Go unconventional: van Stolk

Young people are blasted with so much advertising that traditional tactics simply won't work on them, says the man behind the popular Jones Soda brand....

Young people are blasted with so much advertising that traditional tactics simply won’t work on them, says the man behind the popular Jones Soda brand.

"You’ve got 3,000 marketing messages hitting you a day," Urban Juice & Soda Company president Peter van Stolk told Strategy’s Understanding Youth conference. "How many of those are you retaining?"

In this kind of environment, brands will only stand out if they do the unconventional and unexpected. "The mistake is to play by someone else’s rules," van Stolk said.

Urban Juice introduced Jones Soda to the Canadian and U.S. markets in 1996, and has proven remarkably successful at targeting the 14-24 age group. The formula for success involves making the brand a visible part of youth culture by sponsoring and being present at extreme sporting and music events, as well as paying attention to fashion.

The lesson here for youth marketers, according to van Stolk, is that brands should become part of what kids are interested in.

Admittedly, the use of alternative or "guerrilla" marketing tactics makes brand-building a slow process, he says. But the result is that a brand can create greater consumer loyalty.

Building emotional involvement is also key. Jones Soda, for example, allows consumers to become part of the product by offering them the chance to have their photos featured on bottles.

"These guys get fired up about it because it’s giving them a voice," he says. "When was the last time a product really created an emotional connection?" CS

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.