Sark hiring reflects new era at MBS

Adrian Sark, a prominent figure among Canadian clients whose background is classic packaged goods, has joined the marketing services ranks as senior vice-president, strategic planning with Toronto-based Media Buying Services.The high-profile acquisition is a significant statement about the future direction of...

Adrian Sark, a prominent figure among Canadian clients whose background is classic packaged goods, has joined the marketing services ranks as senior vice-president, strategic planning with Toronto-based Media Buying Services.

The high-profile acquisition is a significant statement about the future direction of mbs, which earlier this year marked its 25th anniversary, says President Peter Swain.

‘The media environment is exploding before our very eyes,’ says Swain, adding, ‘and one of the significant changes is going to be the linkage between media and marketing.’

Swain points out that a democratization of sorts is occurring within the marketing world.

High-level marketing thinking and advertising creative development are no longer at one end of the marketing spectrum and media execution at another.

‘As media becomes more complex and integrated into the mainstream marketing procress, the challenge, for companies such as ours, is how to add more value,’ Swain says.

‘Adrian’s marketing expertise will allow us to do that by providing all our clients with both marketing and media insights,’ he says.

‘We are adding more brains to the muscle we already have.’

Sark, who began his career with Procter & Gamble and moved through consulting work to eventually become the marketing head of Hershey in Canada, agrees with Swain.

Sark says the need for such strategic media advice has intensified in recent years, particularly as cuts to marketing departments have strained those resources.

He says many clients understand they should be spending more time understanding media, but they simply do not have the time.

He says that while media issues are complex, the answers that clients seek are often fairly simple: ‘They want the latest thinking on how to best reach the target audience that they are after.

‘[mbs'] job is not to be blinded by conventional advertising wisdom, but to be to able to evaluate whether an idea is, or is not, a good idea,’ Sark says.

Swain predicts the marketing services sector is heading for a shakeout in the coming years.

He says a new era is already upon us in which such practices as relationship marketing and direct marketing are bound to grow, and the pressure will increase ‘for a better understanding of these many different tools.’

He says the addition of Sark is indicative of the way mbs plans to respond to the changing media environment.

Sark will contribute to mbs operations across the board, including the company’s strategic planning and research group, MBS Insight, headed by Wendy Fredericks.

Sark began in marketing at p&g as a brand manager in Toronto in 1972.

He worked with p&g in Spain for a year and returned to Canada in 1978 as associate advertising manager.

Two years later, he was named director of marketing for Frito-Lay Canada.

In 1982, Sark joined Hershey Canada as vice-president of marketing, where he was responsible for the relaunch of Hershey chocolate bars with Canadian formulation.

He left Hershey and worked in various marketing services companies, including his own consulting firm, until 1990, when he returned to Hershey again as vice-president of marketing.

Sark is also chairman of the board of directors of the Association of Canadian Advertisers.