June 1, 2010 | Filed Under Uncategorized | Comments Off on  



Tear Sheets

March 7, 2017 | Filed Under Uncategorized | Leave a Comment 

Vancouver Advertising  Tear Sheet : Mermaid Advertisement for Shearwater



Summit International Awards

June 8, 2016 | Filed Under Awards, Vancouver advertising | Leave a Comment 

Yay, we just won a Silver and Gold at the Summit International Awards for these two campaigns.

FishSafe BC Ad 1 - close up of a fishermen - Vancouver Advertising firm

FishSafe BC Ad 3 - fishermen and flares - Vancouver Advertising firm

FishSafe BC Ad - hands and rope - Vancouver Advertising firm

Photo credit: Peter Holst

 

Umbrella Store Ad 3: Woman opening up lit umbrella -Immersion Creative - Vancouver advertising agency

Umbrella Store Ad 1: Man and woman with lit umbrellas - by Immersion Creative - Vancouver advertising agency

Umbrella Store Ad 2: Man and woman under an umbrella - by Immersion Creative - Vancouver advertising agency

Photo Credit: Matthew Chen

Project Credits: Fishermen helping Fishermen
Creative Director: Mike Catherall
Photographer: Peter Holst
Graphic Designer: Seann Einerssen
Copywriter: Suzanne Pope
Make-up Artist: Marie-Helen Babin
Client: FishSafe, BC

 

Project Credits: It’s Your Turn To Shine
Creative Director: Mike Catherall
Photographer: Matthew Chen
Retoucher: Steve Pinter
Stylist: Crystal Martines
Makeup: Tianna Tran
Models: Emmaline Zien & David Chin
Copywriter: Emily Louie
Graphic Design: Flora Leung
Client: The Umbrella Shop

 



Laser Eyes!

May 31, 2016 | Filed Under clients, Vancouver advertising | Leave a Comment 

This crazy billboard shot to the first page of Reddit worldwide and was featured on CBC Adweek, Buzzfeed, the CHIVE, and Mashable generating enormous buzz for the client.

 

CBC article

Adweek article

Reddit Post

Buzzfeed Post

The CHIVE

Mashable

It also made into: Adweek June 6, 2016 – Ad of the Week !

Lasers-02

Lasers-03

Lasers-04

Laser Beams  -Fun Real Estate Agent Ad by Immersion Creative

 Reddit users having fun with the ad:
fun-version-houlihan-ad

(Imgur)

fun-version-of-ad (1)

(Imgur)

fun-version-of-ad

(Imgur)

 



Spec Work

October 13, 2015 | Filed Under advertising, design, Spec | Leave a Comment 

 

Spec work from Vancouver Adverting Agency, Immersion Creative

Continuing education spec campaign from Vancouver Advertising Agency, Immersion Creative



The Umbrella Shop

July 8, 2015 | Filed Under Uncategorized | Leave a Comment 

Here is a whimsical campaign I made with photographer Matthew Chen and a supergroup of local talent.

Creative Director: Mike Catherall
Photographer: Matthew Chen
Retoucher: Steve Pinter
Stylist: Joanna Kulpa
Hair: Crystal Martinez
Makeup: Tianna Tran
Models: Emmaline Zien & David Chin
Copywriter: Emily Louie
Graphic Designer: Flora Leung

Umbrella 1

Umbrella 2

 

 

 

 

 

Umbrella 3



An Immersion In Haida Gwaii

June 12, 2015 | Filed Under Uncategorized | Leave a Comment 

I just got back from doing another Immersion Experience, this time in Haida Gwaii.

Danny Escott is a master fishing captain with over 24 years of experience. His lodge, Escott Sportfishing is perfectly located in Masset to take advantage of salmon runs when the fish are largest and most abundant.

He is planning a rebrand and asked me to do an Immersion Experience to fully understand his company before moving forward.

My art director and I spent four days working from within, experiencing the adventure like guests would, taking pictures, talking to the staff and guests and of course, fishing, to get a feel for the best way to position Escott Sportfishing in the crowded fishing resort market.

It turns out that Escott definitely has a unique point of differentiation, and it was one that we wouldn’t be able to truly appreciate or articulate without experiencing the adventure firsthand: Danny has the best guides. The experience is intimate. Personal. And it’s all about the fishing. After spending hours on the water, and surveying the areas around Masset, we could confidently move forward with a positioning that more personal and professional than any of its competitors.



Taking Initiative

June 2, 2015 | Filed Under Uncategorized | Leave a Comment 



Vancouver Real Estate Advertising

May 28, 2015 | Filed Under Vancouver advertising | Leave a Comment 

Some of the work we have made for developers includes:

For Zenterra Developers

We did a creative campaign with custom photography for Hyde Park. We wanted to articulate their main point of differentiation, that being you had a whole forest to enjoy as an owner there. The campaign was featured on the backs of buses in the Lower Mainland.

For Bonds Group of Companies

Print, transit shelters and billboards for their Tate Downtown development.

New-Condo-Guide---Full-Page

 

 

For Genica Development

Print, TV, postcards, web.

http://immersioncreative.com/work/auburn-integrated/index.html

For Greci Development

Social media, website, print, outdoor signage.

This print ad ran in the Georgia Straight to attract a young and hip demographic. The website was great but unfortunately it’s down now. We also made a giant wrap on Scotia and 6th.

We ran a social media campaign that included a Twitter feed and a weekly blog.

Copywriting

I used to write ads for Sun Hung Kai Properties while in Hong Kong, working for Ogilvy & Mather.

Also, I have written copy for high-end real estate brokers Manhattan-Miami – helping them to sell properties just north of USD $80 million in New York.

http://manhattanmiami.com/blog/manhattan/page/4/

Real Estate Agents

We have also done work for several REALTORS including Anthea Poon and Patricia Houlihan.

Anthea’s campaign was featured in the Georgia Straight’s Best Of Vancouver.

 

Anthea In Transit

This is one of my all-time favourite campaigns. It ran in the interiors of buses and Skytrains as a spoof on Poetry In Transit. The Poets were livid! They kept writing us to complain – in rhyme! The campaign was mentioned on the famous comedy Podcast ‘Stop Podcasting Yourself’ .

Anthea In Transit

 

 

 

 

 

 

We are not your average real estate marketers. We take a different approach with conceptual and outside-of-the-box ideas.



Vancouver Transit Advertising

April 20, 2015 | Filed Under Uncategorized | Leave a Comment 

We have been doing a ton of Vancouver transit advertising lately. On almost every bus I look at, there are some of our ads. Here are a few that are currently running now.

Tan More. Save More. Vancouver Advertising Agency, transit campaign

Vancouver Advertising Agency- Transit Campaign - 70s

Vancouver Advertising Agency - Transit Campaign  - Cocoa BeansVancouver Advertising Agency - Transit Campaign

Vancouver Advertising Agency - Transit Campaign  - JAVA

 



From Concept to Execution

September 9, 2014 | Filed Under Uncategorized | Leave a Comment 

All of our ads start out as simple little sketches.

When I pitch concepts (usually three at a time), my drawings usually look like this.

However, once I get the designers and photographers onboard – the magic happens!

 

Miller Titerle + Company LLP

IM_MT_SKetch_IMG_7680_2

MT - Trailblazing - Proof

 

Loan Express

IM_LE_sketch_2

Last-Minute-Gift-Idea---Spread

Sketch: Loan Express Ad - no one re-gifts money. Shot of guy holding up extra large Christmas sweater

Loan Express Ad - no one re-gifts money. Shot of guy holding up extra large Christmas sweater

JRoss Recruiters

1

 

2

Ambulance Paramedics of British Columbia

Hyde Park

 

MS Society



All Over The Internets

June 23, 2014 | Filed Under Uncategorized | Leave a Comment 

We’re all about the World Wide Web here at Immersion Creative. We build next-level Hypertext Markup Language Websites and tackle integrated campaigns across a mind-bending myriad of mediums like it ain’t no thing. So I figured it was nigh time to create a database of the Vancouver advertising, street art, and oddities that we like, and post it up on our dazzling array of social media channels.

Catch up on:

Pinterest

Flickr

Vancouver Advertising Tumblr

Vancouver_Advertising Instagram

Twitter

Facebook/VancouverAdvertising

LinkedIn

Linkedin/vancouveradvertising

Vancouver Advertising on Google+



The Quintessential Vancouver Advertising Directory

June 20, 2014 | Filed Under Uncategorized | Leave a Comment 

Years ago I started a blog that acted as a compendium of Vancouver advertising agencies.

The idea was, if you were looking for a Vancouver advertising agency you could find the contact information as well as samples of their work. After all, it’s the product that really matters and you can’t see what you’re buying from a black and white directory.

It’s pretty convenient, I figured, as well as a chance to get my own Vancouver advertising agency listed. (After all, it was my initiative.)

Well, that was over five years ago, and since then the landscape of advertising in Vancouver has changed quite a bit.

So, I’m looking to update the ol’ Vancouver Advertising blog. If your agency has changed address, or if you have new work to show, or, if you aren’t featured at all – let me know, and I’ll add you to the list.

If you own a business and running your own advertising campaign is taking over your life, then this is the place to start looking for a small agency to handle the creative coordination on your behalf.



It’s Time to Get a Vancouver Advertising Agency When…

June 19, 2014 | Filed Under Uncategorized | Leave a Comment 

Trying to put together an advertising campaign is a lot like herding cats.

If you have plenty of time, and money to burn chasing suppliers, the DIY route is certainly do-able.

However, it’s like anything. You can extract your own teeth, or represent yourself in a court of law, but at the end of the day, why not save yourself the heartache, and just hire a professional to do the job?

If you think Vancouver advertising agencies are expensive, look to the smaller shops. They can get the job done, with comparable service, for a fraction of the price of the big guns.

If you’d rather do it yourself, and herd those cats on your own, here are a few warning signs to watch out for.

It’s Time to Get an Advertising Agency When:

1. You are spending half your day chasing down the designer who vanished, the printer that won’t return your calls, and the illustrator that skipped off with your deposit.
2. You’ve had to learn the basics of Photoshop to get things the way you like them.
3. You ask for revisions and they look at you like you’re crazy.
4. Only one of the 100 resumes you receive from Craigslist doesn’t have a typo.
5. The logo they give you looks like clip art.
6. Your copywriter returns your call on the same day and it seems like a miracle.
7. You find yourself tiptoeing around feelings, when you have a business to run.
8. AWOL has become a part of your everyday vernacular.
9. Sales have flat-lined.
10. Nobody knows your ads.

Running a successful campaign is a lot like building a house. You need many skill sets as well as people who know how to oversee an entire operation.

Like a contractor, an advertising agency will coordinate the entire effort to ensure that you don’t have to. Service goes hand-in-hand with the final product, because you need work that you like, without pulling out your hair in the process.

The size of the agency you choose will affect the cost, but not always the final product. So when you are hunting for the best Vancouver advertising agency, judge from the work you like, first and foremost, and then go from there.

To get great service, however, you will need more than just that creative team. Writers and designers can be aloof creatures (back to the cat metaphor), and “service” doesn’t always top their list. After all, that’s the reason agencies exist in the first place.

So bearing in mind cost, reliability, service and final product, it’s time to look around.

Here’s a good place to start. It has all of the most prominent Vancouver ad agencies laid out, as well as some of their work, so you can pick the one that best suits your needs:

List of Vancouver advertising agencies .

If you are looking for a small shop that gets the job done, look no further than Immersion Creative. Because when it comes to herding cats, we have the can-opener.



What Is The Immersion Experience?

May 15, 2014 | Filed Under advertising | Leave a Comment 

Method actors throw themselves into their characters and drive their co-workers crazy. Gonzo journalists write themselves into their stories and shoot their cremated ashes from cannons.

There’s a system to the madness. The goal is intimate, authentic realization of their subjects.

Immersion advertising is pretty much the love child of these two approaches.

The concept behind Immersion Creative is that I submerse myself in my clients’ environments to “work from within.”

The result is communications that reflect your style, and your style alone.

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SOME EXAMPLES

Escott Sportfishing Lodge

My latest Immersion was with Captain Danny Escott, master fisherman, up in the Haida Gwaii. Escott Sportfishing flew me up there to see the lodge, meet the guides, check out the chef and support staff, and of course, fish. We worked from within, and built out the foundations of his new branding and website while we were there. Experiencing the lodge firsthand, we got an in-depth understanding of the unique differences that only Escott Sportfishing has to offer. Now, as we build out his communications, we will bring those differences to light.

Wolfes Combatives

I did an Immersion with Wolfes Combatives. For six weeks, I learned hand-to-hand and knife defence techniques used by special forces units like JTF2, culminating in an intensive 4-day CORE course. Afterward, I felt like I understood the brand inside and out while I built their creative.

You can read about that Immersion here.

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Dr. Bernstein Diet & Health Clinics

For Dr. Bernstein Diet & Health Clinics, I did the program myself. I lost 34 lb in 30 days and still maintain a healthy weight thanks to the insights I gained. This gave me a unique perspective into their system. And man, does it ever work.

Day One - 214 lb

Day 30 - 181.4 lb

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Mattress Choice

I worked for four months on the pillow tops of a mattress store, learning firsthand from the owners while creating the Mattress Choice brand from scratch. Logo. Branding. Print. Radio. Online. We did it all – based on the insights gleaned from watching the sales process firsthand and integrating it into the advertising.

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Events & Adventures

I’m a family man. So with the singles club Events & Adventures, the Immersion was done by my chief copywriter, Jeremy. He spent 23 weeks as a member. He wrote about the events he attended, which we leveraged into an in-depth understanding of the brand.

You can read about that Immersion Experience here.

Alpine Credits

I spent time in the offices of Alpine Credits. Everything from the way they answered the phone, to sit-in meetings with their new clients, found its way into the look, feel and tone of a brand we refreshed from the 80s to now.

Before & After

DVIBZ

With DVIBZ, I spent a couple of whimsical afternoons with the incomparable Miz. D. She introduced me to the fascinating subculture of vapour bars, smoke shops and medicinal marijuana clinics. (Only as an observer, I’m more of a whisky guy.) It’s a political and dynamic forum and Miz. D has a unique vision and stance. When we built her brand, we knew exactly where she was coming from.

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CampbellCare

I spent a week with CampbellCare Plumbing Heating and Air. Working in their office, I got a feel for the humour and style of the owners, and I was sure that the ads we made reflected it.

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Pardon Services Canada

I worked six weeks on the office of Pardon Services Canada. In that time, collaborating with the owner every day, we completely reinvented the brand based on one-on-one discussions, and observations of their sales staff, secretaries and general office flow.

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Customized Creative

The Immersion Experience is about understanding your brand completely.

Only someone who has absorbed the day-to-day operations of your business can truly represent you.

Because there’s a piece of you that shines through in everything your company does, and it needs to be experienced to be expressed.

Your passion becomes your company’s passion. Your drive inspires everyone around you.

I want to take that magic and let it grow. I want to encapsulate your winning spirit, and tailor it beyond your immediate business and employees, and infuse it into your communications as well.

How is that even possible?

Immersion. It’s just you and the source. No other distractions, suits, meetings, middlemen, or padded costs. I’ve been doing this for almost six years and it works.

Let’s Do It

To book an Immersion Experience for your company, call Mike at 604.551.1682.

Hi.



Wolfes Combatives Immersion

May 9, 2014 | Filed Under Uncategorized | 1 Comment 

When you are confronted in a dark alley by a homicidal killer with a knife, you don’t react like you think you would. You hit fear. And you panic. Traditional training goes out the window.

Look, a shortcut.














Chances are, no matter how much karate you’ve done, you’re going to try to grab the knife with both hands. And that’s okay. The difference between Wolfe’s Combatives and other self-defense is that they acknowledge that, and they build their moves around natural human reactions.

HOW many times does it have to save my life to pay off again?
















Wolfes is self-defense for Special Ops soldiers, not athletes.

They only have so much room in there.




















The reality is – when you are attacked, you hit a fear state. The only way to simulate the fear state is exhaustion.

If I keep this up I'll get as ripped as my shorts.
















And that’s exactly what Wolfes does. They will drive you to the point where you can barely raise your arms, and then pit you against four attackers, one of whom has a nasty sharp killing instrument.

The friendly face of your average assailant.
















It’s a realistic fighting scenario – taking into account your fear – and the fight or flight that comes from first encountering extreme danger.

Palm strikes double as eye gouging opportunities!





















The techniques and tactics they’ll drill into your head over four days come out sloppy when you are so overwhelmed. But they’re there. And looking back at it – you survive. It works because it’s simple. There are only 65 moves, compared to thousands in martial arts.

'Uncle' ain't gonna cut it on the street.
















For the last month and a half I have been training with Wolfes Combatives as an Immersion. Last weekend, I completed a four-day CORE course. The objective was to make me a “hard target” by immersing me in the hand-to-hand and knife defense fighting used by Special Ops units in Canada.

Nothing worth having comes easy!
















If you want to learn how to fight for your life, you need to make it realistic.

Wolfe calls it Tachy-Psyche – how you train is how you react. And that’s what I learned.

I found out how to defend myself from men 30 to 50 lb bigger than me, and from threats wielding knives – using WWII armed forces tactics in real-life scenarios.

That's one way to do it.
















Bill Wolfe believes in going full-force in the training. We were burning 800 calories an hour over 6.5 hours a day. I don’t think I could eat enough to make up for the weight I was shedding. I sweated so much my name went from “Sweaty Mike” to “Slimy Mike”. I was disgusting. But it was actually a tactical advantage… I was hard to grab!

Wolfe's got a grip
















But it’s not all physical. During the CORE experience, beyond the non-stop fighting, there are lectures. These are given by Bill Wolfe and are incredibly insightful. They discuss everything from legalities, to confidence, to how to turn your fear into power.

As well as the advantages of having no hair.

















Case in point: There are certain patterns to look for before an assault and ways to handle them. We learned go-to maneuvers for everything from defending against the traditional Canadian hockey grab (strike the elbow, then the throat) to the bar-room push (lock the elbows and attack) to the classic choke (grab, shake, strike the knee). Seriously, there’s something for everyone.

Hey, watch the shirt, pal.
















It was probably the most physically and spiritually challenging thing I have ever done. It was harder than a marathon. More demanding than P90x. It made digging ditches seem easy and Tough Mudder like a walk in the park.

I hate it.... But I LOVE it!




















CORE is designed to drill in a series of fighting techniques used by JTF2 and other special ops units. They call it Hard Target Training because once you know even the basics, you become exceptionally dangerous to your assailants.

Mullets & Snake Fighting optional.
















It’s a style of fighting known as Defendo. It was designed for WWII soldiers and has since been adopted by other elite tactical units.

Even Centurion soldiers used this effective little number.
















It’s all about attacking the eyes, genitals, throat, liver and kidneys with kill-or-be-killed fighting moves. No nonsense. Nothing sporting about it. It’s dirty, nasty, survival fighting that works.

Still scary 70 years later.
















Wolfe’s system is designed for war. Or any apocalypse coming our way. His mantra is K.I.S.S. – Keep It Simple and Savage.

Prepared for anything?
















This is Bill Wolfe. He is a Canadian Special Forces Commando who has served all over the world. Since then he has been an ERT (Emergency Response Team) officer and police officer in New Westminster. He learned Defendo from the source, and has been practicing it for over 40 years.

Even the suit says badass.






















After the course, I feel ready to defend myself effectively in life-threatening situations. I feel less threatened by men much bigger than me. And I know I have tactics to bring them to their knees instantly.

I tell ya, this one really works.
















It’s reassuring to think that, as a medium sized guy, with bird-like wrists and ankles, I could still be taught to eliminate threats, immediately and effectively with tactical force and violence. It’s one thing to know what to do, and a whole other thing to be comfortable striking & kneeing someone as hard as you can, repeatedly, so you are ready when the time comes.

How you train is how you react.

Wolfes has been a life-changing experience and a skill set every soldier & civilian should possess.



Special Ops Training

April 24, 2014 | Filed Under Uncategorized | Leave a Comment 

I’ve been working with Wolfes Combatives for a month now.

It’s a full Immersion Experience, so I’ve been attending the courses and absorbing everything I can. Tomorrow, I will start my 4-day C.O.R.E. combat training course.

After this, I will have more hand-to-hand and knife training than most JTF2 and soldiers.



Week Two With Wolfes

April 3, 2014 | Filed Under Uncategorized | Leave a Comment 

Yesterday I went in to do an Intro class and watch the Advanced class immediately afterward, but I ended up just doing both classes. I was exhausted! It was fun though. We learned how to defend ourselves from the ground (basically when you are getting boot stomped).

I learned some great tricks. It’s counter-intuitive how you protect yourself when you are down. But it works. It’s really effective.

Wolfes Combatives is not a sport. It’s true self defence. It’s the stuff that Joint Task Force 2 uses. It’s for commandos and special forces.

Bill Wolfe’s motto is Keep It Simple and Savage. Once I get familiar with the moves, and they become automatic, I will definitely feel way safer when travelling to dangerous countries (which I have a habit of doing).



An Immersion With Wolfes Combatives

March 31, 2014 | Filed Under Uncategorized | Leave a Comment 

I have started my latest Immersion Experience with true self-defence masters Wolfes Combatives.

Last week, I attended my first class. I learned how to stop an aggressor (even one twice my size) from pushing me, how to break a choke hold, and how to turn the tables on an assault from being a victim to being the one in control.

The course was very exhaustive and exhausting, but that was only because I was doing it wrong.

If I was calm and relaxed, as Bill Wolfe instructed, I would not have broken a sweat. As it was, I became tense and apprehensive while fending off Adam, who is 40 lb heavier and 4 inches bigger than me. It was like battling back a mountain. My tension translated into wasted energy.

Of course, as I get more comfortable with the moves, I will have an easier time defending myself. Last week there was not an inch of me that was not covered in sweat. It was hard! But I learned an enormous amount of self-defence knowledge in a very short time.

This week, I will continue my training, and hopefully, be a bit more natural on the mat.



Deep Inside The Vancouver Singles’ Scene

January 24, 2014 | Filed Under Uncategorized | Leave a Comment 

For our latest Immersion Experience, we submersed ourselves in the Vancouver club for active singles, Events and Adventures.

As a family man, I was out this time, so we selected the most active, eligible bachelor from our ranks, and immersed him completely in the program.

He attended his first event in October. From there, it’s been a whirlwind of wild events and zany adventures.

Extreme trampoline

Olive oil tasting

Christmas sweater bowling

An evening with Mary Poppins

Exotic dining

Gourmet cooking classes

Golfing on Burnaby Mountain

Night tubing on Cyprus

Latin-themed comedy shows

Wacky wallyball

Each week he writes about his experiences, and offers some insight on what it’s like to be single in Vancouver. We promote these posts through E&A’s Twitter, Tumblr and Facebook pages.

On its face, this is a way of promoting Events and Adventures’ interesting group events to the world via social media.

From a communications standpoint, working from within allows Immersion to fully understand the brand and create customized, creative communications that suit Events and Adventures, and Events and Adventures alone.

To read more about our adventures with E&A, check out Jeremy’s blog at:

Single In Vancouver, BC

Find out How An Immersion Experience Can Revolutionize YOUR Brand.



5 Ways An Immersion Experience Can Revolutionize Your Brand

January 24, 2014 | Filed Under Uncategorized | Leave a Comment 

Here’s what we learned about the Events and Adventures brand from a rock climbing gym in Coquitlam.

1. New Members

One of the most encouraging elements of attending events is seeing new members. It means our work with Events and Adventures is paying off. At the Cliffhangers there were two new members out of the seven that attended. Their enthusiasm was awesome to see.

2. The VIP Experience

The benefit of experiencing an activity with an organized group is the amount of personalized instruction and attention you receive. The Cliffhanger gym had allocated three staff members to handle our seven-person group. They were excellent about explaining the equipment and making sure each one of the members was comfortable and secure before climbing. The staff tied all the knots and preformed 100% of the belaying duties. They were encouraging, super friendly and extremely knowledgeable. Did we mention there were three of them?

3. Unique Features

The Cliffhangers climbing center has employed a number of auto-belayers. These unique devices allow climbers to ascend without an actual human belayer. Our writer has a background in climbing, but had never come across an auto-belaying system. Using the auto-belayer took a literal leap of faith, but it was something new and different that added a little extra to the experience.

4. Other Singles

Of the group that attended, five were guys (including our writer) and two were ladies. Though there was a range of climbing experience in the group, every member was physically fit and excited to climb. Our writer noticed a number of other single lady climbers at the facility and talked to a handful of friendly fit people outside of the group. Going to an engaging physical activity like rock climbing presents an opportunity for our members to meet other active singles in an environment that is ripe with single Vancouverites with similar interests: staying fit, enjoying life and inviting challenges.

5. Constructive Criticism

As a member, we are also able to see where the company needs to improve.


Jeremy has been immersing himself in Events and Adventures since October. You can read about his experiences here.



Bernstein – Progression

November 20, 2013 | Filed Under Uncategorized | Leave a Comment 

This is what Immersion Creative is all about.

I often spend months immersing myself in my clients’ businesses.

The latest is Dr. Bernstein Diet & Health Clinics.

This is me, on the Bernstein Diet.

30 days. 32 lb. And plenty of posts in terrible track pants.

http://immersioncreative.com/blog/2013/10/dr-bernstein-diet-day-one/

Bernstein Diet - Immersion Creative on Make A Gif

To see the real progression, click here, and scroll down.



Day 31 – Mission Accomplished

November 8, 2013 | Filed Under Uncategorized | 2 Comments 

I weighed in today at 181.4 lb. That means I’ve hit (surpassed) my goal weight (185) and I’m ready to start maintenance.

I lost 32.6 lb in exactly 30 days on the Bernstein Diet and I’ve never felt better.

The plan now is to slowly re-introduce my normal diet. I can eat all the vegetables I want, so I’m going to start with Gorilla Food. Everything there is raw, vegan and delicious.

To see the full progression click here.

Day 30 - 181.4 lb



Day 29 – The Last Shot

November 6, 2013 | Filed Under Uncategorized | Leave a Comment 

Today I got my final injection as a part of the weight loss program. I clocked in at 187.2 lb, which means I am down a total of 26.8 lb since I started 29 days ago.

The last few pounds have been a lot tougher, that’s for sure. My healthy weight is 190-200 lb, although the doctor did make an allowance for me to go to 185 lb based on a pinch test.

The way I see it, I have two days to get down to 185 before I start maintenance on Saturday.

As a part of the four-week program, I get four weeks of free maintenance, which is nice. Maintenance is only one, half-shot a week. It also makes a few concessions about the amount and types of food I can eat. Unlimited vegetables. A few more starchy vegetables like kale. 100g a day more protein. Although my fruit drops down to one a day for the first week or so. (I’m going to miss that afternoon apple.)

So the heat is on. Can I lose 2.2 lb in 2 days? My plan: no salt for 48 hours. Let’s see if that makes a significant difference.



Day 27 – New Habits

November 4, 2013 | Filed Under Uncategorized | Leave a Comment 

They say it takes 28 days to develop a new habit or break an old one. Here are a few I can thank the Berstein Diet for.

1. Lemon squeezed into water. It’s supposed to be good for your liver. Also, if you are craving sweets, BAM!, the craving is instantly gone. It’s weird. It’s easy to do, and lemons are cheap. Now that I’ve started this habit, I’ll definitely keep it up.

2. New breakfast. 3 boiled egg whites. A cup of coffee with milk. And half a grapefruit. It’s the perfect breakfast. It takes minutes, will fill you up until noon, and is super healthy/low calories.

3. Rationing my food. Planning what to eat hours in advance not only makes the meals you are going to eat that much more enjoyable, it is also kind of fun. Most importantly, it keeps you from over eating. Or eating mindlessly.

4. Weighing myself daily. Once you stop weighing, you stop caring.

5. White fish. This is the best bang for your buck, protein-wise. I plan to pretty much drop all processed meat and red meat for good. (Except for Saturday Steaks.) Trout’s pretty much my favourite meal, anyway, so this works out well.

6. Say no to bread. Rice and grain is terrible filler food. I’d rather eat healthy stuff that actually contributes.

7. Limit my dairy. The best things in life are dairy. French Vanilla ice cream and yogurt. Brie cheese. This will have to be strictly treat-stuff. Dropping milk was a good idea, though.

8. Minimal sugar. I had to look away and grit my teeth when my kids got Reese’s Pieces in their Halloween candy. That was one of the toughest temptations of the diet so far. I haven’t eaten sugar in 27 days, and I want to keep this habit up. But like dairy, the odd piece of candy would be nice.

9. Beer. I blame beer for making me 214 lb in the first place. My work and life is pretty social, so I’m constantly in beer-drinking situations. The trick will be to keep it to a minimum.

10. Keeping track of everything I eat. I like this habit, and I’m going to ask the nurses if I can get extra sheets once I go on maintenance.

11. Vitamins. I’ve never felt healthier than when on this diet. I think I must have had a vitamin deficiency from before, be it the B6 or B12 in the shots, or something the potassium pills or daily multivitamin is taking care of. Either way, I feel great. I’m running faster. I feel sharper.

Not sure if it is the vitamins, the weight loss, the lack of bread, booze, dairy, sugar and red meat, or a combination of all of the above -but I feel good.

I will probably keep up these new habits into my new life once I hit 185 lb and go into my maintenance mode.

Update: Just weighed in at the clinic. I’m down to 187.8 lb. So I’ve lost 26.2 lb in 27 days. Only 2.8 lb to go.

Day 27 - 187.8 lb



Day 26

November 4, 2013 | Filed Under Uncategorized | Leave a Comment 

Here is how my first diet sheet looks after 26 days of recording every single thing I’ve eaten. Running back and forth to work with this thing in my jacket pocket did some serious wear and tear.



Bernstein Day 23 – Setback!

November 1, 2013 | Filed Under Uncategorized | Leave a Comment 

Oh no. I’m moving backwards! I weighed in today and I was as 192.2 lb. That means I’ve gained weight since Wednesday.

My ketones are still +2, so the doc said I’m still burning fat. I am just retaining water. The nurse busted me actually, I’ve been hitting the hot sauce and miso soup pretty hard these days, and she was onto me.

This is the third time I’ve seen the doctor in three weeks. He had to check me out to make sure I am good to go down to 185, because normally they’d like to see me settle at 190. They do a pinch test to make sure I have the right kind of fat to burn. Turns out I’m good to 185. So another week or so (or at this rate – never!).

Setbacks are frustrating. It’s tempting to throw up my hands and say, “To hell with it, then. I’m having a burger!” But I ate a sandwich at Gorilla Foods instead. All raw, vegan, healthy stuff. No nuts. No bread. Pretty filling though. Now I feel better. I’m back on track.

I got the results back from my blood work. My uric acid is a little high. Probably from my previous life of being overweight and drinking too much beer. They suggested I get retested next week now that I’m closer to my fighting weight and drinking water over brew.



Bernstein -Day 22

October 30, 2013 | Filed Under Uncategorized | Leave a Comment 

Today I weighed in at 191.8 lb. Which means I’ve lost 22.2 lb in 22 days.

Yesterday I talked about my dietary regime. Today I’ll talk about my exercise regime.
It’s the same as it was before the diet. The big difference now is that I’m not over-eating my exercise routine.

I’m faster, lighter on my feet, and much more nimble now. It’s amazing how much better I perform without packing around the equivalent of one of my children strapped to my body.

Monday -Friday
Every day I run to work. It takes me 23 minutes to run down Main Street and to my office.
Often I look like a madman running in my jacket with a black briefcase in my hand, but that’s how I roll.
Every evening I run home. It takes me 27 minutes to get up the hill.

Wednesday Nights
Gym – Free weight curls, bench press, shoulders, lats,
Swim – A few laps followed by a sauna, steam an hot tub

Saturday Mornings
Golf

Sunday Mornings
Gymnastics with the kids. I get my stretch on with the other dads.

When you’re active and you are not overeating, and especially when you’re not drinking booze, the weight just falls right off you.

I needed Bernstein to give me the kick-start to get me going.

Day 22 - 191.8 lb



Bernstein Day 20 – Daily Eating Routine

October 28, 2013 | Filed Under Uncategorized | Leave a Comment 

Weighed in today. I am at 195.6. So I have lost 19.4 lb in 20 days. Not bad.

Here’s what I eat on a usual day.

Breakfast
3 boiled eggs (yolks removed)
1/2 grapefruit
cup of coffee with milk

Lunch
6 pieces of tuna and salmon sashimi
Miso soup
1 tbsp of soy sauce

Snack (4 pm)
Apple
6 veggie mini thins

Dinner
150 g of Halibut
Dijon mustard
Salad made of
100 g of spinach
50 g of salsa (peppers, tomato, garlic, onion – we make our own)
1 tsp of flax oil
80 g of broccoli, celery, cucumber and cherry tomatoes

Evening Snack
2 triscuits
Beef broth

If you space it out right, it’s a pretty good healthy meal plan.



Bernstein – Day 19

October 27, 2013 | Filed Under Uncategorized | Leave a Comment 

Halloween was actually surprisingly fun considering I wasn’t drinking anything but water.

After 19 days without a drink, a clear healthy mind is just as intoxicating. It definitely makes me sharper. And as long as I’m hosting a party and can move and mingle – I never felt like I needed a drink to loosen up one bit.

There is no edge when you’re grounded.

One thing that sucks about not drinking though is that it can alienate your friends. No one likes to drink around someone who’s not keeping pace. Your own friends actually start to distrust you and question your motives. It’s silly. It might even be subconscious. But it’s there.

Not drinking at the same watering hole, be it booze, or plates of nachos, or birthday cake – creates an us vs them effect. If you don’t eat with your allies, then you are not truly an ally.

Cultures are centred around food. So it can be hostile to reject a culture in pursuit of a personal goal – like losing weight.

There is definitely a dark side to the Bernstein Diet – and that is the animosity, envy, and tension caused between you and those closest to you as change begins to manifest.

I am lucky to have a tolerant wife and close friends who know me as the guy who is always doing experiments, always trying new things, and immersing myself in new cultures and ideologies.

For those with a negative environment, be it a jealous spouse, or insecure friends – one of the hardest parts of the Bernstein Diet would be the social resistance.



Bernstein Day 15 – Halfway

October 23, 2013 | Filed Under Uncategorized | Leave a Comment 

198.6 lb. Hey, not bad. That’s 15.4 lb in 15 days.

So far so good, I’m half way! If I can keep this up, I’ll be at my goal weight by November 7th.

Day 15 - 198.6 lb



Bernstein Day 14 – Improvements

October 23, 2013 | Filed Under Uncategorized | Leave a Comment 

The more weight I lose the more I see small improvements in every area of my life.

Every day, I run home from work. I always have. This entails running straight up Main Street from Hastings all the way to 18th. It’s all uphill. Normally, it takes me 27 minutes to run from my office to my home. I usually stop a few times on the steeper sections. When I ran home today, I didn’t have to stop at all. It was great. I had more energy, and the big difference – I wasn’t carrying an extra 15 lb. Being that much lighter made it easier for me to run.

I also notice other things. I don’t get heartburn anymore. I don’t sweat as much. I feel like I have more energy throughout the day. My mood is better. I am sleeping better. I have better concentration.

These little improvements are like bonuses. All I wanted was to lose weight. The effects of losing weight are pluses in their own right.



Bernstein Day 13 – Localized Fat Burning

October 21, 2013 | Filed Under Uncategorized | Leave a Comment 

I never knew you could burn fat in specific areas on your body. You just can’t do it with exercise.

But you can do it with Bernstein.

I got my latest vitamin shot in the stomach. It turns out wherever you get the shot, that’s where it starts burning fat first.

I remember going to a personal trainer and asking which exercises would help me burn love handles specifically, because that’s where I tend to gather fat. If you exercise, you can’t localize fat burning. ie if you do tons of sit-ups you will not reduce your belly fat. You just burn fat all over.

With the Bernstein shot, it actually starts working in specific areas. This is amazing to me. I can start taking fat off the areas I care about. Am I bothered with a bubbly butt? Not really. Stomach fat? Yeah, get rid of that.

So now, I’m getting my shots in the front. This is an interesting development.

I just found out I can’t eat pumpkin seeds. Ah, too bad! I was munching on those all weekend. Oh well, back to sashimi and egg white omelettes (which are delicious by the way).

13.4 in 13 days. Not bad.

So far so good on the Bernstein Diet. I did my blood-work this morning (these guys are really thorough), saw the nurse this afternoon, and I see the in-house doctor again on Friday. Medically supervised is an understatement.



Day 12 – Cheating On Dr. Bernstein

October 20, 2013 | Filed Under Uncategorized | Leave a Comment 

Well, as of Friday (Day 10) I was down 12.2 lb (201 lb) and at +3 ketones, which is pretty good for 10 days. Today is Sunday. I think I’m about the same.

After almost two weeks, one thing that you start to notice is ‘no cheat days’. I find I’m looking a bit more longingly at cupcakes than usual as my kids eat their spider icing. But I keep my head in the game by reminding myself of two things.

1. They KNOW.

I have a doctor’s appointment tomorrow where they are going to take my blood work to make sure all is going well. Also, 3x a week, I submit urine tests and the nurses measure ketones. No ketones = cheating. (I have stopped metabolizing fat, and therefore I am running on booze, bread, dairy or starches. All bad.) Knowing they KNOW keeps me good. For me, shame is more powerful than guilt.

2. “If you are hungry, you are cheating.”

One of the nurses told me this the other day. And it’s true. I have a confession. I ate some vegetable broth the other night (Friday). Vegetable broth is terrible. I was so disappointed in it that I decided to have Campbell’s Vegetable Soup instead. What’s the diff, I figured? Either way, after I cooked it, I realized it had potatoes, peas, carrots and even (*gasp*) pasta alphabet shapes in there. I ate it all. I used to love vegetable soup in my old life. But basically everything in that soup is on the ‘no’ list. Later that night, I felt hunger. It was the first time in 10 days, but that aching gnawing animal was there. Blinder than rage. Wanting to overpower me. I ate spinach and drank water until I pushed it back into its cage. But with that potato and pasta tease, I had opened the gate for just one second too long, and the wicked bit was in its mouth.

Today has been okay. I bought my kids cupcakes after gymnastics and once again my mind wandered to cheating. I wonder if that soup had set off a chain reaction. I kept my mind on the prize. If I’m going to reach 185 lb by November, I need to stay focussed.



Bernstein Day 6

October 15, 2013 | Filed Under Uncategorized | Leave a Comment 

The holidays are tough. For Thanksgiving everyone got to gorge on turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, peas and red wine. I sat there with four brussell sprouts and 100 g of turkey breast.

The trick to this diet is preparing your own food and pretty much eating alone. Sushi. That’s the one exception. You can go out for sashimi and seem quite normal when you eat 6 pieces of tuna, ebi and swordfish and then devour the radish and lettuce garnish like a mad animal. Other than that, it’s easier just to avoid the social construct known as dining out.

It’s funny how such a natural thing can be so unhealthy. One thing you really learn on the Bernstein diet is an education in food. Most things are simply not that good for you – dairy, butter, bread. You really don’t need them. Meat is good, but only in small doses. I run, so I’m allotted 200-300 g of protein a day. When you think about it, that’s almost a pound of meat a day. That’s a fair bit. Our caveman ancestors would love such generous portions.

I’m on Day 6 now. I weighed in at 206.6, so I only lost 1.4 lb over the Thanksgiving long weekend. :(
But when I read that sentence again, it makes me feel a little better. How many people lose weight on Thanksgiving?



Bernstein Day 3

October 11, 2013 | Filed Under Uncategorized | Leave a Comment 

Weighed in today at the clinic. I’m off to a good start. I’m already down to 208 lb. So that’s 6 lb in 2 days. Not bad! The nurses grumbled something about how losing weight is easier for men. I’ve heard that before, actually, but still, sweet! I was at a +2 keytone, so that’s apparently good too. It shows I haven’t been keeping shortbread off the sheets.

I got my next shot and the nurse told me that I needed to take my potassium during the afternoon – not at night – and that’s why I haven’t been able to sleep well.

I talked to the doctor. He said I’m doing well. There is nothing like supervision to keep you on track. He’s great. He asked me where I wanted to be, and I said that I’d be happy at 185 lb. He gave me the okay, and that’s my new goal weight. We’ll see.

I really don’t mind eating sashimi and eggs and spinach salad with horseradish. That, broth and some apples seem to make up my diet and it’s not so bad.

Because I exercise over an hour a day, I also got a protein boost! Excellent. I’m allowed to eat 300 g of protein 3x per week now as long as I’m exercising. I celebrated with an extra 6 pieces of sashimi today at lunch. I know, I should have spaced them out, but portion sizes are my enemy.

I realize that boredom is my #1 cause of eating. Whenever I’m in my office and I have nothing to do, I instinctually reach for nuts. Packaged nuts. But no more for me, no sir. Bernstein has nuts right up there with booze and bread. Meaning none. So I’m really into drinking Club Soda at the moment.



Rationing

October 10, 2013 | Filed Under Uncategorized | Leave a Comment 

The trickiest thing about this diet is knowing you only have so much protein to eat in a day, so you need to space it out strategically. There’s nothing worse than being hungry in the evening, knowing the only thing you can do is drink chicken broth until you fall asleep.

I make sure I leave enough food for when I get home. An extra egg, spinach, horseradish, flax seeds, and my crackers await me, if I can get through my afternoon on water and celery sticks.

It takes some planning.

In the future, I’m going to ditch celery. They are bad value on a weight to filling-ness ratio.



Bernstein Day 2

October 10, 2013 | Filed Under Uncategorized | Leave a Comment 

The secret is eggs. I had six eggs (no yolks) with hot sauce, salt and pepper for breakfast. Throw in a coffee and a half grapefruit and it was pretty filling actually.

I’ve been burning through my vegetables all afternoon and tonight I’m planning on having a sliver of chicken, spinach and horse radish. And broth, always with the broth.

I’m running to and from work (50 min total each day), I went to the gym last night (30 min) and today I did kettle bells with Zuzanna with Maria (5 min). So I might be exercising too much.

Strangely enough, the thing I miss most at this point is wasabi.

But feeling good!



Dr. Bernstein Diet Day One

October 9, 2013 | Filed Under Uncategorized | Leave a Comment 

I recently picked up Dr. Bernstein Diet & Health Clinics as a client. I am doing an Immersion Experience with them.

Today was my first day on the Bernstein diet.

I weighed in at the clinic, I can’t believe I am now 214 lb. I would like to lose 10 lb in the next two weeks. I was given the food list and a de-briefing as well as an injection in my bum. Vitamins B12 and B6. It didn’t hurt too much, but I walked out feeling energized and ready to go grocery shopping like an animal.

The plan is to prepare all of your meals in advance so you don’t slip up and start eating Snickers. I meticulously made my way through the list of acceptable proteins, bread replacements, drinks, etc. and wrote down what I thought would be the most filling. I picked a lot of hot things – jalepenos, Franks hot sauce, horseradish. I figured that would help to curb the cravings.

My first meal on the plan was 6 pieces of sashimi, a tablespoon of soy sauce and all of the lettuce and radish that comes with it. I’ll have to go back tomorrow to see how much that stuff weighs.

Yes, I bought a food scale. They sold it to me for $10. And I need to weigh out all of my vegetables. Did you know three cherry tomatoes weigh 50 g? One stick of celery 33 g? Fascinating, huh? Either way, I am allowed to eat a grand total of 230 grams a day of vegetables. And I plan to weigh them all out on my handy scale.

Then I went to Nesters and bought $60 worth of fruits, veggies, crackers, sauces, and flax seed. I think I’ve found a loop hole in that you can eat flax seeds as a “supplement”, aren’t these things loaded with protein? Ha! Also, you get to drink all the broth you can handle. Booyah! Broth was on sale. I took this as a sign.

Either way, I am still planning to run to and from work and go to the gym. They doubled up on my potassium pills (I take 4 a day instead of 2) as well as a multivitamin. But we’ll see how I feel tomorrow. I may be burning too many calories that I can’t replace with broth. We’ll see.

Wish me luck. I’m on my way.

Click here and scroll down to see the whole process.

To skip right to the end and see the results of 30 Days on Bernstein – click here.

Day One - 214 lb



Advice For New Copywriters

March 13, 2013 | Filed Under Uncategorized | Leave a Comment 

Here’s a word or two for young copywriters from the owner of a small advertising agency.

Group your ideas into five clusters:

UNUSUAL MEDIUMS – Once upon a time, no one dreamed of putting ads on buses or elevators or tattoos. Now it’s commonplace. Find the next bus. New mediums make for newsworthy and award-winning ideas.

UNTAPPED ART DIRECTION – Always keep an eye out of undiscovered ways of laying out type. Anything that can be used to spell out words. Since the age of art directors, almost everything has been used, but every so often a unique, ‘undiscovered’ way of writing words pops up and blows everyone away ie Moss Letters.

CLEVER PLAYS ON PHRASE – Makes Pasta Fasta won a Clio at one point. It’s cute, and it probably wouldn’t win today. But people still love clever turns of phrase. When you think of them, write them down. One easy way is to go through idioms and then twist them. This is also the laziest form of copywriting, because it’s not hinged on a solid idea. However, pair it with a human truth or insight, and you have a great ad. This should be the last stage, not the first.

PRODUCT INSIGHT – Get good at this and you will never need to look for work. If you can articulate the benefit of your client’s product, and it is particular to that product, and that product alone – you have mastered the art of copywriting. “It tastes awful, but it works.” was/is one of the world’s most successful headlines (for Buckleys). “Plop, plop, fizz, fizz.” dramatically increased Alka-seltzer’s sales. (Because people used twice as much as before.)

HUMAN TRUTHS – Make note of things that you notice in your day-to-day observations that aren’t attached to an idea or product yet. For instance, you perform better when being watched. File these insights away. They make for the strongest ads. If you watch Mad Men, this is Don’s trick. He is very astute about human interaction, and weaves his discoveries about behaviour and emotion into his ideas. This technique made (Bernbach) DDB very famous and successful in the 1960s even though they were selling German cars to post-war Americans. They always strove for the human truth.

When you are given a brief, start with the product insights you get, but then bring in ideas from the other four clusters. When things start coming together like puzzle pieces, you have a great ad.



iPhone Snaps 2012

February 8, 2013 | Filed Under Uncategorized | Leave a Comment 

Underground Tape

Poster Children

Sun Script



Obscure Photos 2012

February 8, 2013 | Filed Under Uncategorized | Leave a Comment 

Spiderhole

Talk To This

Call Them All!

Wash Your Own Goddam Dishes

Speaking Of Trash



Random Photos From 2012

February 8, 2013 | Filed Under Uncategorized | Leave a Comment 

I read somewhere that if you want to keep your creative energies up, you should take a picture a day.

I’ve been doing that with my iPhone for a while now. But most are garbage.

Here are a few of the more interesting ones from last year.

Precaucion!

Buenos Aires Playground

Bum Park - Mount Pleasant

Modern Family

Hot Hot Pizza Delivery

Sign In New West

Carnival

Door in Argentina

Scrap Counselling

Grump


Small Businesses

December 14, 2012 | Filed Under Uncategorized | Leave a Comment 

Immersion Creative has a soft heart for the self-starter.

It was only four years ago that I hatched my plan from a kitchen table in the burbs. But it worked.

I have utmost respect for those who chase their dreams and flick non-believers on the nose and say, “Ha!”

But to get there you are going to need the basics. A lot of startups contact Immersion Creative, which is cool. But if you don’t have any money, what do you expect me to do?

To save everyone a whole lot of back and forth………………………….

If you are poor – start simple.

99designs – Get your logo made in a contest of international designers for $300. You get what you pay for. But if you don’t want to spend money on a proper agency – it’s your cheap-out option.

Mailchimp – Great service that allows you to send e-newsletters to all of your fans and friends. For free. The best part is that you can track everything. You didn’t open my email, Uncle Garth? Coal in your stocking, yep, that’s happening.

WordPress – Make your website a blog. If you do it right, no one’s the wiser.

When you finally scape together enough nickels to contact an agency, let’s talk. We can take all of the above and make it 10x better.



Immersion Creative Contest Winner Announced

July 31, 2012 | Filed Under Uncategorized | Leave a Comment 

Immersion Creative recently held a contest to win Free Transit Advertising.

The winner was Wonderlust Photography in Vancouver.

See the contest details here: Vancouver transit advertising newsletter.



Four Fantastic New Things

July 13, 2012 | Filed Under Uncategorized | Leave a Comment 

There are two more than two and one less than five incredible new goings-on at Immersion Creative.

Click here to see our latest advertising newsletter.

Four Fantastic New Things



For The Creative Job Seeker

June 27, 2012 | Filed Under Uncategorized | 1 Comment 

So, you want to work in the wonderful world of advertising? That’s great.

However, take note, even little ol’ Immersion Creative gets a resume a day from people willing to work for free. I can only imagine how many the big shops get. Competition is tough and jobs are scarce. So you’ll need to stand out.

Here are eight things you should DO.

1. Know what you want. Do you want to write, art direct, strategize, deal with clients, sell work, build business, or what?

2. Build a great portfolio. Gather your favourite ads and dissect what you like about them. Find ads that you hate and make them better. You are going to need about 10 that show your creative thinking. Use a few different mediums – print, social media, outdoor, guerilla, etc.

3. Find out who makes the ads you love. Not just the agencies, the people behind them. Once you know which creative director is where, start approaching them. Be sure you tell them you’re a fan of their work. This is a good place to start: Ads Of The World.

4. Think of an interesting approach to get a creative director’s attention beyond a generic email. I’ve sent agencies golden goose eggs, skis, telegrams, piles of dirt, swim caps and singing picture frames. I once optimized all the names of 20 Hong Kong creative directors to lead them to my blog. I’m not saying you should send a bunch of useless crap to my office, but try to stand out beyond an ‘I’m looking for work’ subject line.

5. Hustle. Nothing worth having comes easy. Be persistent. Just because you’ve tried one creative director, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try five more. Keep trying. Go for new angles. Make meetings. Just ask them to see your work even if they are not hiring. Be on time. Get your face out there. Get your ideas known. Never give up.

6. Toughen up. Some people go to ad school and breeze their way into an internship, and then a job. If you are that talented/lucky/connected, that is great. For the rest of us, finding a job in advertising can be one of the most soul-destroying experiences in your life. It took me 35 meetings with creative directors to get my first job. 25 meetings for my second job. It takes a lot of persistence. There’s a lot of ego-lashing. Even after hanging the Immersion shingle, I still have to hustle. Every day I need to find new clients, new work, and new opportunities to keep my family fed. It never gets easier. So get used to it.

7. Read these books

Hey Whipple, Squeeze This
Pick Me
The Copywriter’s Handbook

Also read:

Flyers, labels, small print, instructions, disclaimers, children’s books, niche magazines, newspapers from other countries, legal documents, graffiti, obituaries, best of Craigslist, the worst of Craigslist, I saw yous, lost and founds and set lists.

8. Go to these websites

ihaveanidea.org
Freelance English Copywriter
Ad Teachings

DON’T

1. Send every agency out there your crappy copy and pasted resume. No one reads them.
2. Call us. Unless you have something hilarious to say.
3. Follow the rules. Even these ones.
4. Give up. And it will happen.

That’s a lot of work. Is it worth it? If you want to get paid to bring ideas to life, it most certainly is.

It can be frustrating, I know.



There Is No Inflation In Vancouver

June 25, 2012 | Filed Under Uncategorized | Leave a Comment 

The Cambie

Buck-a-slice pizza.



Four Reasons To Produce Quality Content

June 21, 2012 | Filed Under Uncategorized | Leave a Comment 

If you want your business to be seen on the Internet – you need to write. A lot.

Why all the content? Here are four reasons.

1 – To spread branded messaging. People love to share interesting blog posts and columns. They pass them on to their friends and they go viral. Here is a column I wrote about Lights Out Hong Kong that got over 13,000 views. Anthea’s blog post Vancouver real estate has 3818 page views. Through Facebook, you can share a post of a picture and have thousands of people attached to your name in only a few hours.

2- To improve your position on Google. SEO and social media are closely linked. It’s one thing to have a well-optimized site, but another to bolster your search rankings with fresh material. For example, I made Simmons Mattress Gallery the #1 Vancouver mattress store through a steady online campaign. Mattress Choice is the #1 Victoria mattress store for the same reason. I am currently the #2 Vancouver advertising agency. (I was #1, I slip to 2 or 3 when I don’t have time to produce content!) And Anthea Poon is your Chinese realtor in Vancouver. I also have the top spots for English copywriter, Native English teacher and about a dozen more – all through consistent content.

3 – Online real estate. It’s one thing to have your website on the first page of Google. It’s another to dominate the whole front page. Every blog post, Twitter link or LinkedIn account you have taking up space for a keyword is a link back to you and a space your competition isn’t occupying. For instance if you search for mountain bike leg armour, you will see that Iron Mountainwear (and posts about IMW) they take up 3 spots on the first page alone. That’s a lot of prime, beachfront property.

4 – To catch unexpected keywords. When you go to a hockey game, the last thing on your mind is probably your Rogers cell phone. But that doesn’t mean that sponsoring the stadium is a bad idea. Same goes for the businesses that sponsor the news – it’s a little hit of branding that frames a wildly popular event. When we create content, we often build it around things that people are searching for online. For instance, every Daylight Savings people get confused, and look it up on Google. We capture some of that search by writing about the event on that day. Same goes for the exact dates of Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and other current events in the city. For a while, we were writing about all the popular things to do in Vancouver on Simmons’ blog.  It’s like having your own local magazine, without having to buy ink by the barrel.

Creating consistent content is one thing. Having it done by professional, local writers is another issue altogether. Immersion Creative employs only educated, professional writers (most of the writing is done by me, actually). And unlike content farms overseas, we understand our local market.

To find out more about our social media advertising campaigns – click here.



How To Choose Your Copywriter

June 15, 2012 | Filed Under Uncategorized | Leave a Comment 

Copywriters From A Mixed Background

If you are in the market for a freelance copywriter, you might want a writer that has experience working for both large and small agencies.

Why?

A blended background provides a balance between the results-focused urgency of a small agency and creative perfectionism found in the larger shops:

1. You are getting the best of both worlds (see the two posts below)
2. You have a well-rounded professional with a dynamic understanding of your business needs (see below once again)
3. You will be working with a writer with a healthy dose of entrepreneurial spirit, offering an authentic, passionate voice to your product.

Copywriters From Large Agencies

Large agencies act as a filter. They only hire the best that there is, so the quality of the writer is assured. This will work to your advantage because:

1. Your project will be handled by a professional
2. You will have a writer that is familiar with the same tactics used by some of the world’s largest brands
3. Your writer will have a strong understanding of good creative

At a large agency, writers are also pushed to produce ideas that break from conventional solutions to produce creative work that can do the job of ten ads.

4. Innovative thinking

Copywriters at big agencies are also familiar with big clients. They have worked on global accounts, so they are familiar with the freedoms and restrictions of large brands with big budgets.

6. They get you

Copywriters From Small Agencies

At small agencies copywriters often handle more than just the writing. They have to wear many hats, including production, strategy and accounts. A bit of experience in these departments is nice because:

1. Your project will get finished on time and on budget
2. You will have creative that reinforces the strategy and not the other way around
3. Your writer will have a better understanding of what the client wants
4. Client-focus and reliability

At a small shop copywriters also have less luxury to be offbeat, so they focus more on concepts that will build business, immediately.

5. Results, results, results

Copywriters at small agencies are also familiar with small clients. The demands of a startup are much different than those of a multi-national, and their communications has to be as well.

6. They know where you are coming from

So if you are looking for a versatile advertising copywriter for a project, give us a call at 1.800.785.1958.

We have both large and small agency experience under our belts.

I was a copywriter in Hong Kong from 2006-2008.



Immersion’s Philosophy Towards Advertising

June 6, 2012 | Filed Under Uncategorized | Leave a Comment 

People hate ads.

Worse – they ignore them.

But they like ideas.

They respect originality.

They are drawn to controversy.

And they want a good story.

People want ownership of a good, original story.

People out there in TV/Internetland want to be the first to tell a good story they’ve heard. To be the centre of attention. With all eyes on them. And all mouths silenced, eating out of their hand. Whether it’s at the water cooler, the break room, or at the dinner table.

By being the first to tell, you have something to say.

They like a good backstory. Every movie that comes out today has a story behind it. How much weight the lead actor lost, or the squabbles on set.

It’s intimate knowledge. It’s special.

By nature of sharing an idea – they share your brand’s story.

And more specifically, your backstory.

When Immersion Creative comes up with advertising ideas for its Vancouver brands, it tries to create a backstory to the campaign. A story within a story to add layers of interest and ownership to the campaign.

For instance, we were the first to do a transit ad completely in Chinese characters – a reflection on the true real estate market in Vancouver.



The Holy Grail of Advertising

June 6, 2012 | Filed Under Uncategorized | Leave a Comment 

This is how I judge what differentiates a good ad from a merely okay one.

1. It needs to be unique

2. It needs to tell a story

Originality is key. No one is interested in seeing someone else’s idea re-hashed. Here are some ways that an ad can be fresh in my mind.

1. It makes use of undiscovered mediums.

Ads on buses, trains, benches and beaches have been done. But a ten-foot vending machine? Now that’s interesting. Clever placement can catch an audience off-guard.

Two-for-one Cokes. But you'll need a boost from a friend.

Here’s a great example of using billboards and blotches to get a 3D effect.

For Ariel stain remover.

2. It bases its art direction on visual phenomenon you are familiar with, but have never seen in ad form before.

Ad for Playboy.

3. It employs an original sales concept. A new approach to a better benefit. For the ad to tell a story, it needs a unique concept.

You might forget you have pets. (Febreze)

3. It twists the copy with familiar but rarely used plays on phrase or ideas.

Let your husband date a younger woman. (Belesana antiage centre.)

The Importance of Storytelling.

If one image can capture your attention long enough to spell out a beginning, middle and end of a scenario, then it is successful. It is often said that advertising is a competition for attention – and time. The more elaboration spent on an idea – the more likely it is to be committed to long-term memory. This phenomenon is known as the Elaboration Likelihood Model or ELM. I wrote more about this psychological theory here: Advertising and the Elaboration Likelihood Model.

Children get headaches too. (Ad for children's aspirin.)

This is only one side of the Holy Grail: The perfect marriage between a strategy and a creative execution. It looks good on paper, or tacked up on cork boards in meetings.

The other side is the reality. Does it make the phones ring? Does it make any money? That is the true test of a great ad. It’s creatively perfect… and it works.

That’s what we’re trying to do here every day.

The work above is what we aspire to do. Also, we hope to find clients that appreciate this style as well. Or there’s no point. All these examples are from advertising agencies in Brazil and Argentina, by the way. Some of my favourite work  in the world.



Your Two Options

June 6, 2012 | Filed Under Uncategorized | Leave a Comment 

Every business owner has a choice.

1. Do what you’ve always done and expect more of the same.

2. Try something new to get the results you want.

Stop running that tired advertising campaign that no one is excited about. And do something new.



Why I Got Into Advertising In The First Place

June 6, 2012 | Filed Under Uncategorized | Leave a Comment 

Cynics will tell you that advertising is full of runners-up.

They say that everyone in this biz really wanted to be doing something else. They had this desire to direct movies, or write screenplays, or play music – but they failed – and now their creativity is consumed coughing up comps for clients.

It’s not true.

I always wanted to be a writer – but I realized a long time ago, that the only way to become a writer is to write – all the time. You need practice. And I wasn’t about to sit around at a computer churning out stories in my spare time without making any money. So I thought I might as well get paid to cut my teeth. Every day. Who pays you to write? Journalists – hardly. Agencies – handsomely.

I’m not the first to have this idea.

But, it’s how I ended up in advertising. I heard it’s the second most lucrative form of writing (after ransom notes). So I headed straight for it.  I didn’t want to be poor – I wanted to write, and improve, without worrying about money in any way.

My only financial goal? To make enough money that I didn’t ever have to think about money.

Now, after 10 years of getting paid to write professionally – am I any better? It’s hard to say. I’m better at writing ads – but stories? It could have been a huge waste of time: a colossal, greedy, misguided disaster. However, I do find that I am better at isolating concepts, sticking to a central idea, and all in all being more focused.

So there’s that.

Beyond that, I learned to love the ad game. Not so much the big agency politics and meetings and nonsense. I like to make ads, and see them come to life. It’s a glimpse of reward most writers never see. And that happens all the time when you have a small Vancouver advertising agency like Immersion Creative.

So it’s been fun. I didn’t get into advertising to run my own company – but it must have been in my blood, because here I am.



Being Julia

May 28, 2012 | Filed Under copywriter, copywriting, Full Circle Debt Consolidation, Immersion, Immersion Creative, Vancouver, Vancouver advertising | Leave a Comment 

Whose opinion would you trust more: a complete stranger or an old college friend?”

You would put more value in the opinion of the person you knew, rather than a random off the street.

Writing in the first person is another option for creating web content. As a creative content writer for Immersion Creative, I have the most fun with these story articles.

For Full Circle Debt Consolidation, I took on a number of characters and wrote weekly accounts of their struggles with debt. I explained how they fell into debt, how they heard about Full Circle and how Full Circle helped them move towards financial independence.

Julia was one of our popular characters. She had amassed a considerable debt while engaged in post-secondary education. Julia graduated with a Bachelor of Education, but was unable to find work. She started waitressing to pay the bills. Unfortunately, the limited income that waitressing supplies, was not enough to pay her minimum payments. Full Circle was able to negotiate a repayment plan with her creditors that were tailored to her current income.

It was a feel good story, that was entirely fictional, but at the same time, entirely believable. Immersion Creative, Vancouver’s branding agency, had created an honest character by building a figure that the regular citizen, struggling with debt, could relate to.

By writing in the first person, I create a report with the reader. They get to know the background of a character like Julia and when it comes time to plug the company, they are all ears.



Buy Local

May 28, 2012 | Filed Under copywriter, copywriting, Immersion, Immersion Creative, Simmons Mattress Gallery, Vancouver, Vancouver advertising | Leave a Comment 

How do you attract a local audience? You hire a local Vancouver marketing agency to write about events that locals are engaged with.

As a content writer for Immersion Creative, I dedicate a portion of our article output to writing about current events in the City of Vancouver.

For our client, Simmons Mattress Gallery, I write about concerts, the Vancouver Canucks, writer’s festivals, art institutions – anything that has a strong contemporary tie to Vancouver.

Our articles find their way into a variety of Google search results, attracting the most unlikely customers.

Two years ago, a piece I wrote on the Vancouver Canucks caught the eye of Brent Seabrook, a professional hockey player and B.C. native. Seabrook read the article and by chance, needed a new mattress. He bought one from the Simmons Coquitlam store a week later.

The story goes, that the mattress salesman didn’t recognize his name and refused to let the young man pay by cheque. In the end, his mother came to the store to pay by Visa.

Local health issues are another subject that is often searched for. I have written three blogs on the bed bug issue in Downtown Vancouver. The amount of hits these articles receive is incredible.

Narrowing the focus to current events increases the likelihood that locals will view your content.

Just for fun:

Type in Mattress Vancouver into your Google search bar. What company is at the top of the page?

Now, type in Mattress Vancouver Canucks. How many articles at the top of that list are connected with Simmons Mattress Gallery? All of them.



Writing For a Purpose

May 27, 2012 | Filed Under advertising, copywriter, copywriting, Immersion, Immersion Creative, Immersion Experience, SEO, Vancouver, Vancouver advertising | Leave a Comment 

The Google machine loves content. It devours it whole, like a mother bird, and then regurgitates it back to its young in the form of search optimization.

As a content writer for Immersion Creative, a Vancouver advertising agency, I create content that will educate, entertain and inform the casual browser. I create content that Google deems appetizing; content that fits the search requests of its users; content that will lead potential clients back to your homepage.

I create this content in the form of weekly blog articles. These articles are simple, but concise pieces, that contain backlinks, key search terms and direct links to your company’s website.

The articles range in topics and formats and are tailored to suit your potential clients. They provide product information, local and global interest and perspective.

Once published, each article is tagged with different search terms that relate to that specific piece. These words are like breadcrumbs for Google. Leave the whole loaf and Google will ignore the post for something more edible. Choose the right words and Google will recognize the article as valuable.

But in the end, it all comes back to content. If the piece fits the demands of the search user, then Google will give it priority.

I write articles that match these demands.



Take The Virtual Hike

May 10, 2012 | Filed Under Uncategorized | Leave a Comment 

New website for Cape Scott Park and the North Coast Trail.

http://capescottpark.com/



Hello Neighbours

December 8, 2011 | Filed Under advertising | 1 Comment 

I slid these postcards under the door of every office in my building this morning.

front

back



Using Google+ To Affect Search Results

December 7, 2011 | Filed Under Vancouver advertising | Leave a Comment 

One of the advantages of Google+ is that it puts the articles you write on the first page of search results.

If you write about Vancouver, you’ll be on the first page for a Vancouver search amongst your followers.

The repercussions of this are huge.

Follow these 4 Steps to see what I mean

1. Go Google.ca and search for advertising.

There are over 2,480,000,000 results.

NOTE: Advertising is just one example. Some of the topics my clients have written about have been: loans, debt, mattresses, Vancouver, etc.

2. Now, log in as: Jon Smith with Gmail

immersioncreativetest@gmail.com

immersion11

Jon is just a test account. He is an example of any one of the followers of my clients’ Google+ accounts.

3. Search for advertising again.

The first page results have changed for Jon Smith. He is friends with my clients, and I have written about advertising. Because of that, we are on the first page.

4. Repeat the process for Vancouver, loans, debt and mattresses.

These are things we write about – but it could be potentially anything you want.

Everyone Jon follows affects his search. He follows Harvey Wipp (Alpine Credits) and Dorian Blinko (Full Circle) and Neil Wurst (Simmons). So any search for loans, debt or a mattress related matter will go to the first page.

Before

After

Whatever you write about will get put to the first page of your followers.

It is the consistent content that makes the difference.

We post 3x per week. We write about BC Sports. So any sports, ie Canucks related search will put them first page too.

We also write about Things to Do In Vancouver – so searches for that will find us first page too.

This will affect the search of all of your followers.

Unlike Twitter, your followers on Google+ will have a direct affect on search.

Google+ the new way, but it’s still in its infancy. So it’s easy to get mass followers early on (ie they let your follow up to 250 people at a time through Circles).

The trick is to get as many followers in Canada as possible. You can do this through Region-specific Circles (ie Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, etc) which I have already created.

The Caveats

It only affects the people who follow you.

They need to have a Google+ account

THESE RESULTS ARE GOOD.

SO WHY SHOULD I GET IMMERSION CREATIVE TO HELP ME?

  1. Time. It takes a lot of time to write blogs, post updates, build followers and build a Google+ account. Most business owners just don’t have the time to do this. It’s easier to outsource to a company like Immersion.
  2. Quality control. We have professional writers on staff to ensure that your columns and articles are to journalistic standards.
  3. Building followers. You will need thousands of region-specific followers to make the most of these search results. It takes time, and expertise to build these groups properly.
  4. Innovation. The search landscape is constantly changing. Immersion is not worried about sharing its latest findings (such as this) because there will always be more. The Internet is always changing. So your agency must be as well. We are constantly innovating and adapting, and providing your account with the latest expertise.

To find out more about how to put your business on the first page of Google search, contact mike@immersioncreative.com



Need Better Dreams?

November 29, 2011 | Filed Under advertising, Immersion Creative, Mattress Choice | Leave a Comment 



Cold? Call Campbell Care.

February 2, 2011 | Filed Under clients | Leave a Comment 

Here is our new campaign for Campbell Care Plumbing, Heating and Air. If you need your Vancouver furnace fixed, call Campbell at 604.946.1000.

Bath

Iron

Makeup



Sticky Note Sketch

July 5, 2010 | Filed Under Immersion Creative | Leave a Comment 

Underwater Business Meeting at Immersion Creative.

Courtesy of Brian Allen at Wax



Mattress Choice

June 1, 2010 | Filed Under advertising, Immersion Creative, Mattress Choice, websites | Leave a Comment 

The new website for Mattress Choice has officially launched!

If you are looking for a mattress in Victoria, be sure to come to their Grand Opening to save up to 60% off your new mattress.

Or, if you have a dream that you need analyzed, ask Dr. Floyd (click on the red tab on the bottom left corner) – he will give you the interpretation you seek.



Right Place, Wrong Time

May 15, 2010 | Filed Under SEO | Leave a Comment 

On August 30th, 2006, while on a job hunt in Hong Kong, I sent 20 creative directors an email that went like this:

“Hello Mr. Creative Director. Search for your name and agency in Google.”

When they did, I had the top spot with their name already taken. It directed them to my blog.

The next day I had an interview with Publicis and I was hired.

Here’s the blog post: http://mikecatherall.blogspot.com/2006_08_01_archive.html

I thought it was a rather clever tactic at the time.

I just found out today that the same idea (although with Adwords as opposed to SEO) won a Gold Pencil at the One Show and a CLIO.

Here’s the link – I’ll be damned.



If You’re Not On Page One – You Don’t Exist

April 30, 2010 | Filed Under advertising, Immersion Creative, SEO, Vancouver | Leave a Comment 

Don't disappear into obscurity.

Find out how Immersion Creative can get you on the first page of Google.

Read our Spring newsletter here: Vancouver newsletter, or, sign up at mike@immersioncreative.com



The Lion’s Share

April 24, 2010 | Filed Under CRNE, Immersion Creative, PRIMED, SEO, Simmons Mattress Gallery, Vancouver advertising | Leave a Comment 

The Internet is all about territory. If you have a claim on the first page of Google, you will command the highest traffic to your site.

If you are not near the top of Google on a search, you will most likely never be found.

It’s a constant, ever-evolving jungle, but SEO has also been one of our strengths here at Immersion Creative.

For whatever reason, only a few Vancouver advertising agencies are interested in playing the game.

Our clients have asked us to take them to the top, and so far we have, to great success.

Here are a few of our most recent accomplishments:

We took Simmons Mattress Gallery to the #1 spot for mattress Vancouver.

We took DF Psychological Services to the #1 spot for Toronto Psychologist.

We took Alpine Credits to the #1 spot for Home Equity Loans.

We took PRIMED Educational Associates to the #1 spot for CRNE Prep Vancouver.

We even took Immersion Creative to the first page for Vancouver advertising, and this has been an ongoing struggle against some worthy and knowledgeable competition.

In each case, these were the exact search terms they were gong for. We determined most people search first for the product, and then refine their search to the region.

In the wild unruly world that is the interwebs, only those that play the game, and adapt and fight their way to the top can claim the lion’s share.

Rar!



Internet Gurus vs Celebrity Chefs

April 20, 2010 | Filed Under clients, Vancouver advertising | Leave a Comment 

Everyone can cook. But just because you can cook well – that doesn’t make you a chef.

To be a top-notch chef, you need to devote years of your life to one thing : running an immaculate kitchen.

Same goes with the Internet. Notice how every second person is an Internet guru these days?

They set up an inane twitter account and blog laced with typos and grammatical errors and nonsense, and they call themselves an expert.

Then they try to charge you for their services.

I’m running across these guys every direction I turn. All of my clients want SEO. No one reads the Yellow Pages and if you aren’t on the first page of Google, you don’t exist.

The way these ‘Internet gurus’ get you is that they put you on the first page of Google, but for terms that no one ever searches for.

Say, you’re a mattress store in Vancouer.

You need to think like your audience.

They are going to search for either “mattress in Vancouver” or “mattress store in Vancouver.” If your Internet guru is as good as they say, they should be able to snag these words, through months of hard work and labour – producing quality content.

Anyone who says it is easy, is lying, or cheating. It takes up to six months of constant, steady optimization.

However, if you are with a company and they’ve told you that it’s going to be a year, you just need to be patient. Then I would move on.

Everyone claims that they can optimize your website and get you to the top of Google.

Maybe they can, for some five-word sentence like: “Mattress store on 8th Street in Vancouver”

That is not impressive.

What you need are the exact words you want.

These so-called Internet gurus won’t be able to get them for you.

Leave it to the chefs. The experts that have spent years of their lives and tens of thousands of hours optimizing sites.

Recently, I won mattress Vancouver for Simmons Mattress Gallery – the exact two words he wanted. It took six months, but that’s how long it takes to cook up a masterpiece.

Gordo only makes it look easy



A look inside a Vancouver advertising agency

April 20, 2010 | Filed Under Immersion Creative, Vancouver, Vancouver advertising | Leave a Comment 

Immersion Creative is a different kind of shop.

I’m basically one guy, a writer, who immerses myself in my clients’ environments to help them put together communications solutions specifically tailored to them.

I don’t do off-the-shelf stuff. Everyone has a different style and a different sense of humour, so you need to cater to that. Every market is different. Sometimes only the owners of businesses that have been selling to one group for years understand this.

Either way, what I would like to illustrate with this blog is the inner-workings of Immersion Creative. To see how I tick, and how it operates.

If you are thinking about hiring a Vancouver advertising agency – this blog is a good place to start, as it hopefully will show a little bit about the process that you would go through, with me, anyway.

I will post here as often as I can, to give you a better look what it is like switching over from doing it yourself, to putting your campaigns in the hands of a professional crew.

This is me.