IAB, CMA on brink of fundamental change

With some 30 years' experience in media advertising, sponsorship marketing, direct marketing and public affairs, Peter Case recently established his own communications and marketing consultancy in Toronto....

With some 30 years’ experience in media advertising, sponsorship marketing, direct marketing and public affairs, Peter Case recently established his own communications and marketing consultancy in Toronto.

The fledgling Internet Advertising Bureau is reported to be taking aggressive steps to move from a volunteer group to more of a full-time, professional organization. Welcome news at a time when clarity and measurement tools are so badly needed.

With its first executive director in place, the IAB is embarking on a drive for additional membership – an effort to add to its already 100-plus tripartite base.

The IAB began to take shape roughly three years ago, and since then has steadily gained influence and critical mass. As a national advocate for Internet marketing and advertising, the bureau has set out to build an objective resource for stimulating new media advertising models and for sponsoring education forums. It also boasts a modest but useful public policy role.

At the same time, The Canadian Marketing Association (CMA), formerly the Canadian Direct Marketing Association and one of the country’s major, potential "influencers" in interactive marketing, is also gearing up.

Its size, its focus on public policy issues and education, and its membership roster provide a natural reason to take a leadership position with respect to interactivity to ensure that marketers are better able to understand and deal with the implications of rapid-fire changes.

To do so, however, could mean yet another shift in the mandate of the CMA. Two years ago, after many debates, it rewrote its mission statement to broaden the association’s scope beyond direct response, shifting to the wider embrace of "information-based" marketing.

Understandably, in the short time since, the CMA has retained a somewhat heavy membership skew toward direct marketers, many of whom continue to be governed by an inordinate focus on one-way relationship marketing principles. But that’s changing.

With customers more empowered than ever, interactivity has become a key marketing driver. Presumably, real "relationships" will flow from an improved or open two-way flow of communication.

Clearly, the CMA is logically positioned to lead Canadian businesses in their quest to adapt to interactive marketing. It may actually be the sole organized group to which Canadian marketers currently can turn.

The association has established an "Internet marketing council," one of several that deal with specific areas of concern, and, it has a task force and an advisory group poised to move forward. These are a beginning.

Nonetheless, while the CMA may have a solid arsenal of resources and support to get the job done, nothing short of a big, bold, , association-wide step into the interactive fray will keep it in the forefront.

Marketers entering this new era need a strong, fully credible, solidly visionary and aggressively influential voice to act in their interest.

Just as it refashioned itself as a leader in information-based marketing, there’s a compelling argument that the CMA should now build quickly on its strengths and mobilize to become Canada’s hub for the evolution of interactive marketing.

* * * * *

On another topic entirely, Canada has benefited significantly from many years of hard work by a relatively small but dedicated band of media managers. Together and individually, they’ve brought wisdom, growth, influence and professionalism to media planning and buying. They have forged a solid operating template for the many people who work today in the media.

You’ll recognize their names: Ann Boden, Sunni Boot, Bruce Claassen, Hugh Dow, David Harrison, Peter Swain. Each has run or is heading a media agency-of-record and they all participate extensively in industry forums, proffer sought-after advice and counsel, provide opportunities for newcomers to learn and thrive and, generally, command the respect of buyers and sellers alike.

These key players are central to the growth and success of media planning and buying in Canada; they’ve become something of a core, if not inspirational, group – leading, pushing and cajoling. Some might even say beating.

And just when they got things pretty well right, the road has taken a sharp turn toward media convergence.

While their sophisticated understanding of media dynamics will no doubt combine to make them a solid bet in the tumultuous years ahead, it’s fair to say the savvy six have an additional job: to begin positioning and promoting the next wave of leaders who will follow. And one of the things they’ll have to teach these up-and-comers is the importance of relationships.

For some strange reason, there’s been a lot of discussion lately about whether relationships between buyers and sellers are important in the advertising business. Implicit in these discussions is the suggestion that media inventory is nothing more than a commodity where relationships count for little and price counts for a lot.

I, for one, can’t understand a view that believes in media for media’s sake, a philosophy that doesn’t take into account the opportunity for powerful alignments and creative solutions.

Boden, Boot, Claassen, Dow, Harrison, Swain – they’ve built an entire industry around relationships. It’s unlikely they could have done so otherwise.

In my own case, I can say unequivocally that some of the best and most productive media initiatives developed while I was at Royal Bank were borne out of relationships with all levels of media.

It occurs to me that anyone who argues against the value of relationships has spent little time developing and benefiting from them.

Their loss.

Peter Case can be reached at (905) 762-0182.

In Brief: The Garden picks CDs to take on daily creative leadership

Plus, Naked names two new leaders of its own and Digital Ethos comes to Canada.

The Garden promotes two creative directors

ACDs Lindsay Eady and Francheska Galloway-Davis have taken over responsibility for day-to-day creative leadership at The Garden after being promoted to creative director roles.

The pair will also help develop the agency’s creative talent, formalizing mentorship and leadership activities they have been doing since joining the agency four and three years ago, respectively. In addition to creating the agency’s internship program, the pair have worked on campaigns for Coinsquare, FitTrack and “The Coke Challenge” campaign for DanceSafe.

Eady and Galloway-Davis will continue to report to The Garden’s co-founder and chief creative officer Shane Ogilvie, who is stepping back from daily creative duties to a more high-level strategic role, allowing him to focus on client relationships and business growth.

Naked Creative Consultancy names new creative and strategy leadership

Toronto’s Naked Creative Consultancy has hired Yasmin Sahni as its new creative director. She is taking over creative leadership from David Kenyon, who has been in the role for 10 years and is moving into a new role as director of strategy, leading the discipline at the agency.

Sahni is coming off of three years as VP and ECD at GTB’s Toronto office, where she managed all the retail, social and service creative for Ford Canada. She previously managed both Vice Media and Vice’s in-house ad agency Virtue.

Peter Shier, president of Naked, says Sahni’s hiring adds to its creative bench and capabilities, as well as a track record of mentorship, a priority for the company. Meanwhile, Kenyon’s move to the strategy side, he says, makes sense because of his deep knowledge of its clients, which have included Ancestry and The Globe and Mail.

Digital Ethos opens a Toronto office

U.K. digital agency Digital Ethos is pursuing new growth opportunities in North America by opening a new office in Toronto.

Though it didn’t disclose them, the agency has begun serving a number of North American clients, and CEO/founder Luke Tobin says the “time was right to invest in a more formal and actual presence in the area.” whose services include design, SEO, pay-per-click, social media, influencer and PR,

This year, the agency’s growth has also allowed it to open an office in Hamburg, Germany, though it also has remote staff working in countries around the world.

Moray Hickes was the company’s first North American hire as VP of sales, tasked with business development in the region.