CASSIES Silver: MTS rolls out Morty 2.0

The beloved bison returns to lead a brand turnaround.

Silver: Off to a Good Start • Best Integrated Program

Situation Analysis Manitoba Telecom Services (MTS) managed to grow for over a century. However, the last decade was both the best of times and the worst. In 1999, MTS launched a brand strategy with creative centred on Morty the talking bison. Manitoba fell in love with him and MTS became the dominant player in the province, holding the top market share for all its main business lines. By 2008, Telus, Rogers and Shaw were on the attack, offering low prices, sexy products and advanced technology. The business suffered and Morty seemed to be losing steam. Creative in the last half of 2009 focused on people in real-life scenarios. But brand linkage and ad recall scores were far below Morty’s levels – and market share and revenue were still under extreme pressure.

Strategy & Insight Further research and analysis showed that Morty was still loved, despite being discontinued. This made the solution simple: Morty needed a face lift. In March 2011, Morty 2.0 arrived. He would break through the clutter and set MTS apart from the big national telcos.

Execution The new campaign introduced a fresh and unique animated Morty and friends. They’re a fun group with a dry sense of humour, reflecting how Manitobans see themselves. This allowed MTS to tell a consistent story across multiple media, including TV, print, radio, OOH, online (including a microsite showing how Morty evolved), in-store, Playstation, PR and a Winnipeg Jets sponsorship.

Results Overall revenue for 2011 was 3% above objectives, which may not seem big in the absolute sense, but equalled tens of millions of incremental dollars amid intense competition. All sub-objectives were met or surpassed.

Cause & Effect Brand linkage and recall is back around 95% (well above Ipsos norms) for all age groups both male and female. TV commercials improved perceptions about MTS in the category’s main performance indicators.


Client: MTS (Manitoba Telecom Services)
VP marketing: Stan Kurtas
Director, advertising and marketing communications: Kim Johnson
Senior advertising planners: Rachel Ploegman, Lia Crabbe
Advertising planners: Megan Brown, Gillian Dow, Sarah Coy
Marketing associate: Julie Chaput
Agency: Dare Vancouver
VP, client integration: Jonathan Longworth
VPs, CDs: Bryan Collins, Rob Sweetman
VP, media director: Josh Tebbutt
Associate planning director: Catherine Piercy
Integration director: Tamara Bennett
Integration supervisor: Fiona McFaul
Integration manager: Dana Harkness
Director of broadcast production: Mike Hasinoff
Planner: Shannon Pickering
Senior media planner/buyer: Cheryl Brusic
Media supervisor: Debbie Lucas