The Really Brief — Week of August 5

August 9

Vancouver agency Wasserman + Partners has hired Victoria Gray (centre in photo) as head of strategic services, overseeing the team responsible for strategic planning and management of the agency’s accounts. Wasserman also promoted Antonella Frustaci (left) to director, connections, managing media planning and buying for the agency’s creative clients, as well as several media-only clients.

“Our focus is on solving business challenges and helping our clients achieve their goals through a deep understanding of their audiences,” said agency president Stefan Hawes. “Having talented and experienced people like Victoria and Antonella at the helm of their functions raises us to a new level in delivering on that mission.”

Danone Canada‘s Silk and So Delicious brands are both sampling their products at the Vegandale Food Drink Festival in Toronto this weekend. An estimated 20,000 people are expected to attend the event.

The Silk activation will showcase the brand’s product varieties, allowing visitors to customize its Silk Cultured Almond Yogurt Alternative products using fresh fruits and granola. The So Delicious booth will promote the frozen mousse dessert’s three flavours (Salted Caramel Swirl, Peanut Butter Swirl and Lemon Swirl) and feature a photo activation using the hashtag #MySoDeliciousMoment.

Danone has also partnered with a group of food and lifestyle influencers who will publish content on Instagram throughout the day. The company worked with experiential marketing firm Timecode Lab, social media marketing firm Carl and National Public Relations on the activation.

August 8

Montreal’s Aldo Group is phasing out single-use bags at its Aldo and Call it Spring banners, a move it says will eliminate 10 million single-use bags. The company will encourage customers to use the shoebox with a built-in rope handle that it first introduced more than a decade ago.

“The elimination of 10 million single-use bags is a major step in our long-term commitment to sustainability and is just one piece of the puzzle we are working on,” said Aldo Group CEO David Bensadoun, in a release.

Canadian Tire has acquired Party City‘s Canadian business in a $174.4 million deal. Canadian Tire will take over the party supply company’s 65 Canadian stores in seven provinces, while making its products available at its 500 stores and online at It is also adding the retailer to its Triangle Rewards program.

Canadian Tire says the transaction adds a “powerful” customer segment (millennials and families) as well as a “trip-driving” category. The average households hosts four parties or celebrations each year, according to Canadian Tire.

The company will expand Party City’s standalone store network, while also building store-in-store and pop-ups offerings. It says that it expects to double Party City’s sales to $280 million by 2021.

Leon’s is the latest retailer to experiment with a smaller store concept. The furniture chain’s new Coquitlam B.C. location is just 15,000 sq. ft., and uses technology to showcase the product selection available at its larger stores.

Technology includes touchscreen stations, mobile point-of-sale, and an 11-foot video wall to show products in actual size. “We want to combine the convenience of online shopping with the trusted assistance and customer service that Leon’s is known for,” said Leon’s divisional president, Mike Walsh.

A&W has partnered with Canadian soccer star Christine Sinclair for its 11th annual “Burgers to Beat MS” day on Aug. 22, with $2 from the sale of every A&W Teen Burger donated to the MS Society of Canada. 

Canadians can also support the initiative by rounding up their A&W bill, giving through in-restaurant donation mugs, or donating online at A&W hopes to raise $2 million this year, bringing the total for the initiative to more than $15 million.

More than 77,000 Canadians are currently living with MS and an average of 11 people are diagnosed each day. Sinclair’s mother was first diagnosed more than 30 years ago.

August 7

Screen shot 2019-08-07 at 10.19.53 AM.pngAdd Subway to the growing list of QSR chains adding plant-based options to their menu. The company has partnered with Beyond Meat to launch the Beyond Meatball Marinara sub in 685 restaurants in Canada and the U.S.

The sandwich, which follows Beyond Meat offerings from the likes of Tim Hortons and A&W, is catering to growing consumer interest in plant-based options. Plant-based burger orders at QSR locations increased by 10% (228 million) in the last year, according to The NPD Group.

“Subway appeals to so many fans because we truly offer something for everyone. Our guests want to feel good about what they eat and they also want to indulge in new flavours,” said Subway’s chief brand and innovation officer Len Van Popering, in a release.

August 6 

Screen shot 2019-08-06 at 3.14.29 PM.png

Clif Bar has launched a summer promotion called “Make it Good Adventure Trailers.”

The trailers will stop in Toronto and Vancouver, offering visitors tips on local urban adventures and activities in the area, as well as providing complimentary Clif Bars. Visitors to the trailer will also learn about the efforts being undertaken by the company to protect the places Canadians explore and play, including partnerships with The Great Trail and Protect Our Winters.

Clif Bar launched “Make it Good,” the first major marketing campaign in its 27-year history, in May. The campaign was intended to underscore its commitment to people and the planet.

“As a leading adventure brand in North America, we want to help remind Canadians that adventure isn’t just found at the top of a mountain or in the middle of the woods, it’s also right here in their own city and community,” said Clif Bar brand manager Aniefre Essien in a release.

Thanks to deals with Foodora and Uber Eats, 7-11 is offering delivery for a range of food and convenience store staples. The focus for the summer is on Slurpees, and what it’s calling the “Reverse Slurpee Run.” Rather than running to a 7-11 for an icy cold Slurpee, you can pay Uber Eats to have it delivered to you.

“We wanted to be accessible to everyone, without having to interrupt any of their activities. From late-night gaming, family movie nights or relaxing on the beach. We are conveniently bringing Slurpee and the rest of the store to our customers,” said Doug Rosencrans, vice-president and general manager of 7-Eleven Canada, in a release.

Here’s hoping if you order a Slurpee for delivery you don’t get one of the 28% of drivers who sample the food along the way.

While Tim Hortons has started serving burgers, McDonald’s continues to push hard for coffee customers. To increase its credibility with Canadian coffee fans, McDonald’s has just released a new ad about the ethical sourcing of its coffee beans. It follows a new partnership with the Rainforest Alliance to serve coffee made exclusively from 100% Rainforest Alliance Certified beans.

August 5

In the past few years, Toronto vs. Everybody T-shirts have become common around the city. However, the popular shirts left the team behind The Livelihood Project feeling uncomfortable—so they have produced a new shirt to deliver a different message: Toronto is for Everybody.

Based out of the Livelihood Café in Toronto’s Kensington Market, the Livelihood Project is dedicated to helping refugees and newcomers settle in the city. Most of its staff are from the refugee community, and are provided with training for careers beyond the café. The shirts are meant to deliver a more inclusive message than “Toronto vs. Everybody.” The new agency Zerotrillion created and executed the campaign for the Toronto is for Everybody shirts (below) with PR handled by Hype PR.

Of course, Peace Collective, the company behind vs. Everybody shirts, also has social purpose at its core—feeding hungry children with each item sold. It also created its own campaign for inclusivity earlier this year, turning MAGA hats into “Welcome To Canada” toques.

Andrea Anders is joining Pomp & Circumstance as senior vice-president. She was most recently with Faulhaber Communications, and before that worked with Citizen Relations.

“Andrea brings incredible experience and expertise after working at an impressive roster of some of the country’s best agencies. The addition of her on our team signals our commitment to culture, innovation and the continued pursuit of all that is grand,” said co-founder Lindsay Mattick. Pomp & Circumstance has added six accounts since spring: Mercedes Benz, Luminato, Earls, Toronto Public Library Foundation, Dresden, and MindFull Inc.

While the Ontario government is going with humour to deliver its latest don’t drive high message, Quebec’s SAAQ has taken a more serious tone with an unnerving depiction of how cannabis can affect your driving. The ad is by the Quebec office of lg2.

David Brown