Sobeys names SJC its Content Partner of Choice

In a new multi-year agreement starting summer 2020, SJC will be Sobeys’ full-service partner, using our “content factory” model to create integrated marketing assets including flyers, in-store marketing, digital and social.

We will serve all of Sobeys’ Canadian grocery banners including Safeway, Foodland, IGA, Thrifty Foods, FreshCo and Lawtons Drugs.

SJC Content has been working with Sobeys over the past year to produce effective print and social campaigns such as this one for Cinca de Mayo:

“We are excited to expand our successful relationship as an all-encompassing partner for Sobeys,” says Tony Gagliano, Chairman & CEO of SJC.  “With both organizations sharing a foundation of family values and strong guiding principles, the partnership is a natural fit. Our unique combination of process, technology and creative expertise will provide a continuous stream of meaningful content to engage the Sobeys consumer for years to come.”

A mini-issue of Today’s Parent reveals how kids are moving #forwardtogether

Months into the pandemic that upended every aspect of our lives, Today’s Parent partners with Rogers and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Toronto to put the spotlight on kids.

“Despite a few tears and frustrations, our children have shown an incredible amount of grace, patience and baking assistance in this uncertain time. So let’s hear what they have to say,” says Today’s Parent Editor-in-Chief Kim Shiffman in the introductory letter.

Today’s Parent asked 21 Canadian children to share how they are managing. The mini-issue also includes conversations with Sevaun Palvetzian who leads communications and CSR for Rogers and Leanne Nicolle, president and CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Toronto.

Today's Parent and Rogers Tomorrow's Future inside spread

Content will lead the transformation of auto retail

At some point over the last five years, our connection to car culture as we have known it has started to shift. Perhaps the experience of buying a car at a dealership has become less inspirational, aspirational and special – and frankly, more of an expensive chore or necessity. More likely however, we have seen consumers look to online resources and word-of-mouth in their car-buying decision-making process.

And while COVID-19 has accelerated the course to full digital retail for a number of businesses, the push for the auto sector to enter the e-commerce world started years ago.

A change in consumer preferences and habits

In a 2015 study by Accenture [1], 10,000 consumers in eight major countries found that 80 per cent of drivers seeking to purchase a new vehicle were using some form of digital technology to research their buying preferences. Nearly two-thirds were initiating the car-buying process online, including consulting social media channels, before entering a dealership.

Additionally, three-quarters of the survey respondents said that if given the opportunity, they would consider making their entire car-buying process online, including financing, price negotiation, back-office paperwork and home delivery. These results speak to a consumer base looking for a new way to make the second biggest purchase in their lives. And that was five years ago.

In May of this year, Google released a study [2] identifying five key trends shaping the auto sector moving forward, including the consumer desire to have the dealer experience closer to home. Here are the activities auto shoppers ranked by preference as good alternatives to a dealer visit:

  1. At-home test drive
  2. Review videos
  3. Digital showroom
  4. Online configurator
  5. VR test drive
  6. Videoconference

While these suggestions make a lot of sense given our current climate – and it’s likely that post-pandemic, shifts in consumer behaviour will persist – dealers and OEMs should think aout the specific kind of content assets that need to be developed to support these activities in market.  What is the purpose of each asset and where, and how, can the consumer interact with it? These are important considerations to create what is needed without overspending.

How content can be used to support the preferences of today’s auto shoppers

Video

Before the pandemic, auto shoppers were turning to YouTube to experience digital test drives, product reviews and feature demos. This practice has become even more important given the current crisis. Brands that want buyers to engage with specific models and initiative specific activities (like arranging a test drive at your home) need to consider highlighting video content of interior overviews, walk arounds, test drives and review videos. Here are examples we have created for our clients.

 

Online brand experiences

Hyundai’s luxury brand Genesis Canada started to test and push a full online brand experience in 2017 and 2018. Offering everything from maintenance pickup, vehicle replacement, detailed digital information on all Genesis vehicles and service offerings as well as a full, online purchase and delivery functionality, SJC created a series of multi-format videos to highlight, promote and convey this high-end, ultra-convenient offering.

In the the years since, Hyundai and a number of original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) have made a push to create more and more video and digital content to assist the consumer in their preliminary research including product videos, walk-arounds, and full 360 interactive views of the exterior and interiors of their vehicle lineup.

 

Interactive 360 photography

If car buyers can’t physically see and sit in the vehicle, content needs to be created to convey that experience in the best possible manner. Fully interactive 360 views of the interior and exteriors of the vehicle is a great execution that truly gives the consumer the opportunity to learn and discover everything they need to understand and appreciate the car.  At any time, users can drill down on a highlighted feature through pop-up video or animated content, without leaving the 360.  Interactive 360s are essential in grabbing and keeping a consumer’s interest. In terms of conversion, consumers can click to other content offerings, arrange a test drive or video conference with a nearby dealer, or even begin the purchase process.

You can also check out a 360 interactive example for Subaru here.

Augmented reality and virtual test drive

While virtual test-drive also made the list of desired consumer experiences, there are a number of ways to go about delivering on it. The most common virtual test drive experience isn’t actually virtual; it is essentially a POV (point of view) video. This is an easy-to-produce asset that does a good job of conveying the functionality of the various features, systems and aesthetics of the driving experience. It is not however, an adequate representation of the actual driving experience and all the momentum, power and feel that goes with it. Nor does it convey how one physically feels in the various seats, the sight lines or the actual function of features like cruise control or switching from automatic to manual.

Augmented reality (AR) is proving to be an invaluable tool to assist in the explanation some of the more advanced technology currently available. Like many OEMs, Mitsubishi has been active producing new electric and hybrid drive vehicles. Though this technology is becoming more common, it can still be complicated to explain in easily understandable visuals to a consumer. To improve this customer experience, SJC created an AR-assisted sales tool. Preloaded onto an iPad, the object-based augmented reality tool is activated by simply pointing it at the vehicle in question. Sales associates and the consumer can then see an overlay of the various drive systems, and interact with each for a better understanding of the function and benefits of each.

 

 

The Road Ahead

Perhaps unlike any time in history, OEMs need to truly remember what it is to be a consumer making a big purchase. Car buyers have reset their expectations around how they wish to research, explore, compare and ultimately arrive at their buying decision. Any digital tactic that can bring confidence to that decision process is of tremendous value.
For any tactic to be effective however, it must be executed with exceptional and affordable content, that goes beyond the flash of a broadcast ad. It’s content that is readily available in the format the individual needs in the moment.

That’s why SJC continues to push the boundaries of exceptional retail experiences for auto.

Sources:

  1. Accenture Newsroom 
  2. Think with Google

Go live with Maclean’s

In the latest edition of Maclean’s Live, an extraordinary group of writers – Esi Edugyan, Robyn Maynard, Syrus Marcus Ware and Ian Williams – sat down with guest host Desmond Cole or a conversation about systemic racism and the Black Lives Matter movement. Desmond is the author of The Skin We’re In: A Year of Black Resistance and Power.

Watch a recording of the conversation here:

With the start of the pandemic, Maclean’s pivoted its in-person conversation series, usually held at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, to virtual. Maclean’s senior writer Paul Wells goes live every week via Zoom and recordings are available following the event.  Here are two more of the recent weeks’ conversations. For information on upcoming Maclean’s Live conversations, visit macleans.ca.

On May 7, Paul Wells sat down with singer-songwriter Steven Page to talk about life, work and the impact of the COVID-19 lockdown on creativity. 

On May 22, Paul sat down for a conversation with Dr. Maskalyk, who practices emergency medicine and trauma at St. Michael’s, Toronto’s inner-city hospital. He recently gained social media notoriety through guided meditation sessions he offers on Facebook Live. He shared his unique perspective on the COVID-19 outbreak.

FASHION creates a buzz-worthy co-branded program with Burt’s Bees

FASHION Magazine, in partnership with Burt’s Bees, celebrated women who are a #TrueForceOfNature. FASHION led a call out to readers asking what natural beauty means to them for their chance to be featured in a FASHION x Burt’s Bees co-branded program. The winners shared their personal stories of natural beauty in both print and digital, with Burt’s Bees products appropriate for each reader being featured as well. A slide show of products appearing with the digital story linked to e-commerce.

Check out the digital content and below are two of the editorial co-branded spreads that appeared in FASHION.

 

FASHION x Burt's Bees editorial spread
FASHION x Burt's Bees editorial spread

Toronto Life and Maclean’s take home 10 National Magazine Awards

Celebrating excellence in Canadian journalism in a time when it matters more than ever, we are proud to announce our four Gold wins and six Silver win at the 2020 National Magazine Awards announced on June 12, 2020. For the first time, the winners were announced during a live virtual broadcast and through digital channels.

Toronto Life‘s Michael Lista captured a Gold in both Long-Form Feature Writing and Investigative Reporting for “A Doctor’s Deception.Toronto Life swept the Profiles category, winning Gold for Chris Nuttall-Smith’s “David Zilber Is the Future of Food” and Silver for Katrina Onstad’s “A Star Is Born.” Toronto Life also won a Gold in the Portrait Photography category for “Musai Ujiri,” a Silver in Art Direction for a Single Issue for “Where to Eat 2019” and a Silver for Best Editorial Package for “The Vertical City”.

SJC Media’s Maclean’s took home three Silver awards for Scott Gilmore’s “You are horrible people“ in the Columns category, Kyle Edwards’ “Not a Drop to Drink” in the Long-Form Feature Writing category and Shannon Gormley’s “Into the Dark” in the Long-form Feature Writing 6,000+ words category. Maclean’s also earned 11 Honourable Mentions.

Toronto Life and Maclean’s were the top two nominated magazines at this year’s awards, with 15 and 14, respectively.

Other SJC Media publications to be recognized are:

Chatelaine: Honourable Mentions in the Best Editorial Package category for “It’s Political” and “Save the World;” the Feature Writing category for “Are You There, Margaret? It’s Me, Perimenopause;” and the Profiles category for “What she said.”

Châtelaine: Honourable Mention in the Personal Journalism category for “Traverser un cancer à deux.

Today’s Parent: Honourable Mentions for “Secrets of Daycare Teachers” in the Service Journalism category, and “Dinner on the Cheap” for Art Direction of a Single Article.

FASHION: Honourable Mention for New York London Milan Paris in the Illustration category.

“While trusted journalism is always at the core of the Canadian media landscape, more than ever, Canadians have a need and appetite for informative, relevant and engaging content,” says Tony Gagliano, Chairman & CEO of SJC. “Our nominated work is a testament to the talent and dedication that is serving the diverse needs of readers all across our country. I am so proud of our teams.”

For a complete list of all of this year’s award winners, click here.

SJC names Ken Hunt president and publisher of Canada’s largest magazine group

TORONTO, ON (June 3, 2020) –  St. Joseph Communications (SJC), today announced that Ken Hunt has been named president and Publisher of SJC Media, a division that will be comprised of Canada’s largest and most influential group of magazines and digital properties including Maclean’s, Toronto Life, Chatelaine (English and French), Today’s Parent, FASHION, HELLO! Canada, FLARE, Ottawa Magazine, Canadian Business, Weddingbells, Mariage Québec and Quill & Quire. These titles have a combined monthly Canadian readership in print and digital of over 10 million.

Mr. Hunt started his career in publishing at SJC as an editorial intern at Toronto Life in 2003. He co-founded Ink Truck Media, one of Canada’s most influential digital media companies in 2008. SJC acquired Ink Truck in 2011. In 2012, Hunt was promoted to Vice President, Digital at St. Joseph Media. In 2015, he was promoted again to Publisher of Toronto Life and in 2019 he was named Executive Vice President and Group Publisher of the Media Group. He has been a multiple nominee and recipient of National Magazine Awards including being the first-ever recipient of the Publisher’s Grand Prix, awarded to Canada’s most outstanding magazine publisher.

“I am very proud to make this announcement,” said Tony Gagliano, Executive Chairman and CEO of St. Joseph Communications. “Ken has shown an unwavering commitment to producing the very best print and digital publications in the country, as well as running successful and growing businesses. Over the years I have known him, I have been continually inspired by Ken’s deep belief in a bright future for the media business. He has successfully negotiated the shifting landscape and launched a number of new initiatives that defied the odds within the media industry. All throughout, he has led his teams with a purpose and clarity that is rare to find.”

“I’m humbled to be in this position,” said Ken Hunt. “These are all titles that I deeply admire, led by the most talented and dynamic editors in the industry. I believe that with the scale, quality and focus we offer, we will reach new heights as the most successful media company in the country.”

About St. Joseph Communications (SJC)

St. Joseph Communications (SJC) is Canada’s largest privately owned print, media and communications company. Whether the channel is mobile, online, print, bricks-and-mortar, or all of the above, SJC creates integrated cross-platform content solutions that deliver a seamless brand experience. The company brings its 60+ years of award-winning expertise to leading retailers, publishers, cataloguers and financial corporations in North America. SJC also publishes some of Canada’s most iconic and celebrated media brands: Canadian Business, Chatelaine (English and French), FASHION Magazine, FLARE, HELLO! Canada, Maclean’s, Mariage Québec, Ottawa Magazine, Quill & Quire, Today’s Parent, Toronto Life, Weddingbells and the Where Group of Magazines in Vancouver, Calgary, Ottawa and Toronto. SJC is a 2020  Platinum Club winner of Canada’s Best Managed Companies, marking 17 consecutive years of recognition. Visit visit www.stjoseph.com.

For further information, or to arrange an interview, please contact:
Marta Tsimicalis
Marketing & Communications Manager, SJC
marta.tsimicalis@stjoseph.com
416.895.4771

Electrical Safety Authority (ESA) partners with Today’s Parent to share safety tips

Make sure every outlet has an intact cover plate with a safety sliding latch, which acts as a barrier between tiny hands and exposed wires. When loading the dishwasher, point knives, forks and any other sharp objects downward.

These are two of the tips included in the “Home Safety Hotspots” PSA piece crated by Today’s Parent for Electrical Safety Authority (ESA). The sponsored content appeared as a double page spread in the print edition of Today’s Parent as well as on todaysparent.com, reaching the magazine’s audience of engaged parents likely to put the tips into action and improving home safety across the country.

Toronto Life presents This City Live

“This City Live” is a bi-monthly conversation series featuring Toronto Life editor Sarah Fulford in conversation with Toronto’s most intriguing people. Sarah and the magazine’s team of editors talk to inspiring front-liners, entrepreneurs, philanthropists, creatives and the city’s most influential people as we look to the future of Toronto during a time of unprecedented change.

Watch the recordings of the first three conversations and visit torontolife.com for for updates on upcoming conversations.

Sunnybrook doctor Ariel Lefkowitzin conversation with Toronto Life editor Sarah Fulford.

Ariel was in charge of the Covid ward at Sunnybrook and kept a diary of his experience.

Paul Taylor of FoodShare in conversation with Toronto Life editor Sarah Fulford

Colm Feore in conversation with Toronto Life editor Sarah Fulford.

Colm shares what it’s like to be an artist in the time of Covid, and the future of arts and culture in Ontario.

Telus communicates with customers year-round

The TELUS calendar is a popular printed piece. Each year, TELUS makes a limited quantity available to its customers via its website and in select TELUS Retail stores and Authorized Dealers. (It didn’t take long for the 2020 calendar to be out of stock.)

Over the years, SJC Print  has worked closely with TELUS to provide range of printed products and associated services, including letters, postcards, brochures, circulars and annual reports, envelopes, promotional inserts, posters – and the ever-popular calendar. (To get your hands on a 2021 calendar featuring those cute critters, visit the TELUS website in the fall.)