Canada unveils ROI gauge for PR pros

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[toronto] Public-relations professionals in Canada no longer have to use advertising equivalents to measure editorial coverage and calculate a return on investment-a practice that's considered ineffective and misleading. The industry now has Media Relations Rating Points, a Canadian-developed industry-wide standard for measurement and ROI information in public relations. Public relations practitioners expect MRPs to be for PR what gross rating points are for the advertising industry.

Developed by the Canadian Public Relations Society's Measurement Committee and endorsed by the International Association of Business Communicators, the system was tested for two years by the CPRS and advertisers including Bank of Montreal, Coca-Cola Ltd., Visa Canada and quick food service company Cara Operations.

The MRP system includes a media report template, rating system and tool for obtaining up-to-date accurate reach numbers. It can be customized by company or by project and provides clear metrics to evaluate media coverage, track total reach and cost per contact. It also allows users to qualitatively evaluate editorial tone and article content.

"It allows us to rate the value of such details as whether someone from Visa was quoted or if Visa was the only company mentioned in an article," said a Visa Canada spokeswoman.

To provide consistency, News Canada, which was selected to provide up-to-date reach figures for Canadian media, draws on industry data suppliers including BBM for radio and TV measurement; Combase/Crop/Stathebdo for weekly publications; NADbank for dailies and the Print Management Bureau for magazines. Web details are being finalized.

The online service is available in both English and French for an annual fee of $638 for a single license. Users can test the system by downloading the template and user guide at no cost. -gail chiasson

Sony pulls a Bono to market karaoke game

[london] Sony PlayStation has taken inspiration from U2's famous 1987 rooftop gig in Los Angeles to market its new karaoke game, SingStar Rocks. The commercial, by TBWA London, shows two very ordinary guys who get so carried away when playing the game that they lug the equipment out onto their roof and deliver a passionate rendition of Blur's famous "Song 2," bringing the unsuspecting public to a standstill. The spot will run in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Australia and New Zealand. -emma hall

P&G to conduct review for online biz in Europe

[london] Procter & Gamble Co. is reviewing all its online activity across Europe in a bid to capitalize on the growth of the digital audience and to create a coherent regional strategy for new media. About 30 agencies have been lined up to compete in the review to pick P&G's first pan-European digital roster. P&G won't say how many agencies will be chosen or how big the budget is, but confirmed that both international and local agencies will be appointed.

P&G long has spent less than 1% of its annual outlay on digital media, less than rivals such as Unilever. A P&G spokeswoman said, "We do not have a strategy to move out of traditional media, nor do we have a strategy to move to digital advertising. Our principle is to drive marketing spending efficiency and to be with the consumer when and where she or he wants us to be."

She emphasized the growing interest from P&G businesses in stepping into interactive marketing, and said the company expects to achieve significant benefits by having fewer, but more strategic, partners in interactive. P&G's current digital agencies include Glue London, Arc, Snatch & Snatch Interactive and Inbox Digital. A pan-European roster of digital agencies would allow P&G to treat digital marketing in the same way as traditional media. If a communication campaign is regional, its digital element will be regional too.

In the earlier U.S. review, incumbent agencies were allowed to keep the brands they already had, but won't compete for new work or in future reviews. The U.S. digital roster includes: Bridge Worldwide, Cincinnati, a Wunderman unit; Digitas, Boston, Avenue A/ Razorfish, New York and Euro RSCG, New York. -emma hall

H-P shifts more money into emerging technology

[new york] Scott Berg, Hewlett-Packard's worldwide media director, is spending about 2% of his media budget on emerging technologies like cellphones, RSS feeds and podcasting.

"We'll probably keep about 2%to 4% in emerging technologies, but things that are working will be shifted into the digital media mix," said Mr. Berg, speaking on a panel on cross-border marketing at the International Advertising Association's Global Marketing Summit in New York. "I anticipate we'll lose about 80% of those dollars [spent on emerging technologies], but the other 20% will make up for it."

He's also interested in the growing market for gaming, he said. Mr. Berg said that about 80% of Hewlett-Packard's emerging-technology efforts are happening overseas, especially Asia, where technology is better developed than in the U.S. -laurel wentz
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