Gillette scores with Cavalcade of Sports

From leisure suits to Kenny Loggins, the 1970s gave us a lot that we'd rather forget. But it's nice to know that not everything from that decade has lost its appeal....

From leisure suits to Kenny Loggins, the 1970s gave us a lot that we’d rather forget. But it’s nice to know that not everything from that decade has lost its appeal.

The annual Gillette Cavalcade of Sports promotion was first introduced in 1971, and has been going strong ever since, says Gail MacDonald, director of promotion, sponsorship and event marketing with Mississauga, Ont.-based Gillette Canada.

As a company that markets everything from disposable pens and razors to batteries, Gillette was looking for an umbrella program that would unite all of its premium brands. The result was the Cavalcade, a program designed to bring them together under a common theme in a concerted effort to drive sales during the late-August and early-September back-to-school season.

The Cavalcade is a made-in-Canada program, MacDonald notes – not an adaptation of a U.S. effort.

The concept has changed little in 30 years, she adds. The promotion always features a dramatic, sports-related grand prize – back in 1971, it was a trip to the summer Olympic Games – and is supported with both TV advertising and in-store activity.

Different brands may be played up in the promotion from year to year. Several years ago, for example, Gillette’s SensorExcel shaving system was spotlighted prominently. This year, much of the attention will be focused on the Mach3 system and the Duracell Ultra line of batteries.

While the essential components of the Cavalcade have remained consistent from year to year, MacDonald says a long-running promotion needs to be refreshed constantly. Hence the emphasis that Gillette places on finding new and unique prizing.

"We have to be innovative," she says. "That’s one of the reasons the Calvacade has such great staying power."

Last year’s theme, for example, was "Sports Celebration 2000." Winners were invited to an interactive sporting event at Toronto’s SkyDome, where they had the opportunity to meet a number of celebrity athletes. In addition, they received their choice of six fantasy sports trips anywhere in North America (including Hawaii) – plus $25,000 in spending money.

MacDonald says the company tries to offer prizes with appeal to a wide audience – not just sports enthusiasts.

Because Gillette products span many demographics, she explains, "we have to put in elements to appeal to the non-sports fan." Travel, cars and cash all tend to figure prominently, since these are things in which just about everyone is interested.

(The company has also moved away from offering second and third prizes, MacDonald says. "One large grand prize has more impact.")

Cross-promotional efforts help Gillette beef up the prize package without breaking the bank. Last year, for example, the company partnered with DaimlerChrysler Canada on the Cavalcade of Sports. The automaker provided a vehicle as part of the grand prize, and in return was featured in the TV and in-store campaign supporting the promotion.

The fact that the Cavalcade has such a long and impressive track record is a plus when trying to sign up promotional partners, MacDonald notes.

Gillette develops the concept for each year’s program in-house. ("We get together and throw around ideas," she says. "We just brainstorm.") Freelancers are called in to assist in creating the television spot and the in-store material. Creative decisions are based on current trends, as well as the company’s sense of what holds appeal for consumers.

Supporting material has to be kept fresh, MacDonald adds. Too many long-standing promotions roll out similar creative year after year, leaving consumers with a been-there, seen-that sensation.

Getting retailers involved is another key to the Cavalcade’s success – the more actively they participate, the better the odds that it will deliver results. That’s why, for example, Gillette invited retailers to a special event at SkyDome this past March in an effort to showcase the 2000 promotion and encourage them to buy in.

It’s a win-win situation, MacDonald says: The promotion drives sales for Gillette, and creates in-store activity for the participating retailers.

Also in this report:

- Promotions with legs: Brands reap rewards when programs have longevity p.17

- Roll up the Rim major player for Tim Hortons: Long-running promo offers chance to win with every coffee purchase p.22

- Coffee cup promo spawns imitators p.23

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.