Bates takes the cake

Without the tireless efforts of Bates Canada, would the youth of this nation enjoy the same minty-fresh breath? This we'll never know with absolute certainty. What we can safely say, however, is that the media folk at Bates know how to...

Without the tireless efforts of Bates Canada, would the youth of this nation enjoy the same minty-fresh breath?

This we’ll never know with absolute certainty. What we can safely say, however, is that the media folk at Bates know how to spread the word about gum. Witness their work on behalf of the MaxAir and Dentyne Ice brands – the campaigns that took first and second place, respectively, in Strategy’s fourth annual Best Media Plan competition.

These two plans earned the highest overall scores from our 13-member panel of judges. The Media Edge – winner of our 1999 competition – took third place, for the orchestration of last summer’s Kool-Aid campaign.

The MaxAir plan claimed Best Plan for a Budget of More Than $1 Million, while Dentyne Ice topped the Less Than $1 Million category. The two also finished first and second in Best Use of Television and Best Use of Interactive Media. And Dentyne won Best Use of Radio honours, in addition to coming third in the Newspaper category.

Both plans are showcased in this report, along with those others that received outstanding marks from the judging panel.

Strategy launched this competition in 1997 with the goal of giving greater recognition to the high quality of thinking that goes into the development of Canada’s media plans – and encouraging greater respect, particularly in the client community, for the creativity and skills of media professionals.

Granted, media is no longer perceived as a dreary back-office function. Indeed, with audiences growing ever more fragmented, it is now generally acknowledged that media planning demands the same combination of insight and intuition as creative development. Still, to many marketers, the field remains something of a mystery. Anyone, after all, can see where advertising is placed. But an understanding of how plans are conceived is much rarer outside the media community. Though this competition, we hope to assist in changing that.

Strategy asked agency media departments and independent media companies across Canada to review all of their plans that appeared in the marketplace during calendar 1999, and to submit the best of those for consideration.

We instructed them to prepare a summary for each, describing the plan in detail and outlining the results. We were not looking for charts and graphs or reams of numbers, we explained, but rather trying to get at the quality of the thinking behind the plans: What were the objectives and challenges, as presented by the client, and how were these addressed strategically and creatively?

The judges – all of them senior media professionals – were asked to assign each submission a score from 0 to 10. (Judges were not given media plan submissions for clients with which they compete directly.) Their judgments were made on the basis of: the quality and originality of the strategy and the communications insight on which it was based; the creativity and originality of the media solution; and the plan’s effectiveness as evidenced by sales results or tracking studies.

The winning plans are featured on pages BMP3-BMP40. A full list of the winners in all categories can be found below.

The Winners

The following are the winning plans in Strategy’s 2000 media competition, listed by client/brand and agency/media company.

Best Plan Overall

Winner: MaxAir/Bates Canada

Runner-up: Dentyne Ice/Bates Canada

Second Runner-up: Kool-Aid/The Media Edge

Best Plan for a Budget of More Than $1 Million

Winner: MaxAir/Bates Canada

Runner-up: Kool-Aid/The Media Edge

Second Runner-up: Philips Electronics/MediaVest Worldwide

Best Plan for a Budget of Less Than $1 Million

Winner: Dentyne Ice/Bates Canada

Runner-up: Panasonic Power Activator Batteries/Palmer Jarvis DDB

Second Runner-up: Aussie Hair Care/OMD Canada

Best Use of Television

Winner: MaxAir/Bates Canada

Runner-up: Dentyne Ice/Bates Canada

Second Runner-up: Clairol Natural Instincts/OMD Canada

Best Use of Radio

Winner: Dentyne Ice/Bates Canada

Runner-up: Toronto Blue Jays/MediaVest Worldwide

Best Use of Newspaper

Winner: Minute Maid/Starcom Worldwide

Runner-up: Chapters.ca/OMD Canada

Second Runner-up: Dentyne Ice/Bates Canada

Best Use of Magazine

Winner: Aussie Hair Care/OMD Canada

Runner-up: Campbell Soup Classics/OMD Canada

Second Runner-up: Scotiabank/OMD Canada

Best Use of Out-of-Home

Winner: Kool-Aid/The Media Edge

Runner-up: Panasonic Power Activator Batteries/Palmer Jarvis DDB

Second Runner-up: (Tie) Western Union International/MediaVest Worldwide; Clearnet PCS/Media Experts

Best Use of Interactive Media

Winner: MaxAir/Bates Canada

Runner-up: Dentyne Ice/Bates Canada

Also in this report:

* MaxAir fires on all cylinders: Multi-tiered plan for high-menthol gum was imbued with irreverence p.BMP3

* Dentyne Ice kisses up to teens with party promo: Initiative was designed to drive both brand awareness and sales p.BMP4

* Kool-Aid placement reflected fun, refreshment p.BMP6

* Aussie creates ‘in your face’ presence: Repositions brand as funky, outrageous p.BMP8

* Guerrilla tactics get Panasonic noticed: Campaign used underground channels to reach club crowd p.BMP10

* Much VJ follows his Natural Instincts on air p.BMP12

* Chapters stands out in dot-com crowd p.BMP15

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

* Looking at Philips through fresh eyes: Redefinition of target market sparked departure from the traditional choice of television p.BMP18

* Jays plan hits home run p.BMP21

* Minute Maid aims for morning ownership p.BMP24

* Western Union a global Villager p.BMP28

* Scotiabank breaks out of the mold p.BMP32

* Clearnet clusters creative: Complementary boards were positioned in proximity to one another to maximize visibility, engage consumer p.BMP38

* The Judges p.BMP43

Meat and plant-based sales are both strong at Maple Leaf

Both priority areas performed well in the company's full-year results, helped by a boost in marketing for new products.
Maples Leaf All Natural 4

Maple Leaf Foods reported higher Q4 and full-year 2020 sales, driven by its sustainable meats and plant-based proteins. 

The CPG co. reported quarterly sales of $1.13 billion, up from $1.02 billion for Q4 2019, as well as net earnings of $25.4 million, compared to $17.5 million for the same period the year prior (an increase of 45.2%).

For full fiscal 2020, the company reported a total increase of 9.2% in sales, driven by what it says is “strong growth in both the meat and plant protein groups.”

“We have repositioned our portfolio towards two high-growth categories now representing 20% of our annual sales generating a compounded growth rate in excess of 25% over the last three years,” says Michael McCain, the company’s president and CEO.

Meat protein group sales  comprised of prepared meats, ready-to-cook and ready-to-serve meals, snack kits, value-added fresh pork and poultry products that are sold to retail, foodservice and industrial channels, and agricultural operations  grew 11.3% for the quarter. 

Meanwhile, sales of plant protein products  refrigerated plant protein brands such as Lightlife and Field Roast, premium grain-based protein, and vegan cheese products sold to retail, foodservice and industrial channels  was up 5.5% over the same period. 

Sales growth for its meat portfolio was driven by “a favourable mix-shift towards sustainable meats and branded products,” but also growth in exports to Asian markets, and pricing actions implemented to mitigate inflation and other structural cost increases, according to the company. Strong demand in the retail channel was offset by lower volume in foodservice as a result of COVID-19.

For its plant-based offerings, sales for 2020 were $210.8 million compared to $176.4 million last year, representing a growth of 19.5%, or 18.1% after excluding the impacts of foreign exchange. The segment was driven by expanded distribution of new products, continued volume increases in its existing portfolio, and pricing actions implemented to mitigate inflation and other structural cost increases.

SG&A expenses totalled $144 million for the plant group alone in 2020, with investments focused on advertising, promotion and marketing to build awareness, as well as supporting brand renovation and new product innovation. SG&A for meat proteins were $346.6 million for the full year, and the company says it expects SG&A levels and marketing investment in 2021 to be largely in line with where they were in 2020.

The company, which in 2019 announced it had gone carbon neutral, says it’s amplifying this commitment while “focusing on eliminating waste in any resources it consumes, including food, energy, water, packaging, and time.”