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Me, Lloyd Robertson (CTV News Anchor), Tony Philpott (Texaco), Sandie Rinaldo (CTV News Anchor), Mike Jamieson (Texaco)

Back in the mid ’80’s, we presented some outstanding creative to our Texaco client.  They loved it.  Their President told me it was the best oil company TV creative in a long time.

He asked me what we would do if they increased their advertising budget substantially.  “Think about it and get back to me,” he said, “and don’t give tell me just more of the same.”

That’s like waving a red flag in front of a bull.  We were inspired.  And I had an idea.

We called a meeting with out media department and asked them if they had any recommendations.  They left to think.  We bounced around an idea of a 10 o’clock news update.  We thought it would be dramatic media property if it could be pulled off.  I arranged a meeting with our Media Director to discuss it further.

At first he resisted.  He felt that the same money could buy more GRP’s (our measure of audience) if it were spread around.  The problem, he thought, with having a property at the same time every evening was that the audience would keep changing and be unpredictable since the shows leading into 10 PM were different every night.

I persevered, threw a tantrum, and asked them to inquire with the leading network, CTV, whether it would be possible to actually execute.  The network needed some time to figure it out.  The time, it seems, was hared between the affiliate stations and the network and for the network to take a minute back would require considerable negotiation.  Plus, they had to do the same for the French side of their network.

We presented the idea to the President to Texaco and he took all of a minute to think about it.  “Sounds great,” he said looking at his watch, “I’ve got another meeting to go to.  Let me know when we are on the air.”

The 10 O’Clock Updates were a huge success for Texaco, strongly improving their top of mind awareness. We monitored awareness every month and could see the progress. So sometimes media weight isn’t the only thing that can drive business; sometimes getting the right media position is worth a lot. With the news updates we broke through the lazy viewing habits by associating ourselves with an attention getting device – the latest news.

What we didn’t know was that Texaco Canada was up for sale due to a huge lawsuit loss in the U.S.  Texaco’s President had method to his madness in increasing the advertising spending by $5 or $6 million.

The improved awareness increased the sale price of the company to Esso by more than a billion dollars above what the financial markets thought it would be.

So I guess we had a billion dollar idea.

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