Maclaren McCann: John Alabaszowski

Maclaren McCann

Speaker: John Alabaszowski
October 18, 2013

Today we heard from John Alabaszowski from Maclaren McCann, a top integrated advertising firm with over 450 employees.

Last year John took time away from his busy career as V.P. Group Creative Director to teach the Independent Project class for our program. He advised us to stay on top of advances in technology.

John talked about some of the interesting projects developed at Maclaren McCann. This is a very innovative firm that has trusting clients who let them take creative liberties. The Xbox game Gears of War 3 combines the use of gameplay with the live interaction of real people. It is a third party shooter game where you find “hidden cogs’ that lead to a prize that you collect in real life.  The final prize is a piece of locust meat from the giant locusts in the game that can be redeemed at special butcher stores. This concept created lots of buzz about the game where people shared what they had found. This popular interactive component got people out of their homes and interacting with real people.

Another popular project was for Mastercard. Mastercard asked Maclaren McCann to create billboard posters looking for interns. Maclaren McCann grew this idea into the #Interns Wanted Campaign. This project demanded that the prospective interns navigate a variety of social media in order to submit a resume, so the very act of submitting a resume became part of the application process.

My personal favourite is their treatment of Wendy’s need to advertise their poutine. Everybody does poutine so a competitive edge was needed. The solution was to create an online petition – the Poutition – to make poutine Canada’s national food.

Thank you John Alabaszowski I enjoyed hearing about your exciting company.

LinkedIn Page: John Alabaszowski

Company: Maclaren McCann

Nuit Blanche Toronto October 2013

Nuit Blanche Toronto October 2013

Nuit Blanche is an annual event that changes downtown Toronto for one night. It is a spectacular night – from dusk to dawn – of contemporary visual art that transforms the city streets and office buildings. It is a night when art is brought to the masses and is celebrated by people of all ages and all demographics. For me it is not all about the art but about the transformation that takes place for one 12 hour period once a year. Hearing the peoples reactions to the art is a refreshing change from the reactions of seasoned gallery visitors. Yes, it is the whole experience and even though my feet don’t  forgive me for weeks I will be back next year.

Having said all that there were some memorable works this year. Many of them celebrated Marcel Duchamp’s Bicycle Wheel, his first readymade, exhibited in Paris one hundred years ago. Here are some of my favourites:

Bruno Billio (Toronto)
Church of the Holy Trinity

Part of the appeal of this piece was its placement in an old Church. Mismatched chairs were suspended from the ceiling and the floor was covered with a reflective surface. As you gazed into the surface the chairs seemed to go on forever. It was magical.

Ai Weiwei (Beijing, China)
Nathan Phillips Square

This was the largest edition of the Forever Bicycles sculpture ever mounted. 3,144 bicycle frames were connected to form a dynamic structure. I am a big fan of Ai Weiwei (in case you missed that in my last blog) so I was really excited about seeing this piece.

HOWL, 2013
Kinetic Sculpture
Robert Hangeveld (Toronto)
Loading Dock off Temperance Street

This exhibit was fun. A loading dock was transformed into a hunting scene with a stuffed coyote and rabbit, mass-produced duck decoys, mechanized deer and birds, with animal sounds and an operatic chorus. A Rube Goldberg style roller-coaster was set up in such a way that sometimes the coyote was chasing the rabbit and then the rabbit would be chasing the coyote. The whole scene was rounded out with artificial flora.

If you haven’t been to Nuit Blanche check out the website and add it to your calendar for next October.