Throwback Thursday: strategy in 2002

For our 25th anniversary, we're travelling through time. In '02, healthy food was all the rage and Grip Limited was born.
For strategy‘s 25th anniversary, we’re travelling back in time, flipping through the pages of old issues to highlight some big news you may have forgotten, trends you wish you’d had a crystal ball to predict and marketing issues that never seem to change. Check back next Thursday to pick up some valuable insights into Canadian marketing history. This week, we tackle 2002.

Hot headlines


Jan. 14, 2002

“Grip Limited, the ‘new-model’ agency conceived by Labatt Brewing Company, stepped out of the shadows recently to declare itself as the first shop of its kind in the world. Along with being 100% employee-owned and -operated, among its most distinctive traits are an open-accounting policy that gives clients access to the books, and a client advisory board, chaired by Peter Elwood, former president of Lever Brothers and Lipton.”

New legislation cracks down on deceptive marketing Jan. 28, 2002

“…under proposed new government regulations, due to be enacted early this year, food manufacturers will soon have to ensure that food labelling meets specific standards of accuracy.” Tobacco also had to print warning labels across 50% of packaging and show graphic images such as lung tumours and diseased gums.

Taxi turns cliché on its ear with Viagra March 11, 2002

John Burghardt wrote: “Taxi, the Viagra agency, has already proven they can be sexy and attention-getting when the product is comfortable and familiar…Now they’ve also shown me they can be comfortable and familiar when the product is sexy and attention-getting. I’ve known for some time that Taxi could be spectacular. Now that I’ve seen them play it cool when cool is called for, I understand that they’re also very, very smart.”

Is TV measurement measuring up? Sept. 23, 2002

“Ron Bremner, VP of television for BBM Canada, says the introduction of Arbitron’s Portable People Meter (PPM) – a pager-sized device worn by panelists to measure TV viewing and radio listening wherever the subject travels – will enable the company to increase sample size and also move into more markets, because it is more cost-effective.”

The more things change…

WomenAgencies still lack female creatives March 25, 2002

“[In Canada], an informal glance at the top 50 agencies of last year shows that only four women have earned the title of president or chairperson…The million-dollar question, of course, is why. Andrea Southcott, president and COO at Vancouver-based agency Bryant, Fulton & Shee, says it still boils down to women making concessions in their careers to raise kids.”

Can Canada support mega-agencies? March 25, 2002

“Within the industry, speculation is that by the end of this year, there will only be four global agency networks. The recent $3-billion U.S. merger of Publicis Group and Bcom3 Group along with their long-term strategic alliance with Dentsu of Japan gives Publicis 11 different agency brands in Canada. The other three larger networks – Omnicom, Interpublic and WPP – each have around 20.” Of course, mega-mergers became big news again recently with the proposed merger of Publicis and Omnicom, which was called off this year.

The topics on everyone’s lips

Advertisers slowly edge out of the closet Jan. 14, 2002

“In the last five to 10 years, the ad industry has begun to follow pop culture’s lead out of the closet. But while more conservative brands are addressing gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) consumers in their own niche media, few North American companies dare to depict homosexual couples in mainstream advertising, and virtually none do in Canada.”

The online measurement quandary June 17, 2002

“Because of declining click-through rates – and therefore declining revenues – last summer many large publishers in the U.S. including CBS, abandoned the click-through metric, announcing they would no longer automatically provide CTRs to advertisers.

“The alternative is to focus on campaign reach, post impression analysis and brand/product offering awareness as measures of ad performance – including many traditional offline measures such as Gross Ratings Points (GRPs). To that end, the Interactive Advertising Bureau in New York recently released a set of voluntary guidelines for measuring online advertising campaigns that it hopes will provide ‘the building blocks to do rating points and reach frequency.’”

Would you like a salad with your soy burger? July 29, 2002Harveys

“QSRs have unleashed alternatives to traditional grub in a bid to appease what they believe is consumers’ voracious appetite for novelty and, of course, to boost market share.” Healthy food was a seriously big deal in 2002, with Wendy’s introducing Garden Sensations salads, Harvey’s Chicken Fajita Pita and McDonald’s Lighter Choices menu, as well as CPGs like PepsiCo and Frito Lay introducing trans-fat-free and healthier options.

Looking into the crystal ball

Lost in TV land Oct. 21, 2002

Max Valiquette wrote that young people are watching less TV and choosing to stream on the internet, but television is still the cost of entry, especially for big brands. “TV on demand is a reality that is already here for a small percentage of the youth population, and will be a reality for, well, everyone.”

The evolution of online advertising Dec. 2, 2002

“Version 3.0 will see the complete dissolution of the online advertising department. Just as TV and print can be used for direct marketing or brand positioning, online too will be added to both toolboxes. There are numerous studies…showing how online can work for brand advertising. But it can’t be done in the context of an agency that has a separate online media department, online creatives and online account people. That’s just antiquated thinking.”

Creative Report Card

And as always, we’ll wrap up our time travel with the top creative agencies, brands and creatives who graced strategy‘s annual Creative Report Card.

Want more strategy Throwback? Catch up on the headlines from 198919901991199219931994199519961997199819992000 and 2001.