Lady GaGa: The Monster Brand

On this blog, in the past, I’ve written about celebrity branding.  The young crop of pop icons, shining in the public eye, are perfect examples of a pretty solid entrepreneurial business plan, and a whole lot of hustle.
            Over the weekend more than one of us from Chester + Company were lucky enough to be in Toronto attending the Born This Way Ball.  Yes, we were seeing the master of branding herself: Lady GaGa.
            Lady GaGa has taken a genius approach with connecting to her fan base.  Do you feel like a social misfit?  Great!  So does GaGa.  She refers to her fans as ‘little monsters’ and has dubbed herself ‘Mother Monster,’ which gives fans a familial sense of belonging.  Many other stars have followed suit by giving their fans a title.  But, let’s be real, we know where that trend started.  In another genius move by GaGa, she took the familial feeling to the next level and created, a social media platform for her fans to connect with her and each other.
            Mother Monster has also aligned herself with social causes that compliment her esthetic and her fan base.  She speaks out as a strong force with the Anti-Bullying and LGBT Legislation.  She also founded the Born This Way Foundation in 2011.  Their mission is “to foster a more accepting society, where differences are embraced and individuality is celebrated.”
In the wake of a fans suicide over bullying, GaGa vowed to go as far to speak to President Obama himself about the issue.  And she made good on the promise while at a fundraiser.
            When it comes to branding, we can learn a lot from Lady GaGa.  Let’s have a little recap:  Well-defined brand?  Check.  Create a feeling of community or sense of belonging?  Check.  Make a clear definition of who your audience is and create a unique user experience.  Check.  Align with a non-profit organization with the same or similar mission.  Check.  The proof is in the pudding.  Paws up, Monsters!

Halifax Pride!

Halifax Pride is upon us, and I, for one, am pumped!  It’s been 25 years.  25 long years of hard work.  Through the good and the bad, the strength and actions of our queer forefathers ring a joyful noise through the community!  Just look how far Halifax, and the entire world, has come in 25 years.

What are you doing to celebrate Halifax Pride this year? Can’t really make up your mind?  Need a little help?  Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.  If you take a look at the Halifax Pride Guide you’ll find an event for every flavor you can think of.
Feel like going the cultured, high-brow route and taking in a little theatre?  Then you can head to one of the shows during the Queer Acts Theatre Festival (July 19-22).  Perhaps you’re more political minded?  You can participate in the first annual Vigil highlighting international LGBT rights.  Or maybe a good night of dancing is in order.  Two words:  Guerilla Gayfare.  Get into your best 80’s outfits, and celebrate 25 years of Pride at the best party in town!

We, at Chester + Company are a proud sponsor of Halifax Pride.  We’re thrilled to be have the opportunity to work on the creative for such a huge milestone.

So, here’s to 25 years of LGBTQ Pride, Halifax!  Let’s all celebrate what was built for us, and keep celebrating and building every year to come!  Happy Pride!

Destination Halifax Docks in Subways

We know you’ve been waiting.  That’s what commuters do in subway stations.  Well, we’ve leveraged that insight—and others—to create a new Destination Halifax campaign to take advantage of its media placement:  Toronto subway stations.  Check it out.  Tell us what you think.

 Here’s a sneak preview of all the subway posters.

Added bonus:  on location in Halifax.  Not exactly Mad Men is it?

Queer Acts: Big In Germany

What is more posh than a night at the theatre?  Seeing Aïda, or that lovely new Spider-Man show.  Possibly even revisiting Cats.  During Halifax Pride, we have the chance to do just that.  Okay, so that’s not entirely true.  It’s a half-truth.  I did go to the theatre.  The Bus Stop theatre, on Gottingen.  Presented by Ten Foot Pole Productions for Queer Acts during Halifax Pride, the show was called Big in Germany.  It wasn’t exactly a musical, but it was about music.  And porn.

The 3-man show is based around two struggling musicians from Toronto.  They’ve been BFF’s since they were 12 years old, and have always sworn they’ll hit it big and play to their adoring fans.  Fates have not smiled too kindly upon them, and they’re young and broke.  So, closeted Bruce, played  by show stealing Eric Miinch, has turned to working on the production team of a porn studio.  Out of nowhere, the (totally oblivious) love of his life/best friend/bandmate Alex, played by Rob Solerno, breaks the news that they have become a runaway success in Germany.  An amazing year passes and they come home, only to find themselves between a rock and a hard place all over again.  Bruce is faced with an offer from the film studio’s owner, played by Dan Pagett, that seems too good to turn down, while Alex squanders their money away on what he thinks will bring their dream alive on their home turf.

Much of the humour in the show is dependent on knowledge of Toronto as a whole.  Having lived in Toronto for 10 years, the jokes about the city, its politicians and local barkeeps were not lost on me, and were surprisingly well received by the audience.

Although the play sounds like total fluff, it actually tackles some pretty serious subject matter.  The theme, disguised by the dreams of fame and fortune, is a simple love story.  Devotion and longing for the seemingly unattainable, and where, exactly, the thin line is drawn between friendship and romance. 


Halifax Pride Kickoff: Better Together!


I’d like to start with late hello to the lovely month of July.  What have we seen so far?  Some rain, some oddly chilly days, met with some real gorgeous one.  People are clamoring to the beach (weather permitting) every chance they get and the smell of barbequing food is in the air, even when it’s a little gloomy.  Embrace the month while you can, that’s what I say.  What else has July brought to us?  Oh right!  Pride!

Halifax Pride week is kicking off today and the city is in store for some pretty fun times.  But, let’s be real here, Pride is not just a big celebration of fun and parties in the sun.  It’s a call for equality and action by the LGBTQ community.  The events span from the educational to raucous dance parties, because let’s face it, learning can be a very good inspiration to go out for a good night on the town.

The Pride Guide is out and I’m sure you’ve seen it popping up around the city and wouldn’t you know it, our own Matt Mackay was the lead designer behind the beautiful theme for the guide.  Naturally drawn towards the more abstract and creative, Mackay was thrilled when Pride Halifax chose his design with a clean black background rather than the so often seen traditional Pride flag.  The genius logo for Better Together came simply to a talent like Mackay.  It’s the smooth connection of the letters and juxtaposition of their clean lines laid on top of the bleeding colours that make the design work so well.

The real genius of Better Together is its message.  You might assume it is only referring to the strong bonds formed within the LGBTQ community.  But, then you’d be wrong.  It refers to the bond of the entire city and all the people within it.  Because really, everything is Better Together.  

Happy Pride everyone!