The big problem

The new owner of this storied trademark was excited to revive a historical brand that had been asleep since 1993. Marc expected the world to be excited about its relaunch. Assumptions that the brand would have instant subscribers and supporters quickly turned into realizing he needed to do more. Marc needed a plan to build brand awareness to connect with old fans and create a new generation of CARtoons subscribers.

CARtoons Magazine reached out to Holeshot Brandworks to put a brand strategy together with the goal of helping CARtoons stand out, attract and retain subscribers for long-term growth.

The client

CARtoons Magazine

Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada

The plan and process

Step 1. discovery

All client work starts with a detailed discovery session or sessions. In Marc’s case, we had three discovery sessions together to help us understand him, his business and his goals. With his help, we created the CARtoons brand persona, understood his long-term goals, what the subscriber/advertiser/artist brand experience looked like, and other confidential information about the magazine operations, distribution and sales.

With an existing readership already in place, we needed to know who they were, what age group they are in and why they are readers of CARtoons magazine. We crafted two surveys that were distributed to the CARtoons Subscribers and the CARtoons Artists. We wanted to understand who they were, why they purchased or got involved with the magazine and their thoughts on the new version of CARtoons Magazine.

We had a 30% response rate from the subscribers and an 85% response rate from the Artists. The data demographic and behavioural data we collected helped us formulate a plan for moving this storied brand forward.

Step 2. analysis

Our next step was looking through our old magazines from the late 80s and early 90s and their new issues—tons of memories flooded into your minds. After the walk down memory lane, we started auditing and analyzing the CARtoons brand in great detail. We documented and assessed every existing marketing piece and brand touchpoint.

During our audit, we had to ask hard questions:

  • Why should anyone care that CARtoons is back?
  • Why should anyone buy a subscription?
  • Who is currently buying the magazine?
  • How likely are old fans willing to purchase the magazine again?
  • What’s being done to retain subscribers and make them repeat buyers?
  • What is CARtoons saying to new customers, and does it compel people to want to learn more?
  • What is the buying experience from start to finish?
  • Does everything align with the goals of CARtoons?

We looked through their website design and messaging. We also analyzed their eCommerce platform, social media channels and sales pieces. Our audit revealed several holes that had to be addressed to help CARtoons stand out, attract and retain the right people.

The tangible outcomes

Step 3. design

CARtoons magazine began as a subsidiary of a publishing company that built a legion of subscribers and brand awareness through their other periodicals. The new CARtoons brand had no other magazines to help build brand awareness, so the reach would need to be organic with strategic advertising help.

The design process involved creating CARtoons’ key written content. In addition, we crafted their Intent Statement, Mission, Vision and Values.

We took a closer look at the existing slogan of CARtoons, “Car Culture Humor,” and realized that it needed a minor change. The category CARtoons occupied was first to market and category creator, so we needed a new slogan to represent the leadership of CARtoons. Thus, “#1 Source of Car Culture Humor” was created.

Our next step was to create several positioning statements geared towards their key target demographics. Finally, we developed messaging and marketing strategies for subscribers, artists and advertisers.


Brand Bible, Identity Manual (colour palette, logo rules and variations, standard typeface), Identity Package (letterhead, business card, envelope), Media Buy Kit, Marketing Strategy Manual, Advertiser Marketing Strategy.

Time of completion: 60 days


CARtoons did not have a corporate colour palette, set of approved typefaces or an identity manual. We created these parts of the brand to help Marc create consistency with all his marketing channels.

The CARtoons logo also needed a set of rules and guidelines. We took great care in not altering the logo in any manner.

There was a stationary package and email signature designed for Marc to help with building brand awareness for corporate partnerships.

We also developed a brand touchpoint matrix and Omni-sensory touchpoint guide to help CARtoons with future marketing ideas.

The CARtoons Magazine website needed alterations to reflect the new branding. We overhauled the home page into a more fluid sales-focused format using all the recent positioning statements and content we created.

A media buy kit was also designed to reflect the new brand.

The Brand Bible

The last piece of the design process was in creating a Brand Bible for CARtoons Magazine. This guide combined all of the finished brand elements to help guide any future contractor or employee. It outlines the brand standards and language for all marketing strategies. It maintains quality control and consistency through any brand touchpoint. Copies of this manual could be printed or distributed electronically to any partner.

The Marketing Channels

Step 4 . marketing

With all the foundational elements in place, we could now develop an effective marketing strategy. One that would be laser-focused and goal orientated while being aware of Marc’s current marketing budget.

We wrote plans that targeted advertisers, subscribers and artists. Each program had specific tasks and utilized specific marketing channels to create effective reach. We outlined tools, resources and steps with each plan. Unique creative ideas were shared with steps to completion. It was filling in brand experience gaps neglected in the past.

The tangible results

We recorded baseline statistics from a number of sources. These are a few that we can share publicly.


Instagram Followers




Twitter Followers

The intangible & aspirational results

We have been watching over CARtoons for the past couple of years. We offer Marc help whenever he needs a consult or resources to help him continue building momentum with the CARtoons brand.

It’s really rewarding to know that Holeshot Brandworks was involved in helping revive this historical brand.  We continue to be huge fans of this magazine.

Below are Marc’s answers to the questions we asked him – candid, unfiltered and unedited.

“Dennis from Holeshot Brandworks was a huge help in expanding the brand. He was very easy to talk to as he is down to earth and has many great ideas. He helped with revising the website to make it more appealing, helped create a brand bible which is very important in today’s society and he also gave successful advice on what directions I needed to go with advertising and reaching out to those through the internet.”

Marc Methot CARtoons Magazine

When the project was complete, did you get everything you expected?
Absolutely. He showed passion to help the brand succeed. Even though the magazine is still reaching the goal to full success, he set me on the right path to reach those goals, and I am grateful for it.

What occurred after the project completed? What results did you see?
I noticed results in more traffic to the website, increased sales and an increased reach out on social media platforms.

How did the Brand Bible help you?
The brand bible helped me focus on the proper goals to success with the business. A basic guide needed to follow that direction on the road to success, and we are getting there.

How did the Marketing Strategy guidelines help you?
I learned a lot as I have no experience in marketing. This knowledge is #1 important with the success of any type of business.

Do you know what your return on investment is? Can you explain what ROI you received?
I don’t know the exact numbers, but I can tell you that even with the pandemic we are all experiencing increased online sales and that is a major positive in my books.

Any other comments you would like to add?
Just that if you are starting any type of business that involves the use of the internet, unless you have schooling for such as thing such as marketing, branding and business ethics, then I highly suggest getting a professional involved to help with your business’s success like Dennis from Holeshot Brandworks. Definitely worth the investment.

Do you want to achieve success like this client?

Let’s talk about your business problem and find out what success looks like to you. before you reach out read the FAQs below to learn more about how we work with our clients. Then contact us to schedule a video call.


Who do you work with?

We work really well with automotive business owners and companies that fit the following criteria:

  1. They have 3-50 employees.
  2. Their business has been operational for at least 2 years or more.
  3. The company is cash-flow positive.
  4. The business owner has a yearly marketing budget of $25,000 CAD or more.
  5. The company is going through some sort of transition - moving, growing, changing direction, franchising, selling, purchasing a competitor, expanding operations, etc.
  6. Lastly, they are an automotive company in the aftermarket industry - they manufacture, distribute, use, buy or sell automotive specialty parts/accessories. Or they make 4-wheeled vehicles look better, go faster or become something new. This might be a performance shop, parts manufacturer, car repair, parts distributor, etc.

There are many amazing automotive business owners in different types of journeys. We want to help as many of you as we can. Please tell us about your journey!

How much does it cost to create brand?

We like to look at branding as an investment, not a cost. Because you will get a return on investing in your brand. In most cases, branding services require an investment anywhere from 3-10% of your annual gross revenue. Our minimum level of engagement starts at $5,000 CAD and can go up from there depending on the size of your company and the scope of the complete project.

Is branding really that important?

We believe it is in today's economy.

It's no secret that everyone's BS radar is on high. Authenticity is being scrutinized. Transparency is being celebrated. People crave to support and be part of communities. Your business and brand are a community.

What do your customers say about you when you are not in the room? How do they feel when they look at your image? What's the retention rate of your clients? Do they scoff at your prices or are they happy to pay you what you feel you are worth? How do your employees feel when they work for you? Do you have high turnover with staff or extreme loyalty?

These are questions that can be addressed with a well-executed brand.

You see and hear about other brands all the time. You may have been jealous or curious about these other companies and what they have achieved internally and externally. It's cult-like. It's a community and it's so fucking powerful when done right.

Learn why it's important by reading this article we wrote.

How long does it take to brand my company?

Branding can take as quickly as 30 days to complete if you need accelerated services. Generally, each project takes 30-120 days and becomes a long-term relationship. Business owners and key decision-makers are required to be involved with the process because our approach is very collaborative.

What ROI can I get from Branding?

We have seen increased sales & referrals occur to clients after they launch their new image and brand.  Their perception increases. Customers become more aware. Customers find their new image more appealing to their needs. Business owners and employees shift mentally. There is increased engagement from staff. Owners become inspired once again. They no longer see themselves as the ‘little guy’. They are more confident. They become proud of their image. If you are looking for revenue gains and other numbers and statistics, please call us. We have case studies we can share.

I already have a logo and website, can you work with my company?

Absolutely! We can work with your existing visual identity quite easily. Our brand development services create the foundational elements that are often overlooked or simply put together haphazardly. We can bring consistency to your brand by including the existing visuals of your company.

Can you help me even if I am not in your country?

Yes we can. Technology has made it very easy for us to give the same experience to clients outside of our country. We can video chat, conduct phone calls and if required, travel to your city. If you need more information about our services for clients, please contact us.

I have an in-house design team, can you work with us?

Absolutely! Here's something you may not know. Our owner Dennis Michael started his career as an in-house creative so he understands the department and dynamics. We can work side-by-side with your in-house team in a collaborative manner. We can also offer training, systems & processes refinement and mentorship to your team if required.

Who does the work?

We focus on what we are really good at and nothing more. When it comes to graphic design, website development, marketing services, writing, SEO, etc. We bring on only high-quality, personally vetted, trusted professionals to help with the work that is beyond our scope. Think of us as your creative director/project manager when other services are included in your scope. If you have an in-house team, excellent! Let's work together.

We have a lot of working knowledge in all areas of design and marketing (enough to make us dangerous) so we can ensure our clients are being served very well. It allows us to communicate with our partners effectively, maintain a high level of quality and create a level of accountability.

What is the difference between branding and logo design?

Branding is more than visuals. It's the complete ecosystem of your company that makes up the brand. What people say, think and feel about your company.

Whereas logo design is one element in the whole brand experience. It's an important one though because your logo is your workhorse. It will be applied everywhere and act as your first point of contact with any prospect.

Do you participate in RFPs?

It is our policy to not participate in RFPs.

I have someone who needs branding help but they're not an automotive company. Can you help them?

Absolutely! We can refer you to one of our many supporting partners who can help you with your non-automotive company.