Made in Canada

Behavioural insights, we are told, are the foundation of a brilliant strategy, which in turn is the underpinning of brilliant creative. The result: effective campaigns and innovative brand strategies.

Behavioural insights, we are told, are the foundation of a brilliant strategy, which in turn is the underpinning of brilliant creative. The result: effective campaigns and innovative brand strategies.

As we celebrate the top Canadian brands this month and prep for the Agency of the Year awards next month, the value of a strong local marketing team, backed by great creative and media minds, has never been more apparent. With word-of-mouth growing in importance as a purchase influencer, and non-traditional marketing on the rise, it would seem that knowing the lay of the land and the mind-set of the audience should increase in value. Yet, more companies are looking to global strategies, global campaigns – or a North American strategy, in the case of Kraft Canada’s recent decision-making shift south.

This issue was put before the Canadian marketing industry at the Media In Canada Forum recently, when Capital C president Tony Chapman urged the audience to do something about it. ‘We all have to come together and get the best insights on our consumers. We have to be the country, we have to be the industry, that stands together and proves that we can collaborate.’

This issue – and how to deal with it – will be addressed in two live strategy forums which stem-the-tide activist Chapman will help moderate. The strategy Roundtable series will tackle the topic first this month, with the findings to be shared in our December issue. Joan McArthur, our Roundtable wrangler, ultimately wrestled this complex and crucial issue into a one-sentence précis for panelists: ‘A ‘Made in Canada’ marketing strategy has never been more critical, yet at the same time, more critically threatened.’ We’re tasking panelists to provide examples of marketing that leverages the home team strengths, and how to leverage these successes and strengthen the Canadian team’s remit.

This issue will also be debated live on stage at the York Event Theatre next month, at the Agency of the Year Awards, Dec. 7. In ‘Building the Case for Made in Canada,’ another assembly of top-level marketing and ad execs, such as Burger King Canada CMO Leslie Root, and Dale Hooper, Frito Lay Canada’s VP of brand marketing, will seek to frame a winning argument – a positioning statement if you will – that reinforces the value of Canadian solutions in a global branding world.

We believe Canadians best understand the nuances of our consumer. To that end, we are planning more opportunities for the industry to get together and expand their marketing acumen, and to showcase the best work being done here.

In January we’re holding a strategy Breakfast Briefing for those interested in knowing more about communicating to men. Our Understanding Men morning features insights from Leo Burnett’s global Metro vs. Retro research project (with some custom Canadian content), and yes, there are more ‘types’ out there than adverts would have you believe. Many men are tired of being lumped into ‘dumb dad’ or ‘dumb jock’ stereotypes, and there is an opportunity to speak to them rather than piss them off. A roundtable following the presentation will explore which categories could benefit from putting the research into action, and which marketers here already talk to men effectively.

Also, don’t miss the great work on display at Agency of the Year. In addition to the Made In Canada symposium, the top five campaigns of the top 10 Canadian agencies will be showcased in an interactive display. In no particular order, they are BBDO, Bos, DDB, Diesel, Downtown Partners, Grip, Lowe Roche, Rethink, Taxi and – promising to be 1/16th better than last year – Zig. Your Master of Ceremony for the evening will be Cossette’s new SVP/MD Brett Marchand, and since he was one of the lead marketers behind the ‘I am Canadian’ campaign and its ‘Rant’ when he was at Molson, he’ll also share an opinion – or two – on the Made In Canada debate.

Cheer,mm

Mary Maddever, Editorial Director