Mike Tennant

The Age of Persuasion - Advertising expert

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A veteran of print and radio writing, Mike Tennant is known to thousands of CBC Radio listeners for his work as Ad Columnist on Definitely Not the Opera, the creator/voice of syndicated "explainer" pieces on topical events, and more recently as producer, co-writer, and co-creator (with Terry O'Reilly) of The Age of Persuasion.

Until 2010, Mike was the producer/co-writer of the CBC Radio hit series The Age of Persuasion, a lively, entertaining, and packed with stories and practical examples. Mike is also co-author of The Age of Persuasion: How Marketing Ate Our Culture which offers insights into effective, creative, cut-through communication.

He has created hundreds of campaigns for clients in Canada and the U.S., and won dozens of awards for his work. In between, he loves to give talks and workshops on advertising, marketing and creative communication.

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Speaking Topics

Disconnect: How The Technology That's Supposed to Bring Us Together is Pulling Us Apart (and what to do about it)

When a massive blackout affected 55 million people in August 2003, stories spread of neighbours interacting with neighbours; of block parties staged to share freezers full of thawing food, and of volunteers directing traffic at busy intersections. What lingers most is the power of human interaction on a scale not experienced in many years. With this as a backdrop, Mike examines the power of the human touch in communication, and the hidden costs, and occasional perils, of high-tech shortcuts such as email and automated phone systems.


Communications in the Online you-Universe

At a time when young consumers have amassed unprecedented spending power and consumer clout, they're vanishing from the radar of traditional media, and disappearing into a new online YOU-niverse. Here, the 'user is God', and marketers are no longer in control of their messages. Mike explores how we got here, and explains how savvy marketers are rewriting their playbooks to adapt.


The Great Unwritten Contract

There's a great, unwritten contract between marketers and consumers: in exchange for exposure to a sale's message, marketers have to give something back. In exchange for TV ads, marketers underwrite production costs. In exchange for ads in bus shelters, marketers provide shelter from the elements. Mike traces this contract to the early days of radio, and with anecdotes and examples, shows how today's communicators break the contract at their peril.


Creative Clutter-Busting

Mike uses anecdotes and practical examples of ways today's great communicators win a place in the top of people's minds, despite a daily bombardment of hundreds,even thousands, of marketing messages.


Selling God

An exploration of the fascinating comparisons between marketers, clerics and evangelism, including church marketing tactics, and a fond look at a half-century of faith-based advertising in the age of persuasion.

"'It melted in my mouth and not in my hands' might be the slogan for the conference session you led. It delivered! The plenary session you gave was very well received by the students and faculty alike. The pace and content were captivating." University of Waterloo

"I just wanted to thank you again for doing such a fabulous job on Monday. We've received nothing but positive feedback on your presentation and activities. Everyone learned such a great deal and really appreciated the mix of explanation and examples along with ideas and questions from he participants." Emerit Canada