Closing the generation gap - Author: Catie Nobes
November 25, 2013

"Millennials will make companies more honest and PR can play an important role in that," Tanya Pyshnov, Principal at Clearly Research, told about 50 CPRS Toronto members at last week's professional development event at MaRS.

"What millennials do that other generations haven't done is research on organizations and companies, and they communicate what they find with their friends," Pyshnov said.

From their shopping and watching habits, to marriage plans and on, Pyshnov explained the differences between Baby Boomers (aged 49 to 69) and Gen Y, or millennials, (aged 18 to 36). Baby Boomers have the highest proportional spending power of any generation, but are largely ignored by advertisers.

Gen Y's conscience-driven spending - putting their money and time where their causes are - means companies, and their PR teams, need to focus on communicating what they will do.

"For example, causes are so important so cause marketing will become the new way to attract millennials and PR can play an important role in communicating to them," said Pyshnov.

CPRS Toronto President Maryjane Martin said she was very happy with the turn out and the lively discussion; "I think we had a great conversation as people tried to process what the differences between these cohorts meant - both in the workplace and for communications."


Will your foreign creative resonate with Canadians? Three tips to help marketers decide if foreign produced ad copy is worth pursuing - Author: Tanya Pyshnov
February 11, 2015

It’s not secret that a lot of effort and money can be saved when brands or agencies bring finished copy from the U.S. or another country to Canada. Just make a few modifications and it can still be effective. But given that copy testing is not always an option, what’s the best way for a brand manager to quickly assess if the copy you’re importing is really transferable?

Here are three tips to help you decide.

Make sure the Benefit and the reason to believe of the offering are communicated clearly in the copy

The Canadian consumer is a skeptical consumer. Just because the ad says the hero product or service will deliver the benefit, it does not mean the consumer will believe it. Believing the benefit is key to trial.

Often U.S. copy just mentions the benefit or shows the consumer’s emotional reaction to the hero product or services. This makes it sufficient for the U.S. consumer to find the copy resonating, believable and lead to trial. Not so for the Canadian consumer. In order to persuade the rational Canadian to buy the brand, he or she needs to be convinced. Clearly communicated, reason to believe is the way to accomplish it.

P&G started this tradition with its first print advertising for Ivory soap in 1879 when it said “Ivory, the only soap that floats. 99.44/100 % pure.” It is interesting that this claim is still true and still used today. It helped P&G sell a lot of soap.

This tradition continues. P&G TV copy consistently tries to communicate and depict the benefit and the reason to believe for their products. Gillette elegantly depicts why its newest technology provides “the best a man can get” referring to the shave.

The reason to believe is usually the new technology. Meanwhile, food companies play up the ingredients, mostly with strong visuals, that communicate great taste.

If the copy you are considering to air in Canada does not communicate the benefit and reason to believe of the new offering clearly, most likely it will not be successful here.

Avoid unrealistic situations in the copy

This is an executional detail, but it is surprising how often the Canadian consumer “gets stuck” and can’t move further if the situation shown in the copy is not realistic.

One example that comes to mind is when a commercial for a shampoo brand emphasized the fresh scent by showing a blowing woman’s hair in a closed room. Consumer feedback was – “Unrealistic! There can be no wind in a closed room!”

Many consumers were not able to move past this point and the TV spot did not score well in the pre-test. This happened to be a U.S. spot that did well in the U.S. testing. The U.S. consumers were not bothered by this inconsistency.

Avoid showing stereotypical situations

Canadian consumers are open-minded consumers. They react strongly to stereotypical situations, yet welcome a modern depiction. For example, both men and women love seeing the dad change the baby’s diaper or feed the baby in the morning. Traditionally, a woman would be shown in both activities.

Another example that comes to mind is when in the ‘90s a TV commercial for a bathroom tissue brand had to be taken off the air in Canada. Consumers complained that a man was being shown in a negative light because a woman was explaining to him how to change a toilet tissue roll.

So, traditionally, Canadians have been open-minded people and are turned off by stereotypes. Such sensitivities may be different in other countries.

There is also a difference between receptivity of advertising in English Canada and Quebec. Unfortunately, some multinationals often ignore Quebec due to its size. Yet, the companies that put an effort into creating either a French specific advertising (versus just translating English copy) or ensuring French sentiments are addressed, benefit greatly in consumer appeal and loyalty.

One example would be the Pepsi TV campaign that started in 1985 and ran successfully for 18 years. It used Quebec talent and Quebec humour. Quebecers loved it and quickly made Pepsi the number one cola drink in the province.

These principles apply to all forms of advertising, not just TV. While a TV spot has 15 or 30 seconds to relate the story, rich media has much less time, so the challenge for a digital creative is even greater.

These are just three areas to watch out for to increase copy transferability to Canada from other regions. There are additional areas that marketers and creative agencies need to be aware of to make the advertising reapplication successful. Advertising pre-testing helps by identifying pitfalls in the foreign copy, which often can be addressed before airing. The three tips outlined above can help you decide whether the copy is worth pursuing.

This article provided courtesy of Marketing Magazine

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