Guerrilla tactics get Panasonic noticed

Agency/Media Company: Palmer Jarvis DDB Client: Panasonic Canada Brand: Power Activator Batteries Media Team: Sheila Holyer, media supervisor; Anne Myers, media director, Toronto; Linda Mansillo-Kear, account director; Doug Gordon, account co-ordinator Timing: September to December 1999 Best Plan for...

Agency/Media Company: Palmer Jarvis DDB

Client: Panasonic Canada

Brand: Power Activator Batteries

Media Team: Sheila Holyer, media supervisor; Anne Myers, media director, Toronto; Linda Mansillo-Kear, account director; Doug Gordon, account co-ordinator

Timing: September to December 1999

Best Plan for a Budget of Less Than $1 Million: Runner-up

Best Use of Out-of-Home: Runner-up

The Background

With a cynical, hard-to-reach target audience (ages 15 to 22) and heavy advertising from competitors, Panasonic Power Activator Batteries faced some tough challenges. We knew that if we wanted to appear ‘cool’ to our youth target, we couldn’t try to appear cool, or attempt a major sell job – and we also knew that we’d be tuned out if we tried to stage a head-on effort via traditional mass media.

Our solution: a media strategy that employed ‘guerrilla’ tactics aimed at building grassroots awareness within the target’s own environment and culture.

The Plan

The Power Activator (PA) campaign was executed in two phases.

The one-month teaser phase in September was designed to build ‘Street GRPs’ for the PA logo by exposing it – minus product identification – in underground channels. Teaser elements included:

A presence for the brand at dance clubs: Posters depicting blown-out headphones and boom boxes, accompanied only by the PA logo, plastered the walls of dance clubs. The logo was also emblazoned on thousands of t-shirts, hats, stickers and posters, which were distributed at more than 30 events in Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal and Calgary. In addition, Power Activator’s sponsorship of popular DJs gave the brand tacit endorsement by these key influencers, lending it legitimacy in the eyes of the target. The DJs – who were already favourably disposed toward Panasonic because of its association with the prized ’1200′ turntable from sister brand Technics – wore PA clothing and lent a hand distributing PA merchandise at the clubs.

Wild postings: The in-club poster creative also appeared on construction hoardings in the general vicinity of the dance clubs.

The second, ‘reveal’ phase of the campaign began in October. It consisted of:

Wild postings: New versions of the posters went up, this time featuring the Panasonic Power Activator brand name and the tagline ‘Extra Strong Batteries.’

Television: An eight-week campaign aired on MuchMusic and MusiquePlus, tied to a month-long cross-promotion with the MuchDance 2000 CD release. (The idea behind the theming was that Power Activator Batteries provided the ‘juice’ for the music on the compilation.) Contest prizing consisted of Panasonic electronic equipment and batteries. Entries were accepted online and via phone, and the winners announced on-air by VJs.

Interactive: A contest micro site was established on the MuchMusic Web site, and stayed up for four weeks. The online effort included feature placement on Much’s ‘Check This Out’ contest page, Flash and non-Flash versions, animated product creative, a link to Panasonic’s home page and an interactive trivia question.

Combined, these various elements added up to an integrated campaign that appealed to the audience on many different levels.

The Results

Among the marketing team, there is consensus that the program produced the desired impact. Sales for fall 1999 were up 136% over the previous year. The MuchMusic promotion generated several hundred online entries on the first day alone, and more than 16,300 in all. What’s more, the micro site averaged a truly outstanding clickthrough rate of 35%.

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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.