Strategy + Digital + Social + PR + Traditional + Publishing + Media + XM

Welcome to Buddhabutter

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ABOUT ME

buddhabutter™ (Michael Willson) is a creative consulting shop that is based on the principle that brands who define culture are more successful than those who follow it. I make and share things with the world that hopefully add to the quality of people's lives and I'm currently available for full-time or freelance opportunities.

Social Media

Consumers are empowered to create, share and exchange information online. Learn to lead the discussion, and let me help you manage and leverage these conversations for your brand.

UI Design

Using a unique combination of design, technology, responsiveness and cyberspace savvy – I create effective, engaging and artful digital and experiential campaigns that deliver results.

Brand & Identity

Forging your identity begins with understanding your business. With the combined knowledge of my writers, artists, technologists and influencers, I can bring your brand to life.

Strategy

I always start with a stellar strategy that combines a tailored mix of analytics, clairvoyance, anthropology and real-world insight. It guides my creative thinking and powers every custom execution.

BE WHO YOU ARE AND SAY WHAT YOU FEEL, BECAUSE THOSE WHO MIND DON’T MATTER AND THOSE WHO MATTER DON’T MIND.

DR. SEUSS

 

MY ASSOCIATES

When required, I collaborate with a diverse range of talented personnel that bring creative skill, experience, execution and ideas to the table. I'm the buddha. They're the butter.

Dré Dee

Dré Dee

COPY + CONTENT + BLOGGING View Details
Eden Robbins

Eden Robbins

PICTURES + MOVING PICTURES View Details
Shannon Stephaniuk

Shannon Stephaniuk

PR View Details
Brian Patterson

Brian Patterson

PICTURES View Details
Jeff Payne

Jeff Payne

DIGITAL View Details
Suzanne Pope

Suzanne Pope

COPY + CONTENT + BLOGGING View Details
RAYMOND CICIN

RAYMOND CICIN

ARTIST View Details
Mark Hajek

Mark Hajek

EDITOR + VO TALENT + PRODUCER View Details
Igor Vrabac

Igor Vrabac

COMPOSER + PRODUCER View Details
Simon Conlin

Simon Conlin

DIGITAL + PRODUCER View Details
Neil Murchison

Neil Murchison

COPY + VO TALENT + PRODUCER View Details
Me

Me

360º MULTI-CHANNEL CAMPAIGNS View Details
Dré Dee

Dré Dee

COPY + CONTENT + BLOGGING

After a detour through academia and a handful of degrees, Dré studied journalism and worked at a bunch of pretty great magazines and won a bunch of awards. But when the dark side came a-calling — what with its filthy lucre and promises of awards glory* — she heard it. Next stop: Marcom. You know, custom content strategy and creation?

Months of learning the craft in the middle of its first heyday, the late ’90s, became years and Dré’s client list grew.

At this point, Dré has been officially certified as a writer who can make just about anything sound like a must-have. (Of course all her clients’ wares ARE must-haves.)

Those clients have included: Google, Scotiabank, Home Hardware, Unilever, LCBO, Proctor & Gamble USA, Acura, Sears, Toronto Hydro, Direct Energy, SickKids, BILD, UNICEF and more. Want proof? Go to dredee.com.

*Money: check. Glory: eagerly anticipated — help me.

Eden Robbins

Eden Robbins

PICTURES + MOVING PICTURES

Molson, Moms Demand Action, Guiness, Dolce & Gabbana + BMW.

Shannon Stephaniuk

Shannon Stephaniuk

PR

glossy is publicity and marketing specializing in advertising and creativity.

Brian Patterson

Brian Patterson

PICTURES

Brian has been shooting and producing photography for decades. He is one of North America’s new go-to photographers, capturing the artists in the entertainment and music industry. Whether he’s shooting Hollywood stars in a unique candid moment, or snapping shots of rock bands and pop idols, Brian has a great eye for capturing what magazines, publishers, agents and publicists want – fresh images that capture the soul of the artists.

It all started from his lifelong passion for music and photography. After years of watching live music shows, Brian’s friend Eric Kretz (drummer for the Stone Temple Pilots) asked him to come backstage and capture shots of STP for Eric’s percussion sponsor, GMS Drums. The photographs were so well received that Brian landed a photo assignment contract with Corbis Entertainment and Associated Press, two of the largest entertainment photo agencies in the world based in Los Angeles and New York. The rest is history.

Over the past decade, Brian Patterson’s photographs have been featured in Rolling Stone Magazine, Entertainment Weekly, TORO Magazine, and a long list of other global online and print publications.

Jeff Payne

Jeff Payne

DIGITAL

I’m a seasoned professional in the digital realm and appreciate a good challenge. I’m also Google certified, fun to work with and have a passion for music + arts.

Suzanne Pope

Suzanne Pope

COPY + CONTENT + BLOGGING

Suzanne Pope has over twenty years’ experience in traditional, digital and direct-response advertising for business-to-business, consumer and healthcare clients alike. Her work has won international recognition from the One Show, Communication Arts, the London International Advertising Awards, the New York Festivals and Lürzer’s Archive, among others. Suzanne’s recent digital projects include online work for Audi, Nestea and Bell, as well as custom content for Applied Arts Magazine.

RAYMOND CICIN

RAYMOND CICIN

ARTIST

Artist, Painter, Image maker.

Mark Hajek

Mark Hajek

EDITOR + VO TALENT + PRODUCER
Igor Vrabac

Igor Vrabac

COMPOSER + PRODUCER

Passion. Persistence. A love of music in all its forms. These are the qualities that have taken Igor Vrabac on an epic journey from war-torn Yugoslavia to Toronto, Canada where he currently works as an independent composer, arranger and producer.

Since his professional debut in Toronto in 1997, Igor has met with much success. It first came in the form of an original score for Dennis McIntyre’s ambitious stage play Modigliani, based on the life of the great modern artist. Critics at the time, including Geoff Chapman of The Toronto Star, praised the score for its beauty as well as its authenticity in evoking the mood of early 20th Century Paris. With the good reviews came more work. Igor soon was invited to compose the score for the film Full Frontal, starring Jennifer Dale. The score went on to garner a Silver Statue at the Worldfest Film Awards in Houston. From here, Igor went on to score a raft of other films, most notably Dr. Cabbie (2014), 13 Eerie (2012) and Impedimento (2008).

Amid all this activity, opportunities in television presented themselves. Igor was invited by Glenn Morley at Tambre Productions to score the popular animated children’s show Freaky Stories on YTV, produced by Decode Entertainment. This lead to more television projects through celebrated Canadian composer Lou Natale. Lou and Igor scored the hit sci-fi television series Mutant X, season one. Music for one of the episodes was nominated for a Gemini Award. More recently, Igor has been writing music for the second season of Zoe Busiek – Wild Card. Today, television commercials, such as Molson’s Rickard’s Red, along with many projects for interactive media and independent artists keep Igor busy traveling across the continent as a composer, arranger, conductor and music producer.

By age 17, after graduating with distinction from Serbia’s Josif Marinkovich School of Music in the late 1980s, Igor was already writing sophisticated classical compositions. Meanwhile, aside from European-wide engagements with the Josif Marinkovich Mixed Youth Choir – and ongoing studies with revered Conductor Slobodan Bursach – Igor plied his trade as a multi-talented musician at Serbia’s prestigious Academy of Arts in Novi Sad.

Hostilities in Yugoslavia during the early 1990s did not dampen Igor’s spirit. He escaped the country’s embattled landscapes, arriving finally in Budapest, which served as a gateway to Canada. In Toronto, he quickly established Canadian citizenship and redoubled efforts to master his art. Fate conspired to bring him in contact with an array of talented professionals. Through further studies in classical composition at The University of Toronto, Igor found benefactors in tutors Gary Kulesha, composer-in-residence with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and Christos Hatzis, an internationally acclaimed Canadian composer whose Greek origin helped Igor recognize and nourish the Balkan roots in his own music. Phil Nimmons and Paul Reed of the jazz department have also helped and guided Igor. Soon Igor’s music was being performed by the remarkable Saint Lawrence String Quartet out of New York City.

By 1996, many of Igor’s original works were being performed by artists and musicians in concert venues throughout Toronto, including The Ford Centre for the Performing Arts and The New Music Festival.

Simon Conlin

Simon Conlin

DIGITAL + PRODUCER

Simon’s lifelong dedication to digital and mobile media has allowed him to be part of the meteoric rise of these platforms. When Simon is conceiving, planning and producing successful, integrated advertising or mobile campaigns, his infectious energy coupled with his experience and creative, strategic mindset make him a valuable Executive Production Consultant and visionary guide, or as some like to call him, a Digital Sherpa.

As Canada’s first official Digital Strategist, Simon’s professional experience includes working in Europe and North America as a freelance producer and creative digital strategist for over 15 years, applying creative and strategic production methods to digital media campaigns for agencies and brands. His talent in conceptualizing new creative campaigns and his ability to cultivate relationships and alliances among developers, designers and agencies is globally recognized.

Simon is generally renowned as a digital industry connector, having served as Ambassador of FITC events for over 12 years. FITC is a global design and technology event company which originated in Toronto. Simon has been integral in building FITC since its inception back in 2001 as well as helping FITC become the globally recognized industry event and award show that it is today. He was also instrumental in growing the world’s largest Adobe Flash user group based right here in Toronto during his role as Executive Director of FlashinTO.

Simon originally hails from England where at age 8 and a half, he started interacting with a ZX80 computer using BASIC. He currently lives in Toronto with his wife and two children and is a Senior Digital Creative / Producer. More information may be found at www.simonconlin.com.

Neil Murchison

Neil Murchison

COPY + VO TALENT + PRODUCER

Twenty-five years of getting people to buy stuff, change opinions, etc. through captivating creative and the odd bribe.

Here is a longer one from my site. Is it toooo log?:

I moved to Toronto from Ottawa 25 years ago to give this advertising thing a go. My first 6 months were spent selling fake watches at the corner of Bay and Bloor. Yeah, that guy.

Eventually I was hired as a copywriter. Sadly, it coincided with the end of the three martini lunch and out of control budgets. Oh, well. Throughout the years I’ve worked at agencies such as BBDO, Publicis•SMW, Cossette and Saffer. Worked with clients like Chrysler, Pepsi, Hoechst Marion Roussel, Kraft, Wal-Mart, Bayer, McDonald’s, Molson Coors, Scotiabank & Manulife Financial. Traveled to such exotic locales as Miami, Cape Town, Calgary and Guelph. Written and directed spots for ClubLink and The Pork Producers of Canada. Tried to sell a TV show to Hollywood producers. And learned ads don’t necessarily get better as logos get bigger.

In my spare time I write and perform music, attempt to complete a screenplay and think up new swear words. I once owned a plant.

Me

Me

360º MULTI-CHANNEL CAMPAIGNS

From bricks + mortar to bytes, banners + beyond, I’m a media neutral ad guy and I began my creative journey in 1988 after graduating with an advertising + design degree from the Center of Creative Studies in Detroit, Michigan.

Since then I have been very fortunate to work in various roles as vp, creative director, art director, design director and CMO in Toronto, New York, London, Montreal, Paris and Los Angeles. Agencies include Saffer Advertising, Saatchi & Saatchi, GJP, Blast, Reason Partners, Blammo Worldwide, Dashboard Communications, Euro RSCG 4D, Arnold Worldwide, Havas Worldwide, MTHRTY, #engagementlabs global and CD/Founder of Buddhabutter™.

I believe anything you want to create – product, experience, environment, and process – starts first with the user and from a marketer’s perspective that means understanding a customer’s relationship to content, technology and community. Consumers have become more inclined to speak, share, comment, update and check-in rather than listen and absorb.

As an earned media specialist, I build and maintain traditional and digital businesses. From the implementation of 360 degree multi-channel campaigns through to specific online driven strategies involving strategy, advertising, media, digital, social, PR, direct and most recently, analytics.

Along the way, I’ve received numerous advertising, design, web and social media awards while working for a multitude of clients in traditional/non-traditional advertising mediums that include digital, television, print, outdoor, radio, events, social, mobile and experiential, retail promotions, analytics + measurement.

Specialties: social media engagement, art direction, UX design, design direction, creative/brand strategy, ideation, new business development and agency leadership.

My favourite social platforms include LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and Snapchat.

BUDDHABUTTER FACTS

Each completed project fuels my hunger for more engagement, more design and at the very least, more coffee. As a result, I deliver better communication experiences. The bridge between real consumer insight and brand aspiration is buddhabutter.

3281

Coffees Consumed

587

 Completed Projects

234

 Clients Worked With

97

 Winning Awards

MY SERVICES

My ideas take various forms. From film to brand launches, apps to soundtracks, social + experiential campaigns to emerging platforms. The common thread of every project is a firm commitment to create inspiring work that delivers powerful business results.

Consulting

Ideation, Strategy, Branding and Creative Content Development.

Marketing

Advertising, Experiential, Social, PR, Sales & Marketing, CRM, Design, Branding, Interactive, Publishing, Print Collateral, Packaging, DM, Mobile, E-mail Management, Analytics + Measurement.

Production

Film, Website Development, Photography, Audio & Digital Production, Mobile Applications and of course placemats.

MY GALLERY

Feel free to browse a very small body of work below. It represents some of my favourite traditional, experiential, digital and social projects that I have been involved in here and abroad. Each has their own unique story. More to come on that...

SMART TECHNOLOGIES

SMART TECHNOLOGIES

“Smart Love Of Learning.” Digital.

ECD : Ron Tite
Art Director : Gira Moin
Writer : Erin Beaupre
Designer : Pierre Marly

ACD / Art Director / UX Designer : Michael Willson

Numerous award wins.
PFIZER

PFIZER

“Sunglasses and Advil.” A social media collaboration with Y&R Canada.

10 days and 4k later… 360k online impressions. #1 trending topic on REDDIT Montreal and Toronto.
85k images shared. 1.5M people reached. Enough said.

EVP, Chief Creative Officer : Israel Diaz
Art Director : Marilyn Davis
Writer : Brent Turnbull
Illustrator / Street Artist : Antoine Tavaglione

Social Media Creative Direction / Content Strategist / Social Media Producer : Michael Willson

Numerous award wins.
HELLMANN’S

HELLMANN’S

“Hellmann’s.” Digital.

CVO : Barry Hillier
Co-ACD / Art Director / Designer : Jason Chesebrough

Co-ACD / Art Director / Designer : Michael Willson

Numerous award wins.
LABATT BREWERIES

LABATT BREWERIES

“It’s The Movie Out Here.” A social media collaboration with Grip and mthrty.

Marketing Context: As a brand strategy, Kokanee produced the film “It’s The Movie Out Here”. The film included Kokanee’s beloved characters from their TV commercials and was accompanied by a contest where you could submit music or props that would be used in the film’s production. This is where mthrty came in.

Campaign Summary: We were given the opportunity to bring about awareness for the film It’s The Movie Out Here, its accompanying contest and the Kokanee brand itself. Through ShareCasting™, we were able to achieve this with a high level of engagement. Through diligent online examining, we developed a plan that coincided with the many phases of the It’s The Movie Out Here contest. Our focus was to contact actors, musicians and set designers, among others, as directly and personally as possible. This not only provided users with the opportunity to make direct action, unlike traditional media, but also demonstrates that Kokanee is more than just a brand: Kokanee wants to share the limelight and gives its customers the opportunity to do so.

Evidence of Results: Brand health scores were above target by 21%, ending five consecutive years of decline. Market share surpassed the target by 6% and fan acquisition and engagement exceeded expectations by 152% and 3,163%, respectively. The movie premiered last November at the Whistler Film Festival and in Vancouver, the brand’s largest market, The Movie Out Here ranked fourth at the box office on opening night, beating out big-budget Hollywood blockbusters such as Lincoln and Les Misérables.

ShareCasting garnered over 2,000,000 total impressions throughout the duration of the campaign; total number of users who can view and potentially engage with our content online. With the use of campaign assets we turned 1,400,000 potential engagements into over 40,000 actual engagements. That’s an exceptional post-asset conversion rate of 3%.

Art Direction/Writing : Randy Stein, Joel Holtby and Grip staff members.
Account Director : Adam Luck

Social Media Creative Direction / Content Strategist / Social Media Producer : Michael Willson

Numerous award wins.
ING FINANCIAL

ING FINANCIAL

“ING Financial” Digital.

CVO : Barry Hillier
Co-ACD / Art Director / Designer : Jason Chesebrough

Co-ACD / Art Director / Designer : Michael Willson

Numerous award wins.
WHITE RIBBON CANADA

WHITE RIBBON CANADA

“Be A Man.” A social media collaboration with Y&R Canada and mthrty.

65m media impressions. #1 trending topic on REDDIT. 25% increase in Twitter followers. Enough said.

The Be A Man Initiative, was a special campaign that celebrated the 20th anniversary of White Ribbon. The campaign was devised in two parts: the first portion of the campaign was devoted entirely to seeding controversial posters piquing the public interest and leading them to a landing page. Unmarked postings were used to create intrigue among a social audience, exposing them to the look and feel,  which would then be leveraged in the second phase of the campaign.

Coinciding with the December 3rd launch date, a full mthrty ShareCasting™ campaign was employed. At this time, the wild posters from Phase I were replaced with rebranded posters including White Ribbon’s new Manifesto and url, with the branded mthrty SharePlayer™.

ECD: Israel Diaz
Writer: Brent Turnbull
Art Director: Marilyn Davis
Designer: Dave Tupper
Typographer / Artist (poster): Georgia Hill
Typographer / Artist (custom typeface): Ashley Eansor

Social Media Creative Direction / Content Strategist / Social Media Producer : Michael Willson

Multiple award wins.

GET CONNECTED

The NSA already takes care of our social media profiles, for everyone else who wants to get connected with me regularly, don't hesitate!

TESTIMONIALS

I've worked on a multitude of creative projects with advertising agencies, interactive, social, PR and XM shops, media companies, publishers and developers. Very cool.

  • Justin Xavier, Group Account Director, OneMethod

    “A huge thanks to Michael, or should I say buddhabutter, for rocking our campaigns.”

    Justin Xavier, Group Account Director, OneMethod
  • Brent Turnbull, Creative Director, Environics

    “Awesome design. Amazing strategy. Incredible results. Could not be happier.”

    Brent Turnbull, Creative Director, Environics
  • Ron Tite, CEO, The Tite Group

    “Always outstanding work and the coffee is pretty good too.”

    Ron Tite, CEO, The Tite Group
  • Justin Xavier, Group Account Director, OneMethod

    “A huge thanks to Michael, or should I say buddhabutter, for rocking our campaigns.”

    Justin Xavier, Group Account Director, OneMethod
  • Brent Turnbull, Creative Director, Environics

    “Awesome design. Amazing strategy. Incredible results. Could not be happier.”

    Brent Turnbull, Creative Director, Environics
  • Ron Tite, CEO, The Tite Group

    “Always outstanding work and the coffee is pretty good too.”

    Ron Tite, CEO, The Tite Group

CREATIVE ADVERTISING + DESIGN FROM TORONTO

I welcome you to contact me for more information about any of my products or services.