Rising Young Media Star: Mediaedge:cia’s LaRosa

This is the sixth installment in MiC's series profiling next-gen media minds. Curious as to who these new thinkers are, and what they're thinking, strategy and MiC canvassed the industry, asking media shops to single out their top innovative and strategic recruits.

Who: Sabrina LaRosa, media supervisor, Mediaedge:cia, Toronto

Claim to fame: LaRosa is one of the people behind this year’s Ontario Tourism campaign – ‘This is Living.’ Targeting adults 25-54, the campaign was devised to make Ontarians proud of their province and show them all the wonderful places to enjoy within it because, LaRosa says, ‘It’s a very competitive market, and we’re trying to keep our target in their own province.’

The March-through-June run of this integrated multimedia campaign involved TV spots in varying lengths of 90, 60 and 30 seconds in key shows such as The Juno Awards, Hockey Night in Canada, Amazing Race, American Idol and Dancing With the Stars, and specialty nets Food and HGTV. OOH in a range of sizes was used in key Ontario locations, including some new projection billboards and domination tactics in Toronto’s Union Station and the Yonge-Eglinton tunnel.

As well, full-page colour ads appeared in daily newspapers across the province, including the Globe and Mail, Toronto Star and Ottawa Citizen, in addition to 33 community newspapers, 29 ethnic papers, 24 francophone-Ontario and two aboriginal newspapers throughout Ontario. For the magazine portion of the campaign, ads were placed in Toronto Life, Tribute, Food & Drink and Ontario editions of Canadian Living, Chatelaine, Today’s Parent, Style at Home and Canadian House & Home.

Background: LaRosa has been in the business for seven years following her completion of the advertising sales media program at Toronto’s Humber College. She began at FCB Toronto and moved to Mediaedge:cia a year ago to work on Ontario Tourism in addition to Scotts Canada lawn care, MG Entertainment and Service Ontario.

What brand is getting it right? ‘Bell. The brand is always creating buzzworthy campaigns. Their spokesanimals, Frank and Gordon, are highly recognizable so you instantly know it’s a Bell ad when you see them. They also use media in a unique way that makes them stand out from competitors. The teaser campaign they did for the holidays was interesting and very compelling to the consumers they were targeting. There are a lot of mixed feelings about the characters, but I think they stuck to something and they’re making a story out of it and selling all their products with these characters. They’re cute and they get the message across.’

Which brand, other than your own clients, would you most want to work on? ‘It would be fun to work on Disney and their promotion of ‘A Million Dreams.’ Disney is an iconic destination and it’s interesting how they try to push the envelope and differentiate themselves from other destinations. I would probably create an event that would bring a sample Disney experience to Canada to promote ‘A Million Dreams’ and provide instant incentives for Canadians to book a vacation. The event would showcase Disney in a new light and hopefully entice new visits and repeat visits.’

Are clients missing opportunities due to caution? ‘Absolutely. We get challenged all the time by clients to think outside the box, but when it comes to committing to ideas, clients are still hesitant. As the media landscape changes, it’s important for advertisers to look at non-traditional elements for their campaigns that will position them ahead of the game, ahead of their competitors. When you’re thinking about this, there should be no caution when sacrificing a small portion of the budget to try something new. Taking risks really leads to brand awareness – and at the end of the day, that’s really what all clients want.’

What media tactic is going to be the next big thing – and why? ‘Hypertags technology. It allows advertisers to interact with consumers and the Bluetooth capabilities on their cell phones. It’s fully trackable and there are flexible devices that can be placed on OOH boards or a wearable form. I can see it working in the movie industry, because you can actually see a trailer on your phone. That would be perfect for cell phones and that’s the target they want. And even for packaged goods because you can offer coupons and discounts.’