The Really Brief – Week of June 17

June 18

Basketball is kind of a big deal in Canada right now, so it’s probably no coincidence that RBC announced on Wednesday that it has signed up-and-coming Canadian hoops star R.J. Barrett as one of its Team RBC ambassadors.

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The Toronto-born, Mississauga-raised Barrett, 19, was recently described by Sports Illustrated as “arguably the most heralded basketball prospect in the history of Canadian hoops,” and is projected to be among the top five picks in this year’s NBA draft.

According to RBC, he will help raise awareness about the importance of sport and financial literacy, and mentor the next generation through programs like RBC Future Launch and RBC Training Ground.

Barrett’s family has a long association with RBC. His father Rowan, an Olympian and current general manager of the Canadian senior men’s basketball team, was an RBC branch manager for three years, while his mother Kesha was a customer service representative.

Screen shot 2019-06-18 at 5.52.01 PM.pngWorld Vision Canada is marking World Refugee Day with a photo exhibit by Game of Thrones actor Liam Cunningham at Toronto’s Union Station.

Running through June 20, the exhibit features a series of photos taken by Cunningham during his travels with World Vision to meet refugees impacted by the civil war in South Sudan.

The program, “Untold: Behind the Headlines,” also features a virtual and augmented reality component that enables visitors to experience child-friendly spaces for refugee children.

The relief, development and advocacy organization says conflict and persecution has forced an estimated 68.5 million people around the world from their homes, with 44,000 people a day forced to flee.

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GE Appliances Canada has unveiled a new Facebook AR filter that allows Canadians to get a sense of how its Café appliances would look in their kitchen.

Developed by GE’s digital agency, No Fixed Address, the filter—a Canadian exclusive—can be accessed via the mobile app’s camera function.

Users simply hold the phone up to their current refrigerator, stove or dishwasher to get a sense of how a Café product would look in its place. Users can explore Café’s matte white and black finishes and customizable hardware to get a sense of how the products will look. The resulting image can be saved as either a photo or video.

“We launched Café in March to bring bespoke design into the kitchen,” said Bob Park, chief of brands for GE Appliances Canada, in a release. “But we know that having more options can make it that much harder to choose the perfect product for your space. This new Facebook AR filter is designed to help make the decision easier for Canadians, allowing them to truly picture our products—in all configurations—in their own kitchen.”

Here’s some fun (guy) new work from Rethink for IKEA Canada, an Instagram post promoting a $9.99 houseplant it describes as a “Houswarming gift for champions.”

The ad is a reference to Toronto’s “Plant Guy,” who became an internet meme after he was spotted carrying a giant uprooted plant—which he dubbed a “Kawhactus”—in the aftermath of the Toronto Raptors’ NBA championship last week. Asked why he was carrying it, the man told reporters that it was a housewarming gift for Raptors star Kawhi Leonard.

We asked Rethink’s partner and creative director Aaron Starkman to comment,and his response was Kawhi-like in its brevity and to-the-pointedness: “You see that drunk guy with the plant ? Let’s go Raptors!!”

“Plant Guy” was captured on video handing off a (smaller) plant to Leonard during the Raptors’ victory parade on Monday. Here’s hoping the superstar doesn’t make like a tree and… well, you know.

June 17

McDonald’s Canada has introduced a new augmented reality experience to mark the arrival of its McDelivery service on the Uber Eats and Skip the Dishes delivery services.

Developed by McDonald’s agency Cossette in partnership with Snapchat, the “golden door” activation invites consumers in Vancouver, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Calgary, Toronto and Halifax to scan out-of-home ads using the Snapchat app on their phone.

Scanning the ad unlocks a 3D version of the golden door on their phone, accompanied by a “McDelivery knock” that mimics the QSR’s “ba-da-ba-ba-ba” jingle. It also unlocks a $5 off coupon.

According to Cossette, it is the first time Snapchat’s marker tech lens has been used for couponing by a Canadian brand through an out of home ad. The activation is part of an integrated campaign that also includes TV and social digital video (see the spot below).

“McDonald’s Canada is a trailblazer when it comes to leveraging digital technology and this is just the latest example of their willingness to take creative risks,”  said Jordan Cohen, creative director at Cossette, in a release.

Screen Shot 2019-06-17 at 8.00.24 PM.pngKFC has partnered with Chicken Farmers of Canada to introduce the organization’s “Raised by a Canadian Farmer” seal on its its products. The seal is awarded to restaurants and grocery retailers that source chicken raised to established standards of quality and care.

KFC will begin rolling out the seal on its packaging and in-store signage at locations across Canada, as well as its social media pages and website.

In addition to stating where the chicken comes from, the seal also represents three standards: Animal care (ensuring chickens’ health and welfare), on-farm food safety (emphasizing cleanliness, safety and bio-security) and sustainability (committing to sustainability efforts and farmland preservation).

Chicken Farmers of Canada introduced the “Raised by a Canadian Farmer” brand in 2013 to showcase its 2,800 members’ commitment to providing chicken raised with the highest standards of care, quality and freshness.

Toronto PR agency Craft Public Relations has been named PR agency of record for the 2019 edition of Royal Agricultural Winter Fair following a competitive review. Craft will be responsible for media relations and influencer outreach for the world’s largest indoor agricultural event, including managing the media accreditation process and providing on-site staffing.

“The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair is a quintessential Toronto experience, and a uniquely Canadian masterpiece, ” said Craft president Lisa Pasquin in a release. “From the majesty of the horse show to the spectacle of the agricultural competitions, to the
gastronomic adventures of the Culinary Academy, there are endless stories to be told from the floor of The Royal. We are so proud and excited to be able to play a role in getting those stories heard.”

Founded in 2015, Craft has grown to 12 employees and boasts a client roster including Nintendo of Canada, Moosehead Breweries, Second Cup and Arterra Wines Canada. It also recently picked up new assignments from Monogram Appliances and OkCupid, and was honoured as 2019 Small Agency of the Year by IABC Toronto.

Screen Shot 2019-06-17 at 8.22.38 PM.pngKitchener-based Brick Brewing Company has changed its name to Waterloo Brewing Ltd., a name it says is better aligned with the Waterloo brand name under which it has been brewing and marketing its craft beers for 35 years.

“This is an extraordinary company, with a truly remarkable history,” said Waterloo Brewing president and CEO George Croft in a release. “We are a company of pioneers, led in the critical early years by our founder Jim Brickman. It is incredible to think that in the early 80’s there were only ten licensed brewers in all of Canada and no such thing as a craft brewer.”

Croft said that the name change signifies a “new chapter” in the company’s history which cements the company’s commitment to both its hometown and the Region of Waterloo.

Brick Brewing Company was established in 1984, and was the first craft brewer in Ontario. Today, there are more than 270 craft brewers operating throughout the province.

Chris Powell