Strategy 1994 Best Media Planners/Buyers:

Best in Broadcast: David Cairns, President, David Cairns and Company Media ManagementDavid Cairns was, for six years, vice-president, media director at Toronto-based advertising agency Chiat/Day, where he developed major media campaigns in the automotive, airline and consumer goods fields, culminating in...

Best in Broadcast: David Cairns, President, David Cairns and Company Media Management

David Cairns was, for six years, vice-president, media director at Toronto-based advertising agency Chiat/Day, where he developed major media campaigns in the automotive, airline and consumer goods fields, culminating in his selection as Strategy’s top media director for 1993.

In May 1994, Cairns resigned to start his own strategic media company, with the objective of offering senior, hands-on strategic media planning and buying to a select group of creative agencies and clients.

In the past seven months, his company has been selected by Ciba-Geigy, CN Tower, Petro-Canada, PharmaPlus and Roots.


‘Several years ago, as agencies and clients indulged in mass mergers, size of operation and buying `clout’ emerged as the dominant criteria for media operations and the primary concern of advertisers.

‘While I never subscribed to the idea that bigger equals better, it’s clear that in today’s environment, with the apparent collapse of the mega-agency and the renewal of interest in the `idea,’ as well as the increasing complication, fragmentation and opportunities in the media, advertisers appear to be more interested in ongoing senior advice and management, and a closer relationship between media planning, execution, and creative development than ever before.

‘What hasn’t changed, from my perspective, is the same need to work with the media as partners in developing marketing solutions for our clients, to develop great ideas from both media and creative viewpoints, and to move beyond `the numbers’ so that our programs work harder at solving our clients’ problems.

‘We need to encourage all players in this game to stop thinking of any one element as `suppliers’ and start recognizing everyone’s stake in making communications work.’

Best in Broadcast: Cindy Drown, Broadcast Manager, Cossette Communication-Marketing

Cindy Drown started at Cossette Communication-Marketing in 1992 as senior media buyer in charge of the McDonald’s account and was promoted to her current position in 1993.

From 1990-92, Drown worked as a media buyer at Backer Spielvogel Bates in Toronto.

She started her career in 1987 at Boclaro Canada.

Drown has bought broadcast for a wide variety of clients over the years, and takes pride in her strategic and unique use of the broadcast medium.


‘The use of broadcast is limited only by our imaginations.

‘Creative ideas for using broadcast do not need to be limited to planners – the executors of a campaign can play a very important part as well.

‘We are continuously developing new media angles which match the strategic direction of our clients’ businesses.

‘The sales community is facing a new frontier as well. The additional pressures of new ideas, promotional tie-ins and added value has not been limited to media people.

‘With so much change, and with greater demands on everyone’s time, it must be remembered that personal contact and conversation between agencies, clients and salespeople many times inspires the best ideas and simply makes our jobs much more fun.’

Best in Outdoor: Aileen Grant, Associate Media Director, McKim Media Group

Aileen Grant started her career as a media assistant at the Toronto office of McKim Media Group in 1985, and has worked as a buyer and planner on a variety of accounts.

Grant’s current assignments include Campbell Soup and the Ontario Milk Marketing Board.

She also has management responsibilities for all out-of-home media.


‘I believe our clients benefit from a media group which recognizes that by fostering good relationships with both the account and creative teams, they can develop strong media plans and buys.

‘This teamwork allows for the media professionals to fully understand all aspects of the client’s business.

‘That knowledge carries through to all aspects of media buying/planning, and especially dealing with suppliers.

‘And, that means all suppliers, to give everyone a fair chance at submitting their best offer, and best ideas.

‘By working with sales reps and their companies, we can look to new opportunities and develop a campaign that is both strategic and targetted.

‘The old adversarial relationship between suppliers and media departments has to end, so exciting advertising partnerships can emerge.

‘The days of cookie-cutter media plans and buys are over, and to accomplish the best we can for our clients, we should be asking for more from our suppliers; more research, more accountability, more ideas that can help us stand out from the crowd.

‘By bringing at least one new idea to each media plan/buy, we stand to raise the level of our product to clients.

‘As clients are looking for media plans to deliver consumers more efficiently and innovatively, we should familiarize ourselves with all available opportunities.

‘By having an open mind, suppliers will want to come to the agency that fosters that attitude for its clients.

‘With the media landscape changing constantly, our clients expect us to be leading the pack, and we can achieve that by constantly learning and throwing off all the old paradigms.’

Best in Print: Darryl Nicholson, Planning Supervisor, Initiative Media

As a planning supervisor with Initiative Media’s Toronto office, Darryl Nicholson has developed strategic media recommendations for packaged goods, high technology and retail advertisers.

During the four years Nicholson has been with the agency, he has handled planning responsibilities on Unilever, Johnson & Johnson and McNeil Consumer Products, among others.


‘My first and only rule in developing a print campaign is that there are no rules.

‘The print industry is undergoing dramatic change, and with increased competition, the days of `must buy’ magazines and `regular’ pages of advertising are over.

‘What I am looking for are creative solutions to a client’s media needs. That means working with print reps as communications partners, rather than looking upon them as just suppliers.

‘It also means challenging media conventions and breaking new ground.

‘The print industry must find new ways of dealing with old situations – going beyond the page to allow for communications that are imaginative, innovative and better.

‘Like creating customized advertising programs that include editorial sponsorships, pay-by-response initiatives, sampling opportunities and event marketing.

‘Some publishers have already begun to see the light, particularly in French Canada – but, others, principally from the big publishing houses, have been slow to react to the changes around them.

‘The reality is that a magazine’s or newspaper’s responsiveness and flexibility to my client’s needs is paramount.

‘Media isn’t just about who can deliver an audience cheaper, it’s much more about the use of media and its implications, than the cost-per-thousand.

‘I think major opportunities exist for publishers that are progressive and forward-thinking, and I hope we see a lot more evolution in the year ahead.’

Best in Broadcast: Tammy Silney, Vice-President, Director of Broadcast Media, DDB Needham Worldwide

Tammy Silney began her career in 1976 in Montreal. She has varied experience in all levels and facets of media – planning, buying, direct response, and promotions with clients and agencies.

Silney graduated as a Certified Advertising Agency Practitioner in 1979, and moved to Toronto in 1985.

She joined DDB Needham in 1988, and has managed the broadcast buying unit since that time.

She was appointed vice-president in 1992.


‘In today’s rapidly changing media and business environments, clients are looking to agency media departments to deliver not only targetted strategies and effective executions, but also to sort through the reams of information that accompany this constantly evolving media landscape.

‘Here at DDB Needham, the lines between buying and planning are blurring. Planners and buyers work as a team to deliver a common goal.

‘Buyers are an integral part of the task force team, and are fully briefed on all brand strategies, with planners often taking part in negotiations and station/show selection.

‘Because our buyers do understand strategies, we deliver executions that are truly targetted to each individual product. This task force approach allows for promotional opportunities that add true value.

‘Another key component to our philosophy is to fully involve suppliers in delivering our brand objectives. We have open communication with many sales reps, which allows for their full participation, but demands their accountability.

‘As a result, we do not treat media buying as a commodity, but as a brand unto itself.

‘With many clients working with flat or reduced budgets, yet demanding the same or more for their money, we demonstrate our sensitivity to this by operating within the strictest guidelines.

‘As a result, we are not afraid to deliver below-the-line recommendations if that is the most effective use of a client’s funds.

‘Customization is what our clients can expect from DDB Needham, and that is what our media department is set up to provide.’