SILVER: Mindshare

All in all, it's been a pretty good year for MindShare. 'Watershed' even, according to MD Karen Nayler.

All in all, it’s been a pretty good year for MindShare. ‘Watershed’ even, according to MD Karen Nayler.

This is the fifth anniversary of the London, U.K.-based agency’s entry into Canada. Some lofty clients, such as Ikea, Estée Lauder and Kellogg, have signed on. And as a result of hiring 15 people in the last year, the shop has even moved into a bigger space. Now, to cap it all off, the agency has added silver – its best showing to date in strategy’s Media Agency of the Year competition – to its coffers for standout media work over 2005.

‘The vision of [MindShare] way back when it was launched was to be more than just a very large media company that has a lot of clout so they can buy really efficiently,’ says Nayler when asked about the agency’s relevancy in the Canadian marketplace. ‘There’s more to this [media agency] world. It’s about business solutions and communications investment and we need to change the paradigm from being buyers to managing client investments.’

That’s probably why Nayler says the agency’s unofficial motto would be ‘realizing potential’ and is quick to highlight the agency’s 2005 chef d’oeuvre, an ‘art installation’ in Lester B. Pearson airport’s swanky new Terminal One for bigwig client Amex – partly for its creativity, but mainly for its ingenuity [see case study opposite.] ‘It got around a lot of restrictions.’

She’s also particularly proud of MindShare’s work with substantially smaller client Teletoon and the creation of its trading cards, which ‘just went through the roof.’ Instead of bombarding kids 6-12 with marketing messages, MindShare decided to ‘play’ its way into their hearts. Thus, to promote the cable channel’s fall season, the agency created 18 cards per series, each featuring a Teletoon star and various games, such as rock-scissors-paper and trivia questions. The cards were distributed through September issues of kid-targeted magazines and at events. Nayler also points to the multimedia execution for Gillette’s Tag men’s body spray and the agency’s use of non-traditional media such as downloadable ring tones to reach a target that doesn’t like to be marketed to. ‘This was not traditional media at all,’ she says of the Tag work. ‘Nor were they traditional messages, but it worked phenomenally well. [Our strengths] are a complete focus on the clients and being able to solve a problem that [doesn't just have people say:] ‘Isn’t that a great tactical idea.”

Agency head: Karen Nayler, MD
Number of employees: Over 100
Notable clients: IBM, Twentieth Century Fox, AMEX, Gillette, Mattel, Shell, Heart and Stroke Foundation, Lavalife
Major new business wins: IKEA, Kellogg, Estée Lauder, Greyhound
Major losses: Midas

CASE STUDY: AMEX
Airport signage really took off

The goal
To reach Amex’s highly valued frequent business traveller target, MindShare decided that the new Terminal One at Toronto’s Lester B. Pearson airport – where the target spends a large chunk of its time – would be the prime venue to support the second-year push of Amex’s successful co-branded AeroplanPlus card. Amex could also launch the new tagline ‘My Life. My Card.’

The strategy
Faced with the airport authority’s desire to maintain the architectural integrity of its new facility as well as finding an effective way to engage the quite savvy target consumer in a busy environment, MindShare was forced to look beyond the traditional signage approach. The result was to create art, not advertisement.

The execution
They approached the airport with the idea to build a travel-themed art installation. In May, a giant suitcase, measuring 15 ft. x 20 ft. and featuring a 12 ft. LED screen, which runs a loop of exotic travel footage as well as very minimal Amex ads/corporate video, was unveiled. It even included an Amex travel tag.

The results
The high-impact installation is in a high-traffic zone, reaching the hard-to-reach business traveller. Additionally, the Amex brand was the first corporate advertiser to gain entry into the terminal. Some PR was also generated. ‘We were able to surround our target customer in a whole new way, says Amex spokesperson Tara Peever, ‘[with] a critical advantage in the competitive travel-reward card market.’