Next Media Stars: Dorothy Zarska

With Next Media Stars finalist Dorothy Zarska on the campaign, it's easy being green.

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 our second batch of contenders.

Dorothy Zarska, communications strategist, M2 Universal

Claim to fame
Dorothy Zarska likes to pay attention to detail. Little things can really matter in a campaign, like the size of the carbon footprint it leaves.
Take RBC’s effort promoting its Blue Water Project, which gives grants to North American charities to fund programs in watershed protection and providing access to clean drinking water.
Since it’s the first major consumer campaign against the initiative, launching this month, Zarska knew it was important that the message was conveyed in a way that didn’t contradict the bank’s inaugural environmental statement. That’s why she ensured that the two major media touchpoints for the campaign were TV and online, while RBC campaigns usually involve a lot of print and OOH.
“Typically we don’t consider environmental footprints while we’re planning, but knowing that RBC can be scrutinized for what they’ve done, or investments they’ve made in the past, we wanted to make sure this was bulletproof,” says Zarska,“that it was an environmental message even within the advertising.”
To raise awareness about the Project, which serves as one of RBC’s signature causes, Zarska and her team put together theme blocks surrounding relevant TV content featured on broadcast partners including Discovery Channel and Global.
On Discovery, the RBC Blue Water Project is sponsoring a 10-hour marathon of Life, a series that gives viewers an up-close look at the struggle for survival among different species in the natural world.
It’s also sponsoring two segments per show for a week on Discovery flagship Daily Planet, all dealing with water.
On Global, Blue Water is sponsoring a water weekend, two hours on a Friday and another two on the Saturday, where they’ve chosen programming that’s nature focused and in line with the theme.
The video-heavy online component of the campaign includes a Blue Water microsite and a YouTube channel that features stories on those who have received grants through the project.
Zarska has brought her attention to the minutiae of the media buy to other facets of the RBC business, in particular, branch openings. The problem, she found, was that many of RBC’s new branches open in small Canadian markets, and good photos or details of available billboards in these markets weren’t always readily available. So, Zarska created a best practice at the agency whereby all new branch opening locations are analyzed through Google Maps and Streetview to ensure ideal OOH locations are hand-selected for purchase.  

The deal on Dorothy
Zarska, 25, who moved to Canada from Poland when she was eight years old, chose to study advertising media sales at Humber College. It was during the search for an internship following her graduation in 2007 that she landed at M2 on the RBC account.

What’s a media touchpoint RBC has yet to tap?
“Mobile. I’ve been trying to get mobile on every single plan, especially now because a few other financial institutions have come out with mobile applications. But I think it’s finding the need first. We can’t just put an app out there and expect it to do things for us.”


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