Silver: Mediaedge:cia

Marketers looking to cross over from traditional media into the new media vanguard in 2008 did well to knock on the door at Mediaedge:cia.

Marketers looking to cross over from traditional media into the new media vanguard in 2008 did well to knock on the door at Mediaedge:cia.

The agency helped Molson Canadian and Coors Light overcome low brand acceptance and backlash in the social media space. In the first partnership of its kind, the media shop collaborated with Facebook on two sponsored groups for the brewer, sharing research and resources to solve age-verification issues and gain insight into how consumers use the space.

At the same time, MEC underwent a significant transition of its own: former president Bruce Grondin, an industry veteran of 35-plus years, passed the torch to Bruce Neve, his colleague of 20 years, in May.

In the current risk-averse economic climate, Neve points out that the biggest challenge in his new role has been continuing to convince clients that there’s good ROI in advertising in traditional media, while harnessing the power of new channels responsibly and effectively.

MEC’s philosophy of ‘active engagement’ has equipped it to take on this challenge with aplomb, as has its investment in proprietary research to understand consumer behaviour. ‘While this type of environment breeds a lot of caution,’ says Neve, ‘it can also breed an appetite for some strategic, smart risk-taking.’ And that’s where data comes in.

GroupM’s acquisition of St. Louis-based search marketing firm Outrider in February was such an investment, and has gone a long way to support MEC’s approach with its clients. Search engine marketing, search engine optimization and advanced search capabilities in mobile, video, social and local media have been integrated into all of MEC’s offerings, and according to Neve, the search practice is growing like crazy.

‘There’s lots of opportunity in this country,’ he explains. ‘Search [here] is underspent, I think, versus in the U.S.’

Investing in search and digital has given MEC a better understanding of social media and user-generated content behaviours – a major accomplishment for the agency in 2008.

That learning has also enabled it to hone a position on the cutting edge and exploit the new channels for the benefit of clients like Molson and Sears (see p. 86). ‘We’re always looking for how to do more with less and get better results,’ says Neve.

This momentum attracted the attention of new clients including Energizer Canada, which joined MEC’s client roster in October 2007.

‘There’s been a really good level of engagement,’ says Kent Hatton, brand group director for Energizer Canada. ‘Our strategic thinking is well aligned, and they certainly understand the essence of our brand.’

As for the future, MEC’s focus will be on continuing to diversify its service offerings and further understand and leverage new media avenues.

‘It’s fun when you’re involved in a business that has a lot of change, and you’re actually inventing new ways of doing things,’ says Neve.

VITAL STATS

Location: Toronto

Number of employees: 112

Notable hires:
• Rodney Perry, managing partner, director MEC Interaction
•Niall Mulholland, managing partner, connection planning
•Cindy Worsley, communications strategy director

New business: Energizer, Schick, Playtex, Weight Watchers, Skyy Vodka, Paramount Vantage

CORONA

Corona wanted to broaden its association beyond memories of Mexico. Tapping into the busy 24-to-39 demo’s desire to make the most of its downtime, Corona sought to expand its niche to become the beer of vacations, general relaxation and escapism.

To do that, Mediaedge:cia had to mastermind Corona presence wherever the consumer was either taking a break or thinking of one, increasing its association with entertaining at home, relaxing at the cottage or hitting up a patio on a nice summer day.

MEC formed a partnership with Alliance specialty channels to create special Corona-branded vignettes featuring Trish Magwood, the host of Party Dish. These vignettes ran throughout programming that fit with the core demographic, with an emphasis on home entertaining programs. A microsite on foodtv.ca featured backyard entertaining tips and recipes.

Working with Molson sales, Mediaedge:cia developed a full patio domination program, placing Corona-branded Muskoka chairs, tables, tiki bars, thatch umbrellas and misting palm trees to transform licensed patios into mini-oases. To increase impact, branded weather-triggered ‘ideal patio weather’ alerts ran on radio and online via the Weather Network.

Mediaedge:cia also formed a partnership with Cottage Life magazine, with Corona presence and contests at the Spring Cottage Life Show and full-page ads and recipe pages in the magazine and on cottagelife.ca. A removable sticker insert to mark key holidays in the Cottage Life calendar with a tiny Corona label created a direct link with consumers’ downtime moments.

Finally, Mediaedge:cia added an extensive OOH buy skewed to licensed patios, beaches, cottage country escape routes and key points of retail.

Corona’s share continues to grow, as does its brand/ad recall and association with relaxation.

SEARS CANADA

Rather than buying media to support Sears’ enhanced electronics departments, Mediaedge:cia chose to sell it instead.

Canwest Media was given exclusive access to Sears’ media assets to promote Global TV’s new fall schedule. The message – ‘The best way to experience Global’s fall shows is on an HDTV from Sears home electronics’ – appeared on in-store window displays, showplace zones and aisle panels, weekly Sears flyers, in-store announcements and sears.ca and e-newsletters. As well, a 30-minute HD reel of new programming ran on the TVs in Sears electronics departments.

In return, Canwest delivered 20-second promos for Global programs with key Sears and vendor messaging, a four-page glossy insert with Sears messaging and Sony and Panasonic ads, distributed via Canwest newspapers and street hawkers wearing Sears/Global outfits. Entertainment Tonight Canada created a custom 30-minute prime-time program covering Global TV’s new fall programming, of which Sears was the exclusive sponsor. A contest featuring Sears prizing was pre-promoted via on-air spots, newspaper ads in the largest Canadian markets, on canada.com and in a monthly newsletter to canada.com subscribers.

Over 90% of the English-Canadian public was engaged by the program, Sears electronics sales increased 20% and over 98,000 people entered the contest. Sears also collected over 3,000 names of people who would like to receive more information about home electronics.

MOLSON

When Molson saw that its male legal-drinking-age-to-29 target was spending more time on social media sites like Facebook, the brewer wanted to test this channel to connect with its consumers.

To avoid backlash and/or low acceptance of brands and advertising, Mediaedge:cia and Molson conducted an in-depth analysis, observing and interacting with consumers live within Facebook. Based on their findings, they developed a plan for two sponsored groups, one for Molson Canadian and one for Coors Light. In exchange for a media commitment to drive traffic to these groups, Facebook provided full access to back-end data and programming resources, category exclusivity and assistance in the creation of a new age-verification method linked directly to users’ profile data.

Working with the Molson marketing team and key agency partners, Mediaedge:cia developed consumer activation plans and created a template for the creative agencies to follow that would leverage all the tools within the Facebook environment. The Molson Canadian Intern for a Day contest encouraged users to upload video applications that were voted on by the group’s members. The Coors Light Name that Caption contest invited users to post captions for an off-the-wall picture, and received over 800 posts. The Coors Light Action Sports Video contest asked users to post videos of action sports feats, and the winner was featured on MTV.ca.

Within a short time, Molson’s two groups became the largest Canadian-sponsored groups on Facebook, nearing 50,000 active members and amassing over 1,500 photo posts, 150 video uploads and 3,000 posts on the walls and discussion boards.

Jump to:

Intro

Media Director of the Year – Bruce Neve

Next Media Star – Danny Shenkman

Gold – Starcom MediaVest

Bronze – PHD

Honourable Mention – MediaCom

Judges

Visit the Media AOY 2008 site