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CANADIAN E-TAILERS LAGGING BEHIND U.S. While Canadian consumers are spending more and more money online, Canadian e-tailers are not keeping pace, according to a new study from Deloitte Consulting in Toronto. Canadians spent about $657 million during the traditional Christmas shopping...


While Canadian consumers are spending more and more money online, Canadian e-tailers are not keeping pace, according to a new study from Deloitte Consulting in Toronto. Canadians spent about $657 million during the traditional Christmas shopping season in the final three months of 1999, well in line with spending in the U.S., says Don Thompson, an e-commerce consultant with Deloitte. But the increased cost of shipping across Canada and the lower density of the Canadian marketplace make it more difficult for Canadian electronic retailers, especially those who do not have traditional stores, the study says. The study also says traditional retailers such as Sears Canada and Canadian Tire have an advantage over pure Internet companies in maximizing their e-commerce potential since they already have established distribution networks.


Cell phones used to be the sole territory of on-the-go salesmen and high-tech gadget lovers. But mobile phones are becoming nearly as common as regular phones. More than seven million Canadians, nearly one in four, now own a wireless phone, according to statistics from the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association. That represents a 30% increase in subscriber growth over the previous year and there seems to be little slowing that trend. Similar growth is expected in 2000, says the association representing the $4-billion Canadian wireless industry. Over the next decade, mobile wireless penetration for personal communications is predicted to double to almost 40%. Industry experts also forecast the world’s wireless phone subscribers to number 830 million by year-end 2003.


North American Internet advertisers are increasingly turning to performance-based Web advertising, according to a study by the New York-based Internet Advertising Bureau and PricewaterhouseCoopers. Traditionally, rates for Internet advertising are based on the number of times that a banner ad is displayed. However, with consumers increasingly ignoring banner ads, Internet advertisers are choosing the more expensive clickthrough rates, the study showed. The proportion of online ads sold solely on a performance basis, including cost-per-click, jumped one-third, from six per cent in the first-quarter of 1999 to eight per cent in the third-quarter, according to the IAB. Despite consumer apathy with respect to banner advertising, North American Internet advertising continues to grow.


Frustrated by bad television commercials? Several high-profile companies are pointing consumers to the Internet to let them create their own ads. Ford, Nike and even Country Crock have launched efforts to try to get consumers to take an active part in creating their commercials. Consumers logging onto Ford’s Web site (www.focus247) can choose the cast and plot lines for spots which will debut in March and run through April in the U.S. Country Crock, meanwhile, is wrapping up its ‘Homemade Commercial Contest,’ which has consumers submit ideas for a 30-second TV spot. The winner pockets $25,000 and gets to see the commercial run on network TV. Nike, for its part, is asking consumers to log onto their Web site and choose the endings of three ‘cliffhanger’ spots.

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