The Really Brief – Week of May 6

May 9

This seems likely to be the media story of the day: Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes has called for the U.S. government to break up Facebook in an in-depth essay for the New York Times. The piece is a sweeping overview of the roots of Facebook’s current problems, shared through Hughes’ personal anecdotes from the earliest days with the social network, to a cataloguing of current failings and flaws (though user mental health isn’t mentioned). It also includes his specific recommendations for how, and why, the government should step in to break up the colossus. The essay is part of the Times’ “The Privacy Project” series.

Fuse has made four new additions to its Fuse Live experiential division. Joining the agency are (photo from left) Lily Evans as account coordinator; Lindsay Ditkofsky as group account director; Alyson Kincaid as account manager and Amanda Fusco as production manager. “Our role is to build authentic, human connections for brands,” said Aleena Mazhar, partner, VP of Fuse Live. “Through these key hires, we can ensure our projects are grounded in strategy and strong creative that ultimately drive business for brands.”

May 8

Tourism Nova Scotia is in the middle of its spring marketing push, with new creative from DDB running across Canada and the northeastern U.S. The goal of the campaign is to showcase some of the province’s “hidden gem” destinations. After launching TV and digital in early April, a social and influencer campaign began this week. Nova Scotians are being asked to share their own favourite experiences with potential visitors, for a chance to win prizes. Content shared with the hashtag #NovaScotiaUnlisted is aggregated at a microsite and celebrity interior designers Colin and Justin will asking their followers to visit the site to vote for their favourites places.

In-housing is one of the hottest topics of the industry and now there is a podcast dedicated entirely to issue. The Marketer’s In-House started in March and there are now five episodes on topics like making agency relationships more productive. “It’s all about increasing your bottom-line value by building institutional knowledge in-house and focusing on real business results,” says Joel Kelly, the Halifax-based founder of The Family Knife Marketing Consultancy who created and co-hosts the podcast.


Walmart is working with Dove to host Project #ShowUs photo studios in four stores this weekend. Part of Dove’s Real Beauty Campaign, the goal of Project #ShowUs is to create photo libraries of real women for use in advertising and media. On Saturday, photographers will be at four Walmart locations (two in the Toronto area, one in Edmonton and one in Victoria) to capture images of real women in stores. The women will get the portraits emailed to them with select images added to the #ShowUs image bank.


May 7

The masters of surprise at WestJet are up to their old tricks, this time surprising Calgarians as part of a promotion celebrating the launch of the airline’s 787-9 Dreamliner service between Calgary and London Gatwick.

The airline set up an authentic 1,500-pound English phonebooth in two downtown Calgary locations on April 23, and set it to ring throughout the day. Thousands of people passed by the booth, but 10 people who answered were greeted by an English voice informing them they had received round-trip tickets for two to London (see the “London Calling” video below).

“We thought there was no better approach to entice guests to visit Britain than by testing out Calgarians’ curiosity for adventure through the unusual ringing of an iconic London phonebooth in our own downtown core,” says WestJet’s vice-president of marketing communications, Richard Bartrem.

Coffee company Van Houtte is marking its 100th anniversary by partnering four Canadian chefs (Ontario’s Ted Reader and Didier LeRoy, Alberta’s Michael Allemeier and Quebec’s Sébastien Harrison-Cloutier), who have created recipes intended to highlight the rich flavours of its coffee. The recipes are available at and via a booklet distributed in partner grocery stores.

The chef partnership is the latest in a series of centenary celebrations for Van Houtte, which in March introduced a special anniversary blend.

“This partnership with culinary masters is rooted in our master roaster’s boldness and innovation, and is part of an extensive, festive, creative, and unifying campaign to celebrate our 100 years of existence,” said Stéphane Renauld, director of brand management at Keurig Canada.

May 6

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Anna Olson

Corus Entertainment is partnering with Philadelphia Cream Cheese Frosting to launch another Twitter series, its third, called #SweetSomethings. Developed by Corus’ in-house content studio so.da, the series features Food Network Canada personality Anna Olson using the Philadelphia product to make desserts. Each of the four episodes, lasting between four and six minutes, will appear on Corus’ @FoodNetworkCA Twitter feed. The program also includes linear, social and digital elements, including broadcast lower thirds, recipe vignettes and autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR) content.

Popular YouTube personality Yolanda Gampp, host of How to Cake It, is also producing a series of Instagram recipes for Mother’s Day, complemented by a glossy mailer featuring the recipes and a coupon for the Philadelphia product. “This partnership with Philadelphia Cream Cheese Frosting highlights the power of Corus, and how together with Twitter we can extend a brand’s promotional footprint in an engaging and impactful way,” said Dervla Kelly, senior vice-president of marketing for Corus and the head of so.da.


Peoples Jewellers has partnered with Toronto agency Juliet on a new Mother’s Day campaign that features voiceovers from actual moms recounting humorous (in retrospect) incidents from their child’s past.

The TV campaign, “For All She’s Done,” is built around four 15-second spots that highlight Peoples’ Mother’s Day specials, accompanied by a voiceover featuring mothers saying that their child should think of the gift as payback for helping them in their youth—whether by supporting their goth phase or allowing them to cut their own hair before school picture day.

“We wanted to showcase just how much love, and how much patience, moms have for their kids throughout their lives,” says Peoples’ vice-president of marketing, John McNamara. “It’s a love that’s unwavering, and that deserves something truly special.”


7-Eleven stores across Canada are teasing the upcoming movie Pokémon Detective Pikachu with shareable photo filters and an augmented reality (AR) experience within the 7-Eleven app. The “Ryme City Neighbourhood Watch” AR experience includes a weekly “Find the missing Pokémon” activity, with prizing including a free medium Slurpee, free taquito, free medium hot beverage and five free chicken wings. The promotion also includes 7Rewards bonus points, and the launch of a new hazel nut hot chocolate beverage.


Screen Shot 2019-05-06 at 1.05.17 PM.pngMars Wrigley Confectionary Canada has introduced a new addition to its M&M’s product line: M&M’s Hazelnut Spread Chocolate Candies. It is the second new “soft centre innovation” for M&M’s, following the 2017 introduction of M&M’s Caramel. The new product, essentially Nutella-flavoured M&M’s, was first introduced in the U.S. in March. This week’s launch follows the April 22 rollout of Flavour Vote 2019, which invites Canadians to sample and vote on three international M&M’s flavours—Mexican Jalapeno Peanut, English Toffee Peanut and Thai Coconut Peanut—with the flavour that garners the most votes being added to M&M’s Canadian product line for 18 months.


Chris Powell