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February 14th, 2014

Critical Mass helps WorldPride 2014 Toronto send a message of love to Sochi

On Valentine’s Day, Critical Mass teamed up with Pride Toronto, presenter of WorldPride 2014 to share its message of tolerance by creating #LoveSochi a simple way to unite people to do something positive. The symbol for #LoveSochi – two hands forming a heart – is a sign with universal significance.

Launched on February 6th prior to the Sochi Olympics Opening Ceremony, #LoveSochi has already gained some traction reaching over 6.3 million people in less than a week through thousands of tweets, Instagram and Facebook posts from all around the world. Even celebrities like Jennie Garth have participated and national and international media have begun to take notice.

#LoveSochi is a simple way to send a message of love and support during the Sochi Games. Participation is simple. People can take a picture or video of the symbol and share it on the social network of their choice using the hashtag #LoveSochi. By joining this movement, people share their support of WorldPride 2014’s strong message that all humans are deserving of love, regardless of color, creed, sexual orientation or citizenship.

In a statement, Dr. Shelley Craig, Co-Chair, Pride Toronto asserted, “Higher, Faster, Stronger may be the Olympic motto, but it should also be the motto for those fighting against anti-gay oppression: Raise our voices higher, spread our message faster, demonstrate our pride is stronger.”

WorldPride 2014 Toronto is an international celebration taking place from June 20 – 29, 2014 that incorporates activism, education, and the history and culture of global LGBTQ communities. WorldPride 2014 Toronto is presented by Pride Toronto, producer of Canada’s largest annual festival of LGBTTIQQ2SA* culture and human rights, under license from InterPride.

Pride Toronto is the not-for-profit organization that hosts the city’s Pride Festival, an annual event in downtown Toronto during the last week of June and one of the premier arts and cultural festivals in Canada. It is also one of the largest Pride celebrations in the world with an estimated attendance of over one million people.

Critical Mass is a global digital agency with 8 full-service offices and operations around the world. A Toronto-based team created the concept and strategy, working alongside Pride Toronto’s team to spark further conversation and awareness around gay rights and oppression. Several Critical Mass employees are featured on the campaign page on WorldPrideToronto.com.

Visit the #LoveSochi action site for more details: http://worldpridetoronto.com/lovesochi

February 13th, 2014

Critical Mass celebrates its roots with two new clients, Travel Alberta and Calgary Stampede

Critical Mass adds two new clients to its roster that celebrate its heritage as a global agency that was founded in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Critical Mass is now the digital agency of record for Travel Alberta, the provincial tourism marketing agency of the Government of Alberta, and Calgary Stampede, well known for its annual rodeo festival that attracts more than one million visitors.

Chris Gokiert, President of Critical Mass, explained, “As a global company with our heritage in Calgary, we’re incredibly honored to be selected as the marketing partner to showcase our home on the global stage.”

The Calgary Stampede connects urban and rural audiences all year long through youth and agricultural programming and the annual 10-day Stampede rodeo, exhibition, and festival, is the highest-grossing festival in Canada. Critical Mass has been named lead digital agency, overseeing web, mobile, and campaign development. The relationship has already begun and new work will be rolling out in the next few months.

“Critical Mass has impressed us with its creativity, international digital marketing experience and true passion for what we do,” said Deanne Carson, Vice President Marketing and External Relations, Calgary Stampede. “With Critical Mass, we have a global digital marketing agency leader in our backyard, and a great partner in our boardroom to help us realize our aspirations to grow and evolve a world-class brand.”

Travel Alberta focusses on tourism destination marketing and management, highlighting the natural beauty and authentic stories that occur throughout the Western Canadian province, which is bordered by the Canadian Rockies. Critical Mass has been named the agency of record for all aspects across the marketing spectrum, following a competitive pitch process. The first campaign from Critical Mass will launch in the U.S. market in March.

Royce Chwin, Chief Marketing Officer, Travel Alberta added, “From our first meeting, the team at Critical Mass expressed true passion for Alberta’s tourism brand. Critical Mass has a global footprint and perspective that is a true differentiator in helping us provide compelling invitations for the world to visit Alberta.

February 4th, 2014

Nissan Takes 2014 Rogue Shoppers on Cinematic “Detour” with New Google Maps-Based Virtual Drive

New Online Campaign Shows How Nissan Rogue Makes Every Drive More Exciting

Nissan today launched “The Detour,” an exciting virtual driving adventure in support of the ongoing rollout of the all-new 2014 Nissan Rogue compact SUV. Available now at http://www.nissanusa.com/the-detour, The Detour utilizes Google® Street View, Google® Maps and Google® Satellite API – along with Hollywood-style digital effects and a soundtrack from recording artist M.I.A. – to create a custom test drive experience starting from anywhere around the world.

“Recent studies show that new car buyers today spend nearly twice as much time researching their purchases online than at dealerships – more clicking than kicking the tires, so to speak. So why not bring the two together with an informative and enjoyable test drive in buyers’ own neighborhoods?” said Jon Brancheau, vice president, Nissan Marketing Communications & Media, Nissan North America, Inc. “The new Rogue is off to an amazing start since it was introduced last fall and we expect The Detour to direct a lot of traffic from the website straight to local Nissan dealerships.”

The Detour was created by Critical Mass, Nissan’s lead digital agency, and brings together software from Google®, the talents of Academy Award-winning director of photography Guillermo Navarro, digital production and creative technology from Unit9, and digital effects from Digital Domain/Mothership, an Academy Award-winning digital production company. Together, the partners solved the tricky technical challenges of rendering a photo-real vehicle in real-time as commuters travel their personalized routes and more. The virtual test drive’s soundtrack, worthy of a blockbuster trailer, features M.I.A.’s new single “YALA,” which is available for download on NissanUSA.com.

Critical Mass Executive Creative Director Steve Savic explained, “Since driving the new Nissan Rogue is so exciting, we put people in the action by allowing them to take a drive on their very own street. But we couldn’t shoot the car on every road in the world, so we turned to Google® Street View to gives us our set. Working on ‘The Detour’ was like creating an action scene on the most unconventional location ever.”

Optimized for desktops, tablets and smartphones, the virtual test drivers start their cinematic action-adventure by entering their point of origin and destination address or using their current location from the browser settings.

From the driveway to the interstate highways, there are an infinite number of journeys to experience from the driver’s seat of the Rogue. At the end of each drive, users can find their local dealership and schedule a test drive, download the soundtrack on NissanUSA.com, or invite people to try it out by sharing the site and using the hashtag #TakeTheDetour.

For tablet and smartphone users, one swipe of the finger launches the Rogue into mid-air, all based on the user’s current location. To explore further, the site offers some pre-programmed routes around familiar U.S. destinations such as Chicago, Seattle, New York, San Francisco, Las Vegas, and South Florida.

The Detour experience will be supplemented by an online media buy, including homepage takeovers on MSN and Yahoo! and promotion on Nissan’s social media channels.

January 31st, 2014

New Citi ATM Experience Designed by Critical Mass Rolls Out in the U.S.

Citibank recently announced a new ATM experience, designed and developed by Critical Mass. By mid-February, two million customers using 2,900 Citi-owned ATMs across the U.S. will be introduced to a faster, easier and more personalized experience. This redesign, co-promoted by Citi and Critical Mass, is the first major update to the ATM user experience in 15 years.

View the full story here.

January 13th, 2014

Critical Mass continues investment in talent with new executive leadership for Chicago and Los Angeles offices

Critical Mass promotes Amanda Levy to General Manager, Adds Suzanne Michaels as Executive Creative Director and Lisa Penelton as VP of Marketing Science

Critical Mass, a global digital agency, continues its investment in global growth and talent with new leadership across its Chicago and Los Angeles offices. Beginning today, Amanda Levy steps up to General Manager leading business and operations across Chicago and Los Angeles, while continuing her role as SVP and client partner for Nissan and Infiniti North America. Joining Amanda as regional leaders are Suzanne Michaels who joins as Executive Creative Director and Lisa Penelton as VP of Marketing Science.

Dianne Wilkins, CEO of Critical Mass, explained, “The addition of Amanda, Suzanne, and Lisa as leaders across Chicago and Los Angeles, gives us the experience and depth we need to develop our agency talent and serve our clients on their quest to create cumulative customer experiences.”

Amanda has been at Critical Mass for seven years, as a lead for some of the agency’s largest clients. With experience on the client and agency sides, Amanda brings a true understanding of how agencies can be the most effective client partner. Prior to Critical Mass, Amanda led OMD West and worked at Dell, where she led online marketing, and was a client of Critical Mass.

Suzanne is a seasoned creative leader with nearly 20 years of experience leading teams concepting and executing brand programs and ideas. As SVP and Executive Creative Director, Suzanne Michaels will oversee the creative departments in Chicago and LA, driving new thinking and creative excellence across all clients. Suzanne will report into Amanda and recently appointed CCO Conor Brady, and join the agency executive team and global creative council. Prior to joining Critical Mass, Suzanne was as DigitasLBi leading creative for TeamSprint and contributing to several major competitive pitch wins.

Suzanne explained the move, “Agencies everywhere are at a precipice, thinking about who they are and what they want to be. With its expertise in business strategy, user experience and design, Critical Mass is poised to fill a very compelling white space. We can be the partner who helps brands do more than just advertise to people, and become a chosen part of their lives through software, products, and experiences.

Lisa Penelton joins as VP of Marketing Science, overseeing clients across four offices. Lisa’s a seasoned veteran in the data science and marketing analytics field with expertise in driving long-term growth and multi-channel efficiency. She joins Critical Mass from Razorfish where she was Group Director of Consumer Insights, based in Chicago. Previously, Lisa built the analytics practice at DraftFCB and worked on the client side at United Way of America.

Critical Mass continues its investment in global growth and creative excellence. The digital agency recently announced two new global executives, Conor Brady and Chris Hayes, who joined in newly created roles of Chief Creative Officer and Chief Marketing Officer. Additionally, Critical Mass also announced the merger of its London operations with Agency Republic, effective January 18, 2014.