Next Media Stars: Anne-Marie Buchanan

This Bleublancrouge strategist led a targeted radio campaign that saw mortgage commitments at Laurentian Bank rise by 20%.

Strategy asked the top brass at media agencies across the country to give credit where it’s due and name their brightest young media minds. The winner will be selected by the strategy Media Agency of the Year jury and announced this fall. Here’s the first round of contenders. Stay tuned for the second batch in next month’s issue of strategy.

Anne-Marie Buchanan, media strategist, Bleublancrouge

Claim to fame
Last year, Montreal-based Laurentian Bank did something to tout its mortgages that it had never done before.
Working with Montreal-based Bleublancrouge, it targeted mobile, 25- to 34-year-old first-time homebuyers by buying a two-hour block on Astral Media radio stations for six consecutive Sundays, creating “Les Visites Libres Banque Laurentienne.” It was an exclusive, integrated program aiming to reach the target during a key emotional moment: when they are out and about on Sundays perusing open houses.
The bank completely owned the 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. timeslot on two top performing Montreal stations, Énergie 94.3 and Virgin Radio 96, supplying advice by way of vignettes that addressed aspects of financing and property ownership. Even the DJs were in on it, with integrated branding worked into their banter.
“We wanted to create something that would be useful and entertaining,” says Anne-Marie Buchanan, media strategist, Bleublancrouge. “We had to work in synergy with the creative, the media, the stations and the client to make sure this would work.”
It did. Laurentian increased mortgage commitments by 20%, eliminating a $100 million shortfall from the previous year, and broke its all-time sales record. Buchanan and the bank took home a gold MIA.
Taking it up a notch in 2010, Buchanan used media to establish a presence with the target at every stage of the housing search. Laurentian’s relationship with Astral Media was expanded to include sponsorship of home decoration TV shows, rebuilding schedules into Saturday and Sunday morning blocks. The bank also sponsored the Montreal Home Show and Open House Weekends, where Laurentian Bank mortgage advisors and home decoration experts were on site to counsel new homebuyers.     
In addition to targeted radio, the buy included mortgage ads placed on real estate websites and OOH ads, and DM pieces distributed in neighbourhoods where the target was renting.
“We thought about all the other insights we could use that had to do with this target,” says Buchanan. “So, this time around it’s more than integrated, it’s one media driving to another [with] a different role, so we can really follow the consumer in his thinking process.”

Buchanan’s backstory

Media is not where Buchanan, 30, began her career. After graduating from the Université du Québec à Montréal with a degree in PR, she went to work for Montreal Fashion Week, then to Montreal-based PR and communications agency Casacom and eventually the United Way, where she worked in communications marketing and event organization.
During her tenure at the United Way, Buchanan earned a graduate diploma in marketing communication at business school HEC Montreal. It was there that she met Claude Lamoureux, director of media at Bleublancrouge.
“He wanted someone who could do strategy, so he chose to hire me based on my five-year experience in communications, even though I had zero media experience,” says Buchanan. “That was a gamble, and my media learning curve had to be super fast as I was building media strategy for my clients a couple of weeks after I was hired.”

What’s the best part of working in media?
“Good advertising. To do media you have to think about the target, you have to think about where they are.”

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Natasha Stevens, media strategist, OMD Toronto

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