The Mom Movement

May 22nd, 2018 Posted by Brands, Thoughts 0 thoughts on “The Mom Movement”

I’m just a regular working mom, blogging about Mom bloggers. I have two daughters, my eldest is four and my youngest will be two in July. My mom life didn’t just start when my daughters were born, I was a mom “in-training” for over four years before giving birth to my first child.

My journey into motherhood was difficult – it was very personal, and it was my problem. I felt very alone and I didn’t want to be a hindrance to anyone including those closest to me. So, for comfort, knowledge, and advice, I turned to the only source of impersonal open forum communication I could think of: mom-centric online social networks including bloggers and influencers.

With over 15 years of marketing experience, I simply became amazed at how seemingly ordinary women could take the notion of “raising their children” and turning it into a successful home business. The mom groups, bloggers, and influencers who I followed grew their social followers into the thousands (sometimes hundreds of thousands) all by providing advice, tips, and tricks on what they were doing every single day: being themselves and raising their children. They created businesses that anyone could have started and they did it right. Sometimes with help through paid sponsorships from Canadian companies across the country, and sometimes with just a little help from their very own social networks. All in all, the ‘mom movement’ has managed to cultivate a niche group of highly-engaged, deeply connected mothers that listen and trust one another – a true marketing goldmine.

The following three social networks are not only profiles that I follow as a mom but also as a marketer. As you will see, each has their own way of bringing moms together and provides a truly unique marketing opportunity.


Pink & Blue
The moment I announced my pregnancy to the world, one of my closest friends added me to the “members only” Facebook group called Pink & Blue (P&B). P&B was founded by Nicole Bloomberg in July 2011 and is an online hub for all things family and life. They pride themselves on being an amazing resource for the modern parent for trusted advice, information, and inspiration. I’ve never checked out the “hub”, yet I follow their Facebook newsfeed on a daily basis.

Over 29,000 members post questions, successes, tragic stories, rants, raves, events, and product reviews – all in all, it’s simply a great resource to learn from unsolicited, unscripted women who are primarily Canadian and living within the GTA.

The P&B open forum frowns upon obvious paid marketing and promotion of products. What became compelling to me and, what P&B does really well, is focusing on one of the oldest yet most trusted forums of marketing – word of mouth (WOM) communication. For this reason alone, P&B is worth the follow. Tapping into these niche markets is a delicate art. Rather than targeting these kinds of groups directly with ads or promotions, brands should turn their strategy to the influential moms that are known and trusted in these communities. Moms both love to share brands that they love and also rely on others’ experience and opinions when searching for a new product or service. So, in a way, if you win over one mom with your product, you’ll win over dozens of others in the process via these highly-engaged social communities.

Facebook: 29,961 members
Twitter: 1,377 followers
Instagram: 10,100 followers
YouTube: 32 subscribers


The Rebel Mama
I was first drawn to them by their name – the Rebel Mama. When I saw it pop up in one of my feeds, it instantly caught my attention. Anyone who knows me, knows I loathe anything fake – fake people, fake things, and fake situations. What I hated more was being put in awkward social settings with a group of unknown women who are vying for attention while having to dance or sing ridiculous songs (with props) … all when your baby is just 12 weeks old.

I hated mom groups but I did it to be “social”. I went to them all the time but they weren’t my thing and I wasn’t the only one. The Rebel Mama was founded by Nikita Stanley and Aleks Jassem who are the unofficial voice of mommy-group dropouts. They keep it raw and real. They tell it like it is and make an effort not to hide the bad stuff (miscarriages, pregnancy, birth, post-partum depression, etc.…). Not all pregnancies are easy – this includes my own – and, as a result, I could relate to The Rebel Mama. They posted the raw, traumatic, and chilling stories that nobody talks about but everyone wants to hear.

As a marketer, I think Rebel Mama brings up an interesting point: not all moms are the same. We often use the term “Shopper Moms” to describe what is one of the most highly-coveted market segments out there. But there are so many facets to the ‘mom movement’ making it a much more complex marketing segment than you would think. Figuring who your target audience really is crucial to the success of any marketing campaign and speaking to specific pain points that may not necessarily be ‘mainstream’ topics, such as mental health, for example, could help brands deeply resonate with their audiences

Facebook: 3,977 members
Twitter: 3,219 followers
Instagram: 11,700 followers
YouTube: 44 subscribers


Cat & Nat
Cat & Nat (AKA the Social Common) was founded by Catherine Belknap and Natalie Telfer and is a one of a kind digital platform that offers advice, tips, support, and SO MUCH MORE for moms. Simply put, Cat & Nat are freakin’ hilarious and so, so, so fun to follow! These two native Torontonians who are the best of friends have created a mom empire. They started out grassroots, hosting social events for moms on mat leave, and now they tour cities across North America with The Cat & Nat Fun Show. What’s best about what they do, is that it looks like they are having an awesome time doing it. They are marketing machines and the product is them!

What I love about Cat & Nat is that they are so relatable – they tell it like it is and they aren’t shy about it. All those little things that people are too shy to ask or talk about, they literally put it out there to hundreds of thousands of people but in a way that feels really relatable and authentic.

It’s obvious that they have big hitter sponsors but they’re open about it and they don’t try to hide it. They clearly mark certain content as sponsored and all of their sponsors actually do makes sense – seemingly to fit well into their daily lives and lifestyles. They never push a product but rather show how it’s interwoven into their daily lives. There’s nothing worse than someone who is being paid to talk about something that feels forced and unauthentic.

The way they develop their content in a humorous way and their use of social platforms – like Instagram stories – drive you to keep following them. My husband always asks why I’m watching their stories and that’s because he simply doesn’t get it. He’s not a mom and he’s not the target. They are true marketing geniuses who have become influencers within the mom network being great role models trying to make difference in women’s lives. I applaud them for the amazing accomplishments and communities they have created.

Facebook: 953,617 members
Twitter: 4,878 followers
Instagram: 225,000 followers
YouTube: 48,269 subscribers


The ‘Mom Movement’ has helped me and countless other women find the support and advice that we needed, when they needed it the most. It’s amazing to see what passionate and determined women can do. These communities have and will continue to grow and diversify, offering both mom and marketers unique opportunities to share solutions that make motherhood that much more sweet.


Additional Channels to Follow

Canadian sisters Josie & Laura sharing the in’s & outs of their MOM life & BIZ life.

Facebook: 7,316 followers
Instagram: 20.1k followers
YouTube: 1,439 subscribers
Twitter: 11.3k followers

The millennial mom movement. They are fun loving, life living ladies. Reinventing motherhood.

Facebook: 1,252 followers
Twitter: 1,071 followers
Instagram: 4,137 followers

Amanda Blakeley
Constant Tourist. Excursionist. Fashionable Family-Friendly Travel. Editor @thisisCrumb.

Twitter: 3,339 followers
Instagram: 11.9k followers

Angie Campanelli
Canadian lifestyle & family blogger. Content creator & producer. Huffington Post CA blogger.

Instagram: 46.1k followers


Talk About Experiential – RW’s Top 5 Articles of the Month

May 7th, 2018 Posted by Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “Talk About Experiential – RW’s Top 5 Articles of the Month”

It took an 8-month stint working client-side at Toronto Pearson International Airport for me to realize my true career passion, XM.

Without completely dating myself, it’s amazing to see the transition over the years and the way XM is now perceived by marketers and brands. What once was an afterthought – a way to use up that last $50 or $100K of the annual marketing spend – now plays a key role in this experience-driven world we live in. Gone are the days of giving out samples on the street corner and expecting that to change brand perception or intent to purchase. XM has moved from the kids’ table to the adult table and the opportunity to create unique, memorable experiences for a brand is what gets me up and excited to start another work day (that and my kids jumping on the bed).

I start most days skimming through industry articles and social feeds, looking for new technology, what brands and agencies are doing with it, and what great XM experiences are going on around the world. I then share the ones that resonate with me, not only for others to see, but to use as my ‘rolodex of thought starters’ for inspiration when working on that new brief or to open the conversation with clients.

Here is a selection of my favourites from the last couple of months:


1. Lexus launches a swanky ‘watering hole’ amongst the numerous boutiques, art galleries, and exclusive clubs that make up NYC’s trendy meatpacking district – an interesting experiential approach to tapping into affluent consumer bases. Read on here.


2. During the Grammy’s, Lyft drew attention by having its cars perform a rendition of one of the hottest songs of the summer. What better way to enter the mainstream than to play the most mainstream pop hit of all – ‘despacito’? Read in the next web here. 


3. If they can’t make it to the activation – bring the activation to them. Check out Coca-Cola’s virtual tour of its FIFA World Cup Trophy place here.


4. Hot Wheels made car lovers’ – both young and old – dreams come true with its larger-than-life activation at the Canadian Autoshow. Learn more about how the idea came to life here.


5. I really like the holistic approach of the following activation – bringing the fans, stars, and thrill of the Super Bowl and Olympics together for an awesome experience. Read in Event Marketer here.


And in hopes of inspiring your next great idea, I will be sharing my top 5 industry articles every month – so stay tuned for more.

Diversity and Inclusion at SXSW

April 13th, 2018 Posted by Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “Diversity and Inclusion at SXSW”

As my first time attending SXSW on behalf of The T1 Agency, I wanted to make sure I got the most out of the overwhelmingly large ‘conference’. My experience started with the welcome session at the Interactive Track. It was not the moving opening welcome that Mark Harrison, CEO of The T1 Agency delivers at every sponsorshipX event, but it was informative, covering everything from how to use the app to some of the key themes of 2018, including: Creativity, Diversity and Inclusion, and Technology for Social Good. Following that presentation, I chose to attend sessions that would deliver against these themes and I was not disappointed.

The following were some of my favourite moments at SXSW, as they resonated with both professionally and personally as a mother of two.

Wade Davis, a former NFL player, focused on the important role men can play in the conversation around gender equality. Wade made it clear that the session was written for a male audience. Unfortunately, the male attendance was not high but every person in the room were nodding their heads. As a former professional athlete who came out after leaving the NFL, Wade examined the root cause of homophobia, which he argues is sexism. He shared actions that men should take to become more accountable, including changing the everyday language in conversations around women in leadership and the workplace. He ended with a fantastic point: “if we can create the internet, we can create a new world that is equal”. While discussing some of our favourite sessions, I felt it was important to share with Mark Harrison that I feel lucky to work at a place where I feel like I have an equal voice in the leadership team, as I know that is not the case everywhere.



Another memorable session was with Bozoma Saint John from Uber – or “Bad Ass Boz” (her Instagram handle). She has incredible confidence and proclaimed that while she came into Uber at a critical time but she is not afraid of a lot…even stating that wearing a full sequin jumpsuit was just another Tuesday. She is driven by her spirit. I was inspired. I admired how she keeps up with the latest tech trends while staying in touch with humanity, even becoming an Uber pool driver. She stressed the importance of diverse thinking and always listening, learning, and always keeping an open mind. Great ideas can truly come from anywhere. She did not shy away from the fact that there were big mistakes made at Uber, rather stated that it is part of their story. They need to tell it, evolve and be better. She said to communicate enough so that people will give you a chance. Honest and open communication is crucial, not only to win new customers, but to also win back old customers too. A powerful lesson for brands going through a tough time.

Melinda Gates’ keynote presentation was also incredibly inspiring, including the when she invited other notable female leaders up to the stage to be part of the conversation. They covered topics such as the atrocious parental leave in the U.S. and the biased qualification and hiring processes that have become standard. One of the tactics Melinda Gates recommended for hiring was to remove names and schools from resumes during early reviews. She also argued that if you want a diverse pool of candidates, you should demand it from recruiters because there is no such thing as a “lack of options”. More diverse boards and organizations will lead to better ideas, smarter decisions, and stronger business results. As a board member of the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport (CAAWS), this is something that we continually focus on, so it was great to hear it on the main stage.

Another inspiring session focused on diversity in sport and included Christa Stout (Portland Trail Blazers) and Hanif Fazel (Center for Equity and Inclusion). The Portland Trail Blazers worked with the Center for Equity and Inclusion to rewrite their strategic plan to make diversity part of their mandate and culture. As they explained, “a commitment to diversity and inclusion creates a unique intersection between good business and integrity. We need to be willing to re-think who we are, who we can be, and what is possible…”  It was refreshing to hear other sport organizations in the room asking how they could become more diverse and inclusive.

The last session I attended was the panel discussion on Empowering Girls with Tech, which included Yasmine Mustafa from Roar for Good and Liz Brown from Webjunto. The people featured on the panel are driving extraordinary change in the world of tech and they are not all engineers. One of the panelists was a 16-year-old boy who interviewed his female classmates to understand why they were dropping out of STEM classes before their male counterparts. He demonstrated that he cares and it is fantastic to see that he is interested in being part of the change.



All in all, my first time at SXSW was great. I was happy to see the conversation evolving in a big way around diversity and inclusion. It will be better for all of us. Lead to more varied thinking, better ideas, faster change and it makes business sense. Take a look at your own organization – how do they measure up? What will you do to drive change?

Hot Wheel’s 50th Anniversary at the Canadian International Autoshow

March 22nd, 2018 Posted by Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “Hot Wheel’s 50th Anniversary at the Canadian International Autoshow”

To celebrate Hot Wheels’ 50th anniversary, the brand wanted to launch a year’s worth of programming at Canada’s largest consumer automotive show.

The goal was to create a buzz-worthy, engaging program onsite at the Canadian International Autoshow (CIAS) in Toronto and to spread awareness beyond the event through various marketing channels. Success of the activation was measured through sales.

Given the nature of the event and reach of the brand, we had to create an event that would appeal to those who play with, and purchase, the brand:

  •      Boys, aged 4 – 12 years old
  •      Shopper moms
  •      Collectors of all ages

The partnership with CIAS provided a relevant, high-profile platform for Hot Wheels to engage and communicate with all three demographics nationwide.

Once the partnership with CIAS was established, our creative team wanted to captivate visitors’ imaginations, and stay true to the magic and creativity the Hot Wheels brand had generated over the last 50 years.

They began by looking at how we could best utilize the space available to ensure that it was engaging at every touchpoint for both adults and children. The team knew they had to build something truly larger-than-life in order to deliver exceptional business results for our client.

The result? A 32 feet X 8 feet Master Track Build with over 300 feet of track, featuring the CN Tower and Toronto skyline. The structure provided an opportunity for adults to relive the excitement of their childhood while inspiring kids to put their creativity to the test and build an expansive track network of their own. It also featured a 10 feet tall 3D centerpiece of the Hot Wheels 50th logo providing another great photo opportunity and brand visibility from every corner of the hall.

To kick off the CIAS, a kid’s rock band kicked off the celebrations with a rendition of Steppenwolf’s “Born to be Wild”, a fitting track for the program not purely due to its relevance to cars but also because it shared a birthday with the brand.The activation included a variety of other installations, including a kids play zone where children could build and play with their own die-cast cars, and a pop-up store where consumers could purchase a variety of Hot Wheels products. There were also life-size Hot Wheels cars scattered throughout the Autoshow including the 2012 Rip Rod, 1967 Camaro, and the Darth Vader Car. Three other vehicles (the 1966 Pontiac GTO, and the world record breaking Hot Wheels Buggy and Loop cars) were spread throughout the venue to offer additional exposure for the brand, and draw guests to the main footprint.

While the creative team certainly brought the client’s vision to life, the account team, was tasked with driving as much awareness and interest to the activation as possible.

Leveraging the Canadian International Autoshow’s promotional assets was key in expanding the scope of the program. With a story as compelling as the 50th anniversary of one of the most iconic toy brands in the world, it was essential that the launch of the Canadian anniversary celebrations were heard through various mediums, countrywide. With lofty objectives to the program, the integrated nature of its execution is truly what made it stand out as a success for Mattel.

Out of home placements leading up to, and during, the show in some of Toronto’s most prominent locations led awareness of the partnership and program helping drive ticket sales but also building up Hot Wheels as the key attraction of the 2018 show.

Inclusion within the show’s TV spot offered expansive awareness to our target audience of parents. A 3-week rotation across the country’s most prominent channels meant Hot Wheels provided invaluable promotion, all included within the partnership.

Media coverage was seen as one of the most important aspects of the program in order to drive national awareness. CIAS produced and sent out an official press release in January 2018, calling out the partnership between the show and Hot Wheels. This offered initial buzz with many outlets already expressing interest in what was to come.

From there, a robust plan was built out where both CIAS and the T1 Agency did media outreach to ensure maximum reach and coverage. CIAS provided a dedicated pre-media day event that ensured full exclusivity to all media before they had access to the manufacturer displays. The event was hosted within the Hot Wheels activation space by Brand Manager, Akram Sharkawy and the Global VP of Design, Ted Wu. After the address, media were invited to photograph and interact with the various activation elements as well as interview both Akram and Ted. Both print and broadcast media from the country’s top outlets attended offering extensive coverage of the event.

Overall, the Hot Wheels’ 50th Anniversary Program led to exceptional results for our client. Due to the mutually-beneficial partnership with the Canadian International Autoshow, we received outstanding results in terms of coverage and impressions. Total impressions for the entire program amounted to 120 million across TV, Radio, OOH, XM and Social, and form revenue perspective, our client experienced 2.9% sales growth year-over-year in the GTA for the same period.

CSLS at 11 – What we know. What we’ve learned. What we don’t know.

October 17th, 2017 Posted by Consulting Group, Partnership, Sponsorship 0 thoughts on “CSLS at 11 – What we know. What we’ve learned. What we don’t know.”

The Canadian Sponsorship Landscape Study (CSLS) has entered its second decade and continues to tell stories about what is happening in Canadian sponsorship on the ground. Since 2006, we have more than 3,700 responses from Canadian sponsors, properties and agencies about the trends, investments and challenges they are facing.

Content Marketing for Sports Organizations – Embracing a New Era of Options

February 23rd, 2017 Posted by Consulting Group, Sports 0 thoughts on “Content Marketing for Sports Organizations – Embracing a New Era of Options”

In my latest white paper I’ve attempted to paint a fairly high level and exhaustive picture of the content marketing landscape for sports organizations in 2017 (a nearly impossible task in such a rapidly changing space). I’ve provided a bit of historic information to provide context, some new primary data from friends at Canadian sports organizations, and some suggestions for how sports organizations can navigate this new world.

It’s Good to be Green

January 24th, 2017 Posted by Thoughts 0 thoughts on “It’s Good to be Green”

Coming into a new work environment as an intern can be intimidating at times. In my case, being extremely green to the marketing world added an extra weight. But just like Pantone’s colour of the year, i’ve learned that green can be a good thing! Why you ask? Allow me to share my experiences from my first three weeks with T1.

Running the Ball: Engaging Sports Fans Everywhere

December 21st, 2016 Posted by Consulting Group, Sponsorship, Sports 0 thoughts on “Running the Ball: Engaging Sports Fans Everywhere”

International sport tourism is experiencing incredible growth, which means more opportunity for sponsors to tap into fan excitement while they’re away (travelling to a game, travelling for business and/ or engaging international fans). The emotional nature of sport drives spontaneity. Witnessing a game-winning goal or a walk-off homerun is a feeling that few activities can recreate. This provides an opportunity for brands and sponsors to captivate away fans with compelling experiences in their team’s home arena.

How To Level Up Your Sponsorship Strategy

October 27th, 2016 Posted by Sponsorship, Sports, Thoughts 0 thoughts on “How To Level Up Your Sponsorship Strategy”

There’s a new player in the Canadian sponsorship landscape and it’s one that already possesses enough clout to pack the Air Canada Centre with 15,000 screaming fans. Boasting 214 million viewers annually and attracting a larger audience than the World Series, eSports is one of the fastest growing sports and entertainment platforms in the world.

The Paralympic Games: Unbridled Potential…

September 23rd, 2016 Posted by Consulting Group, Sponsorship, Thoughts 0 thoughts on “The Paralympic Games: Unbridled Potential…”

So, to start, let me put it out there that I have a huge conflict of interest here. Huge. Ever since I first was exposed back around the turn of the century when I worked at Sport Canada, I feel in love with the Paralympics Games and its athletes and I’ve been involved ever since.