Rob Young

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Articles by Rob Young

A new dimension for out-of-home

Older than Christ, the Hopi Indians’ Tawaki petroglyphs add the richness of history to their outdoor message


When design meets media

Architecture is a medium. Modern media planners can turn to it for lessons because ‘design it right and they will come’ applies equally to media plans and great architecture. Modern media plans are more than simple collections of creative messages – they have substance and form like the great buildings of our time.


The amateurs among us

There seems to be so many more media experts around these days! Perhaps aliens are capturing humans, injecting them with some degree of media knowledge and reintroducing them amongst us – a kind of media version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Must find a way to uncover the media amateurs. Must find a way.


Wrecking a radio landmark

The radio advertising industry pretty well ignores CBC One and Two. Can’t buy commercials. Can’t get PR. Can’t sponsor the traffic report.


The 2001 Census: Cold facts mask real lives

The 2001 Census is a cold, heartless compendium of data embellished with bureaucratic terms such as ‘step-families’ ‘occupied private dwellings’ and ‘centenarians.’ The act of reading the results of a census is made doubly difficult because there are too many numbers to digest.


Ron Baker witnessed the birth of our modern media industry

Ron Baker finally retired.
He put in his last day of work here at HYPN just a few weeks ago. He put in his first day of work on Sept. 10, 1956 – the day he joined MacLaren Advertising in Toronto.


Reaching the cloistered few

I’m a boomer. In fact I’m a leading-edge boomer, which is a nice way of saying I’m on the older edge of boomerdom. As such I get to have boomer ‘life experiences’ a little before most of my boomer brethren. The most recent ‘life experience’ filling media pages and airwaves relates to the act of delivering the first-born to the gates of some university somewhere in this country. Surely you’ve read the bittersweet columns and articles about the dreaded double cohort.


Blazing a trail to the consumer

Walter Odenthal works at Skoki, a small back-country hiking lodge located one mountain range east of B.C.’s Lake Louise. I don’t know Walter very well but he looks like he’s in his mid 40s. He’s tall and like most mountain people, very lean and very fit. Rumour has it he came from a well-to-do family in Germany. Some say he’s a concert pianist.
What I know for sure is that he builds magnificent hiking trails, and in my conversations with Walter, I detected a strong parallel between planning mountain hiking trails and planning media campaigns.


Awareness comes from a new twist to an old sign

How do I kill 45 minutes during a cab ride to the airport at six in the morning? I look at all the signs, of course.


Target group definitions are shifting away from Boomers

About 25 years ago, when I was a media planner working on the Thrifty’s Jeans account, I spent an inordinate amount of time helping to redefine the client’s target group. Thrifty management wanted to keep their store’s youthful image but also wanted to expand their customer base beyond the teen segment that accounted for their initial retail success.


Hidden ‘public-address’ audience will soon be exposed

Narrow roads string up and over limestone ridges, rising high above the west coast of Barbados. Small villages with names like Mullins Bay, Barrens and Terrace are scattered along these roadways featuring small ‘chattel’ houses with brightly painted wooden siding and galvanized tin roofs. Sitting inside some of these homes, by open windows, are old men and women who nod and say ‘good morning.’ And behind them, is the omni-present din of the radio – the BBC morning news or perhaps gospel music.


Many sell mass media short over one-at-a-timin’ fervor

The Coen Brothers movie, Oh Brother Where Art Thou, single-handedly triggered renewed popularity in bluegrass music, won a few Grammy’s and Golden Globes and launched a documentary and concert tour under the title ‘Down from the Mountain.’ But the movie also contained a glowing testimonial in support of mass media as a marketing tool.


Witnessing other lives is the keystone of all mass media

The Via Rail Northlander train moved slowly, down the tracks that squeeze between Toronto’s Bayview extension and the Don River, heading for Union station.
My car merged into the southbound Bayview traffic and for a few minutes the train and I moved together through the dark evening.


The CRTC is the last line of cultural defence

‘Mr. Noble… you’re not smiling. Perhaps you’ll smile more after the break.’
With that, the vice-chair of the CRTC, Madame Andrée Wylie, called for a 15-minute break in proceedings. Indeed, Jerry Noble, who was quarterbacking Global’s pitch for new conventional TV licences in Ontario’s Golden Horseshoe region, was not a happy camper. His team was the first of five applicants to make their case before a panel of very smart, very cynical and very well-informed commissioners.
Thank God Global was first.


High arts should talk to their peeps

Bob Meyers is in his 70s and he lives in the town of Sooke, on the west coast of Vancouver Island. He has spent his life creating beautiful things for people and his comfortable lifestyle is evidence of his talent and success at doing so. He has played in many symphonies around the world and still plays in chamber orchestras up and down the west coast of the US and Canada. He is also a painter of some renown. And he’s worried about the health of symphonies in Canada.
He’s not the only one who’s worried. Advertisers are watching developments with concern as well because high arts is an advertising medium.