Masthead Blogs
Monday, April 27, 2015
57 Media Spikes
Dennis Kelly

Seems somehow appropriate doesn’t it?

Media Spike #50 to talk about 50/50.

Many campaigns have evolved from year to year using tried and true media that consistently delivers for them. Such was the case from the insurance company I referenced in earlier Media Spikes. Only Bus Cards and radio. But these worked. So they stayed with them.

Other campaigns seem to flit from media to media with no rhyme or reason from month to month, season to season. Consider this debate:

Is newspaper a good contender for us? Absolutely yes, because of the local coverage and large space detail opportunity in a ½ page or larger ad.

Is newspaper a good contender for us? Absolutely no, because it typically has a 24 hour shelf life, the colour costs are exorbitant, and other media are displacing it.

Pick a media: radio, television, newspaper, magazine, online, social media, rink boards, coffee cup sleeves, elevator door wraps, taxicab top signs, exterior bus card, transit shelters, horizontal posters, blimps, stairisers, and the list goes on…you can argue a case for and against any of them at any time.

Thus it’s very critical that when an agency says ‘This year we’re recommending radio and magazines...’ you want to understand why they’re abandoning the TV and newspaper and Online campaign they vociferously pitched last year.

Last year’s campaign may have had muted success. But the agency should still be able to defend the recommendation.

Many factors go into the success or failure of any campaign.  If it tanks, yes it could have been a poor media choice, or equally a lackluster creative, or a natural or manmade event (Earthquakes, Princess Diana’s death) may trump all advertising, no matter how compelling.

If, If, IF…you have been tracking and testing each ad in each media, you’ll know empirically what is working and what isn’t. This is your best barometer for or against changes to the campaign.

I am always in favour of exploring new media. Testing different options. See what works. What can be edited out. What should be the new piece.  Learn from campaign to campaign what is working. Change what’s underperforming and try something new.

For comparison, would you change over your entire wardrobe just because you get a hole in one pair of socks? Not likely. Although I would hope you’d replace the socks!

Mostly though it should be a signal to introduce something new.  You can always make a case for and against any media. Ideally you want these based on merit.

Too often, media inclusion or exclusion is done on a whim, or a gut or feeling, or a necessary budget surgery, when it should be based on measurable results.

As I mentioned recently, you will spend the same whether the campaign works or not. Why not take the time to be certain it’s working before you start making wholesale changes?

Stay tuned.

Dennis Kelly

"Like to learn more? Nine Secrets of How To Improve Your Advertising and How To Actually Make Your Ads Outperform Your Competition  is not for everyone.  It’s for smart marketers who want proven tips to make their ads work harder and smarter.

Is that YOU?
If it is, click here for your copy of, "9 Secrets To Improve Your Advertising"

Do It Now. As a Masthead Online Reader, you can order your own copy for just $30, but only until you reach Media Spike #57.  After that, the price returns to $197.

Thursday, April 23, 2015
Gadget Blog
Martin Seto

It is hard to fathom that Microsoft is now an underdog in the consumer heavy weight technology division with Google, Apple, Sony and Samsung as other contenders for the title. But times change.

Technology companies in their search for growth to meet stock market expectations have expanded into different industries to generate new revenue streams. They have become conglomerates like GE in their business strategy. GE makes appliances, lighting for homes and business, provides healthcare technology and a financial division called GE capital to finance projects. GE’s mission statement is that they are a company that offers the latest technology and research to build, power, move and cure the world. Quite a transformation from humble beginnings from a company that stated making appliances for the home.

Apple is using this conglomerate playbook for example as they are planning to enter the medical, financial and automotive markets. They are already in the entertainment, music, software, hardware and telco markets. Google has entered the crowded hardware market with some success with their Android Nexus tablet, Chromebook laptops and plan to provide 4G wireless internet in the USA.  Microsoft is no different and they have entered the hardware market with the Surface tablet/laptop product line.

Microsoft Surface Pro 3
So lets see how Microsoft has done with their entry into the computer hardware market with their Surface Line of laptop/tablet hybrids that they are promoting. This is the third generation of Microsoft Surface devices and they keep on getting better with each generation as we will see. It looks like the deep pockets of Microsoft are finally paying off with the latest crop that is coming this May.


What I liked about it was the 12-inch screen as it can accommodate 8 ½ x 11 pdf documents to read without shrinking, I found this a big plus versus the 10-inch tablets that shrink the document to read. Somebody finally created a tablet based on a letter size paper. I can now enjoy my morning coffee on the patio, as the screen is set-up to read in natural sunlight, so I can truly have backyard mobile technology. Other devices sometimes do not work in natural sunlight that makes it tough to use outside. The machine was also fast with the Intel 1.5 Ghz processor to power the device, as we all know faster is always better when surfing the web.

As a work device you can work in desktop mode when you were in a mood to use it as a laptop. Like any laptop it has USB port to delete transfer of documents using a thumb drive plus a micro SD card port so you can transfer your photos. The detachable keyboard uses magnets to attach and is easily separated or attached when needed and comes in 5 colours to choose from. The screen has an easel stand that flips out as needed to make keeping it upright on a table or your lap while you are in bed. The Surface Pro 3 comes with a Bluetooth pen which will enable you write on documents, which is a time saver versus the old method of printing, signing and scanning.

The device did feel warm on the hands when holding it in tablet mode (Intel processors have a tendency to give off heat when in operation), which is a negative in my opinion. The price at $799 will not have a mass market appeal, but this was the Pro Model with extra features. But wait next year’s version is always better and starting in May you can buy the Surface 3 that will have a smaller screen (10.8”) and a lower price (starting from ($499) to position the device for mass market appeal.  To lower the price the pen that was included in the Surface Pro 3 version is now optional and the RAM is only 2GB vs. 4GB in the PRO model.  But the Intel processor is 1.6GHZ, so it is a little faster in its latest release. So If I was a betting man the latest version is good value at $499 and I would consider buying it vs. the Pro model that is $300 more.

Rating: 4 out of 5

The device would have gotten higher marks, but it was warm to the hands when holding it in tablet mode. It would have gotten a lower score with a price point of $799 (as you can buy a $300 laptop at the Microsoft store, plus a tablet for the same price), but the Surface 3 that is coming in May helped raise the score higher with a lower price point of $499. Ryan Winsborrow from Nerds4Hire who also looked at the device says this is a solid machine on par with any hardware built by other manufacturers, but does not break away from the pack with any sizzle. Microsoft is also releasing a new smartphone the 5” Lumina 640 that I will be getting soon to replace the 4” Nokia 920 I am using, that was used to shoot the photo for this blog posting.

But this conglomerate strategy does come with risks, just ask the folks at Blackberry as they lost the battle in the consumer smartphone market that they invented and is now reinventing themselves as they move forward. Expansion into new markets is always risky that are not part of your core strengths as a company, but it can be done, just look at how GE has survived and prospered. Some of these tech companies are now trying to build an automated driverless car, but when the first one crashes due to a software glitch (that will happen) it will not pass the road safety test, so these ventures are not always a guaranteed success.
Wednesday, April 22, 2015
Covers Sell
Scott Bullock
The May/June 2015 issue of Legion Magazine will hit newsstands on May 4th.

Art Director Jason Duprau has produced another memorable cover, with a bold type treatment for the main sell.

The sky bar and the button push the importance of the 70th anniversary of VE Day.


Wednesday, April 22, 2015
57 Media Spikes
Dennis Kelly
Hale and well met, dear reader.

We’re in the home stretch. Have you enjoyed the ride?

The finish line is in sight. Including today’s effort, there are nine (9) Media Spikes remaining in this inaugural series. I hope you have found it informative, helpful, provocative (?), and entertaining.

Inquiries have come from different corners about my background, my client and agency history, and what campaigns have I worked on to somehow verify my authenticity.

I often expressed, With any luck, you’ve never heard of me. If you don’t know me, then I’ve done my job.  The media person isn’t supposed to take centre stage, the client is. My job is to get them on as many stages as possible so they can be seen by all the right prospects, while I’m in the shadows pulling the curtains. However the inquiries persist so to give more credence to everything you’ve read from me to date, here are many of the Ad Agencies I’ve worked with, and a litany of clients, where, I’ve been privileged to be the steward of their ad budgets.


Agency 59 (Axmith McIntyre & Wicht)
Bright Red Communications
Canadian Media Corporation
Cardon Rose Inc.
Carrot Marketing
DMB&B Advertising
FPR Communications
Grey Group Canada
Langmuir Mangialardo Advertising
Lackey Communications
Larter Advertising

Media Buying Services
The Backroom Agency
The Marketing Garage
The MacDonald Kerr Partnership
Thirteen (13) Advertising
Method Branding
Orange Bazooka
Triple P Promotions
DEC Sports Marketing

Automotive & Transport
Canadian Kenworth Trucks
Firestone Tire and Auto Centres
GO Transit
Mercedes Benz Canada
Suzuki Automotive
TNT Kwikasair

Clothing & Accessories
KIWI Shoe Polish
TANA Shoecare
Timberland Workboots
Young Canada Children’s Clothing

Ontario Director’s Guild
Kaneff Golf

Central Guaranty Trust
RoyNat Capital Lenders

Floor Coverings
Altro Flooring
Harding Carpets
Monsanto Canada

Food Products
Chicken Farmers of Ontario
Jordan’s Cereal
Pinnacle Foods

Federal Government of Canada
Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General-(Drinking & Driving)   
City of Toronto

Clear Nail Laser Centres
CINOT- Children In Need Of Treatment (Dental)
Heart & Stroke Ontario
Great West Life Insurance

Hospitality & Travel
Air Canada Vacations
Globus & Cosmos Touring
Howard Johnson & Knights Inn
Niagara On The Lake
Preferred Hotels & Resorts Worldwide
Toronto Prince Hotel
TICO-Travel Industry Council of Ontario

Humanitarian & Spiritual
The Salvation Army ( Pro-Bono)
The Canadian Bible Society

Yamaha Canada Music

01 Commiunique
Canon Canada Inc.
Pioneer Electronics
Rockwell International

For 3 decades, you may have unknowingly witnessed my handiwork. In the majority I had nothing to do with the message you saw. But I had everything to do with you being able to see it.

Stay Tuned,

Dennis Kelly

(P.S. While I’m on the subject of my history, you can also visit, our site and you’ll see several entries of Praise for our efforts from agencies and clients alike.)

"Like to learn more? Nine Secrets of How To Improve Your Advertising and How To Actually Make Your Ads Outperform Your Competition  is not for everyone.  It’s for smart marketers who want proven tips to make their ads work harder and smarter.

Is that YOU?
If it is, click here for your copy of, "9 Secrets To Improve Your Advertising"

Do It Now. As a Masthead Online Reader, you can order your own copy for just $30, but only until you reach Media Spike #57.  After that, the price returns to $197.
Thursday, April 16, 2015
Covers Sell
Scott Bullock
The Spring 2015 issue of Dirt Trax will feature their first ever “triple threat” cover.

The approach came about after testing a “double image” cover on the Winter 2014 issue.  The result:  a lift in sales of 187%.

This cover also features “celebrity gear guy” Greg Biffle, which was worked into the upper left hand corner of the cover.

The Art Director is Andrew Knor.


Thursday, April 16, 2015
57 Media Spikes
Dennis Kelly
Thank you for coming back.

What an eye-opener!

A turn of phrase that stares you right in the face everyday, but sometimes from left field it hits you like a thunderclap.

To this point, my Media Spikes have spoken of different budget levels from $100,000 to a million, to levels above and below that.  The budgets available certainly offer you different media combinations, but one truism remains, no matter what level you’re spending at, your media cost will cost you the same whether it works or not!

Did you get that? Whether you campaign is successful or not, it still costs you the same.

$5,000 for two newspaper ads.
$25,000 for a 3 weeks radio campaign.
$55,750 for a 2 month Outdoor Poster campaign with local magazine support.
$612,350 for an integrated multi-media campaign of radio, online, newspaper, magazines, TV, etc.

You’ve spent the money. Whether it works or not. You’ve spent it. Don’t you want, at a bare minimum, to be able to recover those costs with product sales?

Certainly you hope for a substantially better return on investment than just breaking even. But it begs the question, is just buying ‘more’ the answer?

More TV to reach a wider audience?
More radio to support the outdoor campaign?
More magazines to give more detail and colour to the campaign?
More online via BigBoxes and skyscrapers and leaderboards and Vokens and scrolling catfish to stay in front of the elusive websurfers?

Those are all good things. As a professional buyer, I can always spend more money smartly.

But for too many advertisers, the rush is there to buy now, now, now—don’t care what it takes just get it bought now. So they limit their choices by not leaving enough lead time for planning and negotiations. Then everything becomes last minute and they puzzle over why they don’t get the choicest positions or programs or options, but are gungho to spend the money anyway.

In truth, I’ve seen clients who spend more time and energy agonizing where they’ll go on vacation for a week that sets them back two grand than they will on a campaign where they’ll spend six figures and not care where it goes.

Perhaps this is why I push so hard for the Spike of Angels Media Briefing Template which you received when you signed up. The key element within that document is to help you focus and drill down and as clearly as possible, identify your target group.

In Media Spike #45, we noted our real life sample to help identify our computer printer purchaser candidates. We trimmed our candidates from 31 Million to a smaller universe of well educated males living in specific cities with a specific income and age bracket. And that’s a big enough audience to pursue.

Please, please resist the temptation to drill too deeply.
So much data.
So many numbers that could be used.

Age, gender, geography, employment, income bracket, kids in household, marital status, shoppers, savers, total assets with and without real estate, own luxury vehicles, like to golf, or play tennis, or drink tea more than coffee, buy organic dog food, are smokers – or non-smokers, play games online, have devoted more than 30 minutes a day to their commute, like to listen to the radio in the car...and the list goes on, and on, and the trouble is you can get to refine your audience so tightly that:

A) It becomes too small a universe to target with any media, and becomes statistically unreliable

B) It eliminates some serious prospects from your buying list because of one too many filters

C) You put restrictions on your audience which may not be relevant.

One of my favourites was distilling a client’s universe so precisely that it ended up being targeted to:

All Ontario males between the ages of 25 to 34, who were unmarried, had a college+ education, were working in technology fields, who were left-handed, and liked to smoke cigars when they walked their dogs!  The resulting audience size was—well to say laughable is being generous.

You are going to spend the money for your advertising and marketing. By all means do all the testing necessary to refine your messages and media mixes. Certainly use your research tools to help you focus your message.  But don’t get so caught up that it becomes analysis paralysis.

Take the time to learn small to succeed big.

Stay tuned.

Dennis Kelly

"Like to learn more? Nine Secrets of How To Improve Your Advertising and How To Actually Make Your Ads Outperform Your Competition  is not for everyone.  It’s for smart marketers who want proven tips to make their ads work harder and smarter.

Is that YOU?
If it is, click here for your copy of, "9 Secrets To Improve Your Advertising"

Do It Now. As a Masthead Online Reader, you can order your own copy for just $30, but only until you reach Media Spike #57.  After that, the price returns to $197.
Wednesday, April 08, 2015
Covers Sell
Scott Bullock
The latest SIP from Canadian Geographic focuses in on birds. The front cover features a Snowy Owl, and the back cover features Gannets. Canadian Geographic asks readers to vote on a group of 3 covers.  These were to top two vote winners. The Art Director is Javier Frutos. The Editor is Aaron Kylie.



Wednesday, April 08, 2015
57 Media Spikes
Dennis Kelly
Welcome. Hope it’s a good day.

Flavour of the month?

If you’re around to enjoy all 12 months, that’s not a bad thing. But many campaigns are designed around a 4 or perhaps 8 week cycle and then disappear.

A huge cacophony of noise shouting  ‘I’m Here’, ‘Come Try Me Now’, ‘Limited Time only’, and it may or may not trigger sales, awareness, interest and then marketing flatlines.

No question the money has to be spent smart. Efficiently. Timely and deliver results. But your campaign should be based on specific timing, using best research for the media which can consistently, persistently be in front of your target for as long a period as you’re able.

Today I may not be in the mood to buy your hamburger, or purchase winter tires, or need that cruise vacation, or a new bicycle.  BUT that does not mean your message won’t work next week, or 26 days from now, or 4 months from today. Therein is the challenge for most products.

Keeping your name top of mind to an audience who may not need you at the time you’re advertising. But you need to keep enough profile in front of them so that when the time comes for them to want a hamburger, winter tires, cruise or bicycle, YOU are the provider they think of.

In my experience to date, perhaps yours too, the most successful clients I’ve enjoyed working with had one thing in common – they advertised consistently.

Sometimes different spend levels. Often different media mixes as we were experimenting what worked and what didn’t. Very often different products within the same family.

But they were in the marketplace on an ongoing basis. Their year might look something like: In for 3 months, out for one, in for 2 months, out for ½ month, back in for 3 months, out for one, back in for 1 ½ months.

They were never out of their marketplace long enough to be forgotten. The residual of recognition they had built up carried them through their short hiatus periods.

I grant you not every advertiser has the resources to keep consistent weight up through the year. But importantly, they maintained some presence to a primary market, and kept their message(s) out there on a reliable consistent presence.

When there is a specific seasonality or time sensitivity to your product or event or service, then it makes absolute sense to create awareness in advance of the peak sales period and sustain presence through that flight.

When your campaign is not tied to specific months of the calendar, it can be very advantageous to keep your name, product, service out there on an ongoing basis.

If you roll the dice and spend the lot on a two month campaign in March and April, you’re counting on less than 20% of the year to deliver 100% of your sales and revenue. Better be really, really sure that your two month flight can generate a year’s worth of presence and keep you top of mind for your client in the face of all your competition for a full year until the next campaign.

It’s a lot easier to sell to an existing customer than continually generate new ones. That’s why a sustained presence over the long term will build the brand and increase long-term memory of what you offer.

Do not rely on your clients to remember you. You have to make yourself unforgettable.

Stay tuned.

Dennis Kelly

"Like to learn more? Nine Secrets of How To Improve Your Advertising and How To Actually Make Your Ads Outperform Your Competition  is not for everyone.  It’s for smart marketers who want proven tips to make their ads work harder and smarter.

Is that YOU?
If it is, click here for your copy of, "9 Secrets To Improve Your Advertising"

Do It Now. As a Masthead Online Reader, you can order your own copy for just $30, but only until you reach Media Spike #57.  After that, the price returns to $197.


Wednesday, April 08, 2015
Covers Sell
Scott Bullock

The May/Jun 2015 issue of Canadian Real Estate Wealth delivers a simple message in a powerful way.

The Art Director is Alicia Salvati.



Wednesday, April 01, 2015
57 Media Spikes
Dennis Kelly
Here’s a great way to start the day.

A Blank Cheque!
All the money you could ever want!
No need to hesitate on what to buy, because you can buy it all.

You can only spend it on media which you believe best reaches your target group.

So – WHAT do you choose?

It’s in your court.
Nobody saying you can’t afford it.
Only saying you have to rationalize and defend your choice.

So – WHAT do you choose?

Sometimes we clamour to have unrestricted freedom, nobody telling us what to do,
no-one saying we can’t pick this or that and we get what we want.  The restraints come off.

Nobody to raise a fist against. No one quashing our desires. You have unlimited opportunity to pick whatever you’d like. But once you’ve made your choices, you have to defend them.

To show they are the right selections to reach and influence your audience to actually trigger a sale of product or service. You need to show a reasonable expectation of return on investment.

So - WHAT do you choose?

Scary isn’t it? I finally get to pick what I want to what the heck am I going to pick? Sometimes too much choice is a dangerous thing.

Extensive food buffets always leave me feeling unsatisfied. Not leaving hungry as I’ve had my fill. Just unsatisfied that I couldn’t eat a little bit more of everything. If they had fewer choices, maybe I would not feel so bad about not being able to eat three platefuls.

Your media choices today can leave you feeling like that. The litany of choices as we’ve seen in earlier media spikes is nearly endless.  And subsets within tabs, within sections within features, within just one newspaper or website or magazine can have you reeling in the enormity of the task of trying to reach everyone in your target group.

This is why testing and sampling and experimenting can leave you feeling much more confident and assured of your choices. When you get to put your marketing muscle behind one or two or three tested media choices, you know you have given yourself the best opportunity to reach and influence your target group with accuracy, efficiency and – we hope - memorability.

When you choose your media blindly, and base it on a hunch or feeling, that leaves a hollow feeling in the stomach and bank account if it doesn’t deliver.
Conversely if, for example, you’ve taken the time to test newspaper, and radio, and magazine and online, and outdoor, with carefully monitored tests of performance, then you’ll be able to roll out the big campaign with huge comfort that you are using the best tools to impact your audience.

There are certainly never any shortages of media opportunities. Do not despair if a ‘Special’ feature has to come and go without you. Believe me, there will be another option- often a better choice, waiting in the wings. Very few of these are life and death, or essential ‘keepers’.

Certainly if an opportunity comes up which fits the target group, and budget, and timing and can be worked into the schedule effortlessly, then by all means embrace it.

Please do not be swayed just because it’s cheap. Yes a lower price can make it attractive to you. But if it didn’t meet the target group criteria to be included before, it doesn’t suddenly become a great fit just because it’s cheaper. Make sure it meets the objectives and criteria of the campaign before making it a part of your strategy.

As always, the choice is yours. So NOW – What do you choose?

Stay tuned.

Dennis Kelly

"Like to learn more? Nine Secrets of How To Improve Your Advertising and How To Actually Make Your Ads Outperform Your Competition  is not for everyone.  It’s for smart marketers who want proven tips to make their ads work harder and smarter.

Is that YOU?
If it is, click here for your copy of, "9 Secrets To Improve Your Advertising"

Do It Now. As a Masthead Online Reader, you can order your own copy for just $30, but only until you reach Media Spike #57.  After that, the price returns to $197.

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