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Havas Canada and OVO

Havas Canada and OVO

Michael Carnevale

Michael Carnevale

July 24, 2018

Another iconic duo.

"Billboards have quickly become Drake’s 'thing,' so we really wanted to keep the look and feel consistent with his brand and aesthetic."

When Drake’s team calls, you pick up. Tom Olesinski, CEO of Havas Canada, talks about Drizzy’s much-anticipated album, “Scorpion,” the pressure of getting everything right in their home city, and the enormous hustle to get a teaser out at the perfect moment. Oh, and he squashes the Drake-Pusha T beef, once and for all.

 

Walk us through how this project came about.

While in the midst of planning for the album release set to launch June 29th, our team received an urgent call from Drake’s marketing manager at Universal Music Group. The label had just found out his team had the creative files for a teaser campaign, and with the album release date approaching quickly, as you can imagine we needed this to launch yesterday. The goal around the teaser campaign was to continue building anticipation for the album and ultimately break streaming records worldwide on the week of release. Which is exactly what happened! Hitting multiple record high numbers, including 170 million streams within the first 24 hours alone, and 1 billion streams worldwide in the first week!

In the age of digital and social promotions, this campaign took a different approach. Why did you go with billboards?

Given their undeniable success in previous campaigns including “6 God” and “Views,” Drake’s team requested this form of teaser specifically. Despite being such a traditional form of advertising in this day and age, billboard campaigns continue to be wildly successful and receive a great amount of media attention. With our expertise in both traditional and modern advertising, we were confident that billboards would deliver a more focused result. Not to mention, billboards have quickly become Drake’s “thing,” so we really wanted to keep the look and feel consistent with his brand and aesthetic.

"We were able plan, buy, and execute within 24 hours."

Was there a feeling of added pressure on Drake’s home turf of Toronto—and for that matter, yours as well?

Definitely! To say inventory was limited would be an understatement. So the team had to quite literally jump through hoops to make this a reality. To top it off, we knew how widely publicized the campaign would be globally. The media team was extremely focused on not only delivering and representing Havas, but creating something that was worthy of Drake.

What was the timing for this like?

Tight! But with the help from some very gracious media partners, we were able plan, buy, and execute within 24 hours. We were live the very next day.

Did you find it more challenging that this was a teaser, rather than a more straightforward, traditional campaign?

It definitely added many more moving parts than we’d be working with on a traditional campaign. In addition to securing several high-impact placements that all spoke to each other, it was crucial that each placement be timed in such a way that OVO would have full control over how and when the teased messaging was shared with the public. To make that possible, we staggered the release of each board to allow time for a hired photographer to take pictures well before fans had the chance to snap a picture and post on their social channels.

What was it like working with Drake’s team?

If I could describe his team in two words, I would use creative and dedicated. They presented us with this vision, however untraditional (or extremely traditional) it seemed, and did everything necessary to make sure it was properly executed. His team worked around the clock, with everyone else involved (vendors included) on standby for two days.

Pusha T or Drake?

Drizzy. Duh.

"Billboards have quickly become Drake’s 'thing,' so we really wanted to keep the look and feel consistent with his brand and aesthetic."

When Drake’s team calls, you pick up. Tom Olesinski, CEO of Havas Canada, talks about Drizzy’s much-anticipated album, “Scorpion,” the pressure of getting everything right in their home city, and the enormous hustle to get a teaser out at the perfect moment. Oh, and he squashes the Drake-Pusha T beef, once and for all.

 

Walk us through how this project came about.

While in the midst of planning for the album release set to launch June 29th, our team received an urgent call from Drake’s marketing manager at Universal Music Group. The label had just found out his team had the creative files for a teaser campaign, and with the album release date approaching quickly, as you can imagine we needed this to launch yesterday. The goal around the teaser campaign was to continue building anticipation for the album and ultimately break streaming records worldwide on the week of release. Which is exactly what happened! Hitting multiple record high numbers, including 170 million streams within the first 24 hours alone, and 1 billion streams worldwide in the first week!

In the age of digital and social promotions, this campaign took a different approach. Why did you go with billboards?

Given their undeniable success in previous campaigns including “6 God” and “Views,” Drake’s team requested this form of teaser specifically. Despite being such a traditional form of advertising in this day and age, billboard campaigns continue to be wildly successful and receive a great amount of media attention. With our expertise in both traditional and modern advertising, we were confident that billboards would deliver a more focused result. Not to mention, billboards have quickly become Drake’s “thing,” so we really wanted to keep the look and feel consistent with his brand and aesthetic.

"We were able plan, buy, and execute within 24 hours."

Was there a feeling of added pressure on Drake’s home turf of Toronto—and for that matter, yours as well?

Definitely! To say inventory was limited would be an understatement. So the team had to quite literally jump through hoops to make this a reality. To top it off, we knew how widely publicized the campaign would be globally. The media team was extremely focused on not only delivering and representing Havas, but creating something that was worthy of Drake.

What was the timing for this like?

Tight! But with the help from some very gracious media partners, we were able plan, buy, and execute within 24 hours. We were live the very next day.

Did you find it more challenging that this was a teaser, rather than a more straightforward, traditional campaign?

It definitely added many more moving parts than we’d be working with on a traditional campaign. In addition to securing several high-impact placements that all spoke to each other, it was crucial that each placement be timed in such a way that OVO would have full control over how and when the teased messaging was shared with the public. To make that possible, we staggered the release of each board to allow time for a hired photographer to take pictures well before fans had the chance to snap a picture and post on their social channels.

What was it like working with Drake’s team?

If I could describe his team in two words, I would use creative and dedicated. They presented us with this vision, however untraditional (or extremely traditional) it seemed, and did everything necessary to make sure it was properly executed. His team worked around the clock, with everyone else involved (vendors included) on standby for two days.

Pusha T or Drake?

Drizzy. Duh.

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