Under The Influencewith Terry O'Reilly

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How this Canadian-born paper company thrives in a paperless era

Hilroy’s primary-coloured exercise books have been a staple in Canadian classrooms for the better part of a century. But forging an iconic brand doesn't happen overnight.

Why this major brand's name was called "dyslexic cheekiness."

The use of profanity in marketing has resulted in an upsurge in Vulgar Trademarks. Four-letter words aren’t just sought out by small, feisty companies looking for attention anymore, but by some of the largest advertisers in the world. Is it obscene, or is it free speech?

Why realtors use photos of themselves as marketing

Most agents will tell you it's all about branding. If potential buyers and sellers see your face often enough in the neighbourhood, they assume you're successful and give you a call. But there is another theory. And it circles back to the early days of the real estate business.

How a piece of paper flapping on a billboard influenced an ad campaign for nuns

The unusual Toronto advertisement that inspired Terry O'Reilly to break all the rules.

These major celebrities run unexpected side businesses

While there are many celebrities who lend their names to products, there is a small group of celebs who own companies and do serious business. From general stores to cannabis lines, a few of them may surprise you.

How a deck of cards earns one restaurant lineups out the door

Most businesses hope good products and excellent service are enough to encourage positive recommendations. But the smartest companies actually have strategies to ignite word-of-mouth chatter. It’s the oldest form of advertising, but it’s the most effective by far.

How one Alberta town attracts both human and non-human visitors

Some small towns find themselves in the middle of nowhere - or are situated off the main highways - and have a difficult time attracting tourists. That’s when they turn to marketing to create landmarks are often quirky, sometimes bizarre and completely unexpected.

This brand mascot is the most recognized but least liked on TV

Some brands use disgustingly effective advertising mascots to talk about delicate subjects on television. Fun characters that personify bodily functions the way human actors never could. But one in particular stands out from the pack.

How the McDonald's founders profited more by promising less

Sometimes inventors eliminate a feature of their inventions to create a brand new product. And often, that brand new product takes on a whole new purpose.

This divorce firm's YouTube campaign earned 90M impressions

The legal industry in North America will spend north of $1B on advertising this year. And as a result, some law firm advertising is good, some of it bad, but a handful of it highly creative.

How South Africa used soccer to help end domestic violence

The innovative ways marketers are using audio to send powerful messages around the world.

The unexpected reason the Geico Gecko was born

The insurance industry's marketing has been totally disrupted since the millennium. And it all started with a lizard.

Why William Shatner nearly sued an Ontario condo developer

Sometimes a celebrity is featured in an advertising campaign without his or her knowledge or permission. There’s no denying the pull of celebrity, but a brand is a legal property. And if you trespass, you risk trouble.

How A Quiet Place marketed a silent movie in the 21st century

From marketing a horror film with virtually no dialogue to advertising an R-rated superhero, today’s movies aren’t just breaking records - they’re breaking all the rules

Meet the man who influenced your entire breakfast this morning

From cereal to orange juice, this man is responsible for persuading North Americans toward our everyday breakfast choices.

Why Ray Davies flew 26,000 km to save Lola

Sometimes lyrical brand mentions lead to major success. Other times, to lawsuits and bans. But each tells a fascinating story.

From cheese to cannabis - the fascinating products made by monks

Monks create a myriad of merchandise that is sold to the public. Some sing and sell CDs of their chants. Others brew their own beer. A few even deal in marijuana. But in almost all cases, the products sell well and sell fast. And the reasons why are fascinating.

The wackiest vending machines in the world

Vending machines aren’t just soft drink dispensers, they’re marketing machines. They’re portable, branded on all sides and are becoming smarter and smarter. The list of items you can find in vending machines around the world may surprise you.

The unexpected way Nixon's ban on cigarette ads changed TV forever

From the very first 10-minute radio commercial in 1922 to five-second commercials today, the length of ads has changed dramatically over the decades. But it isn't the changing lengths of commercials that’s so fascinating, it’s the reasons why.

How Audi used Wi-Fi to outsmart BMW

As the world of marketing gets more and more cluttered every day, it’s forcing advertisers to get creative. And Audi rose to the challenge.

Big News from Under The Influence: The Arrival of the Digital Box Set

We're excited to announce that our Digital Box Set is here. For the first time ever, the entire Under The Influence archive of past episodes will be available for podcast download free of charge. No more waiting, no more paywalls.

The day a beer brand found out its celebrity spokesperson was in rehab

In the world of advertising, landing a celebrity is a big deal. But celebrities attract a lot of attention. And so do their mishaps.

Celebs you didn't know started out in the ad biz

From Dr. Seuss to Obi-Wan Kenobi, the list may surprise you...

The Nivea prank that had airplane passengers sweating

How Nivea pranked travelers, Evian made babies dance and other viral brand videos.

How some grocery store mirrors nudge you toward healthier choices

Why Texas grocery stores are using strategically-placed mirrors and self-image to steer customers toward the produce section.