Underpants, and other things that made us look

Our October issue unveils the winners of our first annual AToMiC Awards, as well as our Brands of the Year.

We actually don’t have a thing for knickers at strategy, men in underpants just seem to gravitate onto our covers. In the case of DDB CEO Frank Palmer and his first strategy cover, we had asked him to squish into a shopping cart being pushed by the proverbial little old lady to illustrate “the consumer’s in control,” a popular rallying cry for change back in 2004. As you can see, he had a different graphic in mind. Fast-forward seven years, and consumers are now calling the shots hopped up on social-media steroids. And Frank’s more elegant visual interpretation of the ad world impact is even more relevant.
Our knicker-clad AToMiC Awards pull-out contains the winning cases from our new ad/tech/media creativity/content competition – programs that found new ways to channel that consumer power. Since brands are moving into the content and tech spaces, we partnered with sister publication Playback, which covers production, as well as Media in Canada, to capture the best work from Canada’s entire media spectrum. So check out what made it to the medal round.
Thanks are due to AToMiC co-chairs Lauren Richards and Mark Childs, plus all our advisors/judges who did double duty to put the program together, and everyone who participated (we’re sorry the entry deadline of every major award show in Canada hit you at the same time, and will rework the insane scheduling at our end next time).
Grand Prix congratulations go to John St. and Stanfield’s. This was an effort that used social media to best advantage, providing 24/7 coverage of a cancer survivor’s quest to trigger funding for his cause, gaining great organic energy as it romped through pop culture, with priceless moments like Strombo crashing his blind date.
AToMiC winners span games to tech breakthroughs, so congratulations to everyone who tried new things, collaborated with new partners and set new bars.
This month we’re also celebrating strategy’s Brand of the Year winners. Our celeb brand, gracing the cover, is a rarity in Canada. A sports star who is not a hockey player, Georges St-Pierre is the face of UFC, responsible for bringing fans and brands into the octagon in Canada.
Our overall winner, RBC, had a different challenge. Taking a venerable bank and giving it a distinct – and friendly – new face. No easy feat. But with patience, Arbie and the Blue Water cause, mission accomplished.
Joe Fresh’s success thus far – creating a credible fashion brand between the meat and produce aisles – is incredible, and now it’s poised to stand alone in the fierce fashion ring, taking its cheap-as-chips togs to Fifth Avenue, making it one of those rare things, a new made-in-Canada brand export.
We also loved Ikea’s quirky stranglehold on cheap and cheerful design, Vidéotron’s slick new visage and success in Quebec, and Cadbury’s commitment to its heritage while taking the confectionery category into new spaces. Congrats to all the teams who made it work.
Which brings me back to that consumer who’s in control, who almost got to push Frank Palmer around in a grocery cart, and now decides who is “liked” by a whole new set of criteria. One way CPG brands are responding is an increased focus on shopper marketing, and influencing in the aisles is getting more sophisticated and tougher. To capture some of that retail action, strategy launched an online Shopper Marketing Report this month. So sign up online and send us your news.

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