Best use of newspaper: Winner

Agency/media operation

Agency/media operation

Media Buying Services (MBS)


Rogers AT&T Wireless


Rogers AT&T Cup Tennis


$100,000 – $200,000

Media used



August 9 to 17, 2003

Media team

Wyatt Gill, group account director, MBS

Ira Patil, acc’t planning supervisor, MBS

Debbie Horovitch, associate account director, MBS

Tom Batho, director of media and sponsorship assets, Rogers AT&T Wireless

Ron Guthrie, manager of media and sponsorship assets, Rogers AT&T Wireless

The background

When tobacco sponsorship of major sporting and cultural events was banned, Rogers AT&T Wireless became the title sponsor of the Women’s Tennis Championship (formerly known as the duMaurier Cup), which rotates between Toronto and Montreal on an annual basis.

The main challenge was to exploit the Rogers AT&T brand association with a tournament that for many years was known by another name. Driving additional ticket sales during the event was a secondary objective.

In 2003, the tournament took place in Toronto between Aug. 9 and Aug. 17. A Toronto-focused plan was required to get the most out of a $125,000 budget.

The plan

The media program capitalized on the high reach and immediacy offered by daily newspapers in an effort to take ownership, in the public’s mind, of the Women’s Tennis Championship. The media idea was to produce and distribute a mass impact newspaper section – one that would provide high value to the reader and clearly identify Rogers AT&T Wireless as the event sponsor.

We started taking advantage of the competitiveness of the newspaper market in Toronto to negotiate the best rates. Maximum value would be derived by ultimately working with only one supplier.

TorStar newspaper group was selected (Toronto Star and Metro Toronto). They provide huge readership on a daily basis and could also deliver reactive content based on ongoing editorial coverage of the event throughout the tournament period. We also negotiated an added-value and promotions package in order to expand our presence.

Rogers AT&T-branded tennis coverage was produced daily throughout the 10-day event: a three-page section each day in the Toronto Star and two-page section in Metro Toronto.

The high-impact sections provided the perfect balance between timely editorial coverage of the tournament and branded messages to link Rogers AT&T to the event.

The first page of the Toronto Star included a Rogers banner ad (creative was tied into the tennis theme); the second page had a 1/3-page ad with details of TV coverage; and the back page was a poster of one of the players with a Rogers branded banner at the bottom.

The Metro two-page spread included a banner ad on the left-hand page and a branded poster on the second page.

A contest to win tickets was also promoted through the Toronto Star – daily winners were awarded tickets to the Toronto event, while a grand prize sent winners to a tennis tournament in Los Angeles.

The whole program was pre-promoted in all 26 Metroland papers, as well as through Toronto Box Cards.

The results

While no research was conducted on awareness gains for the Rogers AT&T Cup, the mass exposure moved the needle in the right direction.

Unfortunately however, ticket sales were impacted by the August blackout in Toronto (one day of the event was cancelled). The cost of the campaign was reduced to $100,000 as a result and make-good ads were received.

The big success was the huge value return for the investment: The media value of all elements was estimated at over $587,000, from a $100,000 investment – almost a 6:1 ratio!

The judges rave…

‘Rogers AT&T did an excellent job manoeuvring the association away from duMaurier and into their court – an enormous challenge, given the tobacco company’s long-held relationship with the event.’

‘Great return on investment!’