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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* Campbell’s cooks up targeted advertorial: Partners with CTV, magazines to create a presence beyond traditional ad buy p.BMP16

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Google launches a campaign about news connections

The search engine is using archival footage to convey what Canadians are interested in.

Google Canada and agency Church + State have produced a new spot informed by research from the search giant that suggests it is a primary connector for Canadians to the news that matters to them – a direct shot across the bow of the legislators presently considering Bill C-18.

In a spot titled “Connecting you to all that’s news,” the search giant harnesses archival footage reflective of many of the issues Canadians care about deeply, including the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, truth and reconciliation and the war in Ukraine, to demonstrate the point that many Canadians turn to Google as a gateway to the information and news they’re seeking.

“From St. John’s to Victoria and everywhere in between, when Canadians want to understand or get updated on the most pressing topics, Google connects them to the news sources that provide it,” says Laura Pearce, head of marketing for Google Canada. “All of us at Google are proud to be that consistent and reliable connection for Canadians to the news they’re searching for.”

In some ways, the goal of the campaign was to tap into the varied emotional responses that single news stories can have with different audiences across the country.

“News may be factual, but how people respond to it can be very emotional,” explains Ron Tite, founder and CCO at Church + State. “Importantly, those emotions aren’t universal. One news story can create completely different reactions from different people in different places. Because of that, we simply wanted to let connecting to news be the focus of this campaign. We worked diligently to license a wide variety of actual news footage that we felt would resonate with Canadians.”

The campaign can be seen as a statement by the search provider on Bill C-18 – the Online News Act – that is currently being deliberated by a parliamentary committee. That legislation seeks to force online platforms such as Meta’s Facebook and Alphabet’s Google to pay news publishers for their content, echoing a similar law passed in Australia in 2021. The Act has drawn sharp rebukes from both companies, with Facebook threatening to ban news sharing on its platform.

Google Canada is not commenting on whether this new campaign is a response to C-18, but it has been public in its criticism of the legislation. In testimony delivered to parliament and shared on its blog, Colin McKay, the company’s head of public policy and government relations, said, “This is a history-making opportunity for Canada to craft world-class legislation that is clear and principled on who it benefits.” However, he noted that C-18 is “not that legislation.”

The campaign launched on Oct. 24 and is running through December across cinema, OLV, OOH, podcast, digital and social. Airfoil handled the broadcast production.