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By Andrea Allen

The holiday season is a time of giving. We’ll give gifts to our children, our parents, those cousins we see once-a-year, our co-workers, dog walkers, and of course, the odd gift to ourselves (because we deserve it after all). However it’s the season not just of giving gifts to our family and friends, it’s also the time when many of us contribute to our personal charities of choice. The malls just wouldn’t seem the same without a bell-ringer beside a Salvation Army red kettle or giant toy mountains waiting for our additions.  However, charitable donations of all varieties have been in decline over the last couple years due to the economic downtown. Sadly, it’s during these times that donations are most needed by the greatest number of people. In an effort to increase the value of a dollar, one suggestion would be to look for products that are not only great gifts, but also give back to society.

TOMS shoes is a company that will donate a pair of shoes to needy children all over the world for every pair purchased by a customer. You can feel confident that buying your kids a pair of TOMS shoes would put you in the “cool mom or dad” category and you can feel good knowing that your purchase helped someone in need. Similar to TOMS, Warby Parker is a stylish glasses company that for every pair of glasses purchased they will donate a pair to someone in need.

If you’re looking to deck out your special lady in some jewelry this Christmas, why not take a look at a Haitian hand-beaded necklace or a turquoise bracelet from Thailand. Available through World Vision, these and many other gifts can not only put a smile on a loved one’s face this Christmas, but can also contribute to the economic well-being of developing communities. There’s also that has a wide variety of beautiful pieces that are sure to impress even those hard-to-shop-for names on your holiday list.

There are even websites that allow consumers to choose the cause they would like to support through their purchase of gift items. is one such site where $1 for every $5 spent will be donated to the cause of your choice.

But what about the corporate world? Corporate charitable donations can also go the extra mile. As part of the ActiveCares program, Active can contribute funding to an organization’s CSR causes in return for a commitment of a portion of the company’s existing media, freight, or printing spend. Active’s Corporate Trade model allows our clients to leverage our services to benefit a cause without spending incremental dollars. So even if you or your company are strapped for cash and are considering scaling back your charitable contributions this season, consider using more creative ways to stretch those holiday dollars. It will certainly put you on Santa’s “good” list.

Getting to Know Us: Mimi Salviato

This week for “Getting to Know Us”, I spoke with Mimi Salviato, Key Account Tactical Manager, and mother-to-be!

Explain your job as you would to a 5-year-old:

I buy the space for the commercials that you see on TV and hear on the radio.

Why Your Role and why @ Active?

Being at Active for seven years now I can say that I thoroughly enjoy the execution of the plans I work on.  Active allows us to creatively strategize each situation and customize each execution around our clients’ needs.  It’s something new every day.

Most memorable moment at Active so far?

My most memorable moment would have to be our international media conference.  Being an international company, the conference allowed us to explore and learn about all the ways media is purchased around the world.  Having our media colleagues from all 16 international offices was so educational and a lot of fun.  Meeting new people and being able to learn from those brilliant minds was an experience I will never forget.

Tell us about your charitable cause of choice and the last thing you did to support it?

My charitable cause of choice if NABS.  NABS is a charity the supports the marketing, advertising and communications industries. It provides an open door to anyone, from a media assistant to a CEO, that may need help getting through tough times emotionally, financially or professionally.  I volunteered to be the NABS ambassador here at Active and we just currently participated in the NABS HOUR event.

If you weren’t in your current career you would probably be ……

… A world traveler haha!  I would make a profession out of travelling the world, seeing the many magnificent places, and writing about it on the web to provide the next travelers to those destinations a little insight on what to expect.

Adjective your family would use to best describe you?


Adjective your Customers would use to best describe you?


Adjective your best friend would use to best describe you?


Biggest Trend Impacting Your Area of the Business To Date?

The biggest trend in my area would be online programming and PVRs.  We negotiate, purchase, and strategically place our clients’ ads to ensure they get seen by the demographic they are targeting. When viewers PVR their favourite shows, they can skip through the commercials. When they stream the program online, the ads you  placed with the stations do not appear.  With the increase in these two modes of TV viewership in the years to come, it will be interesting to see how how the broadcast industry adapts. Just for example, in a recent study 44% of students claim that they mainly watch their television on the web, and up to 12% will record their shows and watch them at a later time.

What’s the most innovative thing you’ve seen a customer do to unlock value from their assets?

A client used their credits to purchase  SuperBowl spots.  Our client took an asset that was completely under-performing and used it to place an ad in an event that over-performs!  Our client saw huge value in that!!!

Favourite Ad of all time?

That would have to be the Ally Bank commercial where the girl is asked whether she wants a pony….the man gives her a plastic toy pony but then gives the other girl a real pony.  The little girl says “you didn’t say I could have a real pony” and the man replies “ well you didn’t ask”. The commercial was about banks withholding information. It was hilarious!!!

By Scott Miles, Client Solutions Manager

Client Solutions AssociateWith Corporate Trade growing in popularity as a strategic business solution, there are a few things every business leader should be aware of when entering into their next Corporate Trade deal.

In a typical trade deal, your company has just exchanged an under-performing asset (such as excess inventory), in return for a bank of Trade Credits that are used with cash to pay for routine budgeted business expenses.  This is clearly a high trust transaction and you must feel confident in your Corporate Trade partner’s ability to deliver on their ability to help you spend your Trade Credits. A legal contract is a must, and for any business engaging in an unfamiliar practice with a lot on the line– this can seem daunting.

Today’s blog focuses on 4 essential elements to your contract. These, at minimum, are “must haves” in order to effectively protect your business in a Trade transaction:

  1. Inventory & Brand Integrity – if there are any restrictions on where your distressed inventory will be remarketed or distributed, make sure you specify as such in your Corporate Trade agreement. It’s important that your brand remains protected, with product being sold only in approved channels and markets. You want to ensure your business is never forced to sacrifice brand integrity.

One of my customer contacts at ConAgra Foods covered this point very well in a recent article discussing the Active/ConAgra relationship in Food in Canada magazine:

“It would normally take me more time to deal with third-party vendors, and I wouldn’t have control of where products end up or know if they’ve been resold or tampered with — but because it has your brand name on it that will hit you two or three years down the road. With Active I’m not going to have that problem.”  

  1. Media Quality – Likely, the majority of your Trade Credits will be used to supplement marketing efforts, and specifically, your paid media budgets. Make sure your Corporate Trade company is applying Trade Credits to your authorized and approved (or your agency’s approved) media plan. By doing so, you’ll ensure your supplemented media plans remain of top-notch quality, thus ensuring the full dollar value of your credits remain intact.
  1. No Media Commissions or Fees – Corporate Trade companies typically do not take media fees as part of their business model. Be sure you aren’t being docked a media commission by your Corporate Barter company each time you use your credits. A central tenet of Corporate Trade is that your credits are used against your existing advertising rates – those that are expertly negotiated by your agency. If you currently employ an Agency of Record, be sure to continue compensating them for their services as you usually would. Their role in the process– defining the media plan, and as a check and balance setting pricing benchmarks and ensuring media quality – is vital to the success of your Corporate Trade deal. Your agency should be compensated with a media commission; your Corporate Trade company should not.
  1. Customer Service – Like any other service-based business transaction, strong customer service is absolutely vital to the success of a handshakeCorporate Trade deal. Before entering into a Corporate Trade deal, you’ll want to ensure up front that you have a dedicated account manager and media team assigned to your business. A strong account manager understands that your business only receives financial gain from the transaction once Trade Credits have been spent (within a reasonable time-frame). Therefore, your account manager should be diligently tracking your Trade Credit usage, routinely presenting opportunities for increased Trade Credit usage through formal business reviews, and attending all relevant media briefing and planning meetings with both your marketing/brand teams and your agency. Further, this account manager should manage the communication/workflow between all parties in a streamlined way that makes the most sense for your business. As a Client Solutions Manager at Active, this is the kind of service I try to deliver on all of the accounts I am responsible for. Your Corporate Trade company should be viewed as a valuable budgetary resource and not an extra step.


Your turn – what other elements are essential to your Corporate Trade contracts?

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