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  • Malorie Leonetti, Marketing Coordinator at NMI

If You're Not Scaring People a Little, You're Not Doing Your Job

When it comes to marketing, most of the time it requires your hard-earned dollars, which means you're going to want to do something that is bound to work and bring you the greatest return on investment (ROI). Typically, this means playing it safe and doing what your company has always done – traditional media, safe advertisements, a few trade shows and a loose social media plan.

You may be struggling with how to break free from the norm. You’re being asked, "why break this pattern? We see some reward for our efforts and our customers seem to like our ads.” We are here to support you in explaining how that's wonderful but also to not be afraid of getting a little weird – it usually comes with a delightful influx of new fans!

Being afraid to break free from the norm is common practice with businesses of all shapes and sizes. Sometimes this is driven from fear, bureaucracy, outdated policies or stale market research. This is where you come in, wanting to bring new thinking and energy to your marketing, but it’s an uphill battle. This is where we come in, helping you create fresh, exciting and thoughtful ideas – selling that story internally to prove the ROI and then execute with your fans.

Business aside – think about your own life for a moment. How many ads or brands do you see in a day? A few hundred, if you’re being generous? How about 13000-20,000 ads in all forms in a SINGLE day! That’s right… thousands of companies, just like yours, are trying to communicate a message daily and we are only noticing a fraction of them. How are you making sure that you are in the “OMG DID YOU SEE THAT?!” fraction?

Our simple answer and the number one quote at our office is, “if you aren’t scaring people a little, you aren’t doing your job.” And when we say ‘people’, we mean your bosses not your customers – we enjoy making our clients a little squirmy with our ideas. You don’t hire us to do what you’ve always done, so naturally it’s going to make people nervous to try something new – but that’s a good thing in our books.

We strongly encourage our clients to take risks, to create memorable experiences for their customers. Tapping into good feelings and nostalgia turns those customers into fans with a warm, friendly hug. It doesn’t have to be complicated or break your budget! Check out a few of our favourite campaigns that we got to have fun with:


We were brought on to this conference to add a personal experience to help engage the delegates. The conference itself was focused on Tech for Good, diversity and inclusion – with this in mind, we created a goal of giving attendees a mental break from these crucial topics in between sessions but also to find something that everyone could be involved in.

We knew that whatever we did had to be filled with colour and a touch of nostalgia because what better way to break up your day than a feel-good experience?

We teamed up with local artist Choolee to create a three-sided 8x8 mural for everyone at the conference to add their own unique touch too. Two sides of the mural contained local images that tied into the phenominal tech community that KW offers, and the other side was a fill in the blank statement about what the future of tech for good was.

The response was brilliant. People not only coloured but they contributed their own images and came back multiple times to add more to the mural.


Free great coffee. That’s right, the “warm hug in a mug, start your day off perfectly”, coffee – it was that simple. Usually, conference coffee is not the best so knowing where to go to get a better cup becomes invaluable.

The challenge was to intercept delegates in a less than ideal spot within the conference. We put a coffee cart with the coolest baristas outside the doors of the Bing Stage at the Microsoft building downtown Manhattan and the response was phenomenal. Hundreds of people came to the cart for a pick-me-up and stayed to chat and hangout with the Microsoft team and with the other delegates in line.

It was so interesting to see busy people who were on tight schedules, stop to breathe and be together over a simple cup of great coffee.


It was only the second time Microsoft Surface had an event presence at this massive event for IT Professionals. There were breakout sessions, an expo floor booth, hands-on demos and of course SWAG. But that’s what everyone else was doing, and they needed to build on the momentum of a killer party the year before. We took a remote warehouse location and created a pop-up social for even more of our fans that included food trucks, a live band, indoor and outdoor games, video walls, picture booths and graffiti artists – a very fun night indeed.

We needed something more, a ‘you-had-to-be-there' moment that would create buzz across the conference. So at the pinnacle time of the party, we stopped the band, shut down the lights and threw a spotlight to a back door where all you heard was the sound of drums. Just as heads began to turn, the Atlanta Falcons drumline marched out to the stage and outside playing a 20 min set for our party fans. We knew we got it right when the room was lit up with phones being held up in the air trying to capture it all for social media.

Every business is different, that means your messaging should be different and it should work for your company!

Ready to up the ante and get weird? Give us a call, we would love to chat with you about where to start and what will work for your target audience.

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