The A-List: Media Experts

Staying a step ahead by responding to human behaviour
The online-pivoting Media Experts team.

The online-pivoting Media Experts team.

Since 1981, Media Experts has been an innovation leader in Canada, driven by the mission to deliver business results for its clients. It was the first agency in the market to serve its own ads and implement retargeting, it launched the first programmatic agency trading desk in Canada and was at the vanguard of promoted Snapchat filters.

So it’s little surprise that, following an unprecedented year in which the rules of digital engagement have gone into hyperdrive, Media Experts has continued to evolve and innovate.

“The world has become a very different place. Canadians are a diverse group and many aspects of how we live, work, play, engage with brands and shop is evolving,” says Kris Davis, SVP, client business partner. “Understanding this human dynamic is essential in helping our clients build successful, long-lasting relationships with their customers.”

EDC’s national #BusinessAsUnusual campaign aimed to support and inspire business owners and professionals suffering business loss due to the pandemic. The campaign included TV, online video, radio, print, digital and social media channels and included customized sponsorships with BNN Bloomberg, The Globe and Mail and CBC and was emphasized during key times of the year for business owners such as October’s Small Business Month.

EDC’s national #BusinessAsUnusual campaign supported those suffering business loss due to the pandemic. The campaign spanned TV, online video, radio, print, digital and social media, and included custom sponsorships with BNN Bloomberg, The Globe and Mail and CBC during key times of the year for business owners such as October’s Small Business Month.

For instance, when much of the world shut down in the early days of the pandemic, Media Experts – which has over 175 staff at offices in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver – helped BMW reach audience segments that typically might not have walked into a showroom. Realizing that grounded Snowbirds were saving money by staying home, Media Experts targeted older shoppers looking to treat themselves to a luxury. Similarly, the agency identified that young professionals who no longer wanted to take transit were potential customers.

“Coming out of 2019 the industry was hyper-focused in its targeting, but COVID-19 changed that,” says Davis. As new opportunities emerged, he adds, “We adapted by broadening our audience lens to connect with new segments and enhanced our ability to scale engagement longer or shorter along the purchase journey because lockdowns slowed some shopping behaviour and accelerated others.”

The best thing people can do as individuals to combat climate change is to adopt a plant-based diet. This was the message Earth’s Own oat milk was looking to convey. To dispel the myth that taking a stand for the environment means sacrificing on taste, Media Experts created a digital-first campaign, which resulted in three-times faster growth than the category.

The best thing people can do to combat climate change is to adopt a plant-based diet. Earth’s Own oat milk wanted to dispel the myth that switching means sacrificing on taste; Media Experts’ digital-first campaign reinforced that promise and delivered three times faster growth than the category.

For plant-based beverage Earth’s Own, Media Experts uncovered a tension between people’s intentions and actions: despite claiming to care about the environment, they don’t want to compromise on taste or price. “The difference between people’s claims about their values and their actual behaviour quickly came into focus. We had to leverage their passion for the planet and at the same time dispel the notion that going plant-based meant trading down on quality,” says Morgan Watt, managing director of the Vancouver office.

The agency addressed this challenge with a digital campaign that built awareness and trial. Over the campaign period on YouTube, connected TV and social platforms, Earth’s Own grew three times faster than the category (46% vs. 16% category), increased buyers (+13% to 2.4M), increased loyalty by +2.4%, and delivered more than double its annual Oat Milk sales target.

Human behaviour is not the only shifting sand in the media landscape. The agency is enabling better targeting for clients through access to high-value audiences in preparation for the end of third-party cookies, which it’s doing through a proprietary data stack of unique Canadian data sources. “This allows us to gain control of who we are targeting and how we reach each audience across multiple platforms,” Davis says.

Media Experts has also developed a new performance practice that creates greater flexibility for rapid optimization. New workflows and processes mean that clients can shift media channels without onerous document revisions, freeing up Media Experts’ performance traders to make changes in real-time. Patricia Gray, VP digital, says that while simple in concept, these changes represent significant updates to process and workflow across the agency and are unique to Media Experts.

For BMW, Media Experts built a campaign that showcased the carmaker’s vast product lineup in a time when in-person showrooms were shuttered due to the pandemic. The campaign involved special targeting efforts to adapt to the lockdown reality, as well as a mix of TV, DOOH, display, social and search, and executions with Yahoo and Amazon Fire TV.

For BMW, Media Experts built a campaign that showcased the carmaker’s vast product lineup in a time when in-person showrooms were shuttered due to the pandemic. The campaign involved special targeting efforts to adapt to the lockdown reality, as well as a mix of TV, DOOH, display, social and search, and executions with Yahoo and Amazon Fire TV.

This practice is supported by a performance lead position within the company and a proprietary suite of tools called Aura, which offers a level of reporting granularity that would be impossible to generate without robotic process automation. Saving time on the compilation and visualization of data means Media Experts traders are spending more time optimizing and refining campaign setups.

After nearly 20 years partnered with the Air Miles loyalty program, the Rexall chain of pharmacies launched its own loyalty program: Be Well. To drive membership, Media Experts created a three-month campaign beginning in September encouraging signups and app downloads. It resulted in 250,000 new registrations by the end of 2020.

After nearly 20 years partnered with the Air Miles loyalty program, the Rexall chain of pharmacies launched its own loyalty program: Be Well. To drive membership, Media Experts created a three-month campaign encouraging signups and app downloads. It resulted in 250,000 new registrations by the end of 2020.

“Historically our industry has treated search, social and programmatic as discreet practices. Conversations become siloed, results are inconsistent and process is specific by channel,” says Gray. “We have reimagined both front-end optimization process and tech as well as back-end logistics to ensure our approaches are truly cross-channel, focused 100% on driving results.”

Davis says this is a result of the agency’s entrepreneurial spirit and integration. “We’re driven to build it in-house if it’s right for our clients, so that the capabilities and teams are connected, insights can be identified and acted upon, and we can move across all channels with flexibility and agility. We are excited for the future and what’s coming next.”

CONTACT:
Kris Davis
Senior vice-president, client business partner
KrisD@mediaexperts.com

The 2021 A-Listers:

Intro

Zulu Alpha Kilo: from strength to strength

Target: natural born storytellers

doug&partners: ready for whatever’s next

UM: winning in an uncertain world

C&B: connecting on a deeper level

Initiative: doubling down on innovation and creating cultural velocity

Giants & Gentlemen: the power of unwavering philosophy

Wunderman Thompson: a multidisciplinary service offering

DDB: the power of informed creative

Citizen Relations: making every conversation count