More musings on strategy doings…

The last month has been a whirlwind, what with Fall TV, putting the fine touches on our Understanding Youth confab, and finding convincing shoes to wear on TV to refute the notion that the Paris/Carl's Jr. 'TV' spot meant advertising was going to 'soft porn' hell.

The last month has been a whirlwind, what with Fall TV, putting the fine touches on our Understanding Youth confab, and finding convincing shoes to wear on TV to refute the notion that the Paris/Carl’s Jr. ‘TV’ spot meant advertising was going to ‘soft porn’ hell.

Buried in there was a special evening, the NABS Fundraising Gala in Toronto, where I broke a nail playing roulette and cleaned them out of orange chips (sparking an offer to accompany someone to the real Vegas). The reason the strategy gang was busily gambling and bidding on things was, for the third year now, we’ve sponsored the Paul Mulvihill/NABS Humanitarian Award. This year it went to Graham Barker, president of Regina-HQ’d The Phoenix Group. Not only does Graham personally donate money, he gives up his time – and he encourages colleagues to lend charities a hand, including during business hours – at his business. Nice.

Speaking of time – it’s on the endangered list. It’s now easier to get people to donate money than time. That notion was validated at strategy’s youth conference mobileNATION this month, when San Fran-based trend analyst Michael Tchong confirmed that time is now officially more valuable than money.

Subtrends this has spawned include blirting (blackberry flirting because ‘who has time to speak?’, and expect more pop-up retail to cater to busy consumers. On the tech front, look for more e-wear products like the Gap hoodio, and overall, take a deep breath and simplify your brand. Says Tchong: ‘Google is, like, so simple. Is your company interface this simple?’ It should be.

Perhaps the best-loved session at mobileNATION was the youth panel led by Youthography partner Mike Farrell. The six tweens/teens talked about the ads and brands they loved, and why. Fashion brands ruled the roost – Nike because ‘the other kids had it’ for a Grade 7 girl, whereas the teens chose brands more for their individual tastes. Interestingly, the ads picked were not specifically youth spots, such as a 10-year-old boy’s fave – The Dr. Scholl’s ‘Gellin” spot wherein a man remains Xanax-ically calm when his plasma TV gets broken. It was chosen, as many were, for its humour.

Great tracks were also a draw. One grade sevener chose ‘It’s Coke, You nut.’ Apparently kids are wandering around singing it. And, it drove them to try the product! But, before you dash off to find the next hummable funny jingle, they also liked ads that were smart. And as per Teen Research Unlimited 2005 survey findings, the number-one most prized personality trait among teens is now…Being Smart! TRU opening presenter Michael Wood says that it used to be ‘good lookin’,’ so this is a hopeful sign youth are effectively filtering out shows like The Swan.

They also want to be smart shoppers and are more value-driven than past generations. Other key TRU insights were the importance for marketers to show diversity, reflecting teens’ value for their personal relationship mosaic. Also key – DIY and customization, customer service and socially conscious brands.

Next up, we’re developing content for a one-day media event about innovative solutions to marketers’ challenges. The keynoter is media guru David Verklin, CEO, Carat Americas. The Media In Canada Forum: What’s The Plan? takes place in Toronto, Sept. 20, and we’re currently looking for others who have created new models for relationships, measurement and methodology. We’ll also be presenting strategy’s Media Agency of the Year Awards.

Cheers, mm
Mary Maddever
VP, Editorial Director
Exec Editor strategy & Media In Canada

Pop quiz: What do you think the six youth panelists chose as the one thing they couldn’t live without – TV, Internet, cellphone or radio?

Answer: Internet, ‘cos you can download shows and songs.’