The Really Brief — Week of July 2

July 5

Kids Help Phone has selected Republic as its agency of record, responsible for strategic consulting, brand repositioning and platform definition, as well as the rollout of a national fundraising campaign. Republic and its Gen Z focused offshoot Zed will work with the organization, which has a stated goal of reaching 3.5 million young people by 2022.

The organization worked with the ICA on the six-week search process, using its Qualifications Based Search process including an RFQ using case studies illustrating capabilities and cultural fit. “We are excited to be working with a partner who we know will help us accelerate on our journey to be there for every young person in Canada, no matter how or why they need to reach out.” said Kids Help Phone president and CEO Katherine Hay, in a release.

Giants & Gentlemen has selected PUSH as its in-house media partner, the culmination of a more than two-year search by co-founder Gino Cantalini and his chief creative officer partners Alanna Nathanson and Natalie Armata.

“We knew we wanted to have expert media services in-house in order to expand our offerings, so we had many meetings with other potential media partners,” said Cantalini, in a release. “Many were very good, but none came close to the very obvious fit for PUSH and G&G. We share the same values, similar goals, and each needed the services of the other to get there.”

G&G began working with PUSH after winning the AOR assignment for Global Pet Foods, where PUSH is media AOR.

Weber Shandwick Canada has made four senior hires spanning data and analytics, creative, integrated media and project management.

The hires are Jamie Hong as director of data and analytics, with a mandate to enhance data workflows, training and implementation for the agency’s clients; Sara Cook as the agency’s first-ever vice-president of integrated project management, tasked with evolving and operationalizing a new process model for clients with integrated mandates; Deane Code as director of integrated media, with a mandate to lead and expand its programs with media and influencers; and Erik dela Cruz as associate creative director, with a goal of expanding the creative team’s copywriting and art direction capabilities.


July 3

Hudson’s Bay has just released a new iOS mobile app with a number of features that reflect the blurring of online and in-store shopping experiences. Shoppers using the new app can scan product barcodes to get detailed product descriptions, purchase in-store for home delivery and track shipments.

“With mobile now exceeding desktop shoppers on, the new app is fast, effective, and adds value, ultimately evolving our digital experience,” said Adam Powell, vice-president of eCommerce for Hudson’s Bay. “In developing, we honed in on what would help make the Hudson’s Bay shopping experience easier and more engaging, from start to finish, both online and in stores.”


Labatt Breweries is bringing back its Bud Light House Party Tour with big name recording artists performing to small crowds in a house, but broadcast online. The tour kicks off in Toronto July 18 with 2Chainz, followed by an August performance in Montreal by Alison Wonderland, and concluding with a Sam Hunt show in Calgary in September. Labatt launched the House Party Tour last year (see video below).

“People are used to seeing headlining artists perform in massive venues, but a performance by your favourite artist at a house party is rare and unforgettable,” said Todd Allen, vice-preisdent of marketing for Labatt Breweries of Canada. Fans can win tickets to the concert of watch via livestream. Bud Light says it is upgrading the livestreaming experience from last year, “using new methods to interact with audiences including giving viewers watching at home a chance to impact the party, vote for their favourite song and more.”

Danone has selected Taxi as the creative and strategy agency for its Silk portfolio of plant-based products. Led by the agency’s Montreal office, the assignment will include a new brand platform and product launches this year.

“With plant-based products, we’re witnessing one of the most significant changes in our diets in hundreds of years, so of course we’re excited to partner with Silk in driving this revolution in Canada,” said Emma Toth, general manager at Taxi Montréal.

The Art Gallery of Ontario has chosen National Public Relations as its public relations AOR following a review. National will handle strategic communications, media and influencer relations, and general communications team support.

“This is a great example of how our newly integrated digital, marketing and technology practice is working to offer our clients our best teams approach to strategic thinking and quality execution,” said Rick Murray, managing partner, National Toronto.

Long time Canadian comfort food Kraft Dinner is working on a collaboration with Smoke’s Poutinerie that will see three Kraft Dinner poutine options served at Smokes for one day: KD bacon mac ‘n’ cheese, KD mac ‘n’ cheeseburger and KD buffalo mac ‘n’ cheese.

The partnership began with a June 24 tweet from KD calling for KDPoutine to be named Canada’s national dish. That was followed by another tweet just before the long weekend asking Canadians to vote on which flavour they preferred. On Tuesday, Kraft Dinner revealed that all three options would be available at Smokes on July 15.

Lg2 has just introduced a new brand overhaul for cider in Quebec, where the drink has remained less popular than the rest of Canada. “Cider has long been considered a marginal alcohol,” said Catherine St-George, executive director for Producteurs de cidre du Québec. “With this new brand image, we embrace this perception, and even use it to our advantage.”

The bright and cheerful brand platform is build around a logo the agency calls “classic and timeless” with playful graphics that “always seem just slightly… off.” Imagery was developed to represent five main categories of cider: still/flat, effervescent, fire, ice and rosé.


Hill+Knowlton Strategies has hired Isaac Ransom as an account director. Ransom previously worked for former Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, and held other senior political roles at the City of Toronto. He also brings experience as a political campaign manager and special assistant to a federal cabinet minister. Most recently, Ransom worked with the issues and crisis management firm Socom Strategic Outcomes in Australia.

“With his deeply rooted municipal affairs, issues and crisis, and engagement experience, he’ll bring a unique mix of public affairs and communication experience to our clients,” said Elizabeth Roscoe, senior vice-president and national lead of public affairs at H+K Canada.

KFC Canada is joining a growing list of Canadian businesses pledging to eliminate single-use plastics. The chicken chain announced Tuesday that it would phase out plastic bags and straws by October, effectively removing 50 million plastic straws and 10 million plastic bags from its restaurants.

Earlier this year, KFC Canada joined KFC operations around the world in stating that all of its plastic-based consumer-facing packaging will be either recoverable or reusable by 2025.

“KFC Canada believes in feeding people, not landfills. Reducing the volume of single use plastic within our restaurants ensures we are continuing to lessen our environmental footprint,” said KFC’s president and general manager Nivera Wallani, in a release.


David Brown