Pia Musngi

Contact Pia by sending an email to pmusngi@brunico.com

Articles by Pia Musngi

Amnesty International goes mobile with Bell

A national mobile teaser promo is set to launch tomorrow and it involves rock band U2 and Amnesty International. The promo, a teaser for the global music project called Make Some Noise launching on December 10 (International Human Rights Day), invites mobile users to text in to win tickets to the November 25 U2 concert in Ottawa. Each text (which constitutes one ballot entry) costs $1 – of which 100% of proceeds go to Amnesty. Users can text in as many times as they wish.

The objective, according to Amnesty International Canada’s director of research development, Rhonda Douglas is buzz. As part of the promo push, Amnesty hopes to ‘collect user data for mobile numbers and emails. We want to push the project out to them. We’re trying to learn how OOH and online drive mobile cell usage. Charities haven’t used mobile donation much in Canada. We’re keen to have that learning.’


Mobile on Demand goes national

According to Dan Reitzik, everyone’s going digital. The president of the Vancouver-based online and wireless community Digital Youth, announced that the company’s Mobile on Demand program is expanding to five markets, and as a result of the expansion, they’re busy searching for sponsors. The initiative, a partnership with CanWest Media Works, offers brands a bundled mobile and print buy. The weekly full-colour, full-page ‘mobile marketing destination’ in Friday editions of CanWest print properties in the Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Ottawa and Montreal markets will contain content such as mobile stories (called ‘Text in the City’), ads and contests. The biggest draw? Ringtones provided by exclusive category sponsor, Universal Music.

Mobile on Demand initially ran as a test in CanWest’s Vancouver Province last spring. In some weeks, text-ins fluctuated between 400-5,000, depending on content and contests offered that week. Because of that continuing success, the 16-week national program will be offered in the Vancouver Province, Calgary Herald, Edmonton Journal, Ottawa Citizen and Montreal Gazette beginning November 18. Digital Advertising Network (DAN), a Digital Youth partner, will support the promo through its network of in-mall screens. DAN Media will also be selling Universal ring tones.


CanWest supplies much-needed new mega-connected online auto inventory – pundits deem it clever move

CanWest MediaWorks has launched an automotive portal for consumers, dealers, advertisers and enthusiasts — and media pundits agree that it’s a good thing. The new site, at driving.ca, offers automotive reviews and editorial content from CanWest’s 11 national newspapers. Driving.ca combines a national portal (as part of the Canada.com site) with the marketing of Canada’s largest chain of dailies. It also allows access to the full inventory of CanWest’s dealer network across the country.

‘Good for them,’ says Sunni Boot, president of Zenith Optimedia. ‘When a car buyer gets closer to purchase, they look for cost, a good dealer and service. A lot of consumers will find a lot of utility to this site. It appears to be user-friendly and it provides a level-playing field of info.’


PHD & Thermasilk join the shampoo-as-entertainment trend at teen hangout Habbo

Thermasilk has done the impossible — give girls the ability to create her perfect guy. In a sponsorship of virtual teen community Habbo Hotel Canada, the hair care brand has created the ‘Hit on My Hot Guy’ room within the hotel to target the 52% teen female demo inhabiting the hotel. Within the Thermasilk room is a branded billboard with links leading to the www.hitonmyhotguy.ca site.

And the room even has its own brand reps. Pre-programmed bots respond to user questions with branded responses such as: ‘Have a drink and hit on a hot guy! Click on the billboard for a chance to win!’ The site created for the promo is a destination for teens to virtually build a perfect guy, choosing hair, clothes, and tattoos, among others and then emailing this piece of perfection to friends to increase chances of winning swag — including free ring tones from MuchMusic. An in-game competition links users back to the hotel encouraging teens to get other Habbos (avatars ‘living’ in the hotel) to rate their hot guy for a chance to win game credits. To further support the promo, MuchMusic is airing two 15-second spots to drive traffic to the site starting on October 21. The media agency that did the magic? PHD Canada.


CHUM and Global add interactive gaming sponsor opps to shows

First there were game shows. Now there are shows with games built in, and unique marketing opportunities are part of the plot. New interactive CHUM and Global audience engagement initiatives mean new ad opps are coming soon to TV-related property near you.

CHUM has added live, SMS text-to-screen gaming to select programs airing on youth-channel Razer. RazerTXT allows viewers to watch shows while playing games, which appear as graphic overlays onscreen. Titles such as a love advice game called ‘Perfect Match,’ ‘RazerChat’ which features real-time, onscreen text dialogues and ‘Splitzville,’ a type of on-screen Eight Ball that predicts the death of a relationship, were created specifically for the Razer audience. Plans are in place to add games entitled ‘CruiseControl’ (on celeb auto trivia) and ‘Fabloid’ (tabloid-style headlines created by fans) beginning November 1.


DDB Canada unleashes Crime Stoppers campaign

Seems nothing speaks louder than cash. At least that’s the thinking behind the new PSA campaign headed by Toronto’s DDB Canada for Toronto Crime Stoppers, the community program with the anonymous tip line. And as part of future discussions, ads may someday be running in holding cells.

Unveiled today at police headquarters in downtown Toronto, the new campaign trades an up to $500 cash reward for anonymous tips leading to the seizure of an illegal or crime-related handgun. And in the year dubbed by many as the ‘year of the gun,’ the campaign couldn’t have come at a better time. Andrew Simon, VP/CD at DDB Canada, says: ‘We wanted [the creative] to have a targeted experience – to other criminals and to the general community.’


Pirate to release Lennon radio show

Toronto production house Pirate Radio and Television has started a branded entertainment division. Its first project? A two-part radio program narrated by Graham Nash (of Crosby Stills and Nash fame) commemorating the 25th anniversary of ex-Beatle John Lennon’s assassination. The title sponsor? Toshiba. Explains writer and director Terry O’Reilly: ‘We try to come up with interesting radio programs that advertisers can leverage. Branded entertainment is something I’m not sure is even happening in Canada. So we’ve created a seven-hour radio special around Lennon.’

O’Reilly explains that the project was divided into two three-hour parts plus a series of vignettes. The first is a three-hour special airing on Sunday, Oct. 9 called Dreaming of the Past, with a theme that spans the years between Lennon’s birth in 1940 to when the Beatles broke up in 1970. The special will air in Canada, the U.S. and other countries around the world on classic rock stations such as Q107 in Toronto, CFMI in Vancouver, CKDK in London, Ont., and CFGQ in Calgary. CHOM, an English station in Montreal, is also picking up the special.


***NEWS FLASH*** Boot and M2 Universal nab top media kudos

Strategy magazine’s Media Agency of the Year awards were handed out this afternoon at the first ever Media in Canada Forum, held in Toronto’s Downtown Marriott. ZenithOptimedia’s CEO Sunni Boot was once again named media director of the year. Boot has held the title since the last media agency awards, which were given out in 2003.

‘Is David Verklin here?’ asked Boot during her acceptance speech, referring to the keynote speaker and Carat Americas CEO. ‘I see the change. I feel the crackle. I appreciate this award most as it comes from the media. We wouldn’t be here without you.’

M2 Universal also brought home some gold, taking the media agency of the year title for the fourth consecutive time. Silver went to MindShare, while Mediaedge:cia nabbed bronze.

This year’s honourable mentions went to ZenithOptimedia, Cossette Media and OMD.

In a new category this year, Carat Stratagem was named the top media shop in Quebec.


Vice mag promos video game via hockey art show; seeks sponsors

The guys at Vice are hitting the art gallery scene. You read that right. Vice magazine, the indie glossy freebie that was once crafted in a basement in Montreal, has grown up. In a brand extension initiative, the rag’s in-house marketing agency, Addvice, is bringing ‘Slapshot,’ a travelling hockey art exhibit sponsored by 2K Sports and Xbox, in an effort to intro the brand-new NHL 2K6 videogame.

‘We were given a lot of liberty [by client 2K Sports] to promote the new game. And so we asked 30 artists from all over the world to each immortalize the greatest – and most notorious – hockey players,’ explains director of marketing Erik Lavoie. ‘The art show was launched in New York last week, and it’s really just a way for us to get people to talk about hockey.’


*** NEWS FLASH *** NADbank releases readership numbers for Toronto and Montreal

The Newspaper Audience Databank (NADbank) announced results today from the first half of the 2005 study, analyzing daily newspaper readership in the Toronto and Montreal markets. In Toronto, The Toronto Star leads with 50% of adults 18+ on average reading the paper over the course of a week, down from 54% from the same time last year. The Toronto Sun follows at 30% (spring 2004 figures were at 33%), while The Globe & Mail trails at 21%, down 1% from spring 2004. Average weekly readership of The National Post at the half-point of the year stayed steady at 12%.

Interestingly, average five-day readership of the freebies Metro and 24 hours grew in both markets. Metro grabbed 20% in both Toronto and Montreal, up from 19% and 18% respectively from last year. 24 hours came in at 17% in Toronto and 11% in Montreal, increases of 4% and 2% from spring 2004.


Vespa creates buzz in the streets

Picture this: You’re sitting on a patio and see a delivery guy pull up on a Vespa scooter. He leaves the Vespa to do his thing and 10 minutes later, a pretty girl comes by and asks, ‘Is that your Vespa?’ You shake your head no and she says, ‘That’s too bad. I’d really like a ride on it.’ The girl asks everyone on the patio about the scooter in question. Finally, the delivery guy comes back and the girl asks him for a ride. He agrees and the pair rides off into the sunset.

Kinda makes you want one, huh? If so, you’ve just been sold.

That’s the thinking behind Vespa street theatre. Masterminded by Dentsu’s creative catalyst Glen Hunt, the street theatre generates buzz and takes advertising to the streets – literally. Hunt says 80% of the time, the actors ride off to the patio crowd’s applause. Talk about buzz.


Dose goes live, seeks sponsors and bloggers

The daily youth rag, Dose is hosting a series of live music events across the country. The first one, sponsored by Virgin Mobile and Molson Canadian, featured the Dandy Warhols at Toronto’s Mod Club last Sunday. In October, the Offishall Music Tour presented by Solo Mobile featuring rapper Kardinal Offishall hits university campuses in the daily’s publishing markets of Ottawa, Toronto, Edmonton, Calgary, and Vancouver. Gold-level and local sponsorship opps are still available.

‘Any [brand] that’s interested in talking to the college and university crowd is welcome,’ says Dose‘s director of marketing Mark Shedletsky. ‘So it makes sense for beer brands and local or national retail chains.’ The events will be supported via Dose magazine, Dose.ca and through local street teams in each city. The teams are hitting colleges and universities handing out swag including 10,000 sampler CDs.


Nike football series seeking Canuck broadcaster

Toronto-based TV production company Chokolat is looking for a Canadian broadcaster to pick up four-part half-hour series Full Ride. The series was sponsored by Nike and produced for ESPN. Full Ride follows six American high school football seniors through the recruitment process, from a camp attended by more than 200 college coaches and scouts to the final decision as to who will get a ‘full ride’ scholarship.

‘This is real human drama,’ explains Jeff Spriet, president of Chokolat and executive producer of the series. ‘We followed these kids from their hometowns and met their families, parents, high school coaches.’ Spriet explains that in the U.S., Full Ride debuted this month, and is slated to re-air 10 more times.


Global goes guerilla to promo fall

If you’re a subway commuter, prepare to see a lot more of Global this fall. As part of Global’s fall programming promo push, viewers in the Toronto and Vancouver markets will be inundated by creative touting new shows Prison Break, Apprentice: Martha Stewart, E-Ring, and Bones on their way to work. The net is using unusual media executions to amp up the buzz factor including subway domination and street teams complete with TVs on their heads.

‘We want to increase the buzz around the shows and the way we’re trying to do that is to get people talking about the ads which, in turn, should bring buzz around the shows,’ says Walter Levitt, SVP of marketing. The net bought a lot of media. Along with traditional routes such as radio, print and on-air promos, Global has cut a 60-second trailer to promo new series Prison Break. That trailer is currently running in theatres across Canada and is heavily positioning the show much like a feature movie, complete with movie posters.


Rethink stirs up cult following for Solo campaign

With its new Solo mobile product, Bell Canada is hoping 13 to 24-year-olds will never be solo. The communications giant has just launched an innovative national campaign on August 15 that has yielded results thus far of new activations at 20% above plan, according to Stewart Ellis, managing director of Solo Mobile. The guys at Vancouver-based Rethink Advertising created buzz and excitement by positioning Solo, with its walkie-talkie capabilities connecting up to five people, as the ultimate tool for social function coordination. The funny campaign consists of – among other things – microsites that seemingly have nothing to do with Solo. Visit www.chadland.ca to get an idea. A site that pays homage to teen dream boy Chad, the Chad store button features items for sale such as Chad’s toenail clippings or sweaty towel. Scroll down further and a call to action invites you to ‘get closer to other fans and to Chad’ by buying a Solo phone. Similar sites found at www.stompball.ca and www.joinmurray.org are hoping to first, incite a laugh and secondly, foster that group communication.

‘We’re riding on the coattails of everything that’s cool [to youth]. We want to build buzz and we’re asking permission [to enter their lives] by making them laugh,’ says Anthony Thomas, AD at Rethink. ‘We’re giving youth credit with this web campaign.’ Solo’s TV spots are seeded with messages intended to drive traffic to the microsites.