ACA fuming over Zyban spots

A 'health vignette' sponsored by the smoking-cessation drug Zyban on the CTV television network is drawing fire from the Association of Canadian Advertisers concerned about the increase in advertising clutter on TV. Both Glaxo Wellcome, the maker of Zyban, and CTV,...

A ‘health vignette’ sponsored by the smoking-cessation drug Zyban on the CTV television network is drawing fire from the Association of Canadian Advertisers concerned about the increase in advertising clutter on TV.

Both Glaxo Wellcome, the maker of Zyban, and CTV, which produced the spots, maintain the material constitutes original sponsored programming and is not paid advertising.

Nonetheless, the ACA believes the material is serving to draw viewer attention away from paid ads . ‘While (the interstitial) may not be a commercial, it is tantamount to a commercial interruption and adds to the clutter,’ says Bob Reaume, vice-president media and research for the ACA.

Meanwhile, Health Canada is currently reviewing the 30-second interstitial, which features people talking about the difficulties of stopping smoking, to determine if it contravenes Canada’s ban on direct-to-consumer pharmaceutical advertising (see Strategy, Mar. 13, ’00).

Under current regulations, Canadian broadcasters can only air 12 minutes of non-programming content per hour. However, according to research from the ACA, most broadcasters regularly exceed that limit.

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