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Under the Influence with Terry O'Reilly

Apostrophe Podcast Network

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Under the Influence gives listeners a rare backstage pass into the hallways, boardrooms and recording studios of the ad industry.Join host and adman Terry O’Reilly for fascinating (and humorous) stories that connect the dots between pop culture, marketing and human nature. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
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Customers often lie to companies in surveys, polls and focus groups. Yet advertisers rely on that flawed and false feedback to market brands and create advertising campaigns. So what are advertisers to do? One solution is Google. What we type into the Google search window is like a truth serum. We all pour our most intimate, honest questions into t…
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80% of all advertising is ignored. That’s why some advertisers employ cheeky advertising. It’s usually bold – outrageous – and sometimes even rude – but always with a playful undertone. We’ll talk about a fruit company that printed an open letter to the Pope. An airline campaign that told you to “keep it in your pants.” And a product that claims yo…
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Most tourism marketing aims at the largest audience possible. This week, we look at a sub-category aimed at the smallest audience possible: Billionaire Tourism. The super wealthy get bored easily. That means luxury tour planners dream up extreme vacation ideas. From outer space, to the bottom of the ocean, to secretly getting the key to the Sistine…
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There are some time-honored honorifics in the world of marketing. “Honorifics” are titles like Mr., Mrs., Doctor, Captain or Colonel. Like Colonel Sanders, Dr. Scholl’s, Mr. Clean and Mrs. Butterworth’s. They’re usually leaders in their category. Is it because those products are the best? Or – is it because those brand names give the products a sen…
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Arkells is a band that likes to have fun.They are also a very smart band that understands the critical mix of artistry and marketing in a competitive industry. Frontman Max Kerman tells Terry the inventive ways they market their music, the creative ideas Arkells use to launch new material, and what marketing from other bands they admire. Hosted on …
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As Oscar night approaches, we head to theatres to figure out why movies about brands are so popular. “Barbie” is breaking box office records. “Air” tells the story of Nike signing Michael Jordan. “Blackberry” explains the spectacular rise and fall of the first smartphone – and is getting great reviews. And a movie about the origins of McDonald’s – …
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Last week, we talked about the best historic demonstration commercials of all time. This week, we feature some of the most recent. Like an air freshener commercial that tricked blindfolded people into thinking a filthy toilet smelled like flowers. And a stunt where an ad agency put $3 million dollars between the glass of a bus shelter - unguarded, …
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This week, I ask a dozen of the top creative directors in the advertising business to tell me the best “demonstration commercials” they have ever seen. Because there is nothing more powerful than a dramatic product demonstration. We’ll talk about a famous Krazy Glue commercial. And a Volvo ad where the ad writer risked his life to demonstrate a poi…
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This week, we look at the most creative audio ideas from around the world. Including a podcast for runners that only works if you’re actually running, a police recruitment campaign that capitalized on the popularity of True Crime, and a very ambitious alternative audio track created to be played over Disney’s Pocahontas movie – that tells the truth…
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Recently, we produced an episode on cannabis marketing. With cannabis legalization, it’s a brand-new, challenging marketing category. As a result of that episode, I asked the Ontario Cannabis Store to introduce me to an actual cannabis producer. I wanted to know how a cannabis producer becomes licensed, how a craft cannabis company competes with th…
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This week, we analyze the remarkable marketing skills of one of the top music artists in the world – Taylor Swift. She has challenged the status quo at every turn – she regained ownership of her master recordings. She convinced Apple and Spotify to pay artists in a more equitable way. She defied Hollywood. She markets her music to her fans in very …
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This week, we go one toke over the line and look at the emerging world of cannabis marketing. We start with the question - just how does a plant become illegal? We’ll explore the history of cannabis. We’ll talk about which celebrities have their own brands (Hello Willie Nelson!) Which high-end retail stores are now selling expensive cannabis paraph…
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This week, we look at copycat brands. Even though they walk a razor’s edge legally, copycat brands seem to pop up all over the world. You may like Walmart here, but there’s a Wumart in China. You may like North Face apparel, but did you know there was a South Butt brand? And, we’ll tell the story of a copycat cookie that overtook the original to be…
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To kick off our 2024 season, we look at a strange phenomenon happening in Canada. Well-established brands are suddenly leaving the country. Kleenex is leaving after nearly 100 years. Skippy Peanut Butter has skipped the country after nearly 90 years. And KFC actually held a funeral for their terrible-tasting French fries. What’s happening up here? …
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Every once in a while, we drop an interesting show into our feed that we think you’ll like. This week, it’s “Twenty Thousand Hertz” - a show about the world’s most recognizable and interesting sounds. The show’s title comes from the highest frequency that can be perceived within the human hearing range. In this episode, host Dallas Taylor explores …
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This week, we turn the show over to listeners. It’s our annual “As Terry” show. We asked you to submit any questions you had about the advertising world, and you responded with a record amount of very interesting, very insightful ones that touch on subjects like negative political advertising, why there are so many bad local commercials, and what d…
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This week, we invite you to our Book Club. We'll be telling stories from Terry's favourite advertising books, and will examine the incredible lessons they contain that have served him well for his entire career. By the way, a few of those books aren’t even about advertising. In fact, one is a book about science, and another is about theatre actors.…
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As you might know by now, the team behind Under The Influence has more podcasts executive produced by Terry. More on the Apostrophe Podcast Network can be found here. One of the podcasts we are very proud of just started its second season with Apostrophe. It's titled Backstage at the Vinyl Cafe. Backstage welcomes listeners into the warm and comfor…
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This week we’re going shopping. The topic is “Three Foot Marketing.” Research shows that 75% of shopping decisions are made in the store, and they are all made within the last three feet – meaning that critical distance between your shopping cart and the shelf. We’ll examine how stores use design, technology and psychology to influence your decisio…
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This week we look at “Dynamic Duos” - those rare ad agency/client relationships that resulted in some of the most famous advertising of all time. We’ll examine the relationship between Nike founder Phil Knight and his ad agency creative director Dan Wieden, Apple’s Steve Jobs and Creative Director Lee Clow, tempermental winery owner Julio Gallo and…
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This week we look at how smart marketers use Speed Bumps to generate greater sales. While modern marketing loves a friction-free fast transaction, smart marketers know that a perfectly-placed speed bump can slow the selling process down Plus, we reveal why Van Halen wanted all those brown M&Ms taken out of the bowls. You may be surprised. Hosted on…
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In case you missed it, the team behind Under the Influence has more podcasts. Five, to be exact. Executive produced by Terry O', meet the Apostrophe Podcast Company. Apostrophe brings you Backstage at the Vinyl Cafe, Surviving Life with Survivorman Les Stroud and We Regret To Inform You: The Rejection Podcast – where we tell stories of how the worl…
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This week, Under The Influence listens to the sounds of persuasion. Advertising has used sound to sell for decades. But sound can be used for more than painting pictures on radio – sound can be carefully created to persuade. The stories behind those sounds are fascinating - from the earliest recorded sound, to the first use of sound in radio commer…
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This week, we look at the concept of “Genericide” – when brand names become generic. Many of the pioneering brands in our world risked losing their trademarks – as courts would rule that their names had become generic. Zipper, escalator and refrigerator were all trademarks at one time. The board game Monopoly just lost its trademark recently. Now b…
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This week, Part 2 of how Madison Avenue invented… the housewife. Over 100 years ago, the advertising industry realized they had thousands of household products to sell. All they needed was a customer. So they invented the Happy Homemaker, and for the next 25 years, encouraged women to be stay-at-home moms. That strategy created the biggest business…
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This week, we look at how Madison Avenue invented… the housewife. Over 100 years ago, the advertising industry realized they had thousands of household products to sell. All they needed was a customer. So they invented the Happy Homemaker, and for the next 25 years, encouraged women to be stay-at-home moms. That strategy created the biggest busines…
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It’s our final episode of the season already. And as always, we throw the show open to our listeners. And answer your questions. We’ll explore why jingles have disappeared, how old jingles are being used to help Alzheimer’s patients, we’ll talk about Eddie Shack and his Pop Shoppe commercials, why the biggest companies have the dullest ads and we’l…
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So many things in our world are influenced by marketing. This week, we look at various aspects of our lives influenced by marketing. – but you wouldn’t know it. It’s marketing hiding in plain sight. Like the concept of jaywalking – born of marketing. How marketing created the 10,000-steps-a-day health goal. And how marketing was the inspiration for…
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This week it’s our annual Bookmarks episode. I read a lot of books to research Under The Influence. But every season, there isn’t enough room to include all the great stories I find. So this episode is dedicated to those stories that didn’t fit into our regular episodes. But are so good, they are worth telling. We’ll tell an amazing story about the…
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20th century movies and TV shows were dominated by the traditional “hero.” With high morals and an ethical code of honour. The 21st century has a different take. Today, we cheer the antihero. Like the Sopranos, Dexter and Breaking Bad. Antiheroes are liberated from that line in the sand that holds the rest of us back. They do things we are afraid t…
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For over 100 years, “free” has been one of the most powerful words in the marketing world. And believe it or not, companies love freebies as much as their customers do. Because giving away free products generates a lot of goodwill. And goodwill generates free press. We’ll talk about a ketchup company who gave a man a free boat. A hotel who gave a c…
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Marketing contests can be tricky business. On one hand, contests can be designed to help companies achieve certain business goals. On the other hand, companies can lose control over them pretty quickly. This week, we look at some of the most interesting – and hilarious – marketing contests. Including one about a city that held a contest to name a n…
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Jesse Brown, founder of Canadaland Podcast Network, and Terry O'Reilly have a fun conversation about the business of podcasting, the line between journalism and advertising and how Terry had to get used to being touched by strangers. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
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Billboards are one of the biggest creative challenges in the marketing world. They need to be seven words or less. They need to contain an idea. And they need to communicate quickly as people speed by. This week on Under The Influence, we look at the most creative billboards from around the world. We’ll talk about a car maker that used tiny billboa…
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This week, we take a look at four brands that have found a way to survive for decades. One company has been entertaining crowds with wax for 200 years. One restaurant has been topping their ice cream cones with a unique swirl for over 80 years. Another company teamed up with a certain debonaire spy 60 years ago. And a fourth brand has made a fortun…
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You’ve probably seen those Red Bull Mini Coopers driving around town with the giant Red Bull can on their roofs. This week on Under The Influence, we look at the wild and wacky world of marketing mobiles. They’ve actually been around for over 100 years. We’ll crack open the story behind the Planters Peanut Nutmobiles. We’ll take to the skies to tel…
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There are some very interesting loopholes in the world of marketing. Because businesses are always looking for an upper hand in a competitive category, loopholes can offer legal advantages. A loophole can help a company overcome barriers in the marketplace. Sometimes, the way a product is marketed can give customers a loophole they can take advanta…
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Even though brand names are often protected by trademarks and copyrights, it’s remarkable how many times companies end up with the same names. And they either get along – or they sue each other into oblivion. This week, we look at “Brand Twins.” We’ll talk about when Guns N’ Roses sued Guns and Rosé. We’ll explain why there used to be the Saskatche…
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This week, we look at the ways libraries market themselves. If you think libraries are quiet, you’ve got another thing coming. We’ll talk about a library video series that played like a TV cop show - and - we’ll look at library wars - when libraries battle each other on social media. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.…
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“What player has won the most Wimbledon singles titles,” Google will tell you it’s Roger Federer with 8 wins. But that’s incorrect. Martina Navratilova has 9. This week, we look at remarkable ideas that promote gender equality. Including an idea called Correct the Internet.com. And one that challenged menstruation taboos with a program called “Touc…
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This week, we talk about hotel marketing. Specifically, how some hotels attract guests by advertising specific rooms. Some of those rooms are decorated like TV shows, some are inspired by movies, and some hotels advertise the fact something famous – or infamous – happened in their rooms. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.…
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This week, we’re talking about the creative ways Hollywood markets films. We’ll talk about how a low-budget horror movie got a ton of press just by asking people to smile. And we’ll examine the marketing of Top Gun: Maverick – the Tom Cruise sequel that Steven Spielberg says single-handedly saved the theatrical industry. Hosted on Acast. See acast.…
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This week we look at horror in advertising. We’ll talk about why the Red Cross produced a horror commercial for blood donations. How Nike had a horror commercial yanked off the air. And a water company that actually cast its product as the villain in a 45-minute horror film. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.…
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In this episode, we talk about one of the legends of the advertising business – George Lois. Out-spoken and fearless, he launched Xerox, helped elect Robert F. Kennedy, designed famous Esquire magazine covers and even once climbed out onto a window ledge to convince a client to buy an idea. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more informatio…
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This week, I ask my advertising colleagues for their most outrageous ad stories. The advertising business is a big money, high stress industry. And so much can go sideways. Sometimes film shoots go horribly wrong, sometimes clients make the most ridiculous demands, sometimes celebrities refuse to say their lines and sometimes even a James Bond camp…
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With multiple ways to skip commercials at our fingertips, advertisers have found a new way to reach the public. They’re jumping out of commercial breaks and into the storylines of television shows. This week, we look at a list of popular TV shows that aren’t just entertainment. They’re big marketing vehicles for companies. Hosted on Acast. See acas…
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This week, we take a look at the most creative “help wanted” ads in the world. We’ll talk about how IKEA recruited new workers without needing to buy an ad. How VW found new mechanics by posting ads in the most unusual place. And the amazing ways the intelligence community recruits spies and code breakers. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for…
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This week, we take a look at church signs. With congregations declining, churches are using their signs as marketing tools to attract new members. And they’re using humour to do it. We’ll look at the history of funny church signs, we’ll examine how effective they are, we’ll talk about some of the funniest ones we’ve seen, and a few epic church sign…
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This week, we look at companies that have spent decades advertising to only one gender - then suddenly decide to approach the opposite sex. L’Oreal is now marketing makeup to men. Scotch distillers are now targeting women. And lingerie companies are now designing intimates for men. It’s a brand new, gender-bending world. Hosted on Acast. See acast.…
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