Last Year's Headline: Hy & Zel's puts on Internet marketing push Synopsis: In an effort to attract a greater number of younger customers, Hy & Zel's, a 16-store drug and grocery chain based in Thornhill, Ont., announces it is launching...

Last Year’s Headline: Hy & Zel’s puts on Internet marketing push

Synopsis: In an effort to attract a greater number of younger customers, Hy & Zel’s, a 16-store drug and grocery chain based in Thornhill, Ont., announces it is launching a comprehensive e-commerce site and Internet marketing program. Developed in conjunction with Markham, Ont.-based Valu-Net, the Web program is expected to begin selling herbal remedies, groceries and general merchandise by the spring. Hy & Zel’s says it is planning to rely on its regular printed flyers and television spots to drive people to the site. Details of specific online marketing efforts are not disclosed.

One Year Later: The chain failed to meet its April 1999 target. A sign on the Hy & Zel’s Web site at still reads ‘Online Shopping Coming Soon.’ Meanwhile, Joe Shanab, Hy & Zel’s director of marketing and purchasing, says he’s not at liberty to elaborate on why the rollout of the chain’s e-commerce initiative has not progressed as rapidly as planned, adding, ‘I don’t know the direction we’re taking.’

Last Year’s Headline: HMV chooses Canada for e-commerce experiment

Synopsis: HMV announces it will put a huge push behind a Web-based e-commerce strategy. Canada is selected as the first market to try out the music retailer’s new effort. British and Japanese sites are next on the list. Leveraging its strong retail brand, and Canadians’ adoration of the Web, HMV hopes to draw traffic to its site, which will catalogue more than 300,000 CD, video and DVD titles, as well as feature high-impact graphics, facts and downloadable music samples. Interactive kiosks are installed in stores across the country to provide an alternative Web access point.

One Year Later: HMV’s site is now ranked among the top e-commerce sites in the country and was awarded the first-ever ‘E-tailer of the Year’ award at the Canadian Music Week Gala Industry Awards Dinner earlier this month. It’s currently linking its site with the newly launched sites in Britain, Japan and Australia – serving up access to more than a million titles. Features such as live online performances, links to the artists’ Web sites, exclusive offers and targeted e-mails have made the site a huge success, says Sara Ross, HMV Canada’s Internet marketing manager. The site has been known to outsell individual bricks-and-mortar HMV stores on some new releases – especially when the above-mentioned promotional elements are added, Ross says. Approximately 30% of HMV’s Canadian customers are now using the Net to either browse or buy, she adds. Ross says that in the very near future, HMV will launch a permission-based e-mail newsletter that will target consumers by music genre, providing alerts to new releases, special offers, contests and events.

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.