Archive for the ‘People’ category

Troop movements

June 11, 2008

Martin Klett, the longtime VP Operations at Toronto-based ShopCast, left that WalMart TV gig a couple of months ago and has now hooked up as Senior Project Manager at OneStop Media Group, also based in Toronto. Onestop runs the screen network on TTC platforms, as well as screen networks for Sporting Life and Hilton Canada.

Tammy Morris has left digital signage installer group Coxcom, heading to McMasters U to get her masters. She plans to teach and go back to some personal loves like yoga.

They’re both extremely nice people. Best wishes again Tammy, and OneStop guys … good pick-up!


OVAB chair promises guidelines by early summer

June 6, 2008

The latest Media Post Digital Outsider has a Q and A with an old post-merger boss, Mike DiFranza of Captivate Network, who talks about where the company has been and where its going.

DiFranza is also one of the founders and the current chair of OVAB, and he talked about the much anticipated guidelines the group has been working on.

DO: When you’re not building out the Captivate Network, you’re also serving as chairman of OVAB — the Out-of-Home Video Advertising Bureau — which you were one of the founding members of. Bring us up to date on OVAB’s initiatives.

DiFranza: I would expect that sometime by the end of June or early July, we will publish the OVAB metrics and standards guidelines. What has taken OVAB 18 months to develop and deliver has taken other industries 18 years. We will be publishing the guidelines for measurement here very shortly.

CODA breakfast serves up content experts

June 5, 2008

The Canadian Out-of-Home Digital Association held its second breakfast meeting this morning, this one hosted by Ari Blau of Bell, in one of the big event rooms at the company’s Bay Street building.

I wasn’t counting, but I would guess maybe 50 people elbowed their way in to get at the coffee and danishes, and after that sat down to hear from three very different presenters on the matter of content.

Denys Lavigne, president of Arsenal Media, was down from Montreal to talk about what he’s learned are the things to remember in producing content.

“Even though everybody says content is very important, it’s the last thing on our minds,” he said, suggesting he is coaching his clients more and more to develop content that is exclusive to that medium and not crossing over from broadcast or print.

He also suggested the customer needs to be respected and rewarded with good content, or they won’t be engaged.

Lavigne, whose content shop puts on the JADN conference and cocktail networking series up in Montreal, is working to establish a CODA presence in that city.

Neil Sweeney started his life in this business almost 10 years ago selling ads for what was then Elevator News Network. He got out of the digital signage side of life, but now finds himself with a foot back in it as director of Business Development and Strategy for CanWest Media, which owns among other things Global TV and the National Post newspaper.

He is regularly chatted up by networks involved in this space and looking for content, with seven networks already getting RSS and video feeds from CanWest. He said it is in no way as simple as signing up and buying their material.

The network has to be big enough for them to invest the time. It has to be established, not a start-up. “And you have to be a network that our marketing guys would want to advertise on.”

CanWest charges for its feeds, competing with entities like Canadian Press, but manages (surprisingly, to me) to exert tight control over the look and feel of the screens and any content they present, always retaining the CanWest brands.

If I had my old network operator hat on, I’m likely thinking if I am buying this from you guys, I use it how I want as long as I don’t change the material or context. I understand why CanWest does this, but am just surprised the networks roll over and do it.

Paul Leblanc was last up, and talked about how things look from the point of view of a guy running a top 10 ad agency, Halifax-based Extreme Group.

Funny and engaging, Leblanc rattled off much of what we hear from other agency people (we’re hard to buy, we lack consistency, we’re just barely on the radar screen) — though he has the somewhat unique perspective of having sugar-daddied the Volt Media screen network that is in more than a dozen universities in the Maritimes. So he knows what it is like from both sides of the table.

He noted how even though his Volt guys are embedded in Extreme’s offices, most people don’t really know what they’re up to.

Leblanc described how 10 years ago, when he started Extreme, the media landscape was pretty much TV, radio, print and outdoor, and a teeny bit of experimental Web stuff. Now the budgets are smaller and the menu for ad buyers ranges from conventional TV to Internet radio and video game ads. AND digital screens.

“That’s what a marketer is being faced with now,” said Leblanc. “That’s what the day to day is like.”

His advice: stop getting excited about the technology, and develop media that talks with and not at consumers.

CODA is planning another session soon, but no details as yet.

Thanks to Kelly McCluskey of Fourth Wall Media for sending me a pic!

POPAI adds blog with roster of contributors

May 23, 2008

POPAI announced this week it has added to the long list of companies and organizations doing blogs on what’s shaking in this industry.

The difference here is two-fold … maybe.

There is no particular vested interest on the part of POPAI, other than educating the industry and taming the Wild West.

And the panelists include a bunch of people I have either worked with, know or respect … except Gerba. Nasty man.

Blogs can be a great way to hump your vested interests, even subtly or almost subconsciously. But the contributor group should police itself.

The greater challenge is probably finding the time to write.

Laura Davis-Taylor has kicked things off with a little piece and accompanying poll about the possibilities and perils of biometric face counting in retail. Is it an invasion of privacy?

My two Canadian cents: there are many, many, many other things I’m more worried about when I shop (like credit card security and the idiots who park by my new wheels no matter HOW FAR out in the lot I park) than whether a little camera records that a funny looking old fart in training just looked at a screen.

Adcentricity makes US foray official; opens office in Manhattan

May 16, 2008

Adcentricity founder Rob Gorrie has been spending most of his time in New York for at least a couple of months now, but his company made it official this week by announcing the opening of its NYC office.

“The new office will allow us to spend more ongoing, quality time and effort with our network, integrator and research partners, while boosting service and support to the agency and advertiser community.” said Rob Gorrie, President of ADCENTRICITY.  “We have seen significant growth and interest in our services and solutions in New York and have expanded our resources to accommodate that need”.

The new office is located at:
145 West 45th Street, Suite 701
New York, New York 10036
Media Sales: William Nye 1.866.611.3664 x 107

In addition to the New York office opening, ADCENTRICITY has expanded its New York sales force significantly, announcing seven new senior sales executives have been added to the company’s ranks in New York.

The lead guy in New York is media sales veteran Bill Nye, who gets the science guy comment about 20 times an hour.

Press release here.

Linux guy sought by BroadSign

May 12, 2008

My guys up the road in Montreal are looking for someone with Linux expertise to join the Solutions team.

This is the post on Montreal Tech Watch:

Company: BroadSign

Position: Operating System Specialist

Responsibilites and Tasks: BroadSign International is a Montreal-based rapidly growing digital signage software-as-a-service provider that is looking for an technology enthusiast to architect, build and maintain what we are
calling the BOSS (BroadSign Operating System Service). The BOSS is a remotely upgradeable bare-bones version of Ubuntu 7.10 that is custom tailored to meet a client’s embedded application requirements.

Required Knowledge:

The BroadSign Operating System Specialist should eat-breathe-and-sleep Linux, Windows, PC hardware. A background in open source and free software development and advocacy is a bonus.

Additional info:

As the company is growing at a rapid pace, the opportunities for growth within the Solution department and the company as a whole are unique. If you are a driven individual with a technical background, don’t miss this opportunity to join our outstanding team.

Contact :

To apply for this position, please submit your resume by email to

The gig is Montreal-based so your exposure to me would be mercifully limited.

Mixer reminder

April 24, 2008

A quick reminder that the next mixer for the Toronto industry (and anyone else who’s strayed through town) is tonight at Alice Fazooli’s. Things should start around 6:30, and carry on from there.

The place is about halfway between Spadina and University on Adelaide. There is an NBA playoff game on at the ACC tonight, so traffic might be a little interesting as you head in.