Bates stalks CEOs to make EDS a contender

Awards:...

Awards:

• Best use of interactive media

• Best use of newspaper (tie)

Agency/media company: Bates Canada

Client: EDS Canada

Media team: Jennifer Ball, media planner Ruth Klostermann, vice-president,director of media research

Media budget: $1.5 million

Media used: Television, newspaper, Internet, airport, elevator

Timing: May to November, 2000

THE BACKGROUND

EDS’s expertise lies in the design, installation and application of customized technology solutions that businesses need to succeed in a digital world. The competition in this market is fierce, with EDS playing David to IBM’s Goliath. While EDS is rated well by existing clients, it suffers from a lack of awareness among potential customers. With contracts running well into seven figures, the stakes are high.

This plan had to build the profile of EDS with the top executives of large corporations across Canada so that they consider EDS when the next contract comes up.

THE PLAN

CEOs, CFOs, COOs and CIOs lead chaotic lives, are preoccupied with business and have little personal time to devote to mass media consumption. The challenge was to use the Bates Canada ‘be where they are’ approach to create a network of opportunities throughout the day to resonate with the target audience and convey the brand essence of EDS, which is ‘defeating complexity.’

The 60-second TV spot ‘Herding Cats’ was a big hit in the U.S. when it premiered during Super Bowl 2000 and it provided an equally impressive awareness boost in Canada via airings throughout the Stanley Cup playoffs, the most popular sporting event with corporate officers. A 30-second version was positioned within high-profile golf and tennis tournaments on TSN and CBC, and continuity of presence was achieved through sponsorships of such targeted properties as TSN Sportsdesk, along with selected business reports and newscasts on CBC Newsworld and CTV NewsNet.

If TV served to propel awareness for EDS, business dailies were considered the best opportunity to establish an ongoing dialogue. EDS was showcased as a thought leader in the new economy through full-page ads adjacent to the Business Focus page in The Globe and Mail’s Report on Business section. These ads alternated each Tuesday with on-page banners.

The same approach was negotiated around the Financial Post’s Tuesday eWorld page, effectively establishing a roadblock in the business dailies. In French Canada, EDS’s schedule in Les Affaires included sponsorship of the newspaper’s six-week fall e-series that culminated in a well-attended closing conference.

Internet advertising was an obvious opportunity to reinforce EDS’s e-expertise, and it was logical to take its partnership with the business dailies online. EDS became the exclusive sponsor of the National Post’s new daily e-mail service, a package that included banners at the top of the e-mails and sponsorship of the Science & Technology Story of the Day, complete with tag and hotlink. The launch of the new e-mail service was advertised via co-branded ads in the National Post, both on- and offline.

The online package also extended to EDS banners on the Science & Technology, Business, and Finance pages of the National Post Web site. A Tech Sites of the Week feature was developed specifically for EDS and carried a prominent ‘brought to you by’ tag with a hotlink to EDS.com.

The Globe and Mail package consisted of an exclusive banner at the top of the Technology Web page and a fixed-button sponsorship of the page’s Web Poll feature. This was further supplemented by banner ads on the globeinvestor.com, robmagazine.com and robtv.com Web pages as well as on the globeandmail.com home page.

While TV, business dailies and online activity connected with corporate officers at moments of relative calm, there remained real opportunities to reach them on the fly. Quite literally, one of these opportunities was at the airport. Dioramas were purchased in the busiest places in the busiest airport in the country: Pearson’s Terminal 2 Rapidair in Toronto as well as in Calgary/Vancouver domestic departure lounges.

Even the elevators in major office towers were exploited as a means of engaging the attention of these key decision makers. Elevator News Network provided editorial sponsorships tailored to Canada’s three major markets. In Toronto, EDS sponsored Market Open and Market Close, in Calgary it was Energy Watch and in Vancouver it was Tech Watch. And grabbing every chance to heighten executives’ interest, EDS even interrupted their elevator-induced reveries with a special 12-second version of the ‘Herding Cats’ TV spot.

THE RESULTS

In this highly competitive market, confidentiality prohibits results being shared. However, the goal was to raise the profile of EDS so that corporate officers took the company into consideration more often, and in this regard, EDS is more than happy with the investment made to promote its expertise in defeating complexity.