Direct supplement to beef up interactive coverage

Inserted in this issue of Strategy, you'll find our regular monthly supplement that focuses on the world of direct response marketing. This time out, however, there's something a little different about the publication. Most notably that its name has been changed...

Inserted in this issue of Strategy, you’ll find our regular monthly supplement that focuses on the world of direct response marketing. This time out, however, there’s something a little different about the publication. Most notably that its name has been changed to Strategy Direct + Interactive, from Strategy DirectResponse.

The rationale for this change is simple: The world of direct response marketing is going through a revolutionary period of transformation and maturation. And, it’s all thanks to the Internet. While anyone who earns his or her living anywhere within the media and marketing business can truthfully claim that the Internet has had a profound impact on their daily lives, no one can say it with more veracity than a direct response marketer.

From outbound e-mail solicitations to Web-enabled customer care centres to customized Web URL response devices, the Internet has added new layers of complexity to what was already a technology-charged area of the marketing business. The upside, of course, is that those marketing professionals who are able to keep themselves at the leading edge of the technology wave will be enviably well-positioned to be celebrated as the brains behind tomorrow’s marketing success stories.

In the coming months, Strategy Direct + Interactive will endeavour to present readers with extensive editorial coverage of many of the most important developments in the interactive marketing industry. And, while it will always be our mandate to focus primarily on the work being done by Canadian marketers, we will also try to provide our readers with a broader perspective on the industry at large.

Does all this mean that we will no longer pay attention to innovative work being done in the more traditional areas of direct response marketing, such as direct mail, DRTV and telemarketing? No, not at all. We will still be on the look out for significant and compelling direct response marketing stories to cover in Strategy Direct + Interactive. We’re simply broadening our horizons.

Meanwhile, the main section of Strategy will continue to explore all the areas of the marketing business that it always has. When it comes to issues related specifically to interactive marketing, our decisions regarding editorial placement will obviously be determined by the nature the story. The guiding principle will always be whether our coverage is properly serving our readers by exposing the whole range of marketing possibilities available to them.

David Bosworth

From Karen Howe’s dining table: Creativity, COVID and Cannes

ICYMI, The Township's founder gathers the best of the best campaigns and trends so far.

Cannes Base Camp

By Karen Howe

I’m attending Cannes from the glory of my dining room table. There’s not a palm tree in sight, yet inspiration and intel are present in abundance.

Cannes Lions is a global cultural pulse check. The social course correction in the wake of the murder of George Floyd and BLM has delivered far greater diversity in the judging panels as well as the work. And we are all better for it.

I’m proud to say that creativity defeated COVID, which speaks to its power. Great work and big ideas flourished, despite unimaginable odds.

The work from the past two years spans a vast emotional range. From the profundity of Dove’s “Courage is Beautiful” to the hyper exuberance of Burberry’s “Festive,” they are opposite ends of the spectrum, but each answered a need in us.

Take note, the ascendency of gaming cannot be understated. Smart brands have embraced the channel. It makes sense, because gamers participate to meet others around the world, not just to play. And they represent a huge and powerful community. That’s why QSR Wendy’s gamified their iconic gal in RPG’s Feast of Legends.

Burger King sponsored the unknown Stevenage Football Club, transforming the team into online heroes and vaulting BK into the fray at the same time. Once again, the brand embedded itself in culture.

The birth of gaming tourism arrived when Xbox snuggled up to travel guides and created a brilliant baby: a travel guide for gaming worlds. It, too, embedded itself in culture.

From the standpoint of social good, Reporter Without Borders showed how it worked with Mindcraft for its “Uncensored Library” to bypass press censorship, with Minecraft providing a loophole to a space where young people could be educated. It provided youth with a powerful tool to fight oppression: truth.

COVID changed us in unexpected ways. We learned how to pay attention again and there was a notable lack of 30-second commercials. Instead, longer format content thrived. Apple’s WFH was seven minutes long. Entertainment reigned king, so we find ourselves returning to our advertising roots.

Seeing competitive brands form partnerships was one of this year’s other great surprises. The brilliantly simple “Beer Cap Project” by Aguila to reduce binge-drinking saw the brand reach out to competitive beers to join in. Aguila put incentivizing (keyword: free) reminders to drink water, eat food and get home safely on its bottle caps from all sorts of fast food chains, ride-share co’s and H2O brands.

On a personal level, I’m so proud of Canada again this year. Given that it was two years of work from all over the world being judged, even making the Cannes shortlist was an accomplishment. Canada is herding in the Lions in tremendous numbers – and it’s not even over. Fingers are crossed.

KAREN-HOWE-PIC-higher-rez-300x263Karen Howe is a Canadian Cannes Advisory Board Member and founder of The Township Group