Integrated campaigns sweep awards circuit

Whether it's the Créas, the new ECMAs, or Canada's Next Top Ad Exec, multifaceted, media-heavy initiatives rule.

Montreal agency Bleublancrouge’s ‘Words Matter’ campaign, created for The Montreal Gazette, won the 2007 Grand Créa on Thursday night in Montreal. The jury cited the intelligence and subtlety of Bleublancrouge’s winning ‘Paris’ spot for The Gazette. Set to the sounds of an old-time piano, the ad shows a newspaper headline morphing from ‘Paris Hilton show bombs’ to ‘Bomb drops on Hilton Paris’ to ‘Paris drops Paris Hilton’ – ending with the slogan ‘Words Matter.’ The spot was part of a multimedia campaign praised by jurors for the overall quality of its ads. Along with the coveted Grand Créa, Bleublancrouge took Grand Prix in six categories including Media spend under $10,000. Full details are available at

In Toronto, (majority-owned by CanWest Global Communications) announced the winners of its first annual Employer of Choice Marketing Awards (ECMAs) at a gala event Wednesday. The ECMAs recognize exceptional marketing strategies to attract and retain employees, as well as connect with the general public.

The winning creative will be showcased during‘s presentation on employment branding today in Toronto at the 2007 Top Employers Summit.

Among the finalists were such biggies as McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada and Tim Hortons. But a small, Calgary-based school bus operator trounced them all. Southland Transportation’s multifaceted ‘Become a School Bus Driver’ campaign, created by Calgary’s Highwood Communications, won for best print and broadcast advertising and for best overall campaign.

The initiative had to be good to succeed in attracting 194 new bus drivers amid Alberta’s severe labour shortage. With a strategy of primarily targeting mothers of young children and retirees, the campaign used tongue-in-cheek taglines about the benefits of working for Southland. It included amusing guerilla tactics, radio spots with children singing an amusing rewrite of 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall, print, radio and television. The out-of-home component included the donation of OOH space by both the Calgary public and Catholic school boards.

Winners included: McDonald’s for online efforts out of Cossette’s Calgary branch; EBA Engineering for job fair/recruitment event marketing by Avatar Brand Management; Scotiabank for employee/internal communication programs from Carlson Marketing; and Purolator Courier for community/corporate citizenship initiatives by Hill & Knowlton. Scotiabank work out of Publicis Tandem also won a people’s choice award for online marketing, which was voted on by event attendees.

Complete information is available at

And, finally, Monica Walker, a 22-year-old business student from Queen’s University in Kingston, won the title of Canada’s Next Top Ad Exec, plus a Mitsubishi of her choice, at a ceremony in Hamilton, Ont. last week presented by McMaster University’s DeGroote School of Business and Mitsubishi Canada.

Walker impressed the judges with an innovative marketing campaign aimed at the car company’s key target audience -18 to 35 year olds. And Mitsubishi immediately announced plans to incorporate some of her ideas into its marketing campaign for the 2008 Lancer.

Walker tells MiC that her two-pronged strategy began with showcasing Lancers at a nightclub event and ‘encouraging guests to actually experience the innovation of the vehicle by scrolling through music we stored in each car’s hard drive.’ The second stage was an online test drive offer that allowed busy professionals to book appointments and be picked up and dropped off at convenient locations. A key component of Walker’s awareness campaign, she says, was to connect with the target demo ‘through viral marketing and leveraging online social networks such as Facebook.’