Media Director of the Year – Tatania Tucker

Media Director of the Year - Tatania Tucker

TATANIA TUCKER, media director, Bensimon Byrne

Tatania Tucker was born under a lucky media star. Her 20-year career has included working with the industry’s top people, at the top agencies for the top brands – and even a stint on the media supplier side for the National Post launch.

It all started at JWT, which hired Tucker as an assistant planner. She later moved to Bates Canada, then joined MacLaren McCann to work with media great Hugh Dow as supervisor. Her next step was to sign on with Sunni Boot and Debbie King as they were launching ZenithOptimedia. From there she joined Doner Canada to run the media shop before getting the call from Bensimon Byrne in December 2004.

‘The stars have aligned themselves quite often,’ she says. ‘I worked on Molson during the I Am Canadian years and Mazda for the launch of ZoomZoom, and I pitched with Sunni and Debbie and won the Dreamworks business when it was becoming big in Canada. Now it’s a whole new world. I’m building a department based on my and Bensimon Byrne’s beliefs.’

Tucker began at Bensimon as a department of one to work on Hyundai business. That first month she ended up working Christmas Eve until 11 p.m. and did a lot of second-guessing her decision.

But since 2004 her media group has grown to a staff of eight, and the billings have grown from $30 million to almost $70 million. Part of the increase is due to adding the Hyundai Dealers Association account to the Hyundai corporate business, a feat that involved travelling across Canada with the client to talk with all the dealers to actually help form the association.

Customer service and commitment are the keys to Tucker’s approach to media. She admits to being at the Hyundai office more often than not, and says it helps her to become part of the client’s business and a true partner.

‘I think it’s an emerging trend, this move towards customer service,’ she says. ‘We’re no longer a commodity service. When it comes to planning,

it’s about service, understanding and being there. I need to be hands-on every single day.’


What are your strengths as a media director?

My greatest strength is that I’m doing this interview on my day off as I’m driving to Hyundai for a meeting. I’m either very stupid or very committed. I’m committed to media as a discipline, to my clients and to developing, growing and empowering my team.

The campaign you’re most proud of?

One of our greatest home runs this year was the Quebec-specific Le Banquier (Deal or No Deal) sponsorship and product integration for Hyundai. It’s a good example of how we can go far beyond a simple media buy. It also illustrates the importance of understanding regional challenges and opportunities.
This category-exclusive program for Hyundai included billboards, 30-second spots and full product integration on stage with the show’s host, Julie Schneider, enticing a mother of twins to take the banker’s offer plus a brand new Elantra. The car was fully equipped with two car seats and a year’s supply of diapers, which showcased the large trunk when it popped open to reveal the diapers.
The car was the star of the show for a full two minutes in the number one show of the night. As well, there were two on-stage product integrations plus a dedicated online contest. The program over-delivered on audience, and we have renewed our sponsorship.

Everything is a medium. What are your thoughts on the trend?

Media is everywhere. In some instances it’s the stunt for the sake of the stunt, but there will be a cull of the herd. We need to do so much more now to understand how everyone interacts with every one of the 1,000 exposures they encounter, and do more of a deep dive into the client’s business and target. The deep dive of yesterday is a shallow splash today.