The Really Brief—Week of March 18

March 22

No Fixed Address has hired Dino Demopoulos as its first chief strategy officer. Demopoulos has almost 20 years of agency experience, most recently as the head of his own independent strategic consultancy, Paper Strategy. “From the beginning we viewed strategic planning as the bedrock of our integrated promise,” said NFA president Dave Lafond. “As we evolve and expand our offering, strategy remains the underpinning of everything we do from business planning, to brand strategy and consumer insights through to fuelling creative storytelling.”

UM has promoted Will Mulqueeney to vice-president, client business partner, leading the Johnson & Johnson account. “In his time at UM, Will has earned the trust and respect of clients and colleagues alike, building a reputation founded on innovative thinking, proven experience, and smart leadership,” said Shelley Smit, president of UM Canada. “We’re thrilled to have him join the leadership team and steer this account towards continued success.”

March 20

McDonald’s Canada has partnered with Snap on a “virtual hiring” initiative enabling job seekers to apply for a job at its restaurants via Snapchat. On March 27, the QSR brand will introduce a unique lens that enables interested applicants to film a 30-second video explaining why they want to work for the company. The video is submitted to the McDonald’s Canada hiring portal. McDonald’s is one of the largest employers of young people in Canada, with millennials accounting for approximately 83% of its nearly 100,000 employees. McDonald’s is also introducing a new partnership with Google that will enable Canadians to discover local offers in the MyMcD’s app using Google Voice technology.

At long last, Tim Hortons is introducing a loyalty program—a straightforward rewards offering of a free coffee, tea or baked good after every seventh visit. Users can sign up to get a reusable loyalty card or a digital version available through the Tim Hortons app. “We heard from our guests that a new rewards program had to be easy to use and redeem, that’s why we offer both a reusable card and a digital friendly app,” said Tim Hortons president Alex Macedo.

The EU has fined Google again for what it considers anticompetitive behaviour. Announced Wednesday, the fine of US$1.7 billion is the third penalty imposed on Googles since 2017 by the EU—which has a clear agenda to rein in the power of the tech giants. The latest fine was related specifically to Google’s AdSense for Search product. The EU regulator determined that Google used its dominance to prevent competitors from selling text ads on third-party sites. European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager called text advertising an entry point for other brokers. “By gaining a foothold in advertising brokering… [competitors] could grow their business and then challenge Google in general search advertising,” she said.

Facebook will no longer let housing, job and credit advertisers target consumers based on age, ethnicity or gender. The changes come as part of a legal settlement stemming from discrimination lawsuits filed against Facebook following a 2016 investigative report. The report showed that some housing marketers could target their advertising to exclude certain ethnic groups.

March 18

The WPP-controlled (for now) data and research business Kantar is eliminating all sub-brands (such as TNS and Millward Brown), with all units operating under the Kantar brand by the beginning of next month.”This one change will make Kantar easier for clients to understand and work with,” said Kantar CEO Eric Salama in a release.  “Removing barriers to co-creation and purposeful collaboration across our organization will make it easier for Kantar to build platforms and offers globally that address our clients’ most pressing needs.” WPP currently owns 80% of Kantar, but is preparing to sell off a large stake. During Advertising Week Europe in London Monday, WPP CEO Mark Read reportedly said WPP may retain “between 25%-40%” of its stake in Kantar.

Burger King is getting into the subscription business by introducing a new $5 a month coffee service granting subscribers one small coffee a day (no fancy coffees just a plain cup of brew). The deal is only available via the Burger King app in the U.S. “We continue to leverage technology to enhance our guests experience in our restaurants,” said Chris Finazzo, president, North America, Burger King Corporation.

Cadbury is cleaning up a PR mess in the U.K. today after an ad campaign generated anger from archeologists over the weekend. The campaign suggested children grab metal detectors and go out looking for real treasure at protected heritage sites in the U.K. and Ireland. Archeologists had another word for the campaign: Looting. Digging in or near archeological monuments is illegal. Cadbury’s Treasure Island site is down now and the Mondelez-owned brand tweeted this early Monday morning: “Hi guys. We do not condone the breaking of existing rules on the discovery of archaeological artefacts & are updating our site to make this clear. It was never our intention to encourage breaking of these rules & we’re grateful these matters were brought to our attention.”

Facebook is expanding its “election integrity” efforts with the launch of new ad transparency tools. The social media company says its efforts are in line with the requirements of Bill C-76 (the Elections Modernization Act), which was passed late last year. Facebook will require advertisers to confirm their identity before running political, election-related and issue ads, including those that refer to candidates. A new ad library, still under development, will store ads related to politics targeted to people in Canada, and will be viewable and searchable for up to seven years, regardless of whether visitors have a Facebook account.

David Brown