Relevent15 conference review
By Joey Franco
The terms “pioneer” and “trailblazer” come to mind when describing Tom Moser’s career in the entertainment/sports sponsorship marketing field. Moser, a mastermind marketer for British American Tobacco, including its Canadian subsidiary Imperial Tobacco Company Canada has run the gamut in high profile tobacco sponsorships; from IndyCar racing to jazz festivals and of course, Formula One.
Moser was raised in an Amish community and his father had 15 siblings. He started working as a salesman at Imperial Tobacco in Kitchener, Ontario in 1980. He is married to Nathaly Thibault whom have two adopted children from Russia, Sacha and Louba.
Due to tobacco legislation restricting more traditional forms of advertising and promotion; sponsorships became one of the only communications vehicles for marketers at tobacco companies. “It was actually a benefit in some ways,” says Moser as he describes those transformative years. “When you have a lot of alternatives, you spend a lot of time choosing between alternatives, also in terms of measurement, you’re not really deep in anything.”
According to Moser, it was important to be narrow and deep in sponsorships. When legislations started to change the way tobacco companies marketed, it forced them to be more intelligent and precise. This focus resulted in Moser having to understand how sponsorships could be deployed to impact consumer behaviour resulting in market share and revenue.
Moser and the brands he represented were very visible in sports and entertainment circles. “PGA, LPGA, ATP, Show jumping, Jazz Festivals in Montreal, Vancouver, and Toronto, you name it; we were big in sponsorship,” Tom says.
“At that time, if you defined the objective of sponsorship you would still hear that the objective was to return something to the community in which we live and work. It was weak in understanding the true impact,” recalls Moser of those early years in the 80s.
During that period sponsors used “outputs” data where brands would look at measured media and presence, however there was not an absolute link or measure on how sponsorship changed consumer behaviour. “At that period of time there was a lot of softness,” says Moser.
The 90’s brought about the most dramatic changes for tobacco sponsorships. It was during this period of time that Moser was transferred to Montreal. The market had undergone a complete transformation and government legislation banned tobacco companies from direct sponsorship. The tobacco industry reinvented itself, and the way they had to market their business and brands. Moser’s mandate included creating third party brands which would be geared towards sponsorship initiatives. Companies like Players Ltd. and DuMaurier Ltd. were born with the mission of entering the sponsorship arena. Imperial also created or bought activation agencies.