Editorial Scoring advertising

In the relatively few decades of its existence, advertising has been surrounded by many layers of mystery bedevilling to all those associated with it.But, like the skins of an onion, the mystery is being peeled back, and, in the process, advertising...

In the relatively few decades of its existence, advertising has been surrounded by many layers of mystery bedevilling to all those associated with it.

But, like the skins of an onion, the mystery is being peeled back, and, in the process, advertising is beginning to reveal itself as less art and more science.

This peeling back is inexorable. It is driven by the clients, who are demanding more accountability. And, it is the result of technology, which is opening up entire new media fields and making advertising’s only role – ultimately, to generate sales – easier to credit or discredit.

In this issue, we carry two features that show how this trend is advancing.

Peter Case, vice-president, advertising at the Royal Bank, shares his view of how traditional media advertising will intersect in the near future with ‘new’ media advertising, namely direct communications. He sees the future as offering ‘a marriage made in heaven for advertisers who must maintain their brand equity and, at the same time, respond to the no-nonsense, tell-it-like-it-is and tell-us-what-it-does preferences of consumers…’

And already today, we see the maturation of a more pragmatic, and, in many ways, more consumer-responsive, approach to tv advertising in our special report on value-added sponsorship and promotions.

McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada and the CTV Television Network delivered a Winter Olympics cross-promotion that built sales and enhanced the image of the fast-food restaurant chain while linking the broadcaster to big-event tv.

The multi-faceted promotion involved in-store signage and packaging, the sale of Olympic merchandise, and print and tv advertising, as well as sponsorship by McDonald’s of two daily television features.

According to Drew Williams, ctv’s director of marketing, audience numbers were well beyond projections. Further, Peter Beresford, senior vice-president and national director of marketing at McDonald’s, offered a couple of telling statistics.

Over a two-week period, more than 1.5 million McDonald’s patrons signed their names to a banner that was presented to Canadian athletes the night before the games. And sales of Olympic merchandise through McDonald’s restaurants netted more than $500,000 in donations for the Canadian Olympic Association. At 50 cents per sale, that’s more than one million items.

Similarly, Royal Bank and CBC Television sought to engage viewers by involving them directly in last month’s broadcast of the 1994 World Figure Skating Championships in Japan.

Viewers and bank customers were encouraged to score along with the judges after picking up a scorecard at their local branch of the Royal Bank and watching a series of cbc-produced features explaining the intricacies of technical merit and artistic impression.

The objectives were to strengthen the bank’s longstanding link with figure skating and to drive viewership by capitalizing on the controversy surrounding judging.

Although our choice of the Royal Bank program as an example of a value-added promotion and Case’s featured position on our front page were unrelated, looking at it another way, they were not.

It is more than just coincidence that many of those who are willing to talk about change are also those who are bringing it about.