Matisse - The Conversation

Your email newsletter can be one of your most powerful marketing tools. Why a few arts organizations still think newsletters are an exclusive benefit requiring paid access completely stumps me.

I get newsletters from many major art galleries, including MOMA, AGO and the Tate. For each, I signed up painlessly through their website, and I get updates on exhibitions, events and gallery news. These newsletters help me plan visits, share stories with friends, and blog about interesting developments. This is nothing mind-blowing, but it is important, as newsletters ultimately lead to ticket sales.

I recently noticed that a significant local institution was missing from my inbox — the Vancouver Art Gallery. I jumped to their website and looked for a place to subscribe. After a few minutes of browsing, frustration seeped in. It really shouldn’t be this tough to sign up, I thought, blaming the website’s user experience.

I shot a tweet off to the gallery, asking where I could subscribe. Their response caught me off guard:

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November 4, 2012

I’m no fan of Coca-Cola. That said, their television ad running throughout the Olympics is quite clever. It features British DJ, producer and musician Mark Ronson, who sampled sounds produced by five Olympics athletes doing their thing. There’s the thud of a taekwondo competitor kicking her opponent, the thwack of a table tennis paddle connecting with the ball, the throaty breath of a track star exhaling.

These and other sporty sounds are weaved into a percussive dance beat, some vocals are tossed into the mix, and the end result is Coca-Cola’s “anthem” for this year’s Olympics games. While the song provides the soundtrack for the TV spot, the visuals show the athletes producing this music, seemingly (yet inconceivably) orchestrated live.

As all this action is happening on screen, a small blue graphic in the corner of your television set urges the viewer to “Shazam Now”.

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August 1, 2012

Saskatoon to Vancouver

My time in Saskatoon has come to an end. My partner and I will be moving to Vancouver on April 1 — no joke!

Since arriving from Montreal three and a half years ago, I’ve experienced both the great warmth of Saskatchewan people and the deep freeze of prairie winters. I’m honoured to have met so many kind, wonderful folks, to have spent my days with the amazing staff of the Saskatchewan Jazz Festival, and many nights with fine specimens from Saskatoon’s ultimate frisbee community.

But I’ve always known that my stay here was destined to be temporary, and now we’ll will be returning to a major metropolis for the next stage in life. I know some of you have questions, so I’ve taken the simple (and presumptuous) route and compiled this brief FAQ.

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March 9, 2012

Revanchist postage labels

Disclaimer: I’m not talking about direct mail campaigns here. I figure you can come up with much more interesting ways to waste money on your own.

I was listening to the always interesting Spark radio program on CBC Radio yesterday, and they were discussing A Month of Letters, an open challenge to send a piece of mail every day for one month. Sending snail mail is not a particularly novel idea, but it is one that is highly underappreciated.

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February 16, 2012

Freddie Mercury's Mustache

During the month of November, vanity will take a backseat while I grow a moustache for Movember to raise awareness and and a few bucks to fight prostate cancer. And I’m offering you a once-in-a-lifetime deal.

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November 5, 2011