Canada Post’s new Fetch: for the privacy-conscious » Media in Canada

Canada Post’s new Fetch: for the privacy-conscious

In a time when it appears every time you turn the corner your tombstone information is nabbed for marketing purposes, Canada Post's new killer app Fetch may be the answer for both the privacy-conscious consumer and marketers alike.
Launching in January in Calgary, Fetch is based on the idea of a trusted third party - Canada Post - acting as an intermediary between consumer and brand. What does that mean exactly? Essentially when you look at a billboard, TV or Web ad and it's tagged with Fetch plus a keyword (e.g. a BMW ad and the keyword car), consumers who opt into the initiative can text, phone or go on the Web to request more info on that specific product.

In a time when it appears every time you turn the corner your tombstone information is nabbed for marketing purposes, Canada Post’s new killer app Fetch may be the answer for both the privacy-conscious consumer and marketers alike.

Launching in January in Calgary, Fetch is based on the idea of a trusted third party – Canada Post – acting as an intermediary between consumer and brand. What does that mean exactly? Essentially when you look at a billboard, TV or Web ad and it’s tagged with Fetch plus a keyword (e.g. a BMW ad and the keyword car), consumers who opt into the initiative can text, phone or go on the Web to request more info on that specific product.

The twist is although you’ll receive your BMW brochure or L’Oréal shampoo sample in the mail immediately, your personal information never reaches the brand; it’s held by Canada Post.

‘It answers all the needs of someone in the 21st century as well as benefits the brands,’ says Gary Schwartz, president of Impact Mobile, who heads up the mobile and interactive voice response components for the Fetch initiative.

‘It’s perfect for someone who says they’re concerned about their privacy but is looking for something that’s turnkey. They can touch the product via text if they’re in a 14- to 29-year-old demographic, or if they’re a little older they can dial Fetch or use the Web.’

Although Timothy Grayson, senior manager, product development at Canada Post, says Fetch is, in part, a response to the shift from ‘pushing more GRP at the market’ to ‘attracting people with something meaningful and allowing them to respond in a threat-free way immediately,’ Canada Post and its consortium of service providers will still need to educate the public about its new initiative. Advertising for Fetch will begin mid-January to support a pilot version launching in Calgary; the program will run throughout Q1 before rolling out nationally. Eventually Canada Post would like to expand into the U.S.

There is no cost to the consumer for using Fetch and the brands will still be relying on their usual media channels. ‘So all [the brand] is doing is paying its usual pick and pack and a small service charge,’ explains Schwartz. ‘And this way it’s not paying for a blanket approach. Instead it has consumers who have raised their hands and indicated they’re really interested in its product.’

Touting it as being a technologically agnostic solution that provides advertisers with a tool to generate more valuable prospects, Grayson says: ‘This has got serious legs – it’s something no one else has done or can do because of the intellectual property and protection issues.’