Virtual rep houses point media buyers online

More advertisers will be buying media online in the near future, if two fast-growing virtual rep houses have anything to say about it....

More advertisers will be buying media online in the near future, if two fast-growing virtual rep houses have anything to say about it.

Both of Toronto and of San Francisco, Calif. offer online listings of advertising space in a variety of media. Media planners and buyers can check out the avails, submit their plans in order to receive tailored proposals based on their strategies, and make purchases – all electronically., which launched quietly at the end of March, lists nearly a half-million dollars worth of properties in out-of-home, print, broadcast and online media. Suppliers include Telemedia Radio Network, the National Trivia Network and YTV’s Video & Arcade Top Ten. was established in 1997 under the name The company, which specializes primarily in out-of-home and online media, is now moving north of the border, although it has yet to introduce many Canadian listings.

Scott Neslund, managing director of Toronto-based Starcom Worldwide, says that services like these could ultimately play a significant role in the media buying landscape.

In the short-term, he predicts, media suppliers will use virtual rep houses mainly for surplus inventory, specials and one-time-only offerings. "But eventually, they’re going to want to test it on a broader scale."

Any system that allows for real-time electronic transactions is bound to create advantages for both buyers and sellers, says Neslund, who adds that the industry appears to be moving toward a blend of high-tech and traditional methods of doing business.

Lorraine Hughes, media director with Toronto-based TBWA Chiat/Day, agrees.

As electronic buying and selling evolves, she says, it should eliminate much of the paperwork that now bogs down buyers, speeding up the transaction process and giving advertisers a better shot at the properties they want.

Some media sales reps worry that electronic transactions may diminish their role, but Hughes doesn’t see that as a likelihood. There will still be many situations in which the negotiating skills of reps will be called upon, she says.

If anything, improved communications systems will render sales reps more effective, Hughes says. "The reps can spend more time being ambassadors for their stations and publications," she explains.

Mike Wixson, CEO of, says the company is working to set up a French-language version of the site, and to add Quebec media properties to its listings. The virtual rep house has also begun making forays into the U.S. market.

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.