Next Media Stars: Mediaedge:cia’s Travis St.Denis updates Molson’s social media status

Travis St.Denis, media supervisor at Mediaedge:cia knows 'The Code.'

MiC and her mothership strategy wanted to know: which young media minds are breaking new ground, taking campaigns to the next level and delivering results? We asked the top brass at media agencies across the country to share who they think deserves a shout-out, and from whom we can expect even more big things to come. The winner will be determined by a jury and announced this fall.

The latest in the Next Media Stars series, appearing in MiC every Monday for the next four weeks, is Mediaedge:cia’s media supervisor, Travis St.Denis.

Claim to fame

In order to amplify Molson Canadian’s brand platform ‘The Code’ last year, Travis St.Denis, 30, media supervisor at Mediaedge:cia (MEC), orchestrated an online video launch that gives voice to young Canadian beer-drinking men who write and live by the unwritten rules of guy social conduct.

‘We needed to find a way to exploit ‘The Code’ a little bit more and bring more of it to life,’ St.Denis says. Video programming site produced a series of fast-paced, two- to three-minute webisodes hosted by hottie stand-up comedienne Nicole Arbour. She travelled to sporting and music events across the country asking attendees loaded questions like, ‘What do you do if you spill someone’s beer?’ or prompting them to expose abdomens with the encouraging: ‘Do you have a six-pack or a mega-keg?’

The nine webisodes, most of which were seeded on the site last summer, garnered seven million streams on the site, and the objective of dimensionalizing the platform through online media was achieved. ‘It was a mirror for themselves,’ says St.Denis about the videos’ popularity among their 19- to 24-year-old male target. ‘They could really identify with what their peers were saying, and instantly made a link to the brand.’

Active brand engagement is a mantra at MEC, and it’s what initially attracted St.Denis (who has also worked at Sharpe Blackmore and Initiative) to the agency in December 2005, when he started as a planning supervisor on the Molson account. About two years ago, his role in the interactive realm for the client began to take root, and while he rejects the ‘social media expert’ title, St.Denis has proven to his coworkers that this is a medium in which he is most comfortable.

About his work

St.Denis’ mission was to expand the Canadian and Coors Light Facebook fan pages (which now have more than 27,000 and 32,000 members, respectively) and convert them to the ‘Molson Insider’ program. Facebook was the number one referral of Molson’s web traffic during last year’s contests like ‘Coors Light Mystery Mansion’ and ‘Maxim Golf Experience.’

Now, St.Denis says Molson may have reached a plateau in terms of the size of its Facebook group, but the investment in social media continues, with the overall priority to build community relationships. ‘The messages that we do send out have to have some value to the consumer. It can’t just be, ‘Hey, here’s a status update, here’s an event that’s happening.’ There’s value in the event, but is that really valuable for someone to take up space in their news feed?’

In order to better understand the medium, St.Denis immerses himself in it – and he wants his co-workers to do the same. Last year he developed the MEC internal social network called MECLive, which allows all employees to hone social networking abilities by sharing ideas and organizing events, seminars or presentations.

One of the most popular tangents that resulted from the network is an office book club, says St.Denis. ‘I really do believe that in order to have any kind of viewpoint on social networking and how to apply it for your clients, you have to live it.’

How do you prepare a client for some of the risks they may face?

A lot of dialogue needs to happen. I don’t know if you can put their mind at ease, but it’s addressing and laying out a plan to respond to both the good and the bad and everything in between. Before anyone delves into the space, [they should] spend a little while, maybe two or three months, just monitoring. See what people are saying about brands, then prioritizing what conversations you want to have with them both reactively and proactively.

How do you evaluate your work?

For me, it’s really about active engagement and how we can capitalize that for our clients. At the outset there are a number of goals that we’ll lay out, for instance a goal for new ‘Molson Insider’ growth. We’ll lay out a goal for what key brand metric we want to see on the rise, how much traffic we want to drive to the website and how much time we want them to spend on the website when they’re there. It’s less about impressions [and more about] ‘are our consumers really engaged with the brand?’