Boomers: Genesis Media: The Toronto Star



Last year, with some new consumer insights in tow, Genesis Media decided a new approach was needed to reach potential Toronto Star classified purchasers. First insight: Go beyond Toronto, to the regions of the 905 area code. Second: Target well-to-do boomers on the verge of downsizing to communicate the key benefits of service.


Under $500,000

Target consumer

* 40-59s with higher-than-average household income (white collar workers and business professionals)

* Married with children

* Homeowners in GTA /suburbs

Consumer insight/characteristics

This refined target is defined by two distinct life stages, says Scott Stewart, account director on the campaign:

* Adults who have kids going off to college

* Adults who are downsizing i.e. Their kids have moved out to start their own lives

Research also revealed that the target were light to extra-light media consumers. ‘This takes us out of TV, it takes us out of a lot of things. They’re more information seekers: They go in, they get it, they’re out,’ he says. A focus also was reaching the extended market (the 905-region). ‘From new research insight, we may have been a little softer in that area [during the previous campaign].’

Media touch points

* Captivate TV in elevators

* Backs of GO Transit commuter buses

* TSAs at six key GO

train platforms

* Print

* Radio

* True-to-life display in high-traffic public spaces


The plan was to supplement the mass-reach-based execution with targeted best-fit environments, says Stewart that would ‘dial-up our new consumer insights’ over the identified time periods: May/June as well as September through to November to target when the consumer would most likely be preparing children for a move.

Elements of the mass-based plan included a 16-week run of radio spots on stations information-seekers listen to such as Easy Rock and 680News; ads in Toronto Life magazine to reach older, more affluent, urbanites, as well as in commuter daily Metro on Thursdays given that people tend to make decisions about placing ads on the weekend, says Stewart. These tactics followed the target during their commute to work, reaching them at key moments.

To reach the commuter target specifically, IMA Outdoor’s TSAs were set up at three specific GO train platforms, selected based on traffic along the Lakeshore line. As well, billboards were placed on the backs of one out of two GO buses which ran along the major-series highways. ‘[This tactic] offered an opportunity to break through to my hardest to reach [extra-light] media consumer,’ Stewart says.

Closer to work, consumers encountered an impact-display piece in Union Station, BCE and TD centres to create an in-market buzz. ‘We brought the concept of classified to life,’ Stewart says, by purchasing an entire living room set complete with sofas, lamps, side tables, from the actual classifieds, setting up the display and attaching signs that read: ‘Brand new designer furniture can be bought by selling your old stuff like this…’ Price tags were also attached to the furniture. ‘How else can you take a concept like classifieds and actually bring it to life and actually demonstrate?’ he says. The display spent one week in each of the three locations.

After leaving the display, the campaign was reinforced where the target worked: A buy with elevator network Captivate was completed in all the buildings that had the display, which also had a drive to

Stewart says that 96% of people watch TV in the elevator, and that the immediacy of the message during work was ideal as most people have Internet access at the office.


Double-digit growth of classified sales over the spring and fall


Genesis Media

Scott Stewart, account director

Doug Sinclair, senior media planner/buyer

Heather Loosemore, media planner/buyer

Toronto Star

Lorne Silver, promotions and CD

Nicholas Casimir, creative communications copywriter

THE DATING GAME – Scott Stewart, account director, Genesis Media

Contrary to popular opinion, Scott Stewart says for today’s media planner, understanding a consumer’s relationship with a brand amid the complex media landscape is rather simple. ‘It’s like dating,’ he says, an analogy that he admits to first hearing from his boss, Annette Warring, president, at the Toronto-based media agency. ‘[Consumers are] deciding whether the brand is one [they] want to be with.’

And the role of the media planner (a job title he says more and more is far too limited) is beyond just determining where and with which media to court the consumer. ‘We’re not just making media choices any more, or what program to buy,’ he says. ‘We’re determining environments, lifestyles, life stages and behaviour. These are things that start to drive the actual strategy.’

After seven years in the industry, with stints that included MaxxMedia and MediaVest, Stewart’s client list now includes Ocean Spray, H.J. Heinz and the Toronto Star. And with more of them, the media agency has a starring role: ‘Media is in a great place to lead the entire strategic process. Previously, we were craftsmen. Now I believe that we’ve not only earned a place at the strategic table in the past five years…I feel that we are really driving that, and getting to the bottom of consumer insights.’

He says the Toronto Star case featured on the previous page, is a prime example of the power of tapping into a consumer, life stage insight. ‘The installation piece is pure media. There was no creative element to it.

There was no production charge. Every single dollar spent on that was pure media. And I think that’s innovative. The [3D] piece is a way of taking a two-dimensional concept and making it tangible and recognizing who our opportunity target is: I didn’t waste one impression.’

And, he adds, that despite the increased pressure in the industry to use research to explain choices and have built-in metrics to prove ROI, sometimes, using your gut – especially when you have a client ready to take chances – is the right choice.

‘These are areas that we have no metrics for. Inherently we know that they yield a better quality.’