MLSE picks Society Etc. for digital buying

Agency president Mike Sharma says the various brands come with very different mandates and priorities from sales to awareness.

Indie agency Society, Etc. has become the new digital media agency of record for Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (MLSE) and will handle all digital buying and planning for the sports and entertainment conglomerate. Its brands include the Toronto Maple Leafs, Raptors, Toronto FC, Argonauts, Raptors 905 and Marlies, as well as restaurants Real Sports Bar and Grill and E11even, plus Real Sports Apparel.

Shannon Hosford, SVP of marketing and fan experience for the company said in a statement that it sought out a digital agency because digital media was becoming “a critical part of our marketing mix. We needed a partner with demonstrated experience in search and social strategy.”

Mike Sharma, president of Society, Etc. tellsĀ MiCĀ the invitation to participate in the pitch came as a slight shock considering the agency is still relatively new. He explained that in a media climate where metrics and trust are at the forefront of every discussion, Society’s approach likely gave MLSE a great deal of confidence.

“We have a lot of resources toward evaluating results and helping make key decisions,” he says. “We focus a lot on attribution and on the optimization of every media dollar.”

He says the agency is in for a good amount of work, as MLSE’s brands come with very different mandates and priorities. “For the teams, it’s obviously ticket sales. For the restaurants, you want to look at reservations. Then there’s things like building better brand affinity, loyalty, and even in certain cases, awareness.”

Other wins for Society, Etc. include Lee Valley Tools, lacrosse team Toronto Rock and Kids Help Phone, as well as U.S. business for ChildFund International. Sharma says recent wins, as well as its Gold MIA win in 2017, have helped to raise the profile of the five-year-old agency.