The Design Block

If you're looking for the latest in advertising and marketing, design related technology and lifestyle tips, and art or design highlights then you're in the right place. Find all this and more with the Design Block blog.

Tips to optimize your next email marketing campaign

What can you do to compel your readers to open your email when they have dozens of others in their inbox?

Anti-cruelty campaign shows animals get no pleasure from suffering

How do you push people to action when it comes to anti-cruelty? You create controversy.

McDonald’s plans to retail its own version of Balenciaga’s fries shoes

First it was a New York souvenir company that went after Balenciaga for copying a touristy tote, now it is McDonald's turn.

KFC ensures you don’t smudge your phone with this synthetic finger

Sometimes you just have to share your love fried chicken while you eat. However, using your smartphone with chicken-scented fingers might leave your shiny display covered in grease and grime. Not to worry though, KFC has a better way to live-tweet what you’re eating.

Feel fancier this Valentine’s Day with Ketchup Caviar by Heinz

If you’re not the greatest cook, but you still want to make your Valentine a hamburger and want a fancier form of ketchup, look no further because Heinz is now making Ketchup Caviar.

Russian start-up plans to deploy space-based billboards

A Russian startup, StartRocket, plans massive billboards to beam advertisements to Earth from space.

Nestlé says goodbye to single-use plastic

In a recent press release, Nestlé stated that it will begin eliminating all plastic straws in its products.

McDonald’s loses Big Mac trademark case to Irish fast food brand

McDonald’s registration of the trademark was lost because they had not proven genuine use of the term Big Mac as a burger or restaurant name.

Adult-friendly LEGO kits to build a mini Leica camera

Designer Chris McVeigh and LEGO have teamed up to create a Leica M model kit. Each set lets you build your own toy version of the iconic camera.

McDonald’s introduces its first vegan-friendly Happy Meal

One third of McDonald’s UK customers polled said it was important to them to include more meat-free meals.

Tiffany & Co. releases what’s essentially fancy LEGO for US$1,650

Did you love LEGO as a kid, but feel that it's not luxurious enough now that you're older? Well, Tiffany & Co. has just released a more opulent version that's the perfect gift for your inner child.

Spice up the holidays with the KFC fire log

Forget pine and cinnamon. Maybe Christmas should smell like crispy fried chicken.

Based on popular 2018 hashtags, Instagram rolls out #InstaGiftGuide

The #InstaGiftGuide matches six popular hashtag trends from 2018 with gift-worthy products from 34 brands on Instagram.

McDonald’s releases McNugget Christmas ornaments

One of the world’s largest fast food chains is sprucing up the holiday season with some signature Christmas ornaments. McDonald’s UK has just rolled out two variations of ornaments. Celebrating the almighty Chicken McNugget, you’ll want a full box of 50. 

Starbucks to ban porn in its stores, so YouPorn bans them from offices

Apparently Starbucks doesn’t want its customers using their free WiFi to look at porn. Enough Is Enough, a nonprofit dedicated to internet safety, created a petition calling for the coffee chain to block access to explicit materials.

Fashion retailer sells twigs for US$50 leaving Internet speechless

If you visit the website of fashion retailer Anthropologie, you’ll see a product called Birch Branch Bundle. Exactly what the name implies, this bundle of decorative twigs is not much different from what you’d find in your own yard.

BK uses actual photos of car crashes to encourage home delivery

Some people are so hungry for a Whopper that they don’t just go through the drive-thru, they go through the entire restaurant. And that’s what led Burger King to create this campaign by Lola MullenLowe, promoting home delivery with images of real car crashes that occurred…

Volkswagen’s ad about avoiding advertising bans ironically gets banned

Volkswagen’s “Too powerful for TV“ commercial was, apparently, too powerful for television in Australia. The humorous commercial was banned in the country for breaking advertising codes of conduct and for being “unsafe”.

13 psychological pricing tips to help boost sales

You’ve likely figured out best practices for mobile marketing, design, and internal communication for your business. It seems like you have a pretty good system in place, but it gets a little tired. You find you and your team are stuck in the monotony of…

How to get more positive online reviews for your business

Positive online reviews can tip the balance in your favour when it comes to consumer decision making. So if you think online reviews get lost in all the Internet noise, think again.

Organ donation ad featuring Jesus at the crucifixion sparks controversy

An Australian group has released a new ad to promote organ donation. And as they point out in the ad, organ donation can save lives. However, the number of people who register for organ donation remains relatively low.

Oreo tries new flavours by debuting seaweed cookies

Oreo keeps trying to create new flavour innovations to entice consumers—which can be both good and bad for cookie lovers.

KFC embraces zero waste movement with edible wrappers

3.5 million tons of plastic and other solid waste are generated each day across the world, according to researchers. Yet, there are a growing number of companies and people who are joining the zero waste movement.

IHOP surprises fans with pumpkin pancake beer dubbed IHOPS

People seem to get excited at the beginning of fall with all of the pumpkin-flavoured foods and drinks. And The International House of Pancakes (IHOP) tends to fill that demands with their Pumpkin Pancakes. This year, however, they’re trying something different with pumpkin flavours.

Burger King’s AI-written ads prove tech can’t substitute great ideas

Using artificial intelligence (AI) to revolutionize the future of marketing might be a threat to certain jobs, but Burger King isn’t buying into it yet.

Last Blockbuster now has a craft beer brewed in its honour

For those who remember a time before Netflix when watching a new release movie meant getting your hands on a physical VHS or DVD, Blockbuster was the place to go.

Lingerie campaign celebrates models of all sizes and bans airbrushing

UK-based lingerie brand Figleaves has released its latest campaign that includes a cast models of different sizes, shapes and ethnicities. What also makes this campaign special is that Figleaves is the latest brand to ban airbrushing in their ads.

Domino’s ends free pizza for life deal with brand tattoo

Apparently, the idea of getting free pizza in Russia is a powerful promotion. In fact, it turned out to be so powerful that Domino’s Pizza had to end their promotion as quickly as it began. Domino’s had offered free pizza for life to anyone who got…

Discover the unlikely origins of 6 famous car logos

Having a strong logo can create significant value; and that’s no less true in the automotive industry. In fact, car logos are among the most widely recognized amongst brands across the world. But have you ever wondered about what’s behind the creation and evolution of famous car…

KFC really wants a baby named Harland and is willing to pay

Future parents are getting a chance at US$11,000 to jumpstart on their future baby’s college education this September. The only catch is that they have to brand their child with the name Harland, after KFC founder Colonel Harland Sanders.

Nike issues comeback after French Open bans Serena Williams’ catsuit

Officials at the French Open have announced they will ban Serena Williams’ signature black catsuit from future tournaments.

Over-the-top Toyota ad replaces Chuck Norris with a truck

Chuck Norris is so tough that there’s no chin under his beard, only another fist. But this new commercial by Toyota sees the roundhouse kicking actor being replaced by a truck.

App retention is like dating, so don’t end up a one-night-stand

In today’s mobile-first environment, every company seems to have a mobile app and everyone a genius mobile app idea. This is why it is not surprising that the app store is cluttered with underperforming applications by the millions. What might come as a surprise, however,…

People aren’t happy with the new Jack in the Box commercial

The burger chain Jack in the Box has recently drawn criticism for its new TV commercial. The ad for the company’s new Teriyaki Bowls riffs off the word “bowls” and features not-so-subtle references to male genitalia.

Expose catfishes by hiring a professional social media stalker

Online dating is at an all-time high. In fact, it’s quickly turned into a billion-dollar industry. And according to at least one poll, it’s the second most common way to find a significant other. But what if you want to know more details about your…

Burger brand apologizes for using beheaded photojournalist in ad

Washington DC-based Z-Burger has apologized after causing a stir for its inappropriate use of an image for its marketing.

Burger King highlights gender discrimination pricing with ‘Chick Fries’

Have you heard of the Pink Tax? It’s a term for the routine practice of charging more for products and services targeted to women than those targeted to men? Gender discrimination pricing has been around for years, but has gained more prominence lately thanks to a…

Ad agency leases women’s armpits as advertising space

We’ve gone from being exposed to about 500 ads a day back in the 1970’s to as many as 5,000 a day today. But, if you think the saturation of advertisements in cities like London, New York or Japan are heavy now, just wait. An idea that literally goes to the…

Shutterstock comes to the rescue in witty print ad campaign

Stock photography website, Shutterstock is used by designers and agencies the world over. And to highlight their coming to the rescue of those creatives, Dominican Republic ad agency Cazar DDB has created a trio of witty print ads to promote the stock photography company and its offerings.

Google marketing overhaul could put marketers out of business

This year is set to be an important one for advertisers currently using Google’s digital marketing services. On June 27 Google turned the digital marketing world on its head when it announced a complete rebrand of its advertising products.

Facebook’s new AI ‘opens’ eyes in photos where they’re shut

It’s a common problem with having your photo taken: your smile is wide but your eyes shut just as the flash goes off. Not to worry, though. Facebook’s new AI can now open your eyes in photos where they’re closed.

McDonald’s & KFC begin phasing out plastic straws

McDonald’s & KFC are the latest restaurant chains to join the war against plastic and phase out plastic straws across several of their outlets. However, this will most likely only be in their in overseas markets. This follows earlier news from McDonald’s claiming they’re “really close” to the point where…

BK pulls lifetime Whopper ad to women impregnated by a World Cup player

Burger King Russia sparked outrage with an appalling ad campaign posted on their official social media account. The promotion promised a reward of 3 million Rubles (CDN$62,715) and a lifetime supply of Whoppers for any Russian woman impregnated by a World Cup player.

KFC to test vegetarian fried chicken with the Colonel’s famous recipe

Vegetarians won’t have to opt for only fries the next time their friends want to go to KFC. The iconic chicken brand says it’s cooking up a new, healthier recipe; one that will be missing the restaurant chain’s most famous ingredient: chicken.

Colour outside the lines with Crayola Beauty makeup

If you thought Crayola crayons were just for kids, you wouldn’t be correct. Children’s crayons have long been an inspiration for makeup brands, and today Crayola is releasing it’s own line of makeup aimed at adults.

Infographic: 32 tips for successful mobile marketing

Mobile devices have transformed the way people engage with brands. Not only do 80% of internet users own a smartphone, but they also spend 60% of their online media consumption time on mobile platforms. From opening your marketing email to reading a post on your…

Fruit of the Loom has a message for shirtless selfie men on Instagram

For men on social media, the shirtless selfie has become a ubiquitous calling card, shamelessly saying, “Here I am! See me! Notice me! ‘Like’ me!” Clothing brand Fruit of the Loom has taken notice and are worried that men’s lower-quality shirts are being #ripped and #shredded.

Kentucky Fine China bucket celebrates the royal wedding

If you weren’t lucky enough to attend the royal wedding between Meghan Markle and Prince Harry or catch it on TV, you can still commemorate it. How you ask? With a KFC commemorative porcelain bucket.

Cherry blossom tree made from over 800,000 LEGO bricks

Each spring, people visit Japan to see the cherry blossom trees in full bloom. And while they unfortunately only bloom for a short period, there’s one place where you can see a cherry blossom in constant bloom: LEGOLAND® Japan.

Volkswagen anti-texting & driving campaign turns crashed cars into phone cases

Taking your eyes off the road while driving, even for a second, could lead to disaster. When it comes to distracted driving, texting is becoming the number one concert. In fact, Canadians say that texting while driving is one of the biggest threats to their personal…