Category: Active on the Road

“A Night to Network and Grow” an Active sponsored Event

When Sean Patterson and I first arrived at Active International we were given three main tasks. First, helping to gather information for the sales team; second helping with marketing and social media efforts; and third, preparing a networking event for Wilfrid Laurier University’s School of Business and Economics.

Sean and I were excited to start planning for the Laurier event. As we continued to define what we wanted to accomplish we came across an objective that both Active and us as planners  wanted to achieve. The objective was to give back to the business community by supporting growth, career development and networking for the School of Business co-op program.

From late May/early June we organized everything from the venue to name tags and everything in between.

In developing this event we had a number of goals to accomplish. One of the most important was creating value for everyone involved. We wanted employers, students and Laurier as a whole to gain value, whether through the business connections made or simply from the experience itself.

The event was held at Real Sports Bar in Downtown Toronto. The guests began to pour in around 7pm and the night was underway. The first portion of the event was a speaker session, where five very different speakers shared information about their businesses. We heard from Active’s own Andrew Bulmer followed by great speeches from Fidelity Investments, General Mills, Satov Consultants and ONCAP. All parties showcased impressive talking points – highlighting different sides of the business world, explaining unique aspects of their company and detailing their own individual career path. What I found of particular interest were the honest and personal stories of each speaker’s career path.  For the second part of the event Barrick Gold and Toronto Dominion Bank joined the other speakers as we opened the floor, allowing students and employers to mingle, gain connections and enjoy a good time.

All employer representatives were pleasantly engaged in professional and upbeat conversations for the entire evening. As guests started to leave, the impression was that people were getting the information they wanted and, more importantly, the face time they needed to get their names out there.

It took a lot of time to plan and was a great deal of work, but seeing everyone having a good time and made all of the preparation and effort well worth it.

Ryan McGillivray

Up Fronts 101

Active @ The Shaw Up Front Watching LL Cool J on Stage

Some of our readers do not work

in the media industry, so we wanted to take a moment to shed some light on a term you may or may not have heard buzzing about over the past few weeks – Fall Up Fronts.  You may also have noticed our Media team contributing to some of this activity on our Twitter feed (@ActiveIntlCA). Early June is a time where all of the big media companies in Canada (CTV, Shaw, Astral, CHCH, and CBC etc.) hold their annual up-fronts. Up Fronts are events in which broadcast stations present their new lineup of TV shows and programming to the industry, in hopes of seeking interest from media buyers, agencies and clients.  The more popular or sought after the show, the greater the demand for advertising space. These events are typically held in hip venues, offer gourmet food and showcase celebrities from new and current programing. It’s the first opportunity for people to see the new lineup of programming available in the coming months, and although not all of the shows will get to make another season, it’s exciting to see what these stations have to offer and which shows will last.  And even more interesting for us Canucks – which otherwise popular Canadian programs could be cancelled due to lack of US uptake. We will be weighing in with our observations on this in greater detail later this month.

Radio Ad Revenues on the Rise

In a world where there are so many ways to reach your audience and where new technologies seem to push older ones into extinction, one medium has stayed strong. The CRTC (Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission) recently released reports stating that revenues increased approximately 4% and are now back to pre-recession levels. Thirteen more stations have been added, 400 more people are employed proving once again that radio is still very much alive and well. These are stats that marketers should take note of since it’s showing once again that radio is still an effective way to reach their audience –  people are still listening!  If you’re looking to add radio to the mix but don’t have the incremental funding to do so, consider Corporate Trade – a model that helps many of Canada’s leading businesses stretch their advertising dollars.

Canadians #1 in online video use

Just as Canadians hold the # 1 spot in per capita time spent on the internet, we recently learned that we are the highest consumers of online video in the world too. Google Canada recently conducted a survey which stated that 9 out of 10 Canadians watch videos online with the average Canadian watching 300 videos per month. As consumers continue to go online our ways to connect to these consumers have to continue to change as well. Marketers should take notice of this trend because as people start watching more videos online it allows for a more effective way for them to reach their audience.  Our digital media buyers continue to see companies apply the use of trade credits on digital platforms to work along and complement their ads in traditional media.

I chatted with Joanne Crump, VP / Media Services Director, and Andi Kupersmith SVP / Director Canadian Media to get the scoop on the Canadian Media Directors Council (CMDC) conference they participated in April. 

What is the CMDC conference and why does Active attend?

Joanne:  The CMDC is a non-profit body comprised of media professionals representing advertising and media management companies. The Conference is an annual event bringing media agency professional, advertisers and media vendors together to discuss issues affecting the media landscape.

Andi:  Many Canadian and International brands place their trust in Active to execute flawless media campaigns.  It’s important that we keep our finger on the pulse of new and emerging insights and trends.

Your favourite Keynote?

Joanne:  Every year there is usually one inspirational speaker and this year it was Sal Khan, founder of the Kahn Academy. Sal got the idea of creating a “free world-class education for anyone anywhere” after tutoring his cousin in Math through video.  His vision was if you allow students to learn at their own pace you can turn those labeled underachievers into top producing students. He leveraged social media (YouTube) as his platform and $3 million dollars later in support from the likes of Bill Gates, Google and others, stats from 15 schools in the US using his videos showed that underperforming students can excel and even surpass other classmates.  His dream continues to be realized as videos on various subjects are now used globally. It was great to see social media at work not for some commercial marketing of brands but for plain common good.

Andi:  I really enjoyed the success story for the Joe Fresh Brand from Loblaws.   Craig Hutchinson did an excellent job on discussing the execution and marketing strategies of the introduction of this brand.  He strongly believes in traditional media supported by social media.  They use social to understand the customer and continually make frequent adjustments to the products offered often on a weekly basis.  Wonder what they do with the inventory that doesn’t sell.  His overall marketing philosophy is rather simple, put the product first.  Create the best products, then determine the price and market it.


What was the biggest buzz topic of the conference?

Joanne:  Todd Scheidt , Associate Principle, McKinsey & Co. was all about big data and people as active producers. This was echoed by Jack Myers who also said social media was empowering consumers. According to Google we produce 2 ½ extabytes of data every day, and by 2015 there will be 215 billion devices generating data and computing capacity will fit inside a blood cell. By 2049 supercomputers will surpass the human brain.

What does all of this data mean for businesses?

Andi:  More data provides companies greater opportunity to better segment the population, customize actions and offers the ability to innovate new business models, products and services.  In a big data world the questions we need to ask are- What are all the data assets? How can I use it? What’s the value? What is the road map to making sense of the data? What are the IT implications?


There has been a lot of talk over the ad spend to Digital at the expense of other mediums.  Have any new insights emerge on that front?

Joanne:  Jack Myers, Chairman The Media Advisory Group said that we are on the Digital tipping point, we are in the process of crossing the bridge from pre- internet to post internet. Interestingly while everyone has been predicting an increase in Digital spend at the expense of legacy media he predicts that all media will see an increase.  In fact we need legacy media for digital to survive.

Andi:  By 2020 he surmised that digital will make up about 30% of the total marketing spend and dollars will come from below the line such as Direct Marketing, Sales Promotion and Direct Mail initiatives.  Social media will not replace traditional mediums, instead redefine brands and make them more powerful in a digital world.

How does this compare to what Active is seeing in our customer’s media mix?

Joanne:  Clients are still finding their way.  If you take a look beyond the past year and get a longer term historical birdseye view of ad spending, it becomes clear that customers aren’t pulling spend entirely, they are responding to the market and shifting resources as new mediums emerge.   For example, customer ABC, who traditionally focuses on broadcast, shifted to all digital two years ago, and over the most recent two years is running a combination of both. This obviously differs client to client, but in general speaks to the testing going on in the market.  Even the IAB will say that some of the most successful media executions have been the ones that leveraged online and legacy media.

What new technologies are emerging that media professional should be aware of?

Andi:  Paul Price, CEO, Creative Realities talked about the computing capacity exploding every 2 years.  So whatever one knows now … will change.  Whatever has changed so far is only a fraction of the change to come.  So predicting the future of the media world becomes a difficult feat keeping in mind the pace at which technology is changing.

He then showed some technology of the future stating that more machines are connected to other machines than they are to humans.  This included commitment ceremonies between robots, and a clip of a car completely driven by a robot.  I wonder how long the robot had to stand in line at the motor vehicle bureau?

Paul believes that for companies to be successful today technology has to move to marketing.  Companies should use technology to embrace the consumer which in the end will drive conversion to retention.

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