Overview of this campaign
On May 12, 2015, The Globe and Mail reported that the federal Conservative Party was refusing to participate in a leaders’ debate historically run by a consortium of broadcasters including CBC, CTV and Global. With this the televised debate, traditionally the monopoly of broadcasters, ended.
The Globe and Mail seized the opportunity. We submitted a proposal to host a primarily digital debate in Calgary, Alberta with a singular focus on the economy. It would be only the second time in the history of Canada a federal election debate was hosted west of Toronto. As well, we argued, Alberta was the political and economic story of the year with the recent historic win by the provincial NDP government and the collapse of the oil market. We also proposed that only the three leaders, Thomas Mulcair, Stephen Harper, and Justin Trudeau, with official party status in the house of commons should be included to ensure a focused discussion by the people who had control or influence over the Canadian economy. We won.
On September 17, 2015, The Globe hosted The Globe and Mail Federal Leaders’ Debate on the Economy, one of three English language debates, prior to the 2015 Federal Election with the following objectives in mind:
• To drive national discussion about Canada’s economy and each parties’ economic plan for the nation
• To position The Globe as a leader in political reporting and the go-to source for election news for the 2015 Federal Election
• To show that The Globe and Mail, without cable broadcasting infrastructure, can displace traditional broadcast media for events of national importance
• To increase awareness of The Globe and Mail brand in Alberta
• To showcase The Globe and Mail as an agenda-setting multimedia organization
Results for this campaign
To ensure participation by all three leaders, The Globe agreed to an evening event that would be simultaneously broadcast in French by CPAC, the Canadian Public Affairs Broadcaster. We then partnered with Google and YouTube to amplify the event beyond our existing online reach.
To ensure maximum brand exposure and promote accessibility to all Canadians, we issued two wire alerts offering the live debate feed free of charge to any media outlet (media outlets would, however, have to share TOC fees with CPAC). This offer was refused by all traditional broadcasters, with the exception of CHCH. We also offered open embed code to allow streaming of the Globe branded debate on any website and gave accredited media free and unfettered access to the live event.
Our success can be measured in these results:
- The combined reach of our content across CPAC and CHCH was 1.875M viewers.
- Organic and earned media coverage of The Globe debate included 876 stories/mentions garnering 241,119,683 impressions, including over 100M on TV and radio.
- The debate has been replayed on YouTube over 520,000 times, exceeding the other two English-language debates. Peak concurrent views on the YouTube reached 65,900 with an average view of 25 minutes.
- The #globedebate hashtag trended worldwide, reaching #1 as its top position in 41 cities, including San Francisco and Chicago, identifying potential new markets for The Globe’s digital content
- 83 accredited media attended the event in person along with over 100 invited guests comprised of the city’s business, political and academic leaders, including Calgary Mayor Nenshi.
- On election day, October 19, 2015 and October 20, 2015, globeandmail.com traffic reached 3.2M UVs and nearly 11M PVs. Our politics hub, typically under 8% of total pageviews each month, reached nearly 28% of page views in October 2015.
- The Globe’s election coverage, in general, generated nearly $300,000 in election-elated advertising.
- The broadcasters’ monopoly ownership over Election debates in Canada has been changed forever.