Tag Archives: T-CAAN

The upside of turning 50

1 Sep

Today marks a significant date for member agencies of T-CAAN, the Trans Canada Advertising Association Network, of which Copeland is a member.

We enter our 50th year.

T-CAAN founder Bill Whitehead Sr.More significantly, the founder of the network, Bill Whitehead Sr., logs in his 50th year at the head of the table. Think about that.

This association of independent ad agencies, the oldest in North America, gives owners and managers a support team across the country. We share resources and best practices, pass along new business opportunities and generally help each other out as we can.

This map shows the office network, stretching from Whitehorse and Victoria to St. John’s.

A map of Canada including all the agencies in the T-CAAN network

A truly national network. Imagine the potential.

Every year we gather at one of these cities for a 4-day conference of inspiring speakers, discussions of new developments and problem-solving workshops.

After hours, we share ideas and horror stories over bottles of whatever is cold.

For agencies in isolated markets, the conference gives us face-time with other advertising professionals who are generous with their advice and time. That’s a god-send.

The next conference is in Victoria.

In June 2012, Copeland and Victoria will host the 50th annual conference, which we’ve themed FAST FORWARD. We’ll certainly include a retrospective of T-CAAN’s first 50 years (REWIND), but we’ll be focusing on where the industry is going in such a hurry.

We are already gearing up to welcome the big crowd we expect to make the trip to our beautiful city. And we get to throw the party of the year (PLAY), which is the fun part of turning 50.

Wonder how the zombies are going to figure into this…

T-CAAN's 50th annual conference logo with a zombie


6 answers about mobile marketing from Simon Salt

7 Aug

Simon Salt is coming to Victoria September 22.When we were casting about for a mobile marketing heavyweight to come and speak with Copeland and other Canadian ad agencies in our T-CAAN West alliance, I asked previous guest Jay Baer for a recommendation.

He pointed me in the direction of Simon Salt, CEO of Texas agency IncSlingers and author of the recently published Social Location Marketing.

It immediately became clear that Simon was the ideal candidate to up our skill level. So we booked him to do a seminar and workshop September 22, with a Tweet-up for Victoria’s social media crowd to follow.

In advance of his visit, he was good enough to answer some of our burning questions.

Q. Mobile marketing seems to have really taken off in some markets and not in others. India for example is exploding. Where’s North America at?

It is true to say that the emerging markets, typified by countries like India and China, are experience a huge boom in mobile usage. However, it is worth noting that this is primarily in the feature phone space and not the smart phone space. Therefore the type of mobile marketing/advertising is very different than that of North America. The main reason for this is the popularity of pre-paid services in those countries. In the US, contracted phones form the bulk of the market. The introduction at the end of this year of the pre-paid iPhone is likely to have a dramatic shift on the US market demographic for smart phone owners.  It is estimated that by the end of 2011 50% of the US population will be smart phone owners.

Q. Has this penetration reached a point where positive ROIs from mobile advertising are being realized? Any examples?

As mentioned, smart phone penetration is at almost 50% in the US and so mobile advertising and mobile marketing in general is achieving much greater penetration. The use of smart phones has led to a shift in how people are consuming digital information. In countries like the US, social media forms 25% of the data consumption on smart phones. That means sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google + and photo sharing sites are accounting for a lot of the data. This provides advertisers with definite keys into where ad placement is going to be most effective. Energizer Batteries ran a very successful mobile advertising campaign in conjunction with Toy Story 3. This campaign was app based and targeted mothers. Nearly 14 million impressions were delivered in support of the Energizer Toy Story 3 promotion campaign. Display advertising averaged a .49% click‐thru‐rate. The mobile web destination site visits and mobile application downloads together yielded a large number of impressions.

Q. What area of mobile marketing do you think is currently driving the greatest revenue for ad agencies?

Mobile marketing can effectively be divided into two distinct technology sets – SMS and application. In terms of cross-platform delivery SMS is definitely the more effective as all mobile phones, whether feature phones or smart phones, are capable of receiving and sending SMS messages. However, in-app and in-game advertising can achieve higher levels of engagement because of the nature of the user’s engagement with those platforms. For example, a user playing a game on their smart phone is likely to be spending more time doing that than a user reading text messages – especially if they are ads. However, getting attention and gaining action are two very different things. For an ad to drive a user from one activity – playing a game for example – to doing something else like downloading a new app or clicking on a banner, the messaging has to be both sophisticated and in tune with that user.

Q. What aspect of mobile marketing do you expect to increase in use? In-app advertising? Location-based? In-game advertising?

With the increasing ownership of smart phones I think we will see an increase in application-based advertising. This will also increase the demands on advertisers to become smarter about both their messaging and the payoff for having distracted the user from their initial activity.

Q. There must be resistance from consumers who don’t want to see advertising on their phones. How are smart marketers dealing with this?

The main way smart marketers are dealing with this is ensuring very good targeting. Un-targeted messages have always been a problem for advertisers. The data that is available from smart phones ensures that marketers should be delivering valuable, timely and appropriate messaging. One platform – Tooyoou – actually pays users to view ads – it is early stages to see if this approach will be successful but it certainly seems to have potential.

Q. What’s something about mobile marketing that I wouldn’t know?

86% of mobile Internet users are using their mobile devices while watching TV.


Copeland will be hosting the Victoria Tweet-up for Simon at the Parkside Victoria on September 22, from 6-8 pm.

Jay Baer is coming to town

3 Sep

The indisputable thing about social media is that the landscape changes every day. Look at how FourSquare is exploding one minute as the location-based platform of choice, then Facebook nips in with a competitive service. It will be something else before the end of the month.

You can’t be complacent and think you know the score unless you keep optimizing your knowledge.

To that end, we are bringing speakers in to Copeland and Tartan regularly to keep us on top of trends, best practices and killer strategies.

Chicago-based rock star social media consultant Jay Baer (his website here) will be with us November 3rd and 4th to shake things up and conduct some workshops around our existing clients.

As with Tim Williams’ seminar last month, we will be joined by a number of Western Canada’s best independent agencies, including Kellett (Yellowknife),  Ragan Creative (Kamloops), Elevator (Vancouver), Zero Gravity (Calgary) and Aasman (Whitehorse) – all members of T-CAAN.

We are also working with Yukari Peerless to organize a Tweetup so Victoria’s Twitter community can meet Jay. That will be on the evening of the 3rd, location to be announced next week.

We’d have brought him out sooner but the guy is booked solid! Always a good sign…

What are ideas really worth?

13 Aug

If it takes you 3 hours to come up with a great idea, whatever your business, is your idea only worth those three hours of your time?

If you charge by an hourly rate, isn’t a good idea then worth the same as a bad idea that also took 3 hours to come up with?

How do you begin to assess value to an idea when you only charge according to the amount of time it takes to arrive at it?

This is one of the many issues debated yesterday as 7 independent agencies from Western Canada, all members of T-CAAN, gathered in Victoria at the Inn at Laurel Point to listen to Tim Williams’ view of the advertising industry.

Readers of this blog will know something about Tim. Author of Take a stand for your brand and the just-released Positioning for professionals, Tim is a catalytic individual. He gets you thinking.

The issue of how advertising agencies are paid for their ideas is one area where he pushed us pretty hard.

He reasons, correctly, that the hourly rate represents the cost to the agency, not the value to the client. Whatever your business, the same principle applies.

He also deduces, correctly again, that agencies commoditize their ideas by charging an hourly rate.

And here’s something really insightful and depressing: agencies are among the few creative service providers in the world who choose not to own the rights to their ideas. Unlike, say, photographers, we don’t normally license them to our clients: we give them away for the hourly cost of loading the files onto the client’s FTP site.

The solution? Find out what a client’s critical success factors are and negotiate compensation models that work with those.

Costing vs. pricing.

Costing, Tim says, is a science. Pricing is an art.

Art eh? Creative businesses should find something to like in that.

(Agencies that participated with Copeland were Aasman from Whitehorse, Kellett from Yellowknife, Ragan Creative from Kamloops, Elevator from Vancouver, Zero Gravity from Calgary and Brown Communications from Regina.)

We should ban advertising to kids

8 Aug

Last month I wrote a post about how vulnerable kids are to sophisticated advertisers.

It led to some online conversations which led to some offline conversations, which led to volunteering from Copeland’s fellow T-CAAN (Trans Canadian Advertising Agency Network) membership, which led to the very welcome involvement of Sudbury, Ontario’s Mario Parise, whose thoughtful comments often accompany the blog posts here.

And now we have an action plan: to change the federal legislature on this issue, to be in line with the total ban in Quebec, Sweden, Norway and other civilized and advanced cultures. We want advertising to young children to stop.

To that end we started a survey monkey to determine the level of support for this initiative. So far we have the backing of 85% of the respondents.  Thank you for taking the time to complete the survey, if you did so. There were some eye-opening comments and suggestions.

Our next step is to use social media to create a groundswell of further support which we will use to petition the guv.

To the people who told us that parents alone should be responsible for monitoring what their kids watch on TV, I can only respectfully say that, using that reasoning, parents should also be solely responsible for the drugs their kids consume, so why not legalize that too.

Parenting only goes so far. Then there is what is ethically and morally wrong. That’s what this change is about.  Seriously, little kids can’t process this stuff. And you’re not always there providing colour commentary.

We can’t protect our kids forever from the real world. But we have to remind ourselves that they are different than we are: more trusting, more innocent, less cynical.

That’s worth protecting.

Are ads just spam?

13 Jun

Here’s a provocative thought that came out of Tim Williams’ presentation at T-CAAN. (I swear this is the last post I’m going to do on his presentation. Maybe.)

“All ads within today’s controlled new media marketplace are spam.”

Now that will either induce outright dismissal, panic or apathy, depending on your level of investment in the issue.

Before you leap from a building or rear up on your hind legs to have a go at me, I would suggest we take that statement a step further first:

All ads are spam.

Now I’ve done it. All ads are spam.

This from a business that makes its revenue doing ads. Am I nuts? I can see the men in white suits coming for me now, so I better keep this brief.

First, consider your own behaviour.

Do you pay attention to Google ads up there in the top right hand corner of the Google results page? Of course you don’t.

Do you go for a pee break during the commercials? Of course you do.

Do your eyes seek out those banner and skyscrapers and leaderboards when you’re online? No?

Do you remember a single advertisement you saw in the newspaper this morning? Not even one? Of the 200 or so?

Ads have become consumer blindspots, precisely because advertisers are talking at their customers. That’s spam to most.

Consumers haven’t always rejected this approach. I think it’s actually been an evolution. Changes in behaviour, volume of messages, burnout, social media, consumer generated content – they have all put the customer in the driver’s seat. Success rates on traditional talking-at messages are spiralling downward.

But this same new reality of consumer-controlled media, where consumers pull the advertising to them, rather than the advertiser interrupting with one-way messages, suggests the way forward for marketers: Less pushing, more engaging.

The neat thing about conversations is that the good ones are always at least two-way. Unless, like me, you actually do talk to yourself.

If spam is the sound of the advertiser shouting at the consumer, it seems the time has come for clients and agencies to shut up and listen before they speak.

Behavioral Economics and chicken soup

13 Jun

One of the many things that made an impression on me in Tim Williams’ presentation to the T-CAAN group in Sault Ste. Marie this week was how agencies need to make the shift in thinking from how advertising works to how consumers work. He referred to this as behavioral economics.

Traditionally we look at a problem through the lens of our existing tools: we solve a marketing problem by applying ideas to traditional media channels. In many ways, we start with media.

A radio campaign. A TV ad. A digital strategy. A direct mail piece. We fit them into an overall budget picture which we rationalize around average response rates. We project success around these metrics.

Essentially, we do what we know.

The problem with this picture is that we are an ideas business. We are a provider of creative solutions. And yet at the outset, we are neither.

How can we do things differently?

How does an agency convince mothers that chicken soup is good for colds and flu? Do we do an ad campaign? Clever commercial? Funny posters? That sounds like a good media spend.

Or do we suggest to Campbell’s that they move their soup to a new aisle in retail environments?

Which solution is most likely to give the client the desired response and the agency the successful case study?