Clutter on the rise

Advertisers who continue to pay big bucks for airtime they know is cluttered with too many television commercials are just wasting their money, says a media management expert. David Stanger, a Vancouver-based consultant, says it's a losing proposition to buy ads...

Advertisers who continue to pay big bucks for airtime they know is cluttered with too many television commercials are just wasting their money, says a media management expert.

David Stanger, a Vancouver-based consultant, says it’s a losing proposition to buy ads in an environment that’s cluttered with competing messages.

‘The worst enemy of the advertiser are commercial breaks that start people racing around the dial with the remote. The more commercials, the more clutter, the more it’s going to fragment the viewing and take away time spent watching the commercials we want them to see as advertisers.’

Unfortunately, says Stanger, he doesn’t see the situation changing until the balance shifts between inventory demand and availability. And he doesn’t see demand ebbing as long as advertisers have a competitive bone in their bodies.

‘For every advertiser that steps up to take a stand, there are two waiting to grab the available airtime,’ he says.

The Association of Canadian Advertisers, which monitors ad minutes per hour through an annual study, has been a vocal opponent of clutter creep for the past few years, although it has not launched a formal complaint with the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission or directly approached offending broadcasters.

The ACA’s latest study, based on data collected last fall, shows that 80% of measured programming continues to contain more than the regulation 12 minutes per hour of advertising.

Bob Reaume, vice-president, media and research for the ACA, pegs the national average at 14 minutes and 40 seconds per hour across all dayparts.

He says the clutter isn’t quite as noticeable in the Toronto market where there is a larger inventory of airtime, but in markets like Calgary and Vancouver, the offences are staggering.

In Calgary, the study found an average of 15 minutes, 30 seconds per hour in the 4-6 p.m. period and 15 minutes, eight seconds from noon to 4 p.m.

A full 93% of all hours measured in Vancouver, Monday to Friday, noon to 4 p.m. were over the 12-minute limit, with the average being 16 minutes, 15 seconds.

‘We [the advertisers] have an investment in this medium and it’s just a shame that no one wants to take steps to shore this up,’ says Reaume. ‘It’s really very short-sighted.

‘The viewer is jaded enough,’ he says, adding: ‘We have research that shows that the more commercials that run in a program, the less likely that the consumer will remember your commercial.

‘Twelve minutes seems like a reasonable amount of time to us. But when it gets up to 20 minutes [as in the U.S.], I can’t blame the consumer for using the remote control to start looking for other programming.’

In the U.S., clutter has soared to its highest level ever, 16.43 minutes per prime time hour (59 seconds higher than the previous year) according to the annual Television Commercial Monitoring Report from the American Association of Advertising Agencies and the Association of National Advertisers.

The report also states that U.S. daytime network clutter rose to a new level of 20.53 minutes per hour on average.

That disparity between the amount of U.S. ad time and the allowable number of minutes in Canada has contributed to the problem in this country.

Broadcasters importing U.S. programming have had to fill those gaps. To that end, last summer, the CRTC added several exclusions to its 12-minute-per-hour rule, including the promotion of any Canadian program or feature film and cross-promotions between stations and networks.

Ken Johnson, vice-president of sales for Global Television Network says Global stays within the CRTC guidelines and fills the gaps using promotional messages, news and weather breaks, sports and entertainment minutes, or other vignettes.

‘This country is affected by U.S. product. We buy U.S. product and they determine how much commercial time to run in it. We don’t. We’re allowed 12 minutes and that’s what we run.’

Corner Officer Shifts: Martin Fecko leaves Tangerine

Plus, PointsBet Canada and Thinkific name new marketing leaders as Lole gets a new ecommerce VP.
Corner Office

Martin Fecko departs Tangerine 

After roughly two years of serving as Tangerine’s chief marketing officer, Martin Fecko has a new gig. And this time, the financial services vet will apply his marketing leadership to a new sector, having been named CMO of Dentalcorp.

Fecko will lead the dental network’s end-to-end patient journey, support its overall growth, and work to maximize patient experiences across every touchpoint, the company said in a release.

“Martin’s in-depth expertise in engaging and retaining customers through a digitally enabled experience will be valuable in realizing our vision to be Canada’s most trusted healthcare network,” said Dentalcorp president Guy Amini.

Prior to joining Scotiabank’s digital-only banking brand in late-2019, Fecko was country manager for Intuit Canada and spent 10 years at American Express in consumer and digital marketing.

PointsBet Canada nabs former Bell marketer as it pursues expansion

Dave Rivers has joined PointsBet, an online gaming and sports betting operator, as Canadian VP of marketing.

Rivers joins from Bell, where he was most recently director of brand marketing and sponsorship, responsible for driving the company’s national sponsorship strategy and portfolio. He will report to PointsBet Canada chief commercial officer Nic Sulsky.

According to Sulsky, Rivers will “play a key role as we prepare to launch a business that is unique to our roots here in Canada.”

PointsBet has a significant presence in Australia, where it was founded, and in the U.S. In July, it named Scott Vanderwel, a former SVP at Rogers, as CEO of its Canadian subsidiary, one of several hires aimed at establishing the company’s presence locally.

Thinkific names first CMO among other executive appointments

Vancouver’s Thinkific, a platform for creating, marketing and selling online courses, has appointed Henk Campher as its first chief marketing officer as it invests in marketing to support its growth plans. It has also upped Chris McGuire to the role of chief technology officer and moved former CTO and co-founder Matt Payne into the new role of SVP of innovation.

Co-founder and CEO Greg Smith said Campher and McGuire “will play key roles building high-functioning teams around them and optimizing investment as we continue to carve out an increasingly prominent and differentiated position in the global market.”

Campher joins from Hootsuite, where he was VP of corporate marketing. Before that, he was VP of brand and communications at CRM giant Salesforce.

Lolë names new VP of digital omni-commerce as parent company exits bankruptcy protection

The Montreal-based athletic apparel and accessories retailer has appointed Rob French as VP of digital omni-commerce.

French will lead Lolë’s efforts in consumer insights, supply chain-to-consumer models and online customer journeys. In what is a new role for the company, he will also work to grow the company’s retail brand. He arrives with sixteen years experience in ecommerce, having spent the last few years as chief digital commerce officer at sporting goods retailer Decathlon.

In May 2020, Lolë parent Coalision Inc. filed for bankruptcy protection, citing several years of losses as a result of a downturn in the retail clothing market, increased competition and excess inventory – problems exacerbated by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. At the time of the filing, Coalision was seeking an investor or purchaser of its assets.

It successfully exited bankruptcy protection last year and is currently rebuilding its executive team, according to a spokesperson.