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We’ll come to you.

I must confess, I really have a soft spot for anyone with a larger-than-average size forehead — myself included. So, when I received an email from a fellow bold forehead compadre, I was all ears. (Bold forehead. All ears. Get it?).  Anywho, Mr. fellow big brain introduced me to a new, Toronto-based start-up branding agency, Distility, who refer to themselves as brand technologists. They’ve managed to incorporate their knowledge of branding and technology, to build a one day branding system that offers quick execution and minimal expense. Sounds cool, right?  

So what’s the problem? Why would he send out electronic smoke signals (that’s how I know if someone’s in trouble) if things were going so well? Well, as it turns out, they do need a little heroic intervention. Their challenge: As a start-up, they find themselves in a very common pickle. Great product, but without the proper amount of exposure, no one will know that it exists. Can you imagine the horror?


Call it serendipity — or maybe just a hero’s intuition — but I just happened to be thinking about a marketing idea that would be perfect for their situation.

Distility, here’s what you do:

First things first. Secure a digital billboard for a predetermined amount of time. For simplicity sake, let’s say three months. Keep in mind, you’ll want to secure a location with a significant amount of drive-by traffic, but, don’t break the bank. Next, develop a program that will be available on your website, allowing visitors to choose from a handful of pre-designed billboard backgrounds. Additionally, this program should allow visitors to upload their logo, product images, etc. and perform some simple layout functions. Now, recreate that same program into a free iPhone app that will be available for download. Finally, hit enter, figuratively speaking.

Here’s what you’ve created: For lack of a better title, will call it, Build-A-Brand. Small to mid-sized businesses (your core prospects) will be offered the opportunity to visit your website and/or iPhone app and build a personalized billboard ad that will appear in rotation for a set amount of time, on your dime. A webcam — positioned across the street from the billboard — will capture the participants ad, while it’s live. This live video feed will also be available on your website and iPhone application. Armed with traffic statistics from the billboard company, you’ll know be able to go back to these prospects, provide them with a still shot of their ad-in-action and wow them with your branding knowledge.

You’ve now effectively used technology and brand exposure (as brand technologists are known to do) to create buzz and develop client relationships. Now, just imagine if you were to do this in more than one market? WOW!

About the blog: Who couldn’t use a hero in theirlife? You know, that special someone that comes in from nowhere toscoop you up in mid-air, right before you go "splat" on the ground ...or rather ... someone that lays their body on top of the nuclear bombto shelter the explosion that was seconds from taking out your lovelytown. Yeah, you know the type. That’s me! I’m the Idea Hero, I come upwith marketing ideas that save lives. Alright, maybe not lives, but Ihave been known to save a career or two in my day. This blog isdedicated to saving you (time, money, brain cells, embarrassment,etc.). Send me ( challenge, brief, chicken scratch, whatever and I’ll get allheroic and come up with your idea, post it on the blog and call ityours! Why? Because I’m your hero.

Illustrator: This beautiful illustrated rendition of the concept is brought to you by the newest addition to the Idea Hero blog, Michael Everett. Michael is a Twin Cities based filmmaker, photographer and artist. You can find more of his creations here. He is available for casual and full-time commitments, visit his site to learn more.

Author: Bornwith a large forehead and natural ability to develop outrageouslyabsurd ideas, Dana Severson was immediately drawn to the advertisingindustry at a very early age. Growing up, he'd often get caught sippinga three-finger apple juice (disguised as cognac), smoking candycigarettes, dressed like his favorite superhero, David Ogilvy. Fastforward a few decades, and we find Dana (with a larger forehead)getting paid to develop outrageously absurd ideas at his consultancy,Idea Heroes and downing three-shot espressos. Dana is a Adage.comcontributor, proprietor of The Official Real"ad"tor Awardsand is known to post random advertising concepts on Twitter. He isavailable for sideshow demonstrations and Bill Bernbach impersonations.