CAE battles low profile

Can you imagine a 48-year-old Canadian technology company with $650 million in annual revenue and 90% marketshare in most of its categories worldwide that has an identity problem?Toronto-based cae can.That's why the company hired Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising, also of Toronto,...

Can you imagine a 48-year-old Canadian technology company with $650 million in annual revenue and 90% marketshare in most of its categories worldwide that has an identity problem?

Toronto-based cae can.

That’s why the company hired Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising, also of Toronto, last November as its worldwide agency and is launching its first integrated ad campaign this month.

Using the lead-in, ‘Can You Imagine…’ and the tagline, ‘We Can.’, cae hopes the advertising will establish a corporate brand image while educating the public, government, business decision-makers and the investors about its diverse operations.

Bob Waite, vice-president corporate relations for CAE Canada, says the company ‘did a number of surveys, and, even here in Canada, to our mind, a remarkably small number of people in the investment community and among key stakeholders, including government, didn’t really know anything about cae.

‘I could go through a litany of superlatives about cae being one of Canada’s leading exporters, in the top three or four in terms of research and development, a world leader in virtually every activity we’re involved in, but, somehow, we’ve managed to maintain that as a secret over a nearly 50-year history,’ Waite says.

Company research also found the share-buying public was not as aware of publicly traded cae as the company would like it to be.

Waite says cae, like most companies, prefers to have its stock widely held rather than narrowly concentrated with pension funds and large financial institutions.

While the advertising is not designed to raise stock prices, he says it is hoped it will create awareness among investors.

cae has run some image advertising in the past, but has never tried to build a brand personality.

Waite says it discovered during business dealings in China and some European markets that brand identity is important.

Saatchi’s strength in the Far East was a key factor in its selection by cae, Waite says, adding the agency will take the Canadian campaign and adapt it for use in various markets around the world.

Outside of Canada, the advertising will be used tactically.

‘We’re going to do a couple of acquisitions this year, and are looking at doing small targeted campaigns around the time of acquisition to give information about cae as a corporate entity as an attempt to make the community, customer and governments comfortable with the acquisition,’ Waite says.

cae was established in 1947 as Canadian Aviation Electronics, but, over the years, its diversity has resulted in a shortened name for the umbrella company.

Today, it has several divisions operating under two groups: Aerospace & Electronics Group and Industrial Technologies Group.

The Aerospace Group designs, produces and services commercial full-flight simulators, produces technical publications, and handles maintenance and repair for military aircraft for the Canadian Armed Forces, and others.

The more diverse Technologies Group provides technology and equipment to the forestry, pulp and paper, mining, food and beverage, waste processing, water treatment, and petrochemical industries around the world, in addition to North American railways.

cae will try to reach decision-makers with a print campaign consisting of two four-color, double-page spreads and four single-page executions, beginning in May issues of business magazines and newspaper ads in The Globe and Mail, Les Affaires and The Citizen in Ottawa, which begin May 4.

Two 30-second tv spots created by Saatchi are scheduled to run on specialty services such as CBC Newsworld and Discovery, as well as business programming, which includes Venture on cbc.

The spots will also run inflight on Canadian Airlines International and Air Canada.

One of the magazine ads, ‘Can you imagine flying a plane that hasn’t even been built yet?’ talks about the flight simulator cae designed for the Boeing 777.

Pilots flew the simulator long before the jet ever got off the ground. This led to changes being made to the 777′s design.