Media

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Blazing a trail to the consumer

Walter Odenthal works at Skoki, a small back-country hiking lodge located one mountain range east of B.C.’s Lake Louise. I don’t know Walter very well but he looks like he’s in his mid 40s. He’s tall and like most mountain people, very lean and very fit. Rumour has it he came from a well-to-do family in Germany. Some say he’s a concert pianist.
What I know for sure is that he builds magnificent hiking trails, and in my conversations with Walter, I detected a strong parallel between planning mountain hiking trails and planning media campaigns.

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Thwarting mother nature

Erwin Ephron, partner at New York media consultancy Ephron, Papazian & Ephron, is known around the world as the father of recency planning. When he first started preaching his approach in 1995, he says many in the industry interpreted the idea that ‘a single exposure can have an effect on which brand a consumer will buy’ to mean, ‘oh boy, now advertisers can spend less money.’ Ephron soon disabused them of that notion by explaining that advertisers don’t need heavy repetition, but instead they need more weeks of advertising.

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Is TV measurement measuring up?

All measurement is flawed. That’s the tough reality TV buyers, sellers and researchers have been dealing with for years. But that doesn’t mean TV measurement couldn’t be better – some say much better – than it is right now.

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Leaders in a new game?

The media planning and buying industry cannot decide whether it is staring into the abyss or about to take an exciting leap into the future. Profit margins are under siege from an aggressive client audit culture and agencies’ willingness to undercut each other on price in their desperation to win and retain business.

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Buyers foster Hollywood connection

Tony Soprano’s ratfink goombah is crouched down in a parked car, shooting off his mouth to an FBI agent. Outside the window, we see an Office Depot store. ‘Youse want me to wear a wire?’ grunts the goombah. ‘Yeah,’ replies the feebie. ‘Need batteries? Let’s get some at Office Depot.’ Fade to black.
Product placement? Fuhgeddaboudit. Getting your brand actually written into the script of a huge hit like The Sopranos is an even bigger deal than having its characters handle or consume your products on-screen – theoretically persuading viewers to do likewise.

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Post rebound predicted; Metro corners youth

The National Post is losing and the Globe and Mail is gaining, according to the latest Interim Report issued by the Newspaper Audience Databank (NADbank). But some media buyers wonder whether the numbers, which showed the Post losing 23% of its readers in the Toronto market, accurately reflect the current situation for the CanWest-owned daily newspaper.

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How the West won

Since 1912, scores of professional calf ropers, bareback riders, steer wrestlers, barrel racers and bull riders have descended to this prairie city each summer to compete for the largest rodeo payout in the country. Top competitors in each of the main events then compete in sudden death rounds for cash bonus prizes (now sitting at $50,000 a pop) in what Western Horseman magazine calls ‘the richest hour in rodeo.’
In 2002, Calgary continues to lure people into its wealthy fold.
‘The biggest trend is that the city is growing so much,’ says Carmen Hunt, media manager at the Calgary office of Bryant Fulton & Shee. ‘We’re also the youngest city in Canada right now, and very well educated.’

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D-I-Y experiential paper towel ads

One thought that might come to mind as you leaf through the November issue of Canadian House and Home and see a real Scott paper towel inserted in the fold is: so simple, so effective – and so funny that no one thought of it before.

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Buyers: Your time is up

Strategy launching a new publication called MEDIA is a bit like Ford launching a new four-wheeled motorized vehicle called CAR. Or Kellogg launching a new box of cardboard crispy bits called CEREAL.
But this is media about media, and it’s a big wide field, covering everything from product immersion in movies (p. 1), to media creativity (p. 11), to recency planning (p. 20). In fact, there’s so much going on, so many different ways to come at what is undoubtedly the most important invention in the history of Western civilization, that it’s hard to know where to draw the line.

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A cross-country survey of media buying activity levels

Conventional broadcast TV

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Who needs creatives?

Media planners would be the first to say the genesis of an ad campaign needs both a mommy and a daddy. The creative department’s input is of course crucial, they’d say, to maintaining an advertiser-client’s brand standards or sparking a fresh idea in presentation.
But the days of invisible planners and researchers hunkering in back rooms crunching numbers and serving up a media platter for the creative department’s big ideas are long gone: Media experts have their own companies, advertiser-clients are becoming more sophisticated in the buying matrix, and deals are being done with media conglomerates that, on occasion, make traditional creative an afterthought.

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How far is too far?

The explosion of campaigns where media companies have done it on their own – without agency creatives – no doubt attests to the media community’s increasing creative and technical resources. At some point, however, someone has to create the promos, art direct the newspaper ads or write the radio scripts, and it’s only because the media owners are filling in that gap that agency creatives can be dispensed with.

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Handbook for the media revolution

So I came home from work the other day, and there it was. I kind of knew it would happen sooner or later, but when you actually lay eyes on it, it’s still a bit of a shock.
I’ve seen advertising on the little blue plastic mats in urinals, looped videos running on cubicle wall monitors and I’ve read about Zig’s bathroom makeovers for the W Channel, so obviously it was just a matter of time before advertising popped up in the can at home.

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Target group definitions are shifting away from Boomers

About 25 years ago, when I was a media planner working on the Thrifty’s Jeans account, I spent an inordinate amount of time helping to redefine the client’s target group. Thrifty management wanted to keep their store’s youthful image but also wanted to expand their customer base beyond the teen segment that accounted for their initial retail success.

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Buyers won’t miss Canadian dramas in fall lineup

What with CTV swapping The Associates for The 11th Hour, the CBC planning just one new series and Global skewing its focus again to reality TV, the outlook for Canadian dramas this fall is pretty grim.