Wendy Cuthbert

Contact Wendy by sending an email to wcuthbert@brunico.com

Articles by Wendy Cuthbert

‘Retail as theatre’

Imagine a more innocent time when checking out downtown department store window displays during the Christmas holiday season was actually considered a family tradition, right up there with roasting chestnuts on an open fire.
Times have changed. The tendency to dramatically dress up stores has been slowly eroding over the past decade or so, according to John Torella, senior retail consultant for J.C. Williams Group in Toronto. However, he says that he expects a rejuvenation in the tradition, if only to counteract the generic value propositions of discount retailers.
In general, the notions that the store is the brand and the store is the advertising are both gaining weight with marketers. Take it one step further and ‘you’re seeing a shift from advertising to windows and events.’


‘The hardest we’ve ever hit’

The beer war between Labatt and Molson is ongoing, but it looks like the next battle will be in Quebec.
Molson Breweries has come roaring out of the gate in that province with a repositioning of several key brands, plenty of new advertising and promotional activity, and a few new products tossed in for good measure – including a line extension to the most popular brand in the province.


The cradle-to-grave conundrum

To a brand manager, actual products can be so limiting.
That may be an over-simplification of the essence of building brand equity, but it does underline the new model behind successful brand development: Ideas are more likely to garner loyalty than products. At the same time, ideas need sustenance in order to survive, and for longevity they need to be passed on to the next generation.
Brand managers know this, of course – who doesn’t want to have the power of Nike or McDonald’s? – but few have the luxury of pursuing such lofty goals.


Hockey for life?

Gold medal-inducing nationalism aside, hockey is no longer Canada’s number one sport, if the tastes of our nation’s children are any indication.
You’ll still hear stories about overzealous hockey moms and dads, of course, but kids in this country are more likely to be found playing soccer, watching TV, playing video games or hanging out at the mall than actually shooting pucks.


Roots gets the gold

The gamble paid off.
The companies that threw money into this year’s Winter Olympic Games were rewarded with a record medal win by the Canadians. And while we all enjoy the halo effect of such victories, some corporate sponsors and advertisers fared better than others.


Gnomes and bunny-rats come to life in ‘unexpected’ ads

You don’t see much about them in the press, but they’re there. Killer combinations of raw talent, enthusiasm and, yes, even sophistication. Strategy did a cross-country poll of agency creatives and commercial production execs, asking which new teams were doing drop-dead clever work. Despite the reluctance of some agency brass to name their brightest (‘they’ll get stolen’) and even to name the top up-and-comers elsewhere (‘I’m trying to steal them’), ultimately, after much wheedling, it was a long list.
The following teams are the ones whose names cropped up the most.


Facing the awful truth

The truth isn’t always pretty. Any market researcher who has gone back to a client with bad or unexpected news knows this all too well.
‘Our job is to give them the good news and the bad news – not to figure out some way for them to look good,’ says Trish Simmie, VP, Camelford Graham Research Group in Toronto.


Message on a hanger

Money talks.
And last summer, when the British Columbia Automobile Association (BCAA) decided to assign its in-house advertising work to an outside agency – for the first time in many years – Rethink offered up a deal the BCAA couldn’t refuse.


Beer premiums get strategic

Is there some sort of mystery formula that equates the volume of beer one drinks to the number of T-shirts one needs?
It would seem so, if the prevalence of in-case premiums in the beer market is any indication. In lighter moments, it’s easy to imagine an enthusiastic beer drinker never having to shop for something as mundane as a T-shirt again.


CKAC finds a word is worth a thousand pictures

As the oldest French-language radio station in North America, Montreal’s CKAC 730 isn’t used to worrying about brand recognition.


Print helps Mercedes pursue younger execs

It’s the kind of car driven by company CEOs and presidents.
That’s a good thing, of course, but how to convince young, affluent professionals that Mercedes-Benz can be their kind of car, too?


Feeding the press in byte-sized chunks

It wasn’t that long ago that ATI Technologies was considered the top player in the video chip market. Its Rage 3-D technology was, well, all the rage.
But if there’s anything we know about the high technology industry, it’s that things change – rapidly and mercilessly.


Cdn Net ad report: revenue rising

A recent Canadian Internet advertising report, released by the Internet Advertising Bureau of Canada (IAB), in conjunction with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) found that despite a weakened e-business market, ad revenues virtually doubled in 2000, up from $55.5 million in 1999 to $110 million.


Kodak targets approach with Excite.ca

A year ago, it was just banners and buttons.
Today, Kodak Canada – like many traditional advertisers (see Cdn Net ad story, page D1) – is taking a much more integrated approach to its online efforts. It is developing a relationship with portal broadband leader Excite.ca that allows it to target different audiences with different creative.


Columbia House radio campaign drives Internet traffic and new member enrollment

Columbia House Company, best known for its ridiculously low introductory music offers, finally took the plunge this past spring and took its message to radio.