Must-See Marketing of the Week: Dell and Microsoft take aim at Apple

Imitation is the bitterest form of flattery

A weekly digest of the most important stories and ideas in advertising and media, from our colleagues at Marketing

Other items of note from Marketing:

Air Canada takes its flag carrier status seriously. It’s holiday spot gives expat Canadians in a London pub a very special gift: home. Two Air Canada pilots listen to the reasons why patrons won’t be returning for the holidays, then surprise them all with free roundtrip tickets.

Watch the heartwarming video on Marketing’s website »

Facing a near-saturated marketplace and a stagnant growth outlook, Second Cup is hitting the reset button on its brand. The company is adding a ‘Coffee Co.’ descriptor to its name and logo, a tacit acknowledgement that the beverage is key to connecting with Canadian diners. Independent coffee houses form the inspiration for a new look and consumer experience. Vice-President of Marketing Vanda Provato says it was time for a change:

“It was time for a reinvention,” she said. “Business growth was stagnant. We got feedback both from customers and franchisees that the brand was tired and needed a refresh.”

“There was a recognition the market had really changed. It’s a competitive space and we needed to be revolutionary and do something fresh and unexpected,” she said.”

See what Second Cup is doing to revitalize its brand: Something new is brewing at Second Cup »

Toronto charity Good Shepherd Ministries is using an attention-grabbing tactic to raise awareness about homelessness: black Christmas trees with “No one should spend Christmas here” stenciled on the adjacent sidewalk. The intent is to make people stop and think:

“We have to find innovative ways of getting our message out, and sometimes it’s raw and shocking, but being homeless is also raw and shocking,” said Brother David Lynch, executive director of Good Shepherd Ministries.

Read about Good Shepherd Ministries’ Black Christmas »

Finally, Lululemon is emphasizing the importance of the holiday experience. The company wants to remind consumers that what loved ones ultimately want is undivided attention, not gifts and tokens of appreciation. Lululemon’s message: “Give Presence,” not presents.