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DDB: It's all in the figures

Being Frank Palmer must have been sweet this year. Cool awards for his agency at Cannes. Cover of Strategy in his boxers. Big-time ACA Gold Medal.

The gregarious adman is certainly a legend in these parts. And that air of success, irreverence and general all-around creativity certainly drifted into the work that his agency, DDB Canada, produced this year - quality work for clients like Elections Ontario, BC SPCA and the BC Dairy Foundation that's won more than an armful of spiffy awards. But that's only fluff, as you well know. The real result is in the numbers.

Consider DDB client for two-and-a-half years now, the BC Dairy Foundation. Seems nobody drinks milk anymore. Consumption numbers have declined in North America over the last 20 years. So you can imagine executive director of the BC Dairy Foundation Robin Smith's glee when he revealed that B.C.'s overall milk consumption is up almost 1% in an industry where no growth - even a modest decline - is considered, well, good. And better yet, flavoured milk consumption is up 11.5% in the 15- to 24-year-old target market, according to Canadian Dairy Commission numbers for 2003.

Smith says DDB's "Don't take your body for granted" campaign has been simply "outstanding," not only helping to spur increased consumption, but succeeding in the perhaps bigger challenge of forging a "feeling of camaraderie" and trust between the risk-taking agency and the rather conservative client, the province's dairy producers and processors.

Then there's the Richmond Centre. Used to the humdrum positioning statement as its marketing push, marketing director Leslie Matheson was simply delighted in 1999 when DDB pitched the then-unusual idea of using an insight (the love of shopping) to brand the mall.

"It's helped set us apart in the industry," she says. "[And] I've seen results so I'm 100% able to trust them." And how. Thanks to the "Serious Shoppers" campaign, the mall's total sales volume ending December 2003 increased 6.5%, about 5% more than the competing mall.

"As we've evolved I've seen what they can do. We've done things that are a little on the edge," she says. "[The DDB team is] very insightful, which makes their work stand out from everybody else."

DDB has even had a hand in helping to curb the decline in voter turnout with its "Engage-the-Vote" TV and print campaign for Elections Ontario during last year's provincial election. While turnout in other jurisdictions dropped an additional 10%, Ontario fared better, with a relatively flat -1% decline.

So with this year's AOY bronze, awarded for work that also includes Sun-Rype's "Fruit to Go" campaign and the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation's Lotto Super 7 "Super Heroes"advertising DDB maintains its medal standing - but that hardly matters. "They're the most creative agency in Canada," says BC Dairy's Smith, who had received yet another award for the campaign that day. "Creativity is great but you've still got to get results. With DDB we got both: creativity and results."

Copyright 2004 Brunico Communications Inc. All rights reserved.