And the cupcakes are gone!

A huge thanks to everyone who came along to our Ultimate Tea Party today and devoured a cupcake! Especially those who made a donation to the Cancer Council, we raised loads of money from generous Brisbanites and we added $1 to the jar for every cupcake that was gobbled up!

It was a great day. Below are a few of shots, but you can check out the photos or tag yourself on facebook!

Yours in charity events,


The Nova Gals

Kids and cupcakes

The Brio Gals

The Brio Team

Bear and Bus Driver

Fancy a free cupcake?

Janet eats a cupcake

Don’t forget! Brio Group’s 365 Ways We Care ultimate public tea party is tomorrow! We’ll be giving away 365 delicious cupcakes (courtesy of Cakestar) in the Botanic Gardens. You can find us at the Albert Street entrance, between 11:30am and 1:30pm. For every cupcake we give away, we’ll donate $1 to Australia’s Biggest Morning Tea. Why are we doing this? It’s not only because we are nice guys! We are celebrating reaching our target of giving 365 gifts of sight this year, by supporting the Fred Hollows Foundation.

To add to the tea party fun, Nova’s Sandman will be bringing his team to play games and give away prizes.

Everyone is invited, so pop over if you have a sweet tooth or want to make a donation to the cancer council.

Read more in the Courier Mail!

Yours in cupcake happiness,


Functional turns decorative

Check out this fantastically creative fence art designed and produced by Dutch design outfit: DemarkersvanLace Fence. Dutch design strikes again!!!

Images by Lace Fence.

Lace Fence have crafted something which was purely functional with a hostile stigma into something aesthetic and decorative while still functional. They have crafted a variety of designs ranging from lace florals to contemporary designs. Their design range is not limited to these, as they are taking on new projects, each with their own weird and wonderful structures and briefs to work with.

I wish I discovered Lace Fence before I invested thousand$$ in my home fencing renovations!!!

Yours in beautiful home renovations!
Amber van Sloten

Manure crisis of 1894 to traffic congestion today – technology is the answer

As I drive to work each day and sit in peak hour traffic patiently waiting for my turn to move ahead a metre, I can’t help but think this is a complete waste of time and fuel, but yet I endure it day after day. This is not the first time the changes to our society and the growth of our cities gets to breaking point where we need to stop and find a solution.

A classic example of this is a problem that was getting steadily worse about a hundred years ago, so much so that it drove most observers to despair. This was the great horse-manure crisis.

Nineteenth-century cities depended on thousands of horses for their daily functioning. All transport, whether of goods or people, was drawn by horses. London in 1900 had 11,000 cabs, all horse-powered. There were also several thousand buses, each of which required 12 horses per day, a total of more than 50,000 horses. In addition, there were countless carts, drays, and wains, all working constantly to deliver the goods needed by the rapidly growing population of what was then the largest city in the world. Similar figures could be produced for any great city of the time.

The problem of course was that all these horses produced huge amounts of manure. A horse will on average produce between 15 and 35 pounds of manure per day. Consequently, the streets of nineteenth-century cities were covered by horse manure. This in turn attracted huge numbers of flies, and the dried and ground-up manure was blown everywhere. In New York in 1900, the population of 100,000 horses produced 2.5 million pounds of horse manure per day, which all had to be swept up and disposed of.*

In 1898 the first international urban-planning conference convened in New York. It was abandoned after three days, instead of the scheduled 10, because none of the delegates could see any solution to the growing crisis posed by urban horses and their output.

The problem did indeed seem intractable. The larger and richer that cities became, the more horses they needed to function. The more horses, the more manure. Writing in the Times of London in 1894, one writer estimated that in 50 years every street in London would be buried under nine feet of manure. Moreover, all these horses had to be stabled, which used up ever-larger areas of increasingly valuable land. And as the number of horses grew, ever-more land had to be devoted to producing hay to feed them (rather than producing food for people), and this had to be brought into cities and distributed by horse-drawn vehicles. It seemed that urban civilisation was doomed.

Of course it wasn’t, with the invention of the automobile and the commercialisation of the motor vehicle by the likes of Henry Ford the manure crisis was adverted.

I can’t help but think as I continue to sit in growing traffic congestion that we are not too far off a global gridlock that will stifle our economic progress – this is the essence of Bill Ford’s focus on how we can use technology in our cars to help us work smarter, which will lead to reduced congestion on our roads. His famous grandfather Henry Ford once said before he invented the Model T:”If I had asked people then what they wanted they would have said faster horses”. This is an interesting statement as today we would say we just need more roads, but the answer lies in technology. We just need to think creatively.

Take a moment and watch this TED talk and hear some of the creative ideas Ford are exploring for our cars of the future.

Yours in technology to reduce peak hour traffic,


* See Edwin G. Burrows and Mike Wallace, Gotham: A History of New York City to 1898 [New York: Oxford University Press, 1999].

Social media in emergencies

Social Media is, by far, one of the most powerful tools on the web. It’s a fast paced way of getting news out to friends, family and the world.

In recent times, we have seen the world victim to a number of natural disasters and other emergencies which have been instantly relayed globally via social media networks. This led me to think about how I would use social media in emergencies.

I did some searching around the net and found this excellent infographic which portrays how social media is used in emergencies.

I find it astonishing that technology that was almost unheard of 10 years ago is now dominating not only our businesses but also our personal lives. For social media to become the vehicle it has, is truly amazing.

Check out the infographic below (courtesy of Credit Loan)

Yours in social media,


Celebrate Global Smurfs Day

It seems that anyone can have a day celebrated in their honour. Today, Saturday 25th June has been marked Global Smurfs Day to correspond with the birthday of their creator, Peyo (born June 25, 1928), Had I known this, I would not have given away the extensive range of Smurfs (stuffed, fluffy, hard plastic and talking variety in all sizes) that my girls acquired when they were growing up. This event is likely to breed a new generation of Smurf fans, and I could never be forgiven.

The event will also mark the anticipated July 29 release of “Smurfs 3-D” Animation in movie theatres. Columbia Pictures and Sony Pictures Animation will coordinate events all over the world as part of Global Smurfs Day, a worldwide event in anticipation of the release of the Smurfs’ trip to movie theatres. The movie, however, won’t be shown in Australia until September.

Today, Fans in costumes, painting their skin blue and putting on the white hat and shoes, will attend events in cities around the world as the organisers try to break the Guinness World Record for the largest gathering of people dressed as Smurfs (the record stands at 2,510), including Brussels, Belgium (Peyo’s home country); Athens, Greece; Scheveningen (The Hague), Holland; Dublin, Ireland; Mexico City, Mexico; Panama City, Panama; Warsaw, Poland; Moscow, Russia; Johannesburg, South Africa; New York, USA; and London, UK.
Even Apple has had success with the Smurfs since the release of its Smurf Village app. This free app enables users to create their own village full of smurfs.

I think we are in for another Smurf revival. Will you be one of the new breed of Smurf fans?

Yours in Smurfs
Angie Rapisarda

Where creativity and cake meet: Cakestar

Let’s face it, sweets are forever in style. Who can’t resist a fancy dessert, a gourmet cupcake, or the sweet-of-the-moment, a macaroon? Whether it’s for formal celebrations like engagement parties or weddings, corporate events or just a swanky morning tea at home with cakes that are fine and fancy, you cannot go past Cakestar.

The creativity and craftsmanship behind each Cakestar cake is outstanding. So outstanding, it seems criminal to take a bite. But once you do, you’ll be enveloped in a heavenly sweet dream – no joke! I sampled the cupcakes recently and almost melted!

Brisbane’s hottest cake decorator and designer Jade Lipton is behind this delicious company that dishes out delectable fare. And now the local mother of two can also add NZ’s Hottest Home Baker guest judge to her CV and the soon-to-be published Cakestar: Showstopping Cakes and Cupcakes to bookstore shelves. Pretty impressive right?

If these photographs of my favourite Cakestar cakes entice you, then I personally invite you to sample some Cakestar cupcakes at our Brio Group Ultimate Public Tea Party on Thursday 30 June 2011, Brisbane Botanic Gardens, 11.30pm – 1.30pm. We’re giving away 365 free cupcakes! For more information, visit our 365 Ways We Care charity program website.

Yours in cupcake goodness,


Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

I’m finding it fascinating the trend towards the change in beauty, especially in the fashion world. Today’s contributors to the fashion industry are constantly challenging traditional thinking, which inspires people like the Brio Group team to think outside the square. Typically we associate mainstream fashion with beauty (“OMG, that dress is gorgeous”), in the eye of the beholder.

In today’s highly competitive world of creative thinkers, fashion trend setters are forced to push the boundaries of what is considered ‘beautiful’ to stand out in the crowd.

I’d like to make particular reference to fashion models. A few cycles back on America’s Next Top Model there was an entrant called Nicole Fox. This 18 year old, extremely shy and drained of confidence teenager entered the show with the idea of “as if!”.  This girl, who used to eat lunch on the toilets seat at school to avoid the horrifying torments from her fellow peers because of her perceived ‘ugliness’, turned out to be America’s Next Top Model and in the process won a $100,000 contract with CoverGirl Cosmetics!

A true story of challenging what is to be considered ‘beautiful’. Nicole now enjoys the ‘top model’ lifestyle and can truly call herself, beautiful.

Yours in fashion,


Winners announced at Cannes Lions Festival

We’re all very excited about the Cannes Lions Festival which is currently in full swing. Shortlists and winners are being announced daily at the Cannes Lions website and diary entries from Aussie representatives at Cannes are being detailed at Campaign Brief.

The festival describes itself as ‘the world’s only truly global meeting place for creative professionals’ and to win a ‘Cannes Lion’ is widely regarded as the most prestigious award in our industry. The best global talent is showcased over seven days and 57 sessions, and thought-leaders and experts come together to inspire, debate and entertain.

To celebrate the festival Youngbloods are hosting an event at Limes Hotel tomorrow for a night of screening, judging and drinking. $15 will get you entry, a free drink on arrival and canapes. Not to mention the priceless opportunity to hear some of Brisbane’s top dogs cast their vote on who will win what at Cannes. They’ll also be giving away 1 x AdSchool Workshop and a lunch date with a professional in your chosen field on the night.

Tickets are limited and must be purchased prior to the event, buy them here:

But if you can’t make it you can still view highlights from the Festival, interviews with the speakers and photos from around the Palais, as well as all the winners as they are announced, here.

Yours in advertising,

Social media in business is spreading like hotcakes!

I love to read fresh local stats that show how advertising budgets are being spent and looking for the trends in the data. I know it sounds a little nerdy but I have always been interested in how businesses are communicating to their audiences and have seen over the last few years, huge changes.

The lastest stats from the Neilsen-Community Engine 2011 Social Media Business Benchmarking Study have found that more Australian businesses are allocating money to social media to foster customer relationships. In fact the study revealed that 43% of the businesses that participated are using social media to build a relationship with customers and stakeholders. The report also stated that 72% of businesses participating in social media in 2010 allocated 10% or more of their marketing budget to social media.

The way we communicate our products and services is changing so fast it is exciting! I have noticed the way our customers engage us and buy from us is changing. I say this is due to the amount of information that they have at their fingertips, no longer can a business sell on price alone as there will always be someone to undercut them.  I believe social media plays an important role in the promotion of a business and is the reason it is being adapted so rapidly. It is an opportunity to share brand personality, introduce key team members, engage with customers and gleam an insight into customer behaviors that can not be found out any other way.

Social media is an incredible medium for communication and an exciting medium to use in a marketing mix.

Yours in social media