The Strategic Judges

Susann AllisonSusann Allison is vice-president of marketing, dog foods, in the grocery products division of Mississauga, Ont.-based Ralston Purina Canada.A u.s. citizen, Allison has worked for Ralston Purina, with its headquarters in St. Louis, for nearly 11 years.The first five and...

Susann Allison

Susann Allison is vice-president of marketing, dog foods, in the grocery products division of Mississauga, Ont.-based Ralston Purina Canada.

A u.s. citizen, Allison has worked for Ralston Purina, with its headquarters in St. Louis, for nearly 11 years.

The first five and a half years were spent in St. Louis on various brand assignments, in both dog and cat foods, on existing brands and new products.

Since being transferred to Canada, Allison has worked exclusively in dog food, first as director of marketing, then as vice-president.

From 1980-83, she worked at Nabisco, where she repositioned the Mix ‘n Eat Cream of Wheat product line and managed the base brand.

In the 13 years since she graduated with an mba from Columbia University’s graduate school of business in New York, Allison has worked with nearly a dozen advertising agencies.

She has been involved in the development and production of numerous campaigns involving tv, radio, magazine, newspaper, outdoor and other media.

Favorite advertising:

1. Honda Accord ‘Leap Year,’ ‘Compromise’ and ‘Power Gap’ (tv) by Doner Schur Peppler.

2. Sunlight ‘Piano’ (tv) by MacLaren:Lintas for Lever Bros.

3. Bell residential long-distance ‘Do the Hustle’ (tv) by Leo Burnett.

General comments:

There were moments when I felt a little schizophrenic; the consumer and marketer in me struggled to dominate the other’s reactions to the ads.

The marketer took over particularly when the ad was intended for an audience to which I either did not belong or was unable to relate (teens, Quebec.)

However, when it came time to pick my three favorite ads, the consumer side cast the deciding votes.

No single agency stood above all the rest – neither did any single campaign.

One factor was critical in separating the good from the not-so-good: respect for the consumer, the real judge.

The most compelling campaigns, from formation to finish, were rich with strategic insight and understanding.

These ads generally delivered uncomplicated, clear and honest communication to attatin that which we are all looking for: rapport and long-lasting trust between our product and our audience. Bravo.

Even among mid-ranking campaigns, respect was generally evident; however, these ads either talked at the consumer or were otherwise correctibly flawed.

But in the very few campaigns that fell to the bottom, not only was respect absent, the ads unnecessarily bordered on being offensive.

With a handful of exceptions, production values were consistently high. Sound/music played an important, even decisive, role in the best commercials.

Pam Arway

Pam Arway was recently appointed vice-president and general manager of the travel services group at Markham, Ont.-based Amex Canada, where she is responsible for corporate card, business travel and leisure travel.

Arway brings considerable experience in card and travel with American Express. She joined Amex in 1987 as director, corporate card/business travel marketing.

Later, she assumed responsibility as vice-president, card marketing, AMEX Bank of Canada, for all marketing activities related to the personal, gold and platinum cards, the Front of the Line benefit, merchandise services and creative services.

Her most recent position was vice-president and general manager, leisure travel.

Arway has an mba from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont. and recently served as chairman of the Canadian Direct Marketing Association.

Favorite advertising:

1. Napoleon eyewear ‘Change la face du monde’ (tv) by taxi for Cameo Optique.

2. Claritin antihistamine ‘Grass,’ ‘Cat,’ ‘Ragweed’ (tv) and ‘Pollen, schmollen’ (print) by Cossette Communication-Marketing for Schering Canada.

3. Canadian Airlines International’s ‘Signature’ (tv) by Chiat/Day.

General comments:

Some really excellent, innovative work. I liked the fact that many of the agencies included business results from the campaigns.

I also liked the wide variety of media used.

Carole Boivin

Carole Boivin is director of corporate sponsorships and media with the Montreal Expos Baseball Club.

Before joining the Expos marketing and broadcast department in 1991, Boivin was employed in sports marketing with International Management Group and hospitality marketing with Holiday Inn Canada.

She has an mba from the University of Western Ontario in London, Ont. and a B.Sc. in Occupational Therapy from McGill University in Montreal.

Favorite advertising:

1. Metropolitan Toronto Zoo ‘Hippo’ and ‘Giraffe’ (transit) by Chiat/Day.

2. Napoleon eyewear ‘Change la face du monde’ (tv) by taxi for Cameo Optique.

3. Canadian Airlines International’s ‘Signature’ (tv) by Chiat/Day.

General comments:

Overall, the advertising samples appear to be less focussed on image, but rather on advertising that is factual and talks to the consumer.

The ads were very human – in touch with the consumer. Many had interesting and humorous creative that stood out.

The best ads had creative that provided synergy to the overall messages.

In these cases, I knew I would remember the brand and the creative. They made me curious about the product.

Ian McIntosh

Ian McIntosh is general manager, consumer marketing at Etobicoke, Ont.-based Goodyear Canada.

McIntosh spent the first half of his career at ad agencies Vickers & Benson and J. Walter Thompson, where he worked predominantly on durables and packaged goods assignments for a variety of clients.

The balance of his career to date has been spent on the client side of a desk, split between The NutraSweet Company and Goodyear Canada.

His attention has been focussed on the marketing and communications end of each of these businesses.

Favorite advertising:

1. Operation Go Home ‘Daddie’s Girl’ (print) by Geoffrey B. Roche & Partners.

2. Hewlett Packard DeskJet Printers ‘Run Dot Run’ (tv) by Saatchi & Saatchi.

3. Ultra Tide ‘Grunge’ (tv) by Saatchi & Saatchi for Procter & Gamble.

General comments:

Overall, there was considerable evidence that many people believe in the same criteria as I do in developing sound communications programs: is there a strong common sense to the strategy; does the message tell me something [new] about the brand, either functionally or emotionally; does the message ask for the order or build a memorable foundation for future order-taking; most importantly, is the message likeable, measurable, and will it be seen by the right people; and, last, would I be proud to say I was a part of its development?

I found that most of the work submitted was very good.

There was, however, among a very select group of agencies, a consistency across all their work that addressed the criteria I believe results in good communications. This made a final selection difficult.

The agency that eventually rose to the top in my calculations demonstrated an exceptionally strong strategic sense, complemented by an equally strong creative product, and these were supported by a logical media choice.

David Middleton

David Middleton is advertising director at Montreal-based retailer Zellers, where he is responsible for all media, creative and marketing communication strategies.

Middleton started his career at Sears Canada, where he took on ever increasing creative responsibilities.

He later moved to Miracle Mart (M Store) as advertising manager. He was soon promoted to director of marketing, where he was responsible for repositioning Miracle Mart, and was actively involved in the transformation to M Store.

Middleton has 23 years’ experience in retail advertising.

Favorite advertising:

1. Whippet ‘Nudity,’ ‘Violence’ (tv) by Young & Rubicam for Culinar.

2. Black Ice campaign (tv, print, out-of-home) by bcp for Molson O’Keefe.

3. Canada Trust ‘Counting’ (tv) by Doner Schur Peppler.

General comments:

The marketing communication strategies and resulting creative executions, although interesting, left one wondering ‘Was this truly the best?’

Diane Teer

Diane Teer is vice-president of marketing at Vancouver-based Nabob Coffee.

Teer was appointed to the position in May.

Since joining the company in 1988, Teer has held marketing positions with Nabob’s premium line of coffee, and was the marketing manager for the company’s Lifestream Natural Food division.

Before coming to Nabob, Teer spent four years with Procter & Gamble.

Favorite advertising:

1. BC Tel ‘Payback’ (tv) by McKim Baker Lovick/BBDO.

2. Claritin ‘Ragweed’ (tv) by Cossette Communication-Marketing for Schering Canada.

3. Minigo ‘Le Plaisir de grandir’ campaign (tv) by bcp for Agropur-Yoplait.

General comments:

It’s great to see agencies stepping outside the bounds of ‘traditional category advertising.’

Strong creative approaches to delivering the client’s strategic message is a necessity if we expect to break through the clutter of the ’90s.

A great collection of work.