For the Record

ADVANTEX, TICKETMASTER LIFT CURTAIN ON AGREEMENT Advantex Marketing, the company that owns and operates the CIBC Aerogold reward program, recently announced a pact with TicketMaster Canada that will provide CIBC Aerogold cardholders with bonus miles on ticket purchases. Under terms of...


Advantex Marketing, the company that owns and operates the CIBC Aerogold reward program, recently announced a pact with TicketMaster Canada that will provide CIBC Aerogold cardholders with bonus miles on ticket purchases.

Under terms of the agreement, cardholders will get bonus Aeroplan miles on the purchase of tickets to concerts, as well as sports, family entertainment and performing arts events, provided the tickets are purchased through TicketMaster and paid for with the CIBC Aerogold card.

Advantex chairman and CEO C. Randall Munger says CIBC Aerogold members are an important target market for many entertainment events, and entertainment represents a significant new merchant category with solid revenue potential.


Toronto-based Carlson Marketing Group (CMG) has bought research and survey specialist Organizational Studies (OSI) in a bid to increase its emphasis on measurable marketing.

Jim Ryan, Carlson’s president, said in a statement that OSI ‘provides not only the expertise and tools to conduct employee, customer and best-practice assessments, but also the consulting services which enable us to now offer end-to-end design, delivery and measurement for our clients around the world.’

OSI specializes in providing research-validated measurement tools such as employee opinion and customer loyalty surveys. In the Carlson fold, it will become a division of CMG’s employee marketing practice. OSI is based in Toronto and also has offices in Chicago, Wyckoff, N.J., and Bogota, Colombia. Jim Graham, president of OSI, will continue to head its operations under the Carlson banner.


Markham, Ont.-based ACNielsen has teamed up with NCH SmartFocus to deliver the ACNielsen Customer Reach Program, billed as ‘a powerful new approach to loyalty marketing.’

The Customer Reach Program allows information from a retailer’s frequent shopper database to be linked with information from ACNielsen’s Homescan Consumer Panel, which contains purchasing information and attitudinal data. The combination is designed to enable retailers and manufacturers to tailor promotions with more precision. SmartFocus software allows clients to perform customer segmentations and direct-to-consumer promotion analyses from their desktops.


MDC’s business and technology unit, Optus, has acquired Markham, Ont.-based Bassett Direct and renamed it Optus Direct Response.

In a statement, Lyle Kerr, president and CEO of MDC’s secure transactions division, said the acquisition is one of several initiatives designed to expand the scale and scope of Optus’ services. Optus will apply Bassett’s expertise in online communications, customer relationship management and statement marketing to the direct marketing world, he added.

MDC is based in Toronto and has operating units throughout Canada, the U.S., the U.K. and Australia. The newly created Optus Direct Response organization will continue under the leadership of Rich Bassett, who was president and CEO of Bassett Direct.

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