Ad campaigns tap feel-good factor with a blast from the past

For a household name in ketchup, the best marketing technique may just be to tell consumers that at your business, it’s business as usual…and that’s exactly what Heinz Canada is trying to communicate with its latest set of ads, wrote The Globe and Mail July 31.

“For brands which require a lot of trust and [which] customers want to be a rock, to be stable, that’s useful,” said Robert Kozinets, a marketing professor at the Schulich School of Business at York University, who studies retro marketing. “It’s certainly not a way to update your brand or reposition your brand,” he said. “It’s simply a way to reassure the customer that everything is the same.”

But its effectiveness depends on the brand. Vintage charm may work for pencils and ketchup, Kozinets said, but nobody wants to use the same computer as their grandfather. And the Walkman’s heritage hasn’t done Sony much good in its efforts to dethrone the iPod in the MP3 player market.

A stable brand like Heinz, though, can use old ads to make consumers take a second look. The women who were the same age as the flirtatious ketchup lovers in the ’90s have a lot of buying power now. “They may be targeting people who were in their teens and are now mothers making decisions for their families,” Kozinets said.

That old-time feel (another Heinz ad actually features that pinnacle of nostalgia, the jukebox) gives the product a sense of trust and longevity. That’s an important marketing tool. Or as Kozinets puts it: “It gives companies like Heinz an advantage to say, we’ve had this brand for 100 years, so trust us, just like your grandparents did.”

York/Schulich grad to produce two North York musicals

Angelwalk Theatre, under the hand of artistic director Brian Goldenberg (BFA Spec. Hons. ’04, MBA ’08) and assistant producer Kevin Horton, will produce the Toronto premiere of the hit off-Broadway musical comedy Altar Boyz, and Tony Award winning writer and composer Jason Robert Brown’s The Last Five Years, for its inaugural season, wrote the North York Mirror July 30.

Both shows will be held in the Studio Theatre at Toronto Centre for the Arts, 5040 Yonge St., north of Sheppard Avenue.

“They are both very strong productions,” Goldenberg said. “I saw Altar Boyz in New York and it was absolutely hysterical. With The Last Five Years, I wouldn’t say it’s the exact opposite but it’s more dramatic. It’s a beautiful production. We want to put on really good quality productions and build an audience who appreciates what we are doing.”

Goldenberg, who holds an MBA in arts & media management from the Schulich School of Business at York University and a bachelor of fine arts degree in music from York’s Faculty of Fine Arts, is a registered teacher with the Royal Conservatory of Music.

Lost photos hold mirror to heart, soul of a family

Jenna Kelly was on her way home from York University one night a week or so ago, wrote Joe Fiorito in the Toronto Star July 31. She already has a degree and a job; she is taking extra courses. She said, “I was on the southbound train from Downsview around 9:45pm.… I looked around for something to read. I found an old paper; underneath it was a ripped grocery bag. Strewn about the seat were these.”

She handed me a plastic baggie as if it contained the most precious thing in the world – a handful of old photos. The photos are creased and dog-eared and softened by time; they are a record of a family’s life, the kind of images anyone might use to tell the stories of the generations.

“I looked around to see if anyone was getting off, in case they might have left the photos behind. There was no one,” Jenna said. “My heart sank. This is a Jewish family; often, photos are the only things people have left. I feel horrible that someone’s family would be without these…. I can’t imagine what the person who lost these is going through.”

Disclose auto exec pay

The pay of a Toronto cop is a matter of public knowledge – if he makes more than $100,000, as some do with overtime, wrote the Toronto Star July 31 in an editorial. So, too, is the salary of a York University professor or a manager at a hospital. They are all supported by the taxpayers in Ontario and, accordingly, their salaries are subject to the province’s “sunshine” law.

Osgoode grad was a pillar of the legal community

A city man, who was a pillar of the local legal community and a lifelong Brantford booster, died on Tuesday at Brantford General Hospital. Marc Emile Lefebvre (LLB ’51) was 86, wrote the Brantford Expositor July 31.

“He was a very fine person whose integrity was always beyond reproach,” said Lloyd St. Amand, who knew Lefebvre in legal circles for the past 30 years and currently practices law with two of Lefebvre’s sons at the office founded by Lefebvre and his brother in 1952.

Lefebvre attended the University of Toronto’s St. Michael’s College and, later, Osgoode Hall Law School. He was called to the bar in 1951. He practised law for one year in Simcoe and then collaborated with his brother Kenneth in the new firm of Lefebvre and Lefebvre.

Cultured job swap

In a swinging culture and heritage shuffle, city employees Krista Storey and Michael Martyn have swapped jobs, wrote the Orillia Packet & Times July 31.

Martyn is taking over as manager of cultural development and community programs and Storey becomes general manager of the Orillia Opera House. Martyn has a background in performance, having attended theatre school at York University in the late 1980s before following the folk circuit as a singer-songwriter.

On air

  • Tania Das Gupta, sociology professor in York’s Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, spoke about her new book, Real Nurses and Others: Racism in Nursing, on CBC Radio’s “Metro Morning” and “Ontario Morning” July 30.
  • Dr. Joel Lexchin, professor in York’s School of Health Policy & Management in the Faculty of Health, spoke about a US Federal Food & Drug Administration investigation of Canadian drug manufacturer Apotex on Calgary’s AM770 Radio July 30.