The Really Brief — Week of April 29

May 2

While fraud remains a large and unrelenting challenge for digital advertisers, there was some encouraging data in the latest White Ops “Bot Baseline” report for the ANA. Projected losses from fraud will be $5.8 billion this year, down about 11% from the $6.5 lost in 2017. White Ops concludes that preventive measures to stop fraudsters are becoming more effective. “Fraud attempts amount to 20 to 35% of all ad impressions throughout the year,” said White Ops. If the system wasn’t becoming more secure, loses could have hit $14 billlion annually.

Rogers Media has acquired Vancouver-based branded podcast company Pacific Content. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Pacific Podcast launched in 2015 and today is among the largest branded podcast companies in North America, producing branded podcasts for clients including Charles Schwab, Dell, Facebook and McAfee.

Julie Adam, senior vice-president of Rogers Radio, calls podcasting a “big part of the future of audio.” According to data from Canadian Podcast Listener, 26% of Canadians tune in to a podcast at least once a month, while 18% tune in weekly. Rogers launched its Frequency Podcast Network last year to house its assortment of podcast properties.

May 1 

Gay Lea Foods is introducing a new Toasted Marshmallow Whipped Cream with some evocative creative for the start of summer, aka campfire season. “Through research, we identified toasted marshmallow as a top new flavour. This gives us a summer release to create news in what is a slower sales period for this category,” said Robert London, director of marketing, Gay Lea Foods Co-Operative Ltd. The campaign, from Agency59, includes national digital pre-roll and out-of-home, sampling and in-store activations. The creative shows people enjoying a campfire, and the smoke from the fire turns into whipped cream. All elements in the campaign were created digitally by I Am Static.

The ICA is challenging TransLink over its recent call for ideas to improve the public transit system in Metro Vancouver. The call for new ideas extends to all people and businesses; the problem for the ICA is that submission become the property of TransLink. “This is clearly a government department stealing ideas,” says Scott Knox, president and CEO of The ICA in a statement. “We have government departments driving innovation in the country to have another take their ideas without compensation or acknowledgement. This is simply unethical.”

Edelman Vancouver has hired Mike Shackle as its new vice-president, creative director. Shackle has held senior creative positions all over the world, including stops at Grey as chief creative officer for the Middle East and Africa, as well as gyro, Y&R, Deutsch, BBH and TBWA. “While traditional advertising is being skipped, blocked and tuned out, Edelman is leading the way forward with earned creative that’s social by design,” said Shackle.

The City of Toronto has erected a transit shelter that provides no shelter. It’s part of an awareness campaign from the agency Public about the challenges of exclusion for those living with disabilities. The completely enclosed shelter at King and Bathurst streets (across the street from the actual streetcar stop) has a large poster inside featuring the campaign tagline: “Feeling left out?” and the explainer copy: “Over 400,000 Torontonians with disabilities do, too.”

“[G]lassing off a transit shelter… brought the issue to able-bodied citizens who don’t regularly understand the challenges people with disabilities face,” said Public creative director Jason Levine. “Ultimately, we want our city to know that people with disabilities are people first, who deserve equal and unbiased treatment.”

Aside from the shelter there are also posters with sign language and braille to deliver a message that many people won’t understand.

Screen Shot 2019-04-30 at 9.29.16 AMChase Bank went “ugly-viral” Monday following a very poorly conceived—and very badly received—tweet. Presented as a #MondayMotivation, the since deleted tweet was, presumably, intended as advice for people looking to save money. Instead it came across as the largest bank in the country—which received billions in government bailout money in 2008—condescendingly chiding people for their spending habits. The deleted tweet was later replaced by an apology of sorts in which Chase thanked Twitter for the feedback and pledged that its new #MondayMotivation was to get better at #MondayMotivation tweets.

Marriott Hotels is planning to disrupt a disruptor, Airbnb. The world’s largest hotel company is getting into home rentals, providing the service through the Marriott website while allowing guests to earn and redeem loyalty points. Beginning next week, travelers will be able to choose from 2,000 homes in more than 100 locations across the U.S., Europe, the Caribbean and Latin America. The new program follows a pilot program in Europe, which found that guest stays in homes were more than triple the average hotel stay.

April 29

McCann Worldgroup Canada has hired Jean-François Frémaux as vice-president, strategy for the McCann Montreal office. He was most recently at director, strategic planning for at MSL Group, and before that spent more than a decade with Publicis. “As soon as we all met Jean-François, we knew right away that he was the one. He’s a great fit with our team and our culture, he understands our clients’ needs and their ambitions, he’s both business-minded and passionately creative and he loves the industry we’re in,” said Mylène Savoie, president of McCann Montreal.


A four-plus hour pre-roll video created by DentsuBos for Clorox Canada’s Brita brand and Me to We has led to a partnership with the Hot Docs documentary film festival. Released to coincide with World Water Day on March 22, the skippable video, “The Walkumentary,” shows the daily walk some African women must make in order to collect fresh water. The entire video, which was developed by the creative team of writer Phil Coulter and art Stefan D’Aversa, was shown prior to the Hot Docs opening gala last week, while a TV spot created for Brita by DentsuBos last year will be shown prior to screenings.

Shopify continues to expand the services it offers to small/mid size marketers and entrepreneurs. On Monday it announced that merchants will be able to create and manage Facebook and Snapchat advertising from inside the platform. “We know that marketing is extremely important for businesses on our platform, so it’s our goal to make ad buying and content creation as easy and simple as possible, with more features coming later this year,” said Shopify in a blog post announcing the new features.

David Brown