Paper connection spells good news for Workopolis.com

The birth last week of Workopolis.com, the love child begat from the strange union betwixt Globe Information Services and Torstar, may one day be remembered as a momentous turning point for the newspaper industry in Canada. Not, however, because it marked...

The birth last week of Workopolis.com, the love child begat from the strange union betwixt Globe Information Services and Torstar, may one day be remembered as a momentous turning point for the newspaper industry in Canada. Not, however, because it marked the first time the publishers of the two largest daily newspapers in Toronto set aside their competitive differences for a common strategic goal.

No, if the launch of Workopolis is recalled with veneration years from now it will be because it signaled the beginning of a real transformation in the way the purveyors of news and information do business in this country. It may, in fact, be seen as one of the first concrete steps in a process in which the 200-year-old-plus model of simply delivering a static, pre-determined package of news and information to a passive audience was put to rest.

While Workopolis.com is certainly not the first entrant in the race to dominate the online career resource category, it may end up being the first one to fully register in the consciousness of Canadians all across the country. By any existing measure, Monster.ca and Jobshark.com, are doing a superb job of attempting to meet a need in the marketplace – that is, fast, easy access to a large repository of good job opportunities, along with a healthy measure of useful advice. The advantage the similarly structured Workopolis Web site has over them, however, is its offline connection to good old-fashioned newspapers.

Anyone who has ever had to look for work knows that newspapers are a useful place to seek out opportunities, but almost never the best place to look. Still, the habit of turning to newspapers to look for work is ingrained in the behaviour of most ordinary people, and by joining forces on Workopolis, The Globe and the Star have craftily put in a place a method to transfer the offline goodwill they’ve earned over the years to the Internet. Once they perfect the new model and take further steps to solidify the direct relationships they’ve established with their audience, count on seeing a torrent of new interactive content flowing between the information providers and their audiences.

The only potential hurdle to Workopolis being the spark to make that happen would be an ineffective branding and launch strategy that renders the venture little more than an interesting footnote in the history of the development of the Internet economy in Canada. But that couldn’t possibly happen, could it?

David Bosworth

dbosworth@brunico.com

From Karen Howe’s dining table: Creativity, COVID and Cannes

ICYMI, The Township's founder gathers the best of the best campaigns and trends so far.

Cannes Base Camp

By Karen Howe

I’m attending Cannes from the glory of my dining room table. There’s not a palm tree in sight, yet inspiration and intel are present in abundance.

Cannes Lions is a global cultural pulse check. The social course correction in the wake of the murder of George Floyd and BLM has delivered far greater diversity in the judging panels as well as the work. And we are all better for it.

I’m proud to say that creativity defeated COVID, which speaks to its power. Great work and big ideas flourished, despite unimaginable odds.

The work from the past two years spans a vast emotional range. From the profundity of Dove’s “Courage is Beautiful” to the hyper exuberance of Burberry’s “Festive,” they are opposite ends of the spectrum, but each answered a need in us.

Take note, the ascendency of gaming cannot be understated. Smart brands have embraced the channel. It makes sense, because gamers participate to meet others around the world, not just to play. And they represent a huge and powerful community. That’s why QSR Wendy’s gamified their iconic gal in RPG’s Feast of Legends.

Burger King sponsored the unknown Stevenage Football Club, transforming the team into online heroes and vaulting BK into the fray at the same time. Once again, the brand embedded itself in culture.

The birth of gaming tourism arrived when Xbox snuggled up to travel guides and created a brilliant baby: a travel guide for gaming worlds. It, too, embedded itself in culture.

From the standpoint of social good, Reporter Without Borders showed how it worked with Mindcraft for its “Uncensored Library” to bypass press censorship, with Minecraft providing a loophole to a space where young people could be educated. It provided youth with a powerful tool to fight oppression: truth.

COVID changed us in unexpected ways. We learned how to pay attention again and there was a notable lack of 30-second commercials. Instead, longer format content thrived. Apple’s WFH was seven minutes long. Entertainment reigned king, so we find ourselves returning to our advertising roots.

Seeing competitive brands form partnerships was one of this year’s other great surprises. The brilliantly simple “Beer Cap Project” by Aguila to reduce binge-drinking saw the brand reach out to competitive beers to join in. Aguila put incentivizing (keyword: free) reminders to drink water, eat food and get home safely on its bottle caps from all sorts of fast food chains, ride-share co’s and H2O brands.

On a personal level, I’m so proud of Canada again this year. Given that it was two years of work from all over the world being judged, even making the Cannes shortlist was an accomplishment. Canada is herding in the Lions in tremendous numbers – and it’s not even over. Fingers are crossed.

KAREN-HOWE-PIC-higher-rez-300x263Karen Howe is a Canadian Cannes Advisory Board Member and founder of The Township Group