Recipe for branded content success: An inside look at Chef Artois

Chef Artois is the new culinary web series SJC produced in partnership with the Bokeh Collective for Stella Artois and Toronto Life.  With a goal to reinvigorate and support Canada’s restaurant scene through Rally for Restaurants, it contains all the ingredients of a successful branded content collaboration.

Chef Artois is airing weekly on Wednesdays on Toronto Life‘s Instagram and Facebook channels and Stella Artois’ YouTube channel until October 28, 2020. If you haven’t yet caught one of the first sizzling episodes, here’s a quick synopsis: Each 10-minute episode is filmed in a Toronto restaurant with a live audience and hosted by acclaimed Canadian television and radio host, Pay Chen. Two dinner guests are randomly selected to recreate the restaurant’s iconic dish (Marben’s exquisite modern take on a Scotch Egg, for example.) In a heated battle, the contestants get less than an hour to cook up the delicious entrée. Each signature dish is judged by the restaurant’s head chef and a victor is crowned, earning them a prize pack from Toronto Life and Stella Artois Canada valued at over $1,000, including a gift card to the featured restaurant.

The results from Stella Artois’s YouTube channel following the first two episodes speak for themselves:

  • Average total views: 170,164
  • Average earned views (based on those who view your video ad, then later watch another video on your linked YouTube channel, within 7 days of the initial view): 64
  • Average completion rate: 22.5% (against a benchmark of 18-22% for videos 10 minutes in length)
  • Average watch time: Over 4.5 minutes
“These are the highest YouTube engagement numbers Stella Artois has had to date,” says Michelle Skea, Senior Brand Manager for Stella Artois and Hoegaarden. “We are impressed with the incredible production quality and clever alignment with our Rally for Restaurants initiative. And knowing that the program would be syndicated through SJC’s media brands, it saved on the investment required on our end. Thanks to the SJC team for all your work day and night to drive such a strong execution!”

Here are some of the ingredients that make the execution so unique:

Brand Alignment for Stella Artois

While producing a Safe Set Studio video for Covid-19, Carmen Lago, account director for SJC Content along with team members from the Bokeh Collective, were inspired to find a way to create an original web series that would help restaurants at a time when they couldn’t open their doors to the public. When Carmen heard Todd Allen, VP of Marketing for Labatt speak on a podcast about the launch of the Rally for Restaurants initiative, they knew they had found their match.  After a series of big ideas with Labatt, SJC and Bokeh, the competitive culinary concept of Chef Artois emerged as the initiative that aligned best with the Stella Artois brand. Toronto Life joined as the ideally suited platform and co-branded partner to deliver the message and amplify the idea across its channels.

Community Outreach

The culinary competition is in continuation of Stella Artois’ Rally for Restaurants – an online gift card program that provides restaurants and bars across Canada with immediate financial relief as a result of the global pandemic. The program encourages Canadians to purchase a gift card valued at $25 or $50. Stella Artois adds an additional $10 to the value of every gift card purchased, which goes directly to restaurants, bars and pubs. To date, Rally for Restaurants has sold over 14,000 gift cards and has injected over $600,000 into the restaurant industry.

Multi-platform promotions across SJC brands

As momentum for the series increases week over week, episode views on Toronto Life more than tripled from 92,000 views for Episode 1 to almost 300,000 views for Episode 3. A huge benefit for Stella Artois has been the ability to syndicate the series through SJC’s portfolio of trusted media brands and tap into its existing audience nation-wide. While the episodes are released each Wednesday on Toronto Life’s Instagram and Facebook channels, as well as Stella Artois’ YouTube channel, we run promo spots, digital ads, eblasts and social content across our other brands including Maclean’s, FASHION, Chatelaine and FLARE. Each episode also airs weekly on Toronto Life’s YouTube channel.

Here’s a look at some of the promotional multi-brand, multi-platform content:

Promo videos: 15-second, 30-second and 60-second versions

Social posts

Toronto Life articles

Prior to each episode, Toronto Life publishes a promo article with 60-second teaser video that is pushed out on social and across other SJC Media brands. With the release of each new episode, Toronto Life runs an article with the highlights and full episode embedded. Here’s a sample for Episode 2 and all episode recaps are filtered to this Chef Artois category page.

Digital ads, Newsletters & Emails (leveraging SJC Media properties)

Chef Artois digital promo

Print ad

Chef Artois Toronto Life ad

Behind-the-scenes photography

Chef Artois behind the scenes

 

A production dream team

To produce the series, SJC Content worked alongside the Bokeh Collective, which boasts an impressive resume in Canadian TV production and cinematography. Justin Harding, Chef Artois Showrunner,  Rob Brunner, Chef Artois Series Director, Ryan Saw, Chef Artois Director of Photography and Amy Hosking, Chef Artois Writer, have worked on such renowned shows as Amazing Race Canada, MasterChef Canada, Top Chef Canada, Come Dine with me Canada and Home to Win. This experience and expertise gives the Chef Artois episodes their cinematographic flair.

Compelling storytelling

Branded content is a fun and creative way for brands to connect with their audiences, especially when incorporating the drama of a challenge-based, reality TV approach.  Viewers get engaged in the stories and the characters, creating a positive and memorable brand experience week after week.

 

From our SJC production team working alongside the talent of the Bokeh Collective to Toronto Life’s branded content and marketing groups, we were thrilled to be a part of this special  branded content execution that rallies much-needed support for restaurants in this era of Covid-19.

Episode 5 of Chef Artois launched today; find out how the contestmentas play with fire at Momofuku Kōjin.

You can watch all past episodes here. 

Staying safe on set at a time of Covid-19

Since the start of the pandemic, our focus has been to enable our clients to continue capturing quality photography and video for their marketing campaigns. How do we adapt client content and budgets while staying attuned to the needs, concerns and lifestyle habits of consumers?

In April, we launched the SJC Safe Shoot Solution. We produced live photo and video shoots, all the while minimizing human contact, ensuring a safe environment on set, conducting client approvals remotely and maintaining high-quality creative output.

Next, we expanded our solution and protocols to safely shoot clothing, accessories and products on live models and talent for broadcast and content marketing campaigns.

A Covid-19 safe content production workflow for all photography and video, both on and off-figure, on set and on location, is our new normal. Our studios continue to produce a variety of product and lifestyle photography and video content for a wide range of categories including fashion, beauty, food, home, automotive and consumer packaged goods. We even had Tessa Virtue on set last week! (See below for a sneak peek.)

Of utmost importance is the safety of our crews, talent and clients. Here are some of our protocols:

  • Production schedules are arranged to limit the number of people on set at one time.
  • We keep records of all persons on set.
  • Social distancing markers are placed in high-traffic areas.
  • All members of a limited crew work with masks and gloves or sanitized hands   throughout the process.
  • We monitor strict and regular disinfecting of all surfaces and equipment, including lighting, cameras, viewing screens and a library of seamless backgrounds.
  • Covid Coordinators are on set to ensure health and safety protocols are followed.
  • Our 135,000 square feet of studio space, as well as garage door outdoor access, provides ample space and flexibility to allows for safe, isolated and individual sets where essential crew members can maintain a minimum distancing of six feet apart,

To really get the sense of what an SJC Safe Shoot entails, we’ll take you behind the scenes of a few recent shoots:

 

Styling Olympic figure skating gold medalist, Tessa Virtue, for her broadcast spot for The Brick. 

Safe Shoot Tessa Virtue and The Brick 1

 

Getting ready for a safe shoot for Serta Canada’s Serta Spectrum collection.

Serta Safe Shoot

 

Taking the shoot outdoors for uniform and corporate apparel expert Cintas Corporation.

Cintas Safe Shoot 2
Cintas Safe Shoot

 

On set with The Bokeh Collective at Marben restaurant for the new SJC-produced Toronto Life and Stella Artois culinary series, Chef Artois.

Chef Artois BTS_Marben
Chef Artois

 

While the pandemic has brought limitations and uncertainty to many aspects of how we work and live, the SJC Safe Shoot Solution enables our teams to work with clients to continue producing new and authentic content. We’ll ensure a human element to your marketing and connect with your consumers through fashion, food, lifestyle and e-commerce content for any channel.

If you have any questions about our video and photography during Covid-19,  please contact sjc.connect@stjoseph.com.

 

Toronto Life announces CHEF ARTOIS, an original culinary series in partnership with Stella Artois that brings life back into local restaurants

(TORONTO, ON) September 3, 2020 – Today, Toronto Life is partnering with Stella Artois Canada to launch CHEF ARTOIS, an eight-part cooking series showcasing renowned chefs, their restaurants and their inspiring trademark dishes. Hosted by acclaimed Canadian television and radio host, Pay Chen, the culinary competition is in continuation of Rally for Restaurants – an online gift card program that provides restaurants and bars across Canada with immediate financial relief as a result of the global pandemic.

With the tremendous impact of Covid-19 on the restaurant industry, the goal of this new series is to reinvigorate and support Canada’s restaurant scene. Each 10-minute episode of CHEF ARTOIS, filmed in a Toronto restaurant with a live audience, features two dinner guests who are randomly selected to recreate a restaurant’s iconic dish, from Madrina Bar y Tapas’ infamous Spanish Paella to Marben’s exquisite modern take on a Scotch Egg.

In a heated battle, the contestants get less than an hour to cook up the delicious entrée, putting their skills to the test. Each signature dish is judged by the restaurant’s head chef and a victor is crowned, earning them a prize pack from Toronto Life and Stella Artois Canada valued at over $1,000, including a gift card to the featured restaurant and gift cards for Rally for Restaurants.

“Toronto is home to some of the best restaurants and has such a vibrant and multicultural food scene,” says Mike Bascom, Senior Director of Marketing, Stella Artois Canada. “We’re delighted to partner with Toronto Life to bring a new and exciting series to Canadians through CHEF ARTOIS. Our local restaurants are the heart of our communities and need our support now more than ever.”

As Canadians begin to adjust to the “new” way of dining, CHEF ARTOIS reminds guests of their favourite local restaurants and dishes and encourages them to return where they can once again enjoy meals inside safely. The series also brings light to the incredible culinary talent Toronto has to offer.

The first episode of CHEF ARTOIS launches on Wednesday, September 9 at 12:00 p.m. EST through Toronto Life‘s Facebook and Instagram channels and Stella Artois Canada’s YouTube channel. Episode and series promo spots will run across Chatelaine, Maclean’s, FASHION and FLARE. After its debut, a new episode will be released at the same time every Wednesday and run until October 28, 2020.

Get a sneak peek here:

CHEF ARTOIS’ exciting, innovative video format is created and produced by St. Joseph Communications (SJC)’s Content division and the award-winning production studio, the Bokeh Collective.

The Stella Artois Rally for Restaurants program was launched as a result of the devastating impact caused by Covid-19 to the hospitality industry. The online gift card program supports all restaurants, bars and pubs across Canada in an effort to stimulate the industry. The program encourages Canadians to purchase a gift card valued at $25 or $50. Stella Artois adds an additional $10 to the value of every gift card purchased, which goes directly to restaurants, bars and pubs. To date, Rally for Restaurants has sold over 14,000 gift cards and has injected over $600,000 into the restaurant industry. For more information about the program and to learn how you can support local restaurants in your community, visit, www.rallyforrestaurants.ca.

About Toronto Life
Toronto Life is a brand for people who care about Toronto, the country’s most vibrant city, and want to get the most out of it. It provides insight into the personalities and events that shape the landscape, and helps readers make smart choices about everything from restaurants and shopping to real estate and culture. Through in-depth reporting, intelligent analysis and quality writing, Toronto Life offers an exciting, essential and entertaining guide to life in Toronto. For more information visit torontolife.com and join the conversation on Twitter (@torontolife), Facebook (facebook.com/TorontoLife) and Instagram (@torontolife).

About SJC Media
St. Joseph Communications (SJC)’ Media division is Canada’s largest privately held media company. SJC Media publishes some of Canada’s most iconic and celebrated media brands including Chatelaine, FASHION Magazine, FLARE, HELLO! Canada, Maclean’s, MARIAGE Québec, Ottawa Magazine, Quill & Quire, Toronto Life, Weddingbells and the Where Group of Magazines in Vancouver, Calgary, Ottawa and Toronto. SJC Media also operates Strategic Content Labs, which creates custom content, websites, apps and content management solutions for some of Canada’s leading brands and institutions. For more information, visit stjoseph.com.

About SJC Content
Experts in high-volume content for retail, St. Joseph Communications’ Content division create it all under one roof – from marketing strategy to execution. Whether it’s product e-commerce, automotive, on-figure lifestyle, customized room set-ups or food, SJC Content captures photo and video in its full-service, multi-studio facility. The company creates compelling creative assets and leverages them across every applicable touchpoint, from social and broadcast to package design and digital signage. SJC Content is a division of St. Joseph Communications, Canada’s largest privately owned media and marketing company and one of Canada’s Best Managed Companies for the last 17 years. For more information visit stjoseph.com.

About Stella Artois
Stella Artois is part of a Belgian brewing tradition dating back to 1366. It is the best-selling Belgian beer in the world and served in 95 countries. Stella Artois is an authentic, premium, blonde European lager, that features a floral hop aroma, well-balanced fruity malt sweetness, crisp hop bitterness, and a soft dry finish. The signature of Stella’s flavour and aroma are characterized by Saaz hops. A noble traditional hop that gives Stella its signature floral and spicy aroma; as well as, a delicate bitterness to its flavour. Stella is the ideal beer for hosting and enjoying with food. Its drinkability and subtle bitterness make Stella versatile for pairing with varieties of cheeses and accentuating their flavours. The experience of enjoying Stella Artois is incomplete without the iconic Stella Chalice. Designed specifically to enhance the flavour, aroma, carbonation and temperature of the beer – the gold-rimmed chalice is simply the only way Stella should be experienced. For more information, visit stellaartois.com.

About Bokeh Collective
The Bokeh Collective is a premium, award-winning, full-service production studio based in Toronto, Canada. As a company, we are led by one mission: to bring inspiring, heartfelt, exciting and authentically driven stories to life. Founded in 2016, our growing professional family is made up of the best-in-class filmmakers, production experts, artists, storytellers and industry leaders in the country. Together as the Bokeh Collective, we have effectively bridged the gap between film, television and commercials by creating content with the highest cinematic production value. To date, we have successfully delivered over 80 hours worth of original content for networks, including but not limited to Netflix, Fox Digital Studios, Hulu, REELZ, Discovery ID, the Food Network and HGTV Canada. With over 11 Canadian Screen Awards for directing and writing, one Emmy nomination and over 60 film festival awards worldwide, the Bokeh Collective is just getting started. Every next step we take is towards building a stronger team, community and future we believe in.

For more information contact:

Jessika Fink
Director, Marketing
SJC Media
jfink@stjosephmedia.com
416.595.8969

Tamar Nersesian
Sr. Manager Communications
Labatt Breweries of Canada
Tamar.Nersesian@labatt.com
416.318.3989

 

 

 

 

 

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.”

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

SJC introduces the SJC Safe Shoot Solution

This is not business as usual. It is a time where flexibility, creativity and collaboration are essential as we find our way forward through unchartered territory and develop new production processes to fuel relevant and engaging marketing solutions for brands to reach their audiences.

St. Joseph Communications (SJC) is open for business. As a provider to essential services including grocery, pharmaceutical and telecommunications, we continue our work in creating, sharing and printing content. Over the last several weeks, we have implemented new processes and policies for the creation of high-quality photography and video for our clients. Our challenge was to produce live photo and video shoots, all the while minimizing human contact, ensuring a safe environment on set, conducting client approvals remotely and maintaining high-quality creative output.

Introducing the SJC Safe Shoot Solution

 

Safe filming and photography continues at SJC during COVID-19 With our studios under strict new guidelines to ensure distancing and safety, we are able to produce a wide variety of off-figure product and lifestyle photography and video content for multiple categories including:

  • Food
  • Home
  • Automotive
  • Apparel
  • Beauty
  • Consumer Packaged Goods

As part of our Safe Shoot Studio protocol, we have implemented the following processes to enable no-touch photography and video production:

  • Limiting the live crew on set to the essential team members, with the remaining members – including art directors, retouchers, writers and script writers – working remotely.
  • Re-configuring all studios to keep crew members a minimum of six feet apart at all times.
  • Reinforcing hygiene and safety as top priority, with all crews wearing gloves and masks (when required).
  • Providing clients with remote access for proofing video and photography; a safe and effective way for clients to be virtually on set.
  • Introducing client proofing for video via Teradek VidiU technology, which allows our film camera to send a live HD feed to a secure cloud-based online viewing platform. Client teams can watch remotely and provide real-time feedback to the SJC studio team.
  • Using a wireless monitor solution on set to keeps crew safely connected from a distance.
  • Providing remote access for talent so they can perform without human contact.
  • Disinfecting studios and equipment after every shoot.

Our Safe Shoot Studio solution enables our teams to work with clients to produce new and relevant content for a variety of marketing needs from direct-to-consumer e-commerce channels to print, digital, social media and retail signage.

To find out more about our SJC Safe Studio solution,  please contact sjc.connect@stjoseph.com.

Media & marketing trends that could impact 2020

Regardless of your industry, one thing is clear when it comes to content: there is more of it out there than ever, all vying for our attention. To be successful in 2020, brand marketers need to figure out how they can cut through this clutter to have their brand seen — and heard.

From overall approaches (simplifying your content and tailoring it to growing technologies) to specific channels (we predict podcasts, direct mail and e-commerce will be key areas to connect through quality content in 2020), our round-up of trends from our inter-disciplinary team of experts provides insight to consider for your marketing strategy this year.

A common thread? The need for authenticity. Inundated with messages across an increasing number of channels, consumers are looking for engaging content from sources that they deem are legitimate and brands that they trust.

Here is your source for the media and marketing trends that could have an impact this year (listed in alphabetic order by last name).

2020 Trend Duncan Clark

In 2020, I expect we’ll be seeing rising value in quality and authenticity, driven by the ever-growing attention being paid to fraud and privacy. Even if it’s a self-interested decision, Google announcing that Chrome is following the lead of Apple and Firefox in phasing out cookies is a big moment — and as consumers demand more in privacy and security, brands will have to rely more on providing content of legitimate value and quality to successfully engage.

 

2020 Trend Dave Dolejsi

By the end of 2020, Gen Z (loosely, people born from 1995 to 2010), will make up 40 per cent of consumers. So for a brand to be successful with the type of content it creates, targeting to this generation is a must. Gen Z has a lot of interesting traits to consider. First, they are extremely tech savvy. They have never lived in a time without wifi, mobile devices, or Google, meaning they expect to get whatever they need in the shortest amount of time possible, and they don’t mind if you ask them to engage with your content in a meaningful and interactive manner. In fact, they welcome it. Secondly, they spend up to three hours a day on social media, meaning integration of social media content is also most welcome, as is using your content to leverage those same platforms as a location for engagement. Finally, they appreciate brands that make authentic, personal connections with them. They want to believe brands can be a part of their lives. So what does that take? Well, a recent survey said 65 percent of Gen Z felt brands should take a stand on social issues, so integrate whatever stance you adopt into your content. We must develop content that reflects their interests and media consumption habits. We need to make the experience of viewing content a personalized, rewarding and valuable one. We need to make sure they feel that if they chose to engage with your content, they feel they are winning out on that value exchange.

 

2020 Trend Amanda Eaton

Content that really connects will be key in 2020. Consumers are looking to brands to do more than just sell products and services. The focus will be on creating meaningful highly-personalized content, a quality over quantity approach, targeting niche audiences on niche platforms will continue to evolve. We will see a big shift from brands pushing out content on multi-platforms to dialling back and honing in on the channels that really work.

 

For brands that market to women, I think we’re ushering in a new era of authenticity and telling it like it is. No more being coy about the confusions and challenges of women’s lives by talking around it, or showing air-brushed, sanitized versions of life. No more assuming that only white, cisgender, thin, straight women buy your products. Brands like Knix, Lunapads, Dove, Billie Razors, Aerie and others are taking their cues from women’s content brands and pushing marketing message boundaries by including more real talk and relatable imagery. When content and retail brands are both willing to speak honestly about women’s lives, it creates amazing opportunities for branded content that resonates and engages deeply.

 

2020 Trend John Gagliano

The value of direct mail as part of the marketing mix will continue to grow in 2020. As consumers are increasingly saturated with messages across channels, direct mail holds the unique benefit of being tangible. Neuroscience research shows that tactile communications are easier for our brains to process, recall and take action on. (Plus, with less mail than there used to be, consumers take more time with each piece, especially when it is unique and addressed to them.) The most successful campaigns will be those that integrate across channels, using direct mail to drive digital activity and influence online research and purchasing decisions.

 

2020 Trend Ken Hunt

Data privacy and brand safety will be at the top of mind for advertisers. Trusted media brands will benefit from this shift. Media brands of all sorts will need to prove their ability not only to generate clicks, but to win hearts and minds and drive sales. Fan-centric media brands that are able to connect with audiences through great experiences as well as through media will rise. Quality journalism and trust-worthiness will be the distinguishing features of brands capable of navigating change.

 

2020 Trend Alison Jones

Publishing formats have entered a more mature phase with the recent double-digit growth in audiobooks creating a mixed market of print books, ebooks and audio books. Publishing strategy will use the format that makes the most sense to the book and reader. Celebrity memoir? Readers want to hear it in the voice of the celebrity. Tell-all insider accounts of political turmoil? Ebooks mean readers can have it minutes after the book is released and read it in hours. Compelling images? A book you want to keep and have on your shelves for years? Print is king.

This year for the first time, Canada will be the Guest of Honour at the most important international book trade fair held in Frankfurt in October. The industry has been preparing for this opportunity over the last few years with many foreign-language rights deals already being signed. It’s a singular opportunity for Canada to show the strength of our books to the world and build our business globally.

 

2020 Trend Doug Kelly

Although they have been part of the modern-day media mix for some time, podcasts will continue to grow in popularity, both as an editorial exercise for traditional media companies and as a content marketing strategy for brands. Podcasts are one of the most successful mediums for much-sought-after engagement in today’s highly competitive media environment.

 

2020 Trend Sylvie Lamont

Sustainability and climate change are top issues influencing shoppers to look for ‘sustainable retail’ solutions. We will see more and more brands developing holistic strategies around sustainability efforts. Marketing will be focused around communicating stronger values and supporting recycling, reusing, refilling and reselling. Many brands are already moving in this direction: H&M recycles old clothing, Bulk Barn has a reusable container program that supports a zero-waste lifestyle and Ikea will allow customers to sell their gently used furniture to the store for a credit.

 

2020 Trend Jacqueline Loch

Content built for voice search
As voice-enabled devices continue to evolve from voice only to voice and screens, there will be an increase in content created specifically for voice search. According to ComScore, 50 per cent of all search in 2020 will be conducted via voice search, and according to PwC, 55 per cent of households are expected to own a smart speaker device by 2022. This will drive the requirement for content that is based on semantic search queries. Creating custom branded voice scripts for Amazon Alexa and Google Home that drive to e-commerce will quickly become the norm. As voice-enabled devices shift from voice only to voice and digital screen, marketers will have the opportunity to layer in interactive video with rich content such as product demos, buying guides and tutorials that will all drive to e-commerce conversion. Creating content designed for voice search via scripts and video will quickly become a top priority for brand marketers in 2020.

Content that converts
The role of content is quickly expanding from its top-of-funnel role of inspiration and engagement to a deeper role of driving e-commerce conversion. Social platforms are now shoppable with in-app commerce, and the growth of content required for e-commerce platforms such as Amazon and Shopify and retail DTC e-commerce sites will fuel the need for a high volume of content to guide the customer experience to sales conversion. The demand for mobile-first shoppable content will increase the amount of content required by marketers well beyond the traditional marketing ecosystem. Brands will take on the role of content always-on publisher across channels. With the upcoming launch of 5G mobile networks and 5G-enabled mobile devices, the mobile wallet will take over as the e-commerce platform of choice. Brands will require a content strategy that includes content built for e-commerce conversion.

Content volume increases for omnichannel marketing
Omnichannel marketing is a content vampire and requires a high volume of content produced to align with an agile content strategy. Retailers and brands will struggle to evolve in-house marketing teams and in-house e-commerce content on-boarding needs to meet the demand for the increased amount of content required. In addition, we will continue to see marketing budgets shift from a variety of marketing channels into content to meet the consumer expectation for real-time content, access to product information and frictionless purchase via e-commerce.

 

2020 Trend Pierre Ness

Fast turnaround times, flexibility, unique personalization and customization capabilities, and the added level of sustainability. (Only print what you need when you need it, and easily change it up each time.) These are all the reasons why digital printing will be driving force in the industry’s growth for 2020. It’s important to remember that while we are in a digital marketing age, the print industry has been seeing yearly growth since 2011. Technological advances in digital printing have opened up exciting new opportunities for marketers to efficiently and effectively send targeted, tangible communications as part of their multi-channel strategy. We’ll see many more applications of this in 2020 and beyond.

 

2020 Trend Bryan Raymond

As we start off into a new decade with most of the population trying to deal with information overload, a major trend in package design is simplicity. Gone are the drop shadows, full-colour logos and complicated design architectures of the past. Consumers are arriving to the shelf distracted, over-stimulated and unengaged. If your package design doesn’t make it extremely easy to find your brand, deliver your message and engage the consumer in as few steps and seconds as possible, you risk losing that sale (and the opportunity to drive and grow your business). This thinking goes beyond the shelf into the digital realm. Online representations of your brand packaging need to engage and deliver in the most simple way. Optimized web images can be done quickly and inexpensively if done right. Pulling out key information such as flavours and count sizes as opposed to just posting a regular pack image can drastically improved your engagement online.

 

2020 Trend Nadine Silverthorne

Whether you’re a publisher, an advertiser, a marketer, a content creator or a reader/consumer, we all have the same problem to solve: How to cut through the massive volume of messages vying for our attention in the market to get to the people and ideas that matter. Above all, it’s important to understand the motivators for each generation when making choices about the brands they surround themselves with. Defining our identity is an ongoing exercise for humans. Content, storytelling and brands are key to this exercise.

Boomer identity has been largely defined by “What do you have?” Establishing stability and security through goods purchased was important in a post-war society, and magazine brands helped to influence how one saw themselves, with advertising being a natural part of this ecosystem. This generation has grown up with our brands and trusts us to bring them the best take on any story.

Gen-Xers define themselves by “What are you into?” The cultural touchstones one engages with in terms of books, magazines, films, music, TV and movies, shape the Gen-X identity. Marketers and content brands have a huge role to play in continuing to help this consumer know about what’s coming (and they like to be the first to know) that will help them build on their personal brand.

Millennials are about “Where have you been?” And, “What do you have to share?” Travel, learning, anything experiential and a globally-oriented mindset are tenets of this generation. And if there’s an opportunity to take that all-important social media photo to share, all the better. Content brands and marketers are integral to this audience, but must find new ways to engage with them, using social media and events to captivate and build loyalty.

Gen-Z (or Zoomers) believe deeply in “What have you done?” or “What do you stand for?” Who better to help this generation understand this increasingly complex world than our journalistically trusted brands, in partnership with the increasingly socially conscious advertiser? Video, events, social media, print, digital… this is an active and informed cohort who wants to change the world and define their place in it. Marketers and publishers have an important role to play here, but we need to really put these customers first and begin to align with their values if we hope to win their loyalty.

I think the future is bright with integration opportunities from print to digital, video and podcasts to exciting sponsored events, all of which reach valuable consumers who choose to engage in brand-safe environments on the page or screen, or live in person.

 

 

 

Celebrating “holiyays” with The Brick

In a series of 15 and 30-second broadcast spots, HGTV’s Kortney Wilson moves from the dining room to the living room to the kitchen, where she unwraps one key product for each space.  A fun way of positioning the My Brick Home 2019 holiday catalogue (photographed, designed and printed by SJC), each product benefits Kortney’s holiday entertaining and inspires viewers to create their own stylish party central this season. 

Shorter spots were also created for digital and social platforms, including animated supers for when audio is off.

It’s all part of the cross-channel content ecosystem we deliver for The Brick that includes flyers, digest, point-of-purchase (POP), internal sales videos, broadcast, video and social.

Evergreen content created through our COPE (Create Once, Publish Everywhere) model creates efficiencies, ensures creative integrity and extends reach across all channels, serving to surprise and delight current customers while attracting new ones.  

What SJC has been up to this holiday season

Get your home holiday ready (inside and out), browse the best cookie recipes, zero in on the perfect gift ideas, host a party and enjoy quality time with family. It’s all in our 2019 round-up of SJC holiday content we’ve been busy creating on behalf of our clients and our magazine readers across Canada. From magalogs, gift guides and custom content to broadcast spots, video and packaging, take a scroll through some of our favourite holiday content and get inspired to enjoy the spirit of the season.
Warm holiday wishes from all of us at SJC!

M&M Food Market – Your Holiday Headquarters

Highlights: To promote M&M Food Market’s timelessly popular party packs, we created a series of short, festive videos, shot in SJC’s food studio. The 15 and 30-second videos were shared on its website as well as social to show how holiday hosting can be a breeze with M&M Food Market’s convenient apps and desserts.

 

 

HELLO! Canada – A Very Royal Christmas

Highlights: Just in time for the holidays, the stand-alone special-interest publication was created by the HELLO! Canada team for anyone who loves royals, Christmas or both! The 100-page perfect-bound keepsake, printed by SJC Print, showcased everything from Royal Family traditions and heartwarming photos to fun quizzes and festive recipes. Plus: Gift-guide pages brimmed with ideas; presents for royal fans; fashion and accessories inspired by stylish royals; and treasures for the little prince or princess in your life. Available at newsstands and online, A Very Royal Christmas was supported by advertising in HELLO! Canada, Maclean’s and on social media.

HELLO Canada Holiday 2019

 

The Brick “Holiyays” with HGTV’s Kortney Wilson

Highlights: In a series of 15 and 30-second broadcast spots, HGTV’s Kortney Wilson moves from the dining room to the living room to the kitchen, where she unwraps one key product for each space. A fun way of positioning the My Brick Home 2019 holiday catalogue (photographed, designed and printed by SJC), each product benefits Kortney’s holiday entertaining and inspires viewers to create their own stylish party central this season. Shorter spots were also created for digital and social platforms, including animated supers for when audio is off.

 

 

 

Toronto Life and Pusateri’s Fine Foods: Home for the Holidays

Highlights: For the December feature of a monthly co-branded series with Pusateri’s, Toronto Life visited the Pusateri family at home to share how the family prepares its annual Christmas celebration. Capturing the family in action, food-focused photography, and even some of the special family recipes, Toronto Life shared the custom content in print and online.

 

 

 

Canadian Tire: NOMA Heritage LED String Lights

Highlights: Last holiday season, our brand and package development team worked closely with Canadian Tire’s marketing team to design a new brand identity for its NOMA Advanced™ line of products. On the heels of this successful relaunch, we teamed up with Canadian Tire to help make the holidays even brighter with the design of NOMA’s new Heritage line of retro style string lights. The packaging features reflect the roots of the NOMA brand and the personality and design architecture align with the vintage-inspired lights that are sure to bring a radiant glow to homeowners’ holiday decor.

 

Toronto Life – Nordstrom Holiday Shopping Challenge

Highlights: This holiday season, Nordstrom had you covered with a range of services – on-site gift-wrapping, expert shoeshine and sneaker buffing, plus a concierge service that will take your coat and shopping bags and let you shop hands-free. Best of all, there’s complimentary advice from Nordstrom’s crew of stylists, who will handpick your holiday outfits and steer you to the perfect gifts for everyone on your list – at any price point. To prove it, Toronto Life asked a group of stylish Torontonians to see if Nordstrom’s style experts can find them one amazing party outfit and two presents in less than 45 minutes. Check out episode 1 and find out if Jessica Lam beat the clock.

 

 

Leon’s – Hello Yellow Holiday “comfort & joy”

Highlights: SJC designed and produced an inspirational holiday-themed print magalog with Leon’s. The English version was polybagged and distributed through the LCBO and a 24-page digital version – available in English or French – included extended content to support Leon’s online channels. We also animated various stories within the magalog content in a series of GIFs for Leon’s to use in its social promotions.

 

Chatelaine – Holiday Cookies

Highlights: Just in time for holiday baking, Chatelaine rounded up 100+ of the very best triple-tested cookie recipes from the Chatelaine kitchen, including six new cookie recipes from the December print issue inspired by classic winter cocktails. Browse through Chatelaine‘s most popular recipes over the years, or jump right to classics like gingerbread or shortbread.

Chatelaine holiday cookies

 

Today’s Parent in partnership with LEGO Duplo

Highlights: Today’s Parent partnered with LEGO Duplo for its highly anticipated Toy Guide issue, including creating a custom cover out of 6,192 LEGO bricks! In addition to featuring three of the toddler toy sets in the print guide, and leveraging its curated influencer network to run a very successful toy-testing Parents of Influence program on todaysparent.com, Editor-in-Chief Kim Shiffman touted the top toys on a special holiday-inspired episode of Cityline.

 

 

General Motors: Unwrap the Holidays

Highlights: SJC creates the content delivered on General Motors’ In-Dealership Digital Network (IDDN). Several years ago SJC Content was selected to provide the content strategy and create the video content for GM’s in-dealership digital network that is now in more than 5,400 Chevrolet, Buick and GMC dealerships across the United States. This year, we created the “Unwrap the Holidays” spot, which is engaging, holiday-themed content that brings Chevrolet’s holiday “Employee Discount for Everyone” campaign into every dealership across the company.

 

FLARE, Chatelaine and Today’s Parent in partnership with Tourism Toronto

Highlights: With the most wonderful time of the year upon us, Tourism Toronto partnered with our three lifestyle brands to create custom guides to seasonal events and holiday hot spots in Toronto. FLARE came up with 25 of the cutest and most creative winter date ideas, while Today’s Parent rounded up the most festive family-friendly activities in the city, and Chatelaine put together the definitive list of Toronto foodie hot spots.

 

Gift Guides

Highlights: Whoever you need to buy for this year, our Media brands have you covered, with well-curated gift guides from Chatelaine, Châtelaine, Flare, Today’s Parent, Toronto Life, and FASHION.

FASHION gift guide 2019

How Jonas Valanciunas and Pizzaville made the perfect pair

In his tenure as a fan-favourite Toronto Raptor, Jonas Valanciunas could often be found with a slice of pizza in hands – a Pizzaville slice to be exact. For the last two years, SJC Content had the pleasure of working with Pizzaville and its brand ambassador, Jonas, helping to create campaigns and videos that complemented the partnership while highlighting key brand features.

“The SJC team was able to leverage our partnership with Jonas while promoting our new app and Party Size pizzas in a fun, natural and engaging manner,” said Stephanie Contardi, marketing and promotional coordinator for Pizzaville.

Our team created videos for television, with shorter edits adapted for digital and social sharing, including pre-roll for YouTube and Globalnews.ca, paid sponsored ads for Facebook and Instagram and 30-second and 15-second spots broadcast on C24 and SportsNet. We also captured a series of photos at each shoot for Pizzaville to use in its various marketing collateral and promotions.

From a tree-shaped pizza box structure and pickles to pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey and, of course, plenty of party-sized pizzas, here are some of our favourite moments from hosting Jonas and Pizzaville in studio.

With the start of the