future tv 2019

creatives have their say: a tribute to top-notch tv advertising

Much of the talk at this year’s Future TV Advertising Forum focused on innovations that are making it easier for TV to deliver brand-building moments. But one of the day’s most impactful discussions took a step back to revisit the fundamentals. Creatives Have Their Say was a cri de coeur to industry players to recommit to two tried-and-true tools if they want to create connections with Canadian consumers more effectively: Exceptional creative. And TV.

Meet the Creatives

In a wide-ranging look at the state of advertising creative, our panelists weighed in on everything from “can we get away with just digital” asks to risk-averse advertisers who aren’t thinking about the long-term health of their brands. You can get their detailed insights by watching the video, but we’ve pulled together three thought-provoking takes for you here:


Take 1 >> Bring Back the TV Anchor

All of our panelists agreed that the rush to digital has meant that there are too many campaigns without an emotional anchor to build the brand. “Years ago, you’d start with this exciting TV spot that drew people in and got them talking,” Ogilvy’s Bryan Murray explained. “Then at some point, the things that had talk value [and should be on TV] got pushed online. TV was no longer the creative foundation.”

Creatives are doing their best to push back against this practice, and for good reason. “TV has an important part to play,” asserted Denise Rossetto of BBDO. “It’s the best way to create brand love.”

And brands are taking note: High-profile advertisers are shifting their budgets back to TV in an effort to recapture the minds and hearts of the Canadian consumer.

We’ve known for a long time that most video performs better on TV – and that’s especially true of content that appeals to our emotions. You only have to watch a few seconds of the powerful Sick Kids spot Denise shared with the crowd to be drawn in by it. “This is a case of a client really understanding the power of creativity and the power of using film for emotion. Without television, the campaign wouldn’t have touched so many lives.”


Take 2 >> Canadian creative speaks more effectively to Canadians

While adapting creative from the U.S. is a fact of life in Canada, Richard Fofana of UM noted that it isn’t always a bad thing. “If there’s an opportunity for an advertiser to drive business by capturing a kind of a zeitgeist that exists outside Canada, great.”

But he cautioned that made-in-Canada solutions should always be the priority. “You can use an amazing piece of film that originates elsewhere if it resonates with consumers here. If it doesn’t, then we [as agencies] absolutely have an obligation to call that out for our clients.”

Ari Elkouby concurred. “Canadians have a different sensibility. Creative from the U.S. may not land the same way here.” That’s why Mazda, his Wunderman Thompson Canada client, avoids adapting U.S. creative. They recently produced an entire series of thirty-second TV spots here for the cost of just one developed south of the border. “We made nine Canadian ads and each one addressed localized problems,” he said.

Canada’s reputation for creative excellence continues to grow, Ari also pointed out. “We have some of the best production companies, editors, sound engineers on the planet, and they produce world-class work designed for this particular market.”


Take 3 >> Bigger-budget TV means a bigger bang for your buck

Getting clients to sign off on a robust TV spend isn’t always easy, but often it’s a case of “you get what you pay for”: TV-sized budgets deliver TV-sized results. The proof that television is often the right play – in both the short and long-terms – can be found in the spots themselves.

Lyranda Martin-Evans of DentsuBos Toronto pointed to Canadian Tire as an advertiser that remains committed to TV because of the way it elevates exceptional creative. “They do things that are very artful and considered and emotional,” she said. “This is lovely Canadian work that keeps a long-term campaign fresh.”

Television can even work its brand-building magic with cost-conscious QSR, Richard maintained, a category where clients are often risk averse. He highlighted a typically hardworking Boston Pizza spot – there was product featured in every shot – that stood out as exceptional because it delivered plenty of emotion as well. “I think the relevance of TV to long-form content is great today in terms of building brand equity and driving business.”

Denise summed it up for the panel: “The biggest waste of [a client’s] money is to do something that doesn’t get seen,” she said. “Spend a little more to get on TV and be seen.”

We couldn’t agree more. See you on TV.