Thursday, September 30, 2010

Elettra enjoys a night out... the Western Living Design Awards.

From BCBusiness magazine's The Social List:

The Future Lands Here

Vancouver International Airport's 2010 School Tour Program - The Future Lands Here - has launched.

Visit the YVR Connections blog to meet Elettra Communications' Siva Sivarajan, Heather Chang, and Emily Williamson, who will be guiding more than 2,700 Lower Mainland school children through tours of the airport this autumn.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

BC's Best Young Designer

South Surrey, BC; September 28, 2010 – Organizers today announced the launch of the BC’s Best Young Designer competition. Participants will compete for the title and a trip to the design mecca of New York City by applying their creative design skills to decorating and furnishing newly built suites in the Morgan Crossing village.

Up and coming designers - both professionals and amateurs alike - are encouraged to upload a personal video to explaining why they deserve to win the BC’s Best Young Designer title. The deadline to submit is November 30, 2010.

The public is encouraged to visit the website to vote for their favourite entry before November 30. From the top 15 entries, a panel of judges will then choose six finalists who will be given a $10,000 budget and five weeks’ time to decorate and furnish a one-bedroom + den suite in Morgan Crossing.

In early January, once all six suites have been decorated, the competition units will be available for public viewing and voting. The public will determine one “fan favourite” winner who will win a $2,000 cash prize. The judges will also choose one overall winner who will receive a grand prize package that includes the title BC’s Best Young Designer and an all expenses paid trip to attend one of the world’s premiere design events, the Architectural Digest Home Design Show in New York City.

“We’re seeing a trend today with people from all walks of life becoming interested in and passionate about design,” says Michelle Hughes, Design Competition Director, Morgan Crossing. “Morgan Crossing is providing a blank canvas for those young designers who would like to experience decorating a residence with their own inspiration as their guide and a generous budget at their disposal.”

“Winning the title BC’s Best Young Designer will give a young interior designer credibility,” added Hughes. “To know that your peers and the public voted your design as the best will certainly provide an up and coming interior designer with an edge over others.”

The competition is open to all BC residents 30 years old or younger as of contest close on February 19, 2011. The competition is open to students, young designers, interior decorators, homeowners; anyone who wants to demonstrate their creativity. All entries must be creative, original and not violate copyright law.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Credit unions urge B.C. youth to 'be remarkable'

September 23, 2010
By Eve Lazarus

Vancouver-based Central 1, the trade association for B.C. and Ontario credit unions, has launched a $2.5 million marketing campaign in B.C. aimed at youth.

The "Be Remarkable" campaign includes an online media buy, guerrilla marketing, and a tent pole Facebook application all created by Noise Digital of Vancouver.

Noise Digital came up with the idea to ask Facebook users to help distribute $100,000 to local charities on Central 1's behalf. Each time program participants tag themselves or their friends in a Facebook photo in their region, $1 goes to a charity in that region. So far, more than 63,000 tags have been generated and the page has more than 22,000 "likes."

Noise Digital also had two ATMs placed on university campuses that, instead of dispensing money, played video games. The idea, said Reed, is to show that banks are not the only option for students.

The online and guerrilla work is supported by television ads from Wasserman + Partners Advertising.

Martin Reed, director of marketing and creative services at Central 1, said the year-long campaign targets 18- to 29-year olds and aims to differentiate credit unions from banks through their values.

While that age demographic makes up 27% of B.C.'s population, it accounts for only 8% of credit union members, he said. "We need to attract some youth."

Reed said research shows the values credit unions want to project–honesty, integrity, trust and loyalty–match those of younger people, as does their interest in community and local initiatives.

"We found that there is a lack of awareness of what credit unions are about and how they can match up with what youth are trying to achieve," he said, adding that youth tend to bank where their parents bank.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Facebook fundraiser through credit union

By Cameron Orr
Smithers Interior News

Sixteen regions in B.C. are going head-to-head to find out which online community will reign in a credit union fundraiser.

The province’s 45 credit unions are using the power of social media juggernaut Facebook to donate $100,000 to local charities.

Each region has two charities eligible to receive funds. The Northern Lights Wildlife Shelter in Smithers is one of the two for the North, while the University of Northern British Columbia is the other.

The trick is, people have to tag themselves in a photo album on the campaign’s Facebook page. Each community has their own photo. Just find the photo of the Alpine man, with the word Smithers written across it, and tag yourself.

Per photo only 50 people can be tagged but there are multiple Smithers images, just find one with a free spot.

For each person tagged in a photo a dollar will be donated.

The campaign launched on Sept. 7 and so far over 60,000 tags have been generated, while the page itself has been liked 20,000.

Northern B.C. was in third place as of last week with 6,663 tags.

The page can be found at or visit

Tacoma Regional CVB Launches Online Housing Reservation System

Software expected to help region secure convention business

Tacoma, WA and Vancouver, BC: September 22, 2010
– Tacoma Regional Convention and Visitor Bureau (CVB) announced today the signing of an agreement with Meetingmax Systems to handle its online housing reservation needs. The CVB made the decision in order to meet the growing calls from meeting planners for a simplified housing solution.

“Meetingmax’s system has an excellent reputation within the travel industry,” says Shauna Lunde, Director of Sales and Marketing for the Tacoma Regional CVB. “Meeting planners have had positive experiences with the system in other destinations and have been requesting the service from us.”

With 87 hotels and 6,000 hotel rooms, the Tacoma Regional CVB was looking for a system that could simplify the process of reserving room blocks at a variety of hotels. Instead of having to use each hotel’s system to track bookings, a meeting planner can secure blocks of housing through the CVB and manage their bookings through one central portal. Conference attendees are sent a link which allows them to explore participating hotels and book their own rooms.

“In today’s competitive market, having an online housing reservation system is another service that CVBs can offer their meeting planners,” says Jeff Duncan, COO, Meetingmax Systems. “It’s a value added benefit that can help Tacoma and Pierce County attract business.”

Meetingmax’s system was selected based on its user-friendly interface and the fact that it does not have minimum booking requirements. The system has received positive feedback from other Washington destinations and is now used by CVBs in Spokane, Tri-Cities, and Yakima.

Located just 18 miles south of the Seattle-Tacoma Airport on the I5 corridor, Pierce County is an easy to reach destination for convention attendees. The region offers a wide variety of activities ranging from fine dining and harbor tours, to kayaking and hiking at Mt. Rainier. Visitors can easily explore Tacoma’s historic and cultural attractions on foot, including the Museum of Glass featuring the work of renowned glass artists.

Credit unions go back to school

Media in Canada

Central 1, the organization representing credit unions in BC and Ontario, is going to school.

Spanning TV, social media and on-campus OOH, the "Be Remarkable" campaign targets 18- to 29-year-olds with the goal of explaining the difference between credit unions and banks, Martin Reed, director of marketing and creative services, Central 1, tells MiC.

"Most people this age don't know how credit unions are different," he explains. "This shows how we [as an organization] align with the values of people this age."

In BC, the on-campus OOH includes banners and bathroom stall ads at universities and colleges across the province, as well as fake promotional ATMs at Simon Fraser University and the University of British Columbia. Designed to look like typical ATMs from a distance, up close they are revealed to be video consoles, complete with joystick and retro games such as Donkey Kong, Frogger, and Pac-Man.

The ads and the machines, which will be on-campus until mid-October, drive students to the microsite, where humorous stop-motion videos talk up the benefits of credit unions. One of the main messages of the videos is that credit unions have "members," not customers and as such, are more community-minded and less profit-oriented than the big banks.

In their first campaign for Central 1, Vancouver-based Noise handled the OOH and online creative, as well as the online media plan and buy. The online strategy includes Google, Gorilla Nation, Olive Media, and Rouge Media online networks, as well as inventory on and via Microsoft Messenger. Video pre-roll and rich media banners were also placed on Break Media, Tremor Media and Tribal Fusion networks.

Vancouver-based Wasserman and Partners created the television ads, which are airing around Glee, The Simpsons, The Office, So You Think You Can Dance (US and Canadian versions), Hockey Night in Canada, and Grey's Anatomy. The ads will run, with a break over the Christmas holidays, until April 2011.

There is also a charitable focus to the campaign, harnessing the power of Facebook to allow anyone to tag their friends on the Central 1 page. With each friend a person tags, the credit unions donate $1 to a charity in the tagger's region.

To date, there have been 63,000 tags from across BC. The Facebook campaign continues until the $100,000 is used up.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Books for BC Babies needs $250K to survive

Burnaby NewsLeader
By Wanda Chow

A program credited with encouraging parents to read to their babies and boosting early literacy needs more than $250,000 to continue after the provincial government cut its funding earlier this year.

Since 2005, Books for BC Babies has provided free kits to every baby born in the province, each of which include a board book, a CD of rhymes and songs and information on library resources and how to promote early childhood development.

In 2009, the program distributed more than 40,000 kits, mainly during the first visit by a public health nurse to a home after a baby’s birth. While organizers have enough materials to produce kits for the rest of the year, they need to raise more than $250,000 in donations and sponsorships to carry on in 2011. Each kit costs about $7 to produce.

But while the materials are an integral part of the program, Edel Toner-Rogala, Burnaby’s chief librarian, stressed it’s not just about the free book.

“Reading to your baby isn’t just about the book,” said Toner-Rogala, of Burnaby Public Library, one of the provincewide partners in the program.

“It’s about exposing your child to language and the importance of speaking to your baby. People underestimate that. Children learn to speak by being spoken to, spoken with.”

It’s an introduction to language skills that is fundamental to all future development and learning, she said, adding when parents read with their children it also builds the bond between them.

“It’s all about getting them ready to read. It’s about recognizing the magic. There’s this sense that these markings on this piece of paper somehow translates to sounds and ideas that I can understand.”

A 2008 survey of parents in the program showed some had not thought of reading to newborns before. As a result of Books for BC Babies, more than 60 per cent were looking at books with their babies more often, 60 per cent were checking out baby materials from the library and 91 per cent planned to attend library programs for parents and infants.

The survey also showed the program impacted parents directly as well, with 50 per cent saying they were using the library more often, and 34 per cent joining the library for the first time.

Toner-Rogala noted that when babies are spoken and read to, benefits such as language skills take place no matter what language it happens in. Books for BC Babies even provides bilingual books in several different languages to promote an improved sense of cultural identity and for non-English-speaking caregivers, such as grandparents, to participate.

For more information or to donate, visit

Thursday, September 16, 2010

VIFF Attendees Get the Sundance Treatment

Meetingmax Systems to provide housing reservation technology for film festival

Vancouver, BC; September 16, 2010
– While organizers of the Vancouver International Film Festival have countless details to worry about, this year they won’t be worrying about hotel reservations. As a festival sponsor, Vancouver-based Meetingmax Systems will be providing its online housing reservation technology to manage room bookings for visiting filmmakers, VIPs and guests. This follows the successful use of the online platform at last year’s Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah.

“We were looking for a way to make sure that housing arrangements for our guests would run seamlessly and were impressed with the results that Meetingmax produced at Sundance,” said Betty Verkuil, Director of Development, VIFF. “Having the support of local companies for our festival is critical for our success. We’re pleased to have technology developed by a Vancouver business play a key role in the festival’s logistics.”

With eight hotels providing rooms for the festival, VIFF organizers wanted to simplify the process of reserving rooms for VIPs and guests. Instead of having to use each hotel’s system, organizers can manage all hotel bookings through one central portal.

While Meetingmax is based in Vancouver, the organization primarily works with convention and visitors bureaus (CVBs), meeting planners, and organizations in the United States. This will mark one of the first times that the system will be used in Vancouver by local hotels and event planners.

“Our partnership with VIFF will allow potential clients to explore the customizable features of our online booking platform,” says Jeff Duncan, COO, Meetingmax Systems. “In turn, our system will streamline the housing reservations process for festival organizers, which can otherwise be an unnecessarily time-consuming element of event management.”

Duncan developed Meetingmax’s online housing reservation platform after years of organizing events and conferences. Given the time required to manage rooms at various hotels for events, he began looking for an existing software solution that could streamline the process. After an unsuccessful search, he spearheaded the development of Meetingmax’s own software in 2007.

Since then, the company has seen steady growth. The software is now used by CVBs in more than 20 destinations across North America. In 2009, Meetingmax was responsible for processing more than $7 million in hotel transactions.

“Our CVB clients have responded with positive feedback on their experiences with the Meetingmax system,” continues Duncan. “We are hearing that conference planners are now asking for the service from CVBs before making a final decision on which city gets their conference business.”

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Books for BC Babies

Books 4 BC Babies in today's Vancouver Sun.

Author's 'uncle enzymes' fuelled bestselling book for newborns

Richard Van Camp knew he was on to something special from the moment he began writing Welcome Song for Baby.

The Edmonton-based author was commissioned to write the book in 2006 just as close friends announced they were expecting their first child, followed quickly by news his brother and sister-in-law were also about to become new parents.

"I had uncle enzymes coursing through me," Van Camp recalled of his literary inspiration. "I wanted to put all that love, all those good wishes into this little lullaby.

The result was a Canadian bestseller, with parents and newborns across the country responding warmly to the board book's stunning photography and endearing storyline.

"Hey-yah-hey. Hey-yah-hey. Heyyah-hey. Dear one, cherished one, loved one. You have made the world beautiful again," the story reads -- its refrain a rhythmic tribute to Van Camp's aboriginal roots as a member of the Dogrib Dene from the Northwest Territories.

For Rhian Piprell, co-chair of Books for BC Babies, Welcome Song's unexpected success was one more reason to celebrate the importance of early literary.

Piprell's organization commissioned the story as part of its continuing mission to supply new moms and dads in the province with tools they need to engage their children in reading, as early as possible. Each year the organization releases a book by a Canadian author to about 42,000 families across B.C., along with a CD of songs and an information guide encouraging parents to read to their newborns.

"Reading, talking and singing to newborns are the best ways to build early language and literacy skills -- skills that impact a child's lifelong development," Piprell said.

"By providing a parenting resource at a crucial stage of a child's life, we can give kids the best chance at future success."

Hillel Goelman, an education professor at the University of B.C., said there is significant research to support the notion that children can learn much from books, even at a young age.

Early on, Goelman said, children associate positive emotions from the sensation of being held and cuddled by their parents or caregivers during storytime. "It creates an expectation that reading is a very pleasurable activity. It's fun," he said.

Reading is also a critical element in a child's vocabulary development. "They are building up a comprehension, the ability to understand what words mean," Goelman said.

Van Camp said he's thrilled to be part of a child's lifelong love of literacy.

"The things that you are passing on to a growing miracle have to be chosen really carefully so that's where Welcome Song for Baby really came from.

"It's really from that deep love that I have for humanity and wanting to pass on a great spirit every night it was read, wherever it was read." To learn more about Books for BC Babies, and how to contribute, go to

Read more:

Books for BC Babies in Jeopardy

Vancouver, BC; September 14, 2010Books for BC Babies (B4B) is urgently seeking financial support in order to continue operations. B4B is an early literacy and parenting program that seeks to address developmental challenges at the earliest stages in the lives of all BC children, including the twenty-nine per cent that arrive at Kindergarten developmentally vulnerable.1 In order to operate in 2011, B4B needs to raise more than $250,000 through private donations or sponsorships before January.

B4B was launched in BC in 2005, and had been fully funded by the provincial government until recent cutbacks. The program is based on extensive research that supports the correlation between positive newborn environments and children’s future success rates. The program delivers learning resources directly to families of all newborns in BC and connects them to additional resources in their community. In 2009, more than 40,000 resource kits were distributed.

“Reading, talking, and singing to newborns are the best ways to build early language and literacy skills – skills that impact a child’s lifelong development,” says Rhian Piprell, Co-Chair, Books for BC Babies. “By providing a parenting resource at a crucial stage of a child’s life, we can give kids the best chance at future success.”

Research conducted by The Council for Early Child Development has demonstrated that newborn experiences matter. The relationship between caregiver and infant plays a pivotal role in influencing neural pathways for language and higher cognitive functions, especially within the first 12 months of a child’s life.2

“Early childhood development depends upon the experiences children have in the environments where they grow,” says Dr. Clyde Hertzman, Director, Human Early Learning Partnership (HELP) UBC. “The Books for BC Babies program provides families with the resources they need early in the child's life to begin to create the positive experiences that influence the child’s subsequent life chances.”

In most communities, public libraries work with public health nurses and health centres to deliver the Books for BC Babies Resource Kits to families of newborns. The kits include tools to get families started in reading, singing, and playing with their babies. Materials include a guide for parents, a board book, a CD of rhymes and songs, and information about local library and community resources.

In order to save the program, the B4B Steering Committee is looking for donations from the public and has developed a full range of sponsorship opportunities for the private sector. Given that the program is delivered by existing resources, one hundred percent of funds raised will be used to purchase Books for BC Babies kits. Each kit costs approximately seven dollars.

Donations can be made online at Companies interested in sponsorship opportunities can contact program co-chairs Rhian Piprell at 604-937-4132 (or via email or Jim Looney at 604-435-1551 (

1 “15 by 15”, The Business Council of BC.

2 “The Science of Early Child Development.” Council for Early Child Development. April 2010.

Saturday, September 11, 2010