The Really Brief — Week of July 8

July 11

The Toronto office of Huge has made two key hires as it launches new non-traditional creative services within the agency. Maria Pereda joins as group experience director to launch the conversational design practice, focusing on “design without interface” (eg: chatbots, Alexa skills and Google Actions). Darrin Patey will oversee Huge’s “Garage” program to test and teach new technologies like mixed and augmented reality, as well as IoT, 3-D printing and prototyping for the physical product design practice.

“Maria brings a level of global experience and strong user-first point of view to our UX team and Darrin has that rare technical leadership combination of being able to play in the platform conversation as well as the makerspace,” said Huge managing director Matt Di Paola.

Calgary agency Clearmotive is expanding in Toronto. It has added six new staff in recent weeks (raising the headcount to 12) and is moving into new offices in the city’s Liberty Village area. Among the most recent additions are Sean Mayers (account director), Kyle Woods (copywriter), Lauren Bialas (production manager) and April Moskal (graphic and digital production designer).

Clearmotive emphasizes its ability to work with external experts to provide the best, most efficient solutions for clients. “Our goal is to be able to efficiently assemble customized teams comprising both in-house and external subject matter experts, to meet the unique needs of each  brand we serve,” said Cam Finlayson, who joined Clearmotive as its Toronto managing director late last year.

July 10

Hendrick’s Gin is taking one of its inflatable brand activations to Vancouver for the Honda Celebration of Light Aug. 2 and 3. According to a very whimsical press release, consumers can win tickets for a ride in the 65-foot tall hot air balloon which will be tethered to the Vancouver Art Gallery.

The balloon, dubbed A.W.E.V.A.N.A.I.R (Amazing, Whimsical, Enchanting, Voyaging, Astounding, Nocturnal, Ascending, Interstellar, Roamer), will float to an altitude of “44 ½ cucumbers into the skies of Vancouver.” We’re not sure how high that is, but we’re guessing about four storeys if you use a standard 10 cucumbers-in-a-storey conversion guide.

BMW is hosting a two-day festival dedicated to its BMW M vehicles east of Toronto this weekend.

Taking place at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, BMW is offering on and off-track experiences, food and concerts by Serena Ryder and Dear Rouge. It’s the first time BMW has hosted the festival in North America.

July 9 

Paula Festas is the new president of Toronto-based digital marketing consultancy Dandelion Inc., a Google Marketing Platform Partner, working with the likes of Lowe’s, Great-West Life, Bensimon Byrne, La Vie en Rose, The Globe and Mail and The Score. Festas was most recently chief revenue officer at Postmedia, and before that held senior roles with Pelmorex, Yahoo and CBC.

“Her track record of success building fast-growing businesses combined with her disciplined approach and strong leadership is a perfect fit for our team,” said Dandelion CEO Brad Kreiger.

Global events planning company MCI Group Canada recently made two senior appointments. Michel Bourdon was hired as director of business development in its Montreal office. Bourdon spent more than seven years as vice president of sales and conventions services for Tourism Montreal.

Meanwhile, Natasha Hilliard has been promoted to director, institutional division, in MCI’s Vancouver office. Hilliard has more than 20 years of experience in the hotel and professional conference management industry, including 10 years with Starwood Hotels and Resorts across Canada. She joined MCI Group Canada in 2007.

July 8

Weston Foods’ bread brand Country Harvest is seeking to make the term “breadwinner” gender neutral with a new campaign titled #AllBreadwinners. To support the campaign, Country Harvest conducted a survey which found that 60% of Canadians think of the term “breadwinner” as masculine, while 25% of single men think women should be responsible for the majority of childcare.

Aside from video and social content highlighting key stats from the survey, Country Harvest has partnered with iHeartRadio for a podcast series featuring Canadians sharing their experiences as non-traditional breadwinners. Participants include the first black female stunt co-ordinator in Canada, and a start-up executive and mom.

Arrive Alive Drive Sober, an Ontario non-profit dedicated to eradicating impaired driving, has introduced a new radio campaign (pictured) featuring actors who are all legally drunk, yet show no outward signs of impairment.

The campaign from Rethink is intended to demonstrate that while people who have consumed more than the legal limit of alcohol might act and feel sober, they are still legally drunk. It is built around three radio spots: “Cheers,” “I Love You Man” and “Tongue-Twister.”

In “Tongue Twister,” a woman who consumed four glasses of wine prior to recording effortlessly rhymes off the tongue twister “She sells sea shells by the sea shore” and “Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers,” before concluding with another: “I’m totally fine to drive man. Trust me.”

Daniel Drexler Klick Health - 7-2019Klick Health has hired Daniel Dexter as managing director. Aside from having a medical degree, Drexler has spent more than 15 years in health marketing, most recently as founder and CEO of WPP’s “The Neighborhood” which was created to service Johnson & Johnson.

“Dan is a natural fit for Klick with his combined medical and business backgrounds, his passion for technology, and his empathetic yet driven disposition,” said Klick president Lori Grant. Drexler’s appointment follows the recent additions of former FCB creative Rich Levy as chief creative officer, and MDC media and marketing executive Dave Leitner as senior vice-president of media.


David Brown