Festival Intelligence: Context on the move in Canada | M&M Global

Festival Intelligence: Context on the move in Canada

Canada is a country renowned for its strong sense of national identity and pride; from the maple leaf to poutine to ice hockey, Mounties and Michael Bublé. And it has huge advertising potential, predicted to experience the highest ad spend growth this year.  

According to a recent Dentsu Aegis Network forecast, despite flat growth in 2017, Canada is poised to return to growth with advertising spend expected to increase 2.3% in 2018, the highest year-on-year growth of all markets tracked in the study. By medium, digital is the leading advertising channel (52%) followed by TV at 22.4%. Mobile continues on an upward trajectory accounting for 63.4% of all digital spend (up 7% over last year).

“We continue to see positive momentum in the Canadian market with digital expected to represent more than half of all ad spending with mobile posting the largest gains over the next few years,” said Hisham Ghostine, Chief Commercial Officer at Dentsu Aegis Network Canada. “As for TV, the increased cord-cutting trend may be offset by the rise in innovations such as programmatic and connected TV. While we do expect a variation in ad spending amongst some key sectors, we anticipate a continued upward trend in electronics, financial services and telecommunications.”

At this year’s Festival of Media North America Awards, Canada represented just over a quarter (26%) of total entries across the North America region as a whole, with one campaign going on to win and eight being highly commended in their categories.

Food & Beverage (including alcohol) was the top performing brand category, by a long stretch, accounting for 42% of the Canadian entries to make the shortlist. This was followed by retail (21%), tourism, travel & leisure (17%) and pharmaceutical (13%), rounded off with entries from the FMCG and toys & games sectors.

Touché!, part of the PHD network, was the top performing media agency, responsible for 10 campaigns (42% of all shortlisted from Canada). OMD and Vizeum had three entries each, followed by UM, PHD and Havas Media, both with two. Mindshare and MediaCom also made the shortlist with one campaign each.

In line with Dentsu Aegis Network’s predictions, Canada’s digital potential was also reflected across all entries that went on to achieve a win or highly commended award at the FOMNA Awards 2018. Within that, social media played a core part of the digital mix, specifically for creating audience interaction and amplifying reach via Facebook and Twitter.

One of the key themes across entries was the use of OOH, particularly public transport and transit locations, to boost motivation, change behaviours and create impact. There was a particular focus on using key data triggers, from thermal recognition, weather and traffic data, to highlight relevant content and communications in the appropriate context, all taking place in real-time.

From search engine marketing (SEM) to Augmented Reality (AR), mobile and geo-location techniques, the Canadian entries were certainly not short of media innovation and creativity. A range of clever techniques and approaches were adopted to streamline the purchase journey and close the purchase funnel.

The Canadian entries overall were most populous in the ‘Best Event, Experiential or Sponsorship Activation’ and ‘Best Use of Real-time Marketing’ categories; followed by ‘Best Integrated Campaign’, ‘Best Use of Data & Insight’ and ‘Best Use of Innovation’. 

Digitally-centric, dynamic messaging is providing relevant and meaningful connections with consumers in Canada. The secret for success is to combine data and behavioural insights, and implement communications across channels to follow consumers on their journey (whether online or offline).

We put the spotlight on two of the top-performing Canadian entries from the Festival of Media North America Awards 2018:

Meatless Mondays | Greenfield Natural Meat Co. | Havas Media | Canada

Shortlisted for: Impact Award (WINNER), Food & Beverages (HIGHLY COMMENDED)


Since its launch in 2015, the Greenfield Natural Meat Co. had the goal of becoming the world’s leader in sustainable meat. Greenfield believes in making the world a better place by making meat right. This means raising animals humanely, without the use of antibiotics or hormones or artificial ingredients and continuing to advance a culture of environmental sustainability. The goal was to convince consumers that they should be trying to eat meat in moderation and that when they do choose to eat meat, they should buy better, more sustainable meat like Greenfield.

The strategy was as simple as it was controversial: the Greenfield Natural Meat Co. would become the world’s first meat company to support Meatless Monday. But Havas Media knew that this could not just be a ceremonial gesture. For this campaign to be effective and to truly get people thinking about meat and its effect on the planet, Greenfield needed to make a true commitment to educate and inspire. It went completely meatless on every single Monday. Employees to web presence and, most importantly, social feeds were completely meatless on every Monday. And during the days leading up to meatless Monday it was talking about the importance of eating better meat and eating it in moderation.

To maximise the campaign’s impact, the agency needed to leverage not just paid channels, but also the brand’s social feeds and website. The campaign launched with video and social posts outlined Greenfield’s commitment to going meatless on Mondays, it outlined the benefits and asked people to take the pledge. It thanked them with a Greenfield coupon, of course, it was only valid from Tuesday to Sunday. The ads laid out the benefits of eating meat in moderation and a strong call-to-action that led to a Meatless Monday page on GreenfieldMeat.com.


Data vs Car | VIA Rail | Touché! | Canada

Shortlisted for: Best Use of Data & Insight (HIGHLY COMMENDED), Best Use of Innovation, Best Use of Real-time Marketing (HIGHLY COMMENDED), Tourism, Travel & Mobility


When consumers plan a trip from Point A to Point B, their primary concern is to have the shortest travel time. In Canada, nearly 78% of the population own a vehicle and because of their unconditional love of cars, drivers tend to be overly optimistic about how long it takes, failing to factor real-time road conditions into their calculations. VIA Rail set up to unleash the power of data to steal shares from cars with real-time information at the moment it mattered the most.

Touché! leveraged real-time traffic and weather data to maximise the relevance of the message for motorists by comparing real-time travel information for both transportation options: when traffic or bad weather conditions arise, drivers were reminded they took the wrong transportation mode.

The data strategy was brought to life through partnerships with Google Maps and the Weather Network. They created programming interfaces specifically for this campaign and integrated the data feed at each touch point, enabling the real-time data management and synchronisation across all out-of-home and digital channels.

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