Tony LyonsPresident & Chief Creative Officer



A Recipe for Seduction or Salmonella? An Opinion on KFC’s New Mini-Movie

Their gaze entangles through a forest of strangers. Trapped like animals, they struggle to break away, impossibly ensnared. Silently, in lockstep, they rhythmically reach for a drumstick. And they devour it, savouring the visceral juices trickling down their chins.

Yep, nothing says romance like a bucket of greasy fried chicken. Who knew the dirty bird would make its way into entertainment? Will 2020 ever stop surprising us?

Now, I’m not judging how or where people get their freak on – it’s a free and open society – but when I saw the trailer for Kentucky Fried Chicken’s new advertainment effort, A Recipe for Seduction, it was more WTF than KFC. My first reaction was to check the date – but April has long passed. So yes, this is a real thing.

Obviously, KFC isn’t the first brand to embrace entertainment as a way to connect with its customers (see: BMW, Lego, Red Bull, and Procter and Gamble, to name a few). Hundreds of brands have moved from traditional advertising to a longer form of storytelling. In this case, it’s a 15-minute mini-movie.

Who knows how this attempt will unfold? The internet can be a cruel place where everybody has an opinion and everybody is a marketing expert (insert rolling-eye emoji). But there’s a fine line between genius and madness – so maybe, just maybe, this thing will take off. KFC, after all, is a massive global brand, and I’ve no doubt it’s done its research; it’s not unimaginable, after all, to think of a buff Mario-Lopez-as-Colonel-Sanders appealing to the brand’s audience. That said, in my humble opinion, it’ll take some dumb luck and remarkable execution for this one to sizzle.

What I do know, with relative certainty after a career in advertising, is that brands that stand still get run over. Content is here to stay, and even what we know today as content will be different in a few years. We should all, as marketers, be constantly looking to our audiences’ changing behaviours to ensure we continue to serve their best interests – today and tomorrow. And, regardless of the medium, a good story will always win. It’s just that now that story doesn’t have to be 30 seconds long.

Now, where’s that bucket of chicken?

Tony LyonsPresident & Chief Creative Officer

Tony LyonsPresident & Chief Creative Officer


awards & events - campaigns

CIRA wins 1st place for Marketing Campaign Excellence

Congratulations to our friends at the Canadian Internet Registration Authority for their 1st place win in the Marketing Campaign Excellence category for their brand awareness and lead generation campaign at the 2017 CENTR Awards!

Through the efforts of a brand refresh, re-vamped paid search program, digital and social marketing campaign, and more, CIRA had one of their best years in a continuously challenging and evolving market.

CENTR ( is the Council of European National Top-Level Domain Registries, an international group responsible for over 80% of all registered domain names worldwide. The CENTR Awards are held annually to celebrate ccTLD (country code Top-Level Domain) projects, teams, and people making a difference online.

We’re proud to be part of a team bringing great Canadian ideas to life online!

Tony LyonsPresident & Chief Creative Officer

Tony LyonsPresident & Chief Creative Officer



Alphabet®? That’s a good name. Sergey and Larry think so too!

“Good morning DMB&BDDFH&B – how can help you?” the receptionist said firmly and politely. My 20 year-old brain couldn’t help itself, the laughter just poured out at the absurdity of what she’d just said. It was at that moment that I decided that if I ever owned an ad agency I’d just call it Alphabet® – you know, to cover all the bases – so I did.

It was the late eighties in Dublin and local agency DDFH&B had just merged with a large international firm called DMB&B and I had called to speak to a friend who worked there. For those glorious, precious few days before they changed their name to something equally ridiculous I’m sure – DMB&BDDFH&B in all its pomposity – lived. A veritable conga line of Pete Campbells genuflecting to their own initials as they filed past the brass plaque on the door.

Okay admittedly, I’m being a little unfair to agency owners. But historically the advertising industry has always gravitated towards these self-referential acronyms as agency names, you don’t have to be a MadMen aficionado to figure that out.

Alphabet®, at the time, seemed to be a perfect name. it imbued all the brand attributes of a modern, progressive advertising agency – welcoming, familiar, friendly and casual. It was conversational – a nice balance of sophistication and industry self-deprecation. Alphabet® had a story that was authentic – the foundation of any brand.

Fast-forward 25 years and it turns out we are not the only ones to like the name. Google, or as we like to call it ‘The Internet’ … recently announced that it’s changing its corporate structure and re-naming the company Alphabet Inc.

For a small advertising agency, this obviously presents some not insignificant challenges.

Alphabet® is a registered trademark in Canada for our company, a company that works in the digital marketing space, a company that sells web advertising services.

Hmmm … this could be a problem.

As a matter of fact, Alphabet® is already seeing some brand confusion as we track numerous Linkedin requests from people who apparently think that we own Google.

For the record, we do not own Google.

We do however own a registered trademark for an advertising agency called Alphabet® that helps our clients find new customers by using all the digital, traditional and experiential channels at our disposal.

At this point we are just going about our business and keeping a close eye on proceedings. There’s nothing to suggest that Google will present any direct challenges to us. Google is an incredibly innovative company and a tremendous steward of The Internet – offering many invaluable services to the world – for free. But it is a ‘company’, publicly traded, profit-minded and beholden to its shareholders, and a Canadian ad agency would be considered a mosquito on the windshield of that juggernaut.

The moral of the story? For small business – own your brand. Understand what it means both from a customer relationship point of view and also from an administrative and legal point of view. Your shingle isn’t just hanging on Main Street anymore. The world can be your marketplace so you need to get out there and be seen. But make sure you’ve done your due diligence, make sure you’re not infringing on any trademarks and empower your brand with good marketing and by making sure you’re good at what you do.

Just like Google says – Do no evil.

Tony LyonsPresident & Chief Creative Officer