Mentors

2014
Syd Kessler

Syd began as a writer for Chuck Blore Creative Services. During the 60’s and 70’s, this company was considered to be the #1 creative radio commercial production company in the U.S. In 1970-71, Hatus/Hall– the producers of the legendary game show “Let’s Make A Deal”– hired him to develop a game show (“The Crosswits”) styled after a crossword puzzle. This show ran on ABC for 6 seasons.

Then Syd started his own business and was president of Kessler Productions between 1974-78, producing and writing creative radio commercials exclusively for the Canadian marketplace. The company continued to grow and Syd took in other partners. The company changed its name to Kessler Music Inc. and Syd served as president until 1981, when he merged with the two top audio production companies in Canada and became the dominant player in the marketplace. This new company was called The Air Company and Syd was its president from 1981 to 1988. In this period, the company won Canadian and International awards such as the I.B.A.s, The Bessies, The One Show, etc.

In 1988, John Labatt Ltd., a multinational Canadian corporation, with over $3 billion Cdn. in revenue, joint ventured with Kessler Music to create a new entity called Supercorp. Starting revenues of this company was $10 million. In four years the revenues rose to $150 million. Supercorp dominated the commercial production business, this time in all aspects of advertising production. Supercorp owned the following premiere enterprises: HYP&N, The Partners Film Company and all its subsidiaries, The Animation House, Sounds Interchange Recording Studios, The Air Company. Supercorp controlled 68% of all advertising production in Canada and 2% of the TV commercial production business in the U.S. Aside from his senior management responsibilities as President and CEO, Syd also consulted in the Retail sector of Advertising and became known as a respected specialist/problem solver, working with such clients as Saffer Advertising, Black’s Photography, Esso, Carson Pierie, Towers, etc. During this time, Syd was the creative marketing force behind the new positioning of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Their “GO PUBLIC” campaign was conceived and produced by him.

Following a change in corporate direction at Labatt’s in 1994, Syd sold his shares in Supercorp and started a new company called The Kessler Group.

The Kessler Group was created to address a growing need in the advertising community to move away from the broadcast advertising model, with its inherent inability to deliver measurable results, to a new advertising model called narrowcasting. Narrowcasting takes advantage of new digital technologies’ ability to cost-effectively tailor advertising messages to individuals, producing improved and fully measurable results.

Syd’s ability to integrate his normative (non-digital) marketing expertise with his advanced digital skills put him at the leading edge of this marketing shift. The Kessler Group secured contracts with such notable American firms as Dow Jones, Walmart and US West.

As digital technologies further penetrated traditional markets, the need to understand and take advantage of them created opportunities at the strategic level of major corporations. To meet this need, Syd became Co-Director of KPMG e-commerce practice in 1997. This Toronto based business unit assisted corporations and their senior leadership teams in gaining a better understanding (strategically and tactically) of their company’s place in the new digital economy. Its core focus was on issues such as branding, online marketing, customer experience and digital business extension.

Having recently been inducted into The Marketing Hall of Legends, Syd now spends his time identifying, investing and then mentoring new businesses and organizations. He is an investor in Brand Voice Inc., Rocket Boys Inc., Radio Free Canada Inc., Mystery Box Media, Wunderkind Inc., Scientific Intelligence Inc., L'Institut Idée, and Niche (Niche).

He is a founding member of NABS, the National Advertising Benevolent Society, which looks after the well-being of advertising professionals, and founding member of Kids Help Phone.

Syd is also a published author, having written four books, including The Perfect System (Stoddart Publishing), which describes his unique personal story and business philosophy, his follow-up, The Perfect System of Parenting (Bastian Books), The Master Builder, co-written with Michael Berg, and Vibes, co-written with David Morrison, on the topic of consciousness and behaviour.

Syd Kessler - MHOL 2014 Mentor

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