand figuring out how to put it work for them.

2. People find writing & updating web content a pain the butt. Many companies spend time and money on a cool new website and then never update it. It looks stale and leaves customers hanging who want current information. Thankfully, I am great at content creation and happy to help companies stay looking fresh.

The Craig Allen Agency is going to spend our of time helping local companies with those two things. Not a pile of fancy hype and buzz words. Just rollin' up our sleeves and getting the job done.

I'll be using this blog to provide the occasional tip, a little advice and alot of commentary about local marketing and other things that tweak my interest.

Hopefully we will have a few laughs as well, so feel free to tell me what you think of me at anytime.

Welcome aboard and cheers!