The Really Brief — Week of June 10

June 14

We first showed the Ontario Government‘s striking concussion awareness ad last week, but now comes more information. “The Risk” is an awareness campaign for the concussion safety bill Rowan’s Law, which includes removal and return-to-sport protocols for players who might have sustained a concussion. It’s named after Rowan Stringer, a high school rugby player who died at age 17 after sustaining multiple concussions.

The English and French campaign was created by Rethink, one of the Ontario Government’s roster agencies, which won the Rowan’s Law assignment via an RFP. The ad mimics a big-budget sports spot, showing a female soccer player shrugging off repeated blows and knocks before the cumulative effect of her injuries causes her to collapse. As she tumbles to the ground, the super “Don’t risk everything” appears.

In addition to :30 and :60 second spots, the campaign includes a design that can be incorporated into team jerseys. The logo features a representation of a stop sign divided into the two hemispheres of the human brain.

“Perceptions around sport and athletes need to change, and hopefully this campaign can be a catalyst for that,” said Sarah Riedlinger, account director with Rethink.

June 13

With a large percentage of Canada currently obsessing over the Toronto Raptors, marketers have been coming up with all kinds of ways to connect with consumers by showing their support for what has become “Canada’s Team.”

Toronto branding and design studio Art & Mechanical, meanwhile, had some designer-y fun by imagining who we could have been cheering for tonight had one of the other team names considered back in 1994 been chosen instead. The studio came up with complete brand identities for four different team names: Tarantulas, Scorpions, Beavers and Terriers.

“We have a lot of Raptors fans at A&M, and we were chatting about what could have been had the popularity of [the movie] Jurassic Park not driven fan interest at the time,” said Adam Zollis, A&M’s partner and managing director. “We use internal projects like these to explore brand design without outside influence, and honestly just to have some fun. It’s a chance for designers to be a bit selfish and pursue things they like or find interesting given the brief.”

Brands like Baskin Robbins and Coca Cola are getting ready for the new season of the hit Netflix show Stranger Things, and now Burger King has come out with its own promotion tied to the show. Displaying the wry humour BK has become famous for in the last few years, the Upside Down Whopper is a Whopper just like any other, but upside down. The Upside Down is an alternate reality that is central to the Stranger Things plot. The Upside Down Whoppers will be served in a handful of U.S. cities, complete with retro packaging from the mid-80s, the show’s time period.

June 12

Loblaw Companies Ltd. is introducing Flashfood—an app-based service that enables people to purchase food items nearing expiration at up to 50% off—to its stores across the country. Loblaw first introduced Flashfood at 139 Maxi and Provigo stores in Quebec. It lets users buy the food items—including meat, produce, bakery items, dairy products and non-perishable food items—directly on the app, then pick up their items in a designated Flashfood zone in store.

“Reducing food waste is not only important to us as a retailer, but to our customers as well,” said Sharla Paraskevopoulos, senior vice-president, store operations for Loblaws, Zehrs and Atlantic Superstore. “We know that we need to continue finding new ways to innovate, the Flashfood app is just one example of how we are pushing ourselves to further reduce the environmental impact of our store operations.”

Zulu Alpha Kilo has promoted CDs Catherine Allen, Ian Simpson, Gerald Kugler and Rodger Eyre to group creative directors. Allen and Simpson have been working on Bell since joining Zulu in November 2015, and most recently led the #UnravelHate campaign for Toronto-based clothing brand Peace Collective. Kugler and Eyre, who joined ZAK from Juniper Park/TBWA in September 2017, have led Tim Hortons creatively since early 2018. Their work includes The Away Game (Kenya Hockey) short-form content.

New York Fries recently concluded a poster campaign for its new premium hot dog aimed at helping it stand out from other food court fare. To play up the hot dog’s premium quality, long-time creative agency Juniper Park used iconography from some of the world’s most prestigious fashion brands—including Burberry and Louis Vuitton—to create the “Haute Dog” POS posters (two of the executions below). “I love the insight behind this work in regards to harnessing the premium legacy of the high-end brands around the food court to promote the quality of the hot dog,” said Neil Walker-Wells, creative director at Juniper Park\TBWA on the New York Fries account.

June 11

We know by now that plastic bags are bad for the environment, yet that hasn’t stopped Canadians from using an estimated 15 billion of them each year—most of which end up in landfill or oceans. Vancouver specialty grocer East West Market, though, is using a heretofore unexplored tactic for curbing their use: public humiliation. The grocer has introduced a series of plastic bags bearing the names of fictional businesses like “The Colon Care Co-op” and “Into the Weird Adult Video Emporium.” “We want to help customers remember their reusable bags in a way that will really stick with them,” East West Market owner David Lee Kwen told the Vancouver Courier.

Long time Toronto Raptors sponsor Tim Hortons just released a new video ad featuring well-known Raptors “superfan” Nav Bhatia. In the minute-long mini-documentary, from the ad agency Gut, (with production from Spy Films) Bhatia talks about his love for the team and how diversity makes Canada special. The ad is running on social channels. “Nav Bhatia embodies Tim Hortons brand values of inclusion and diversity, so no one better than him to share an inspiring message about this historic moment for Toronto Raptors and Canada,” said Paloma Azulay, global head of creative excellence at Tim Hortons.

June 10

The federal government announced today that it is working with business and governments to ban single-use plastics such as plastic bags, straws and stir sticks by 2021. Canadians throw away more than 3 million tonnes of plastic waste each year, and about one-third of the plastics used in the country are for single-use or short-lived products and packaging. About 15 billion plastic bags are used in Canada each year, while nearly 57 million plastic straws are used daily.

Several Canadian companies, including Desjardins, Air Canada and A&W, have undertaken efforts to eliminate single-use plastics this year.

Facebook Canada has introduced a series of ad transparency tools in advance of the upcoming federal election that it says will give people more information about the ads they see across Facebook and Instagram, while helping combat “foreign interference.” The social media giant says that the tools go “above and beyond” the requirements of Bill C-76, the Elections Modernization Act. Facebook now requires anyone wishing to run ads addressing social issues, elections or politics to confirm their identity and location in Canada and disclose who is responsible for the ad.

Advertisers can select themselves, a Facebook page they run or another organization to appear in the “paid for by” disclaimer. If a different page name or different organization is selected, advertisers must provide additional information such as a phone number, email, business address and website. Per Canadian election law, an “agent name” field will also be available.

Ads about social issues, elections or politics will be placed in Facebook’s Ad Library for seven years, enabling people to learn about the range of impressions and spend, as well as demographic information about people who saw the ad, such as age, gender and location. Facebook is defining social issues as:

  • Civil and social rights
  • Economy
  • Environmental politics
  • Health
  • Immigration
  • Political Values and Governance
  • Security and Foreign Policy


Chris Powell