Canoe navigates awareness waters

It's war - or e-war, anyway....

It’s war – or e-war, anyway.

Canada’s online news and information providers are locked in a desperate struggle. The object: to be the first place consumers stop when they venture out into the wilderness of the Internet.

The latest offensive in this battle comes from Quebecor-owned Canoe, which has just launched a national multi-media campaign designed to increase awareness both of the brand itself, and of its numerous information resource offerings, which include Slam! Sports, Jam! Showbiz, CNews and Lifewise.

The campaign, which was created by Montreal-based Bos, is the most ambitious marketing effort Canoe has mounted since its launch, says Rosanne Caron, vice-president of marketing and research for the online service.

"We have 4.7 million unique visitors on a monthly basis, but there are still a lot of people who aren’t familiar with Canoe," she says. "So part of this is simply getting people to come to us."

The ads are running in this country’s top 10 major markets, primarily in print and television. While individual executions spotlight particular offerings, such as Slam! Sports, all work to reinforce the overall Canoe brand as well, says Claude Carrier, Toronto-based vice-president for Bos, which won the assignment in February.

Where Canoe’s previous campaign (created by Ambrose Carr Linton Carroll) stressed content, the new creative puts the focus on users themselves. Each ad features the image of an individual meant to represent a typical "Canoer." He or she clutches a paddle – the visual signifier for the brand – and is posed in a manner that suggests his or her personal area of interest: news, sports, entertainment and so on.

The ads also include a scroll bar graphic that gives the names of the various Canoe sub-brands, and highlights the particular offering promoted in each execution.

Another small but important element of the campaign is the change of Canoe’s tag from "Canada’s Internet network" to "Your Internet network." Caron says the new line was deemed more appropriate, given that Canoe is looking at expansion into the U.S., and it serves as well to underline the idea of personalization.

The online environment, she adds, is a challenging one in which to do branding at present. "There’s a real proliferation of brands," she says. "And with new things developing every week, you have to be prepared to move very quickly."

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.