Ready for a stimulant?

Big ideas are the most rewarding part of this business. If you need a thought stimulant, there are stellar CSR ideas throughout the magazine, as well as some new thinking from Canada's next media stars (see page 47). We also hook you up with a new source of creativity.

Big ideas are the most rewarding part of this business. If you need a thought stimulant, there are stellar CSR ideas throughout the magazine, as well as some new thinking from Canada’s next media stars (see page 47). We also hook you up with a new source of creativity.

First, the CSR. Strategy started getting more interested in brands’ social strategy files three years ago, when industry leaders at Cannes identified eco as important. As we delved deeper, we found so many great projects that we decided to highlight the successes by launching the cause + action awards last year. In this year’s edition, entries range from raising millions to raising consciousness, and finalists were evaluated for awareness, uniqueness, brand DNA fit, legs (the ability to grow the effort, and for consumers to participate) and results.

Our winners had all that. Virgin Mobile Canada launched Flick Off to urge young Canadians to do something about global warming, and raised over $2 million to support Heaven’s Angels, Virgin Unite’s health care program in Africa. This year Fairmont Hotels & Resorts partnered with the World Wildlife Fund’s Climate Savers program, and the gutsy NGO hookup made it the first to win two years in a row. Pantene’s Beautiful Lengths was another fave, because it triggered heartfelt grassroots results. The P&G program encourages women to donate their ponytails to make real hair wigs more accessible to cancer patients. Another jury fave was G.A.P Adventures. The Toronto-based sustainable travel company raised over $300,000 last year to support community projects worldwide.

Our top cause + action hero is Vancity. Our judges love the way the brand integrates its social philosophy through everything it does, and cited its community-engaging efforts such as the Bike Share program. To get inspired, read the c+a special report, starting on page 15.

And to further spark inspiration and creativity (or theft), we’ve just added a new brand to the fold. Stimulant is our new e-letter and online home for all things creative. And as the subject is creativity, the approach is show more than tell.

Stimulant sources the best new communication ideas hitting the Canadian market. It’s a filtered, focused roundup to keep agency creatives (and marketing execs) up to speed. The editorial slant is creative-oriented: top picks of the week, showcasing everything from brilliant traditional work to thought-provoking new marketing manifestations.

Stimulant also rounds up the latest and greatest from worlds beyond advertising. Innovation in design, gaming, toys, media, the illustrated arts – nothing is off-limits.

The idea for stimulant first cropped up when strategy relaunched as a monthly with a focus on the best ideas in the realm of Canadian marketing. While researching online industry news preferences prior to launching our daily Media in Canada, the need for a visually driven roundup of best creative ideas was identified. We got busy doing other things, but always came back to it. By the time we decided to make it happen, other top adcentric creative e-products had launched, so we sought industry advice again, asking if a void remained. The answer was yes. There’s lots of great Canadian creative that deserves a platform. And focus group testing revealed that the non-advertising aspect of stimulant is just as exciting to the creative crowd.

Check it out at stimulantonline.ca, and if you think your ad ideas deserve the spotlight, be in touch with stimulant managing editor Annette Bourdeau. If you come across non-ad-related stimulant fodder, contact Carey Toane, whose nebulous remit is random coolness.

Kudos go to Glen Hunt and Michael Gramlow at Dentsu for creating the stimulant site and launch campaign, and for being both patient and demanding demo guinea pigs. And thanks as well to all the creative directors who helped out on the content development side, and steered us in ever more interesting directions. cheers, mm

Mary Maddever, exec editor, strategy, Media in Canada and stimulant