When billboards blast, the media is the creative

A lot of agency types don't understand what media planning is all about these days. If they did, the planner would be right there next to the creative director when the brief is presented - every time. The reason? Because, as the plans that follow show, planning isn't just about finding the best medium to disseminate a creative idea any more.

A lot of agency types don’t understand what media planning is all about these days. If they did, the planner would be right there next to the creative director when the brief is presented – every time. The reason? Because, as the plans that follow show, planning isn’t just about finding the best medium to disseminate a creative idea any more.
While the eight winning plans are dizzying in their complexity and variety, they all have something in common: they exhibit the seamless marriage of creative and media. In many cases, the media is the creative, and vice versa.
Don’t believe me? Look at the plan The Media Edge put together for Molson Canadian on page B-4. It received the highest average score of the lot, earning the Best Plan Overall award – and it’s newspaper for God’s sake.
In some ways, getting the Toronto Sun to put together and promote a series of Molson ‘Long Weekend Survival Guides’ is a pretty simple idea. But as one of our judges noted, in this plan ‘the medium and message truly merge in an initiative that actually creates, as well as fulfills, a consumer need.’ Not bad for a media plan. And like most of the winners, this initiative started with the medium, and the creative followed.
The runner-up for Best Plan Overall also began with the medium, in this case, out-of-home. This plan, executed by Ammirati Puris, featured a superboard near Toronto’s Union Station sporting a Blue Light weekend countdown clock (see page B-19). Every Friday at 5 p.m., huge cartoony loudspeakers blasted, letting Toronto’s worker drones know it was time for fun, free time, and Blue Light. Again, the medium is the message, and again, it’s right on the money when it comes to capturing the larger brand positioning.
Other winning plans included putting ‘Ouch!’ signs on each of over 500 steps at SkyDome to push the pain relief powers of Advil (page B-14), creating a virtual institute for Bud Light through O-O-H and newspaper (page B-9), and working Dentyne Ice shivers right into the heart and soul of a TV event perfectly tailored for Quebec’s star hungry youth (page B-11).
Congratulations to all who won or placed in this, our sixth annual Best Media Plan competition, which, incidentally, boasted the highest number of submissions ever. And thanks to the judges, all 24 of you this year, for helping us let the world know what innovative media planning is all about.
Duncan Hood
special reports editor
How we picked the winners
The winners of Strategy’s Best Media Plan Competition 2002 were chosen by a distinguished 24-member panel of judges (see page B-27). Despite trying to run media operations, they all volunteered to stay late after work marking plans for this competition. For this we offer our most sincere thanks.
This is how it worked: Any media planning operation in the country was allowed to submit as many plans executed during the 2001 calendar year as it wanted. This year through, for the first time, each plan could be entered in only one of the eight categories listed below. These categories are the same as last year with one exception: The ‘best plan for a budget of more than $1 million’ category has been replaced with ‘best use of multiple media.’
Each plan was sent out to three judges, each of whom awarded it a mark out of 10 for the category under which it was entered. The marks from the judges were then averaged, resulting in a single mark out of 10 for each plan.
The plans with the highest marks in each category won those categories, and the second-highest scorers won ‘runner-up’ status. There was no Best Plan Overall category. Rather, this award was reserved for the plan that received the highest score in any of the eight regular categories.
The judges did not rate any plans that were worked on by their immediate operations. As much as possible, we distributed the plans so that judges wouldn’t be marking plans involving their clients’ direct competitors either. The judges worked independently, and none of the judges or participants knew who won the competition until now.
2002 winners
Best Plan Overall
The Media Edge
(Molson Canadian ‘Weekend Survival Guides’)
runner-up
Ammirati Puris/Labatt Media Group
(Blue Light weekend countdown superboard)
Best Use of Newspaper
The Media Edge
(Molson Canadian ‘Weekend Survival Guides’)
runner-up
Starcom Worldwide
(Trimark 20th anniversary)
Best Plan for a Budget of Less Than $1 Million
Downtown Partners/
Labatt Media Group
(Creating the Bud Light Institute)
runner-up
Genesis Media
(Ocean Spray Crantastics launch)
Best Use of Television
Bates Canada
(Pfizer’s Dentyne Ice Shiver gala)
runner-up
The Media Edge
(Molson Canadian ‘Here’s to you, Canada’)
Best Use of Magazine
Palmer Jarvis DDB/OMD
(Johnson & Johnson – Neutrogena ‘Ask the Expert’)
runner-up
Initiative Media Toronto
(Buena Vista Home Entertainment – Princess Diaries video release)
Best Use of Multiple Media
The Media Edge
(Whitehall-Robins – Advil muscle pain indication)
runner-up
Ammirati Puris/Labatt Media Group
(Labatt Lite ‘Cash for Community’)
Best Use of Out-Of-Home
Ammirati Puris/Labatt Media Group
(Blue Light weekend countdown superboard)
runner-up
Ammirati Puris/Labatt Media Group
(Carlsberg Italian & Portuguese campaign)
Best Use of Interactive Media
Taylor George Design
(Women’s Television Network
trade campaign)
runner-up
Starcom IP
(Walt Disney World Resorts
embedded ads)
Best Use of Radio
OMD Canada
(HMV ‘Madness + Mayhem’
promotion)