Masthead Blogs
Friday, December 19, 2014
57 Media Spikes
Dennis Kelly
Greetings and salutations,

With appropriate apologies to Mr.’s Paul McCartney and John Lennon, I will borrow from a Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album (©-Copyright 1967 The Beatles) track with an abridged title of ‘A Day In The Life…of your Customer’. You want to stand out. Make an IMPACT. Be memorable.  Okay - here’s a snippet of your daily competition where you are trying to get noticed in this message at every turn lifestyle.

Our hero, Andy (insert heroine if you’re so inclined) wakes up to the radio, and an alarm, or song or ad catapults him from the bed to the floor to start the day. Perhaps he flicks on the TV in the bedroom while getting ready for work.  Maybe several ads appear during the weather for the day and the sports highlights. But there’s a daily reminder of branding on his toothpaste tube, on his soap and shampoo too.

If time permits, Andy has a moment for a quick check of his e-mail before leaving the house for work. If Andy’s a public transit guy, he picks up a newspaper or magazine to read on his way to work.  He will doubtless be exposed to ads on the outside and inside of buses and or subway/train halls/walls/corridors. Chances are good he’ll see some TV monitors in the subways and while passing through food courts.

There may also be an ad on Andy’s ticket or bus transfer, not to mention all the signage at every convenience store he passes along the way to the trains. If Andy’s driving today, he will see all the ads on buses, outdoor ads, mobile ads on trucks passing by while he’s listening to the car radio.

Maybe Andy, you’ve got headphones on to listen to the radio station streamed from the lap-top computer while you enjoy the trip in on the local commuter train. We can be certain there is signage for everything from shoe polish to travel agents, to coffee to soda pop as you make your way through the train tunnel or the underground parking garage.

You are greeted by more TV ads as your office elevator has a TV monitor inside.
When you at last get to your desk, you begin to sift your way through multiple newspapers and you barely glance at the belly-band ad on that new magazine.

Just as you exhale, Andy, you are bombarded with 117 e-mail messages and a host of on-line and social media messages that threaten to hold you hostage all day long. Some you can turn off. Some are incessantly in front of you. You take a few minutes at lunch to read the newspaper and when you go for a coffee you read an article on your sports hero (or heroine) in the magazine someone left open in the kitchen.

Maybe you’ve got ten minutes to catch a breath of air and walk around the block and see all the ads in the store windows and on garbage pails, and on taxicabs as they fly by, not to mention the street flyers and coupons being thrust at you. You make a pit stop in the washroom before going back to your desk and there is signage in the bathroom in the stall door or beside the vanity mirror. Returning to your desk you have 14 new e-mail messages, and often many of them are accompanied by an ad.

As you wind down the office day, you reverse the process and see the elevator and parking lot ads again. On the way home, you want to work out the kinks and decide to hit the gym where there are more ads in the change room, on sports bags and water bottles- heck even the sweatband has a logo promoting the manufacturer.  Fresh from the gym and shower Andy decides to pop into the local bookstore for a new book and you thumb through sports or dog magazines looking for a new story and maybe you buy one or two titles.

As you leave the bookstore, you remember you’re solo tonight, and decide to take in the latest George Clooney movie, and you’re dwarfed by all the movie stuff in the lobby, then further held captive by the commercials running on Cinema Screen interspersed with all the new movie trailers.

Two hours and twelve minutes later, you leave the cinema and zip to any fast food chain for a ‘healthy’ burger. (You’ve just worked out after all) and you see all the restaurant signage and it’s written on the bag and the cup for your drink. You then detour a few minutes to the grocery store to pick up a few items for the next day and messages are everywhere. On the door, the floor, the grocery cart, the aisle end displays, the shelf stickers, the divider on the conveyor belt before you pay.

As you at last arrive at home and the remaining strains of car radio music fade away, you find the mail composed of a letter from your sister, a flyer for driveway paving, 2 new restaurants in the neighbourhood, a local accountant, the mechanic, a dry cleaner and a hospital charity lottery, as well as the community newspaper that you’ll ignore until the weekend.

Just when it appears safe to unwind with a drink in front of the TV you’re inundated with a litany of commercials from furniture to pantyhose, and knife deals galore...and somewhere in this continuous swirl of disjointed messaging that is in front of your customer everyday, YOU have to stand out and say – I Am Here.

You might remember that at the end of message Media Spike #11, I noted an insurance company used only two media—at least in my experience- but I remember them because they were there constantly.  This is what you need to do in your media placement. When you’ve tested and tried and measured and know which media are working for you, then stay with them. Build the loyalty, trust, recognition and consumer confidence by always being there.

You don’t need to be in EVERY media. You just need to be in the one(s) which your target group will see regularly and respond to over time.  And you know which ones they are because you’ve been testing them...Haven’t you?

Stay tuned.

P.S. If you intend to be a long term player in your industry, then treat your advertising like an ongoing marathon instead of a sprint. Buyers like surety and confidence bred of ongoing presence and not a flash in the pan- digital or otherwise.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Covers Sell
Scott Bullock
The January 2015 issue of Toronto Life hit newsstands on December 11th, 2014.  The cover feature is “The Winter Hater’s Guide to Loving Winter” with a round up of insider tips on the best things to eat, drink, wear, see and do to get through (and maybe even love) the most hated season of all.

“Lola, our cover star, was photographed by Daniel Ehrenworth, and is showcasing one of the tips from the guide—where to get designer puppy parkas!”, says Yen Tran, Marketing Manager.

“Toronto Life‘s job, in part, is to help readers love their city, which is a little harder to do in winter. So for the January issue package, we rounded up a bunch of surprising ideas for how to enjoy snow-covered Toronto. We mocked up many covers with different images: ice skating, hot chocolate, even a polar bear. But none of the images seemed urban enough. The package is full of pleasures that are unique to city living, like heated patios and high-end saunas. We wanted the cover to suggest all that. And what could be more urban than a dog in a designer jacket? Also, dogs are cute!” - Sarah Fulford, Editor-in-Chief.

I’m not normally a fan of using pets on covers, but this one is fun and makes sense given the quirky spin the cover feature takes on the benefits of winter.


Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Covers Sell
Scott Bullock
The Jan/Feb 2015 issue of Canadian Geographic is on press and set to hit newsstands soon.  Here’s what Editor Aaron Kylie said on his blog about the cover: “When it comes to Canadian Geographic wildlife covers, it’s statistically proven that predators sell — particularly bears and wolves. (Indeed, our bestselling cover ever, December 2009, featured a wolf.) So when we decided a wolf would grace the cover of our January/February edition, our annual wildlife issue, we had no doubt we’d have great options to choose from, and hopefully another bestseller on our hands.”
The Art Director is Javiar Frutos.


And here is the best-selling cover ever for Canadian Geographic:

Wednesday, December 17, 2014
57 Media Spikes
Dennis Kelly
Welcome back. Hope you’ve had a great day. As I write this, I can’t help but be reminded of the seemingly endless variety of media which are available at our fingertips today. Equally how impressive it is we can use this electronic media to communicate about the strengths, limitations and nuances of all the other media you encounter each day.

My office overlooks a deep pastoral-like setting of evergreens, cedars and a few colourful maple trees. In the summer their shade is a welcome respite on a hot day. In fall, their colours blaze with fiery intensity few painters could capture. As the snow descends, they transform this setting into a picture perfect Christmas card scene.

Amidst this daily serenity, I am connected to the globe by the Internet.
A radio or CD often keeps me company in the background.
My cellphone is at my side for immediate communications by voice or text.
My landline is always at the ready.
My in-tray is replete with current magazines for multiple industries.
When the day is done (or during the World Series) even a few moments of Television can find their way into my office.

It’s not long ago each of these were dreams by pioneers. Now they have become so entrenched in our daily lives, we can’t survive without needing to feel connected somewhere.

Truly I’m thrilled you’ve joined me each Media Spike. You devote a few precious minutes to me and it’s a privilege. Thank you. How much more precious is the rest of your day? What other media are fighting for your attention all day? Stand by, because in our next Spike, we’re going to walk through the daily media assault on your senses.

Stay tuned.

P.S. Have a Great Day!


Wednesday, December 10, 2014
Covers Sell
Scott Bullock
Canadian House & Home continues with its fine tradition of producing high-quality Special Interest Publications. This Holiday issue sells for $13.95. The regular CH&H continues to out-sell Martha Stewart Living in Canada.

This cover is as mouth-watering and heart-warming as you can get!
Look for this one to sell!


Wednesday, December 10, 2014
57 Media Spikes
Dennis Kelly
Hail and well met, thanks for joining us for a few minutes today.Are you a fan of television? Do you like just flipping the channels endlessly, or are there specific programs you’ll make time for? I ask because it seems television has taken an unfair beating in recent decades. Do you remember the enormously successful Back To the Future™ movie trilogy with actors Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd?  There’s one scene where time traveling Marty McFly (Fox) finds himself seated at the dinner table with younger versions of his grandparents.

They’re excited to see Jackie Gleason on the black & white TV. To Marty it was a classic ‘rerun’, to the rest it was brand new. The year was 1954 and television was just finding its mark. It was a BIG DEAL to have a television back then and the technology was in its infancy by today’s standards. But it paved the way for programming to evolve to bring us what we have on our screens today.

That may be better or worse, that’s your discretion and choice and I’m not moralizing here. But, what I have noticed is the shorter and shorter attention spans we seem to have as viewers.  Programming now has to be lightning quick it seems to hold our interest. Now you can have TV on your laptop, streaming programming or other handheld devices. The technology is truly impressive. Frightening too, it seems but impressive nonetheless.

So as an advertiser, what do you do? Television is getting more and more splintered and fragmented. Each new season unveils shows that make the first cut in the Fall, but fail to maintain our interest in the New Year. Well intended replacements are trotted out. More marketing muscle behind them. Some flourish. Some wither and don’t even make it to ‘Whatever Happened To’ type of programming.

Despite this constant reinvention, Television lives. That is perhaps what keeps it fresh and relevant.
It IS constantly being refreshed. New faces, styles, looks, program mixes. More sports. More skin. More drama. Less sitcom. More reality…..and the tide will turn again where all of those mores are less, and less made more. All in the interests of keeping you attracted to it.  It is perhaps the ultimate wardrobe where if you don’t like what you’re wearing today, there’s ALWAYS something new on the next hanger the next day.

Part of the trade here is that it continues to be among the most expensive options for marketing your products and services. The nature of my work has allowed me to invest in a litany of Television programs for many clients- large and small-through the years.

Despite relatively deep pockets for one client, I was startled to find one program, offered at a Prime evening time slot was also a prime cost. One, just one, thirty-second spot on this program was a whopping $77,500. That’s ONE (1) spot.  At a time when other high-ended programming was commanding $25-$30K, this one leapt off the page. It was tremendously efficient as it delivered a huge and targeted audience, but that level of investment is a full annual budget for many clients.

Television, just like all the other media players, is a powerful communication tool when used smartly. Locally, regionally, nationally, or internationally, Television commands attention. In a preamble to a more detailed Golf analogy to follow in this series, Television continues to be the Driver in your Golf bag.  You might not need it to play every hole, but people pay attention when you can lace your drive long and straight down the fairway.

Stay tuned.

P.S. In Media Spike #2 of this series, we mentioned Marshall McLuhan, a prominent Canadian professor and ultimately communications icon. His thinking still resonates today. I found this clip of his work and thought you might enjoy.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014
Covers Sell
Scott Bullock

The Jan/Feb 2015 issue of Legion Magazine is set to hit newsstands December 29th, 2014.

The cover story  is written by 9-time National Magazine Award award-winning writer and novelist Don Gillmor.  It’s a heart-breaking story of twins, who are both serving overseas in WW1.

Acclaimed writer Don Gillmor’s grandfather shipped out from Winnipeg in February 1918 and arrived in France a month later for his first taste of trench warfare. On Oct. 15, he was struck by two German bullets. His twin brother, in another trench just 50 kilometres away, was hit by a sniper’s shot on Nov. 11. As the Great War came to a close, one would perish, and one would survive. Read this family story of brothers-in-arms in the January/February 2015 issue of Legion Magazine.

Jason Duprau is the Art Director.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014
Covers Sell
Scott Bullock
The Jan/Feb 2015 issue of Motorcycle Mojo is scheduled to hit newsstands on December 29th.  This time slot almost always produces the best-selling issue each year, as readers in need of a fix in the dead of Winter, and in the mood to shop for a new ride, and plan their Spring and Summer trips, buy the magazine.

Art Director Amy McCleverty says, “Our Jan/Feb 2015 cover was inspired by the clean lines of the Honda CBR650F, this cover image is big, bold and in your face. The soft focus background allows for great legibility of cover lines and the brilliant red and blue add that extra pop of colour. The traditional, colourful Newfoundland village in the top right corner pulls the page together to make a cover that will grab you when browsing the newsstands this Winter.”


Tuesday, December 09, 2014
Covers Sell
Scott Bullock
Horse Canada magazine has unveiled their 2015 Horse Annual SIP, which goes on sale December 15th, 2014.  It’s just in time for a last minute Christmas Gift.

The Annual issue sells for $7.95, while regular issues sell for $4.75.

Circulation Director Karin Apfel said,  “Historically, a best seller for the Horse Publications Group franchise, in 2012  it underwent a title and theme change to focus on equine health, the leading concern for all horse owners, according to surveys done by the publisher. As the Canadian Horse Annual – Health Special, it is respected and supported by all five Canadian veterinary schools and provides leading edge health care information for horse owners across the country.”

Art Director Sieu Truong makes great use of the left-hand side of the cover to punch out numerous sell lines.  Good use of red in selective spots to help direct the eye down the cover, and to highlight key details. Great action shot and eye contact with a handsome horse.


Tuesday, December 09, 2014
57 Media Spikes
Dennis Kelly
Come on in, come on in, we’re just about to start. Come on in.

If you’ve been paying attention, and at a dozen + message into this series I’m sure you have, you’ll note at the end of Media Spike #11 we asked in our P.S.

• Why should you use radio with newspaper ads?
• What’s the point of a poster campaign with exterior bus cards and ½ page  magazine ads?
• Why don’t we just use the internet for everything?

Despite yours and mine best intentions, people, our customers, have this annoying habit of using more than one media to get their information. Sometimes it’s a radio news station with On-Line broadcasting. Or sometimes they read a newspaper on their way to work, two days a week, but the other 3 days they carpool and don’t see your ad. Once in a while they might tune to a TV program, but flip to the sports highlights elsewhere just as your commercial airs.

These fickle prospects compel us to use all means at our disposal and in our budget to get in front of them on a regular basis until they take notice of us.

Certainly some will be drawn in by your newspaper ad, if the day is right and your ad hits them on the same day they're reading.

Radio is a wonderful way to get between the ears. But maybe they have a no-radio policy at work and they'll miss your ads all day.

On-line can be an amazing place of engagement, but you’ll be competing as a needle in the world's largest haystack with an stimated 50 million plus active websites out there.

You selected just the perfect magazine mix and they love to read, but this month, the kids are sick, the car needs repairs and their work is crazy so you're unopened in an in tray!
The best way to combat this, once you’ve done your testing, is to implement multiple media to improve your chances of them seeing/hearing one or more messages to respond to. Most of us, being capricious by nature, are susceptible to sudden and unaccountable changes of mood or behaviour. As such, that which is riveting today, is invisible tomorrow.

By having multiple touchpoints of recognition in the marketplace, you increase your chances to be noticed and acted on. In fairness, some clients have done exceedingly well relying on only one or two media through their history. But they’ve only reached that level of success by constantly changing and refining until they can place it on autopilot.

Give yourself every chance for success by letting your prospects know you’re here to help.

Stay tuned.

P.S.  Remember, you are not the target group for your own product. Get out of your shoes and into the customers.

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