Deal with it

Sadly, I missed the boom years of advertising. When I joined strategy four years ago, the

Sadly, I missed the boom years of advertising. When I joined strategy four years ago, the dot-com implosion was starting to take its toll. Less than a year later 9/11 happened. Since then there’s been war, SARS, mad cow, the ad scandal – the list goes on. Combine that with a much more demanding and in control consumer, and it’s obvious Canadian marketers and agencies alike have paid the price for all of it.

Like you, we’re sick of the doom and gloom, which is why we want you to deal. It’s time for agencies to stop complaining about risk-averse clients (Chuck Porter had something to say about that in this issue’s ‘Q’s and Cocktails with…’ on page 8) and for clients to trust in the art of advertising again.

In the Special Report of our 15th anniversary issue, a slew of industry vets offer their take on the 15 most pressing issues facing you today, as well as advice on how to fight back.

We also point out some diamonds in the rough – companies like Panasonic, which is rethinking how it measures media (by monitoring consumer response for each individual property) and Labatt, which continues to tickle consumers’ funny bones with the hilarious Bud Light Institute campaign.

Examples of such distinction aren’t limited to the report; you can find them throughout the issue. In ‘Deconstructed,’ for instance, we show you how Rogers Yahoo! took an unconventional, grassroots approach to selling high-speed Internet service. In our Media feature, ‘Beyond the 30-second spot,’ we describe how savvy Canadian marketers are dealing with fragmentation and PVRs by using TV more effectively. (Don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to check out Bell’s Making the Cut).

And it isn’t just beer and telecom brands that are differentiating themselves. Even in the unsexy packaged goods category, brave

marketers have found that taking the road less travelled indeed makes all the difference. Witness Zig’s award-winning Vim ‘Prison’ spot. In ‘Who to Watch’ we show how Listerine and Sisu vitamins are breaking rank with the rest of their field – and it’s paying off.

Unfortunately, these instances are too few and far between. As Frank Palmer writes in his column on page 35, ‘the vast majority of advertising messages produced today, by most of the advertising agencies, are bland, bad or simply boring.’

(This isn’t a Canadian anomaly. When asked to cite the best work in the ad universe, Chuck Porter struggled. In the end, he cited a new ad for Harley, which he underwhelmingly described as much better than all the other ‘crap’ out there.)

At a time when consumers are wearing the pants (as Palmer cheekily points out on our front cover), diverging from the usual path is the only way to engage them. It’s time to stop pointing fingers and start acting.


Lisa D’Innocenzo, Editor, 416 408 2300 x477

P.S. Frank, thanks for being such a great sport!