The Really Brief — Week of May 13

May 15

A&W has been market for months with its Beyond Meat sandwiches and now Tim Hortons is adding them to the menu. The QSR announced Wednesday it was testing three breakfast sandwiches with Beyond Meat Sausage patties in 60 Greater Toronto Area stores and is expected to roll them out across Canada by the end of summer. Beyond Meat’s plant-based products have been one of the biggest food stories in the last year—popular as both a good-for-you and good-for-the-environment alternative to meat.

The massive technology conference Collision arrives in Toronto next week, expected to draw more than 25,000 attendees and more than 750 journalists. In other words, rich ground for creative tech-y brand activations. On Tuesday, mobile rewards platform Drop announced it will be providing e-scooters to help attendees make the trek from downtown to the conference venue on the grounds of the CNE. “E-scooters are everywhere in Silicon Valley, and as a rewards company, we want to level up the lives of our members by making the ride for attendees of Collision more rewarding by introducing an easy and fun way to get around,” said Derrick Fung, Drop CEO.

Whitney Milne is the new Canadian head of client services and business development for Virtue, Vice’s creative agency. Milne was most recently a Zulu Alpha Kilo but also worked with global account director at Virtue in Brooklyn from 2015 to 2017. “She knows the style of work we want to do, how to manage clients, and holds institutional knowledge that is priceless. We’re excited to have her back,” said Virtue Worldwide President Ryan Mack.

May 14
KitchenAid has a new billboard along the Gardiner Expressway featuring one of its iconic stand mixers. What makes the board so unique is that the mixer changes colour to match the lighting on the CN Tower behind it. The idea comes from Zulu Alpha Kilo, with the billboard using a camera to capture the colour of the CN Tower and then sending instructions to Astral to change the colour of the mixer to match the tower’s lights. “This billboard is a playful way to show Torontonians how they can personalize their stand mixer to their style,” said Jacqueline Probert, KitchenAid brand manager. KitchenAid stand mixers come in 33 colours. The production partner is Bounce Studio while Cossette handled media.

Non-profit specialist agency Stephen Thomas Ltd. has appointed Maytal Kowalski as its director, digital strategy. “Like never before, we’re seeing non-profit organizations of all sizes embracing digital channels to meet their fundraising and marketing objectives, which has created both a greater need and a huge opportunity to apply higher-level strategic thinking to the programs we develop for our clients,” said Liz Attfield, ST’s vice-president, strategic services. Maytal has 10 years of experience leading strategic digital campaigns for non-profits including The Second City, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and the Al Green Theatre in Toronto.

BMO has begun running a new Canadian campaign starring New Girl actor Lamorne Morris. The FCB Canada campaign was first introduced in the U.S. in late March, with Morris playing a BMO employee behind a help desk who shows up in unconventional settings. The first Canadian execution shows a couple out for dinner to celebrate multiple special occasions all at once because they can only redeem their cash rewards once a year. Morris explains they won’t have that problem with BMO. “At BMO, we’re committed to helping our customers on their terms, in a human and personal way. This work brings that idea to life,” said Jennifer Carli, BMO’s vice-president North American brand and enterprise content.

RBC has introduced a new wave of TV and digital ads in its ongoing campaign starring actor Jay Baruchel. The new ads from BBDO Canada range from six to 30 seconds in length and promote a variety of RBC services, including NOMI and debit card lock. RBC has also introduced a French-language component to the campaign, featuring Quebec personality Marie-Soleil Dion. The campaign shows both Baruchel and Dion in everyday situations that highlight the various RBC solutions.

Sobeys has unveiled the branding for its still-in-development grocery delivery service, Voilà by Sobeys, with the tagline: “Your groceries delivered. Just like that.” Sobeys is working with British firm Ocado to build a highly automated grocery deliver system complete with robot powered warehouses for order fulfillment (see the video below). The first warehouse is being built north of Toronto, with the service slated to launch next spring. “We are building the most advanced e-commerce infrastructure in Canada,” said Sarah Joyce, SVP, E-commerce for Sobeys parent, Empire. “While most players in the industry are focused on store pick models to fulfill their online orders, we are building automated warehouses specifically designed for best-in-class home delivery.”

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Donna Finelli

Sporting goods retailer Source for Sports has appointed Donna Finelli as chief marketing officer, responsible for both its Canadian and U.S. marketing efforts. Finelli has more than 25 years of marketing experience, with “extensive” experience in both product and service launches. Her career has included stops at Cossette, McDonald’s Canada, Mattel, SC Johnson, Tim Hortons and Boston Pizza International Inc. “Donna is an amazingly accomplished marketer,” says Brad Hause, Source For Sports’ President. “[Her] experience leading some of Canada’s largest brands, combined with the skills she has honed working for both agencies and industry-leading corporations, will bring a wealth of knowledge to our plans to obsess about our customers and increase market visibility across Canada and the U.S.”

David Brown