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TECH BRANDS SEE GENDER GAP High tech companies are lagging behind when it comes to making a connection with women, reports American Demographics magazine. High tech brands ranging from Microsoft to Netscape all scored lower among women than men with respect...


High tech companies are lagging behind when it comes to making a connection with women, reports American Demographics magazine. High tech brands ranging from Microsoft to Netscape all scored lower among women than men with respect to brand recognition, share of mind and share of heart in an Internet consumer survey by Landor Associates, a San Francisco, Calif.-based global branding consultancy. Only a handful on the list – mostly what Landor calls ‘softer’ technology brands – had stronger connections with women than men. These included greeting card site Blue Mountain Arts, Disney, and Women.com. But when it comes to picking the dominant brands within the high tech category, there’s little argument between the sexes over which score higher. ‘The better known a brand becomes, the better its brand equity and message is perceived consistently by both men and women,’ says David Redhill, Landor director of global communications. Power brands such as Microsoft, Intel, Netscape and AT&T topped the overall ranking, but not even one of these scored a perfect 100. Microsoft Windows, with a score of 83, had the best showing. ‘A lot of brands still have a way to go,’ said Redhill.


Forget ‘Paper or plastic?’ The next time you go into a grocery store you may be asked ‘Human or machine?’ Self-serve checkout systems are becoming increasingly prevalent in U.S. grocery stores. U-Scan Express checkouts, which let consumers scan and bag their own groceries, are now being used in more than 200 Kroger stores. Meanwhile, Harris Teeter, Winn-Dixie, Wal-Mart and several smaller U.S. grocery chains are all experimenting with the U-Scan technology. The system, developed by Montreal-based Optimal Robotics Corp., is monitored at a central location by a human being who guides shoppers through the process and stops under-aged shoppers from purchasing alcohol or tobacco. Shoppers who try to sneak items past the machine are stopped when the U-Scan system compares the total weight of the bag with the items that have been scanned, alerting a staff member when there is a discrepancy.


Conservative Canadian advertisers continue to lag behind their U.S. counterparts when it comes to online advertising, according to a report from the Internet Advertising Bureau. U.S. advertisers are outspending Canadians by a rate of 60 to one, according to the study. Internet ad spending is still growing at a rapid pace, though, with online advertising expenditures estimated to reach about $109 million, a 96% increase from 1999. The main reason for the gap between Canadian and U.S. Internet ad spending, the report says, is the continuing lack of Canadian sites engaged in online selling. According to the study’s authors, Canadian e-tailers should be looking to the Web to attract U.S. consumers north of the border to take advantage of the weak Canadian dollar.

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