The Really Brief — Week of August 26

August 30

Captain America, Iron Man, and Thor are arriving at Miniso. The lifestyle retailer—with roots in China and Japan—is introducing a line of Marvel superhero products including water bottles, pillows and stationary. The line is launching with a concept store at Miniso’s Vaughan Mills location in Toronto this weekend. Miniso has proven popular with millennials and expanded rapidly around the world, although it has struggled in Canada since arriving in 2017.

Huge has hired Caroline Murphy as vice-president of strategic growth. She’ll oversee communications and business development for the Canadian office, as well as providing strategic communications guidance to some of the agency’s top clients.

Murphy was most recently with McCann, leading national communications across the agency’s Canadian offices. She has also held senior management posts with Harbinger, Veritas and Mosaic. “Her diverse experience coupled with her respected business acumen and proven success at growing and maintaining top clients for leading agencies in Canada was without a doubt the right fit for Huge,” said Matt Di Paola, Huge Canada managing director.

Aug. 28


SiriusXM and Taxi are in market with a new ad campaign for the satellite radio network’s Top Comic competition. Wild postings play off the idea that great comedians can find the funny side of anything. “So we took that insight and broke it down into its most minimal form. It’s kind of like those Rorschach inkblot tests, but funny and less dark,” said Marc Levesque, associate creative director at Taxi. The minimalist design is courtesy of New York design studio Buck Design.

Reitmans fashion brand RW&Co has signed four Canadian-based NHLers to help promote its fall 2019 suits for men. The new brand ambassadors are Morgan Rielly (Toronto Maple Leafs), Mark Scheifele (Winnipeg Jets), Johnny Gaudreau (Calgary Flames), and Phillip Danault (Montreal Canadiens). The hockey stars have already posted to their social accounts.

Meanwhile, RW&Co has also signed its first female brand ambassadors: Olympian ice dancer Tessa Virtue, First Nations activist and Mrs. Universe Ashley Callingbull, and award-winning actress Karine Vanasse.

Aug. 27

Walmart Canada is getting a new CEO beginning in October. Horacio (Haio) Barbeito joined Walmart 25 years ago as a trainee buyer and was most recently CEO of Walmart Argentina and Chile. Current Walmart Canada CEO Lee Tappenden is leaving the company but will stay on through October to help Barbeito with the transition.

Screen shot 2019-08-27 at 10.13.50 AM.pngRedpath Sugar has introduced a line of premium sugars called Redpath Collection that it says provides a “premium experience” in terms of flavour, presentation, and craftsmanship. The products are packaged in resealable, stand-up zipper pouches.

The product line is launching with two types of sugar: Organic Granulated Sugar, which Redpath says has a delicate taste and can be used wherever people typically use traditional granulated sugar; and Simply Raw Turbinado Sugar, which provides a “mellow caramel flavour” to hot beverages and a “pleasing crunch as a topping on baked goods and yogurts.”

The launch is being supported by an online contest called “The Inspired by Redpath Contest”; sampling events around Toronto next month; as well as a series of recipes specifically designed to take advantage of the sugars’ unique properties.

The Liberal Party of Canada unveiled its re-election advertising campaign on Monday, a series of videos built around the slogan “Choose forward” in English and “Choisir d’avancer” in French.

A kick-off ad features Prime Minister Justin Trudeau riding public transit while talking about ways his government has tried to make changes for the country “in a world that has grown darker.” Meanwhile, he claims, the Conservatives want to “go back to the politics of the Harper years.” There is also a series of videos of people who the party says have a “personal connection to Canada’s progress since 2015.”

Weber Shandwick confirmed this week that it has been selected as PR agency of record for Best Buy following a competitive review. The agency has been working with the electronics retailer since March.

Weber Shandwick is leading both earned and paid strategy for Best Buy, with an emphasis on highlighting key distinctions such as the in-store experience, Blue Shirts and Geek Squad services.

“We chose Weber Shandwick because they understand the retail sector and have a passion for our business that is palpable,” said Polly Tracey, vice-president of communications for Best Buy Canada.

Screen shot 2019-08-26 at 8.35.46 PM.pngWhat in gourd’s name has come over North America’s coffee chains?

It’s not even Labour Day, and the annual tradition that is Pumpkin Spice madness is making its way to a retail outlet near you this week.

Last week, Starbucks announced the Aug. 27 debut of its fall menu mainstay, the Pumpkin Spice Latte. That followed the Aug. 21 launch of Dunkin Donuts’ pumpkin latte.

And here in Canada, Tim Hortons on Monday announced a line-up of pumpkin spice products that includes lattes, iced capps, Timbits, muffins and more. This year’s lineup, which debuts on Aug. 28, features eight items—with new additions including the $1.99 Cookie Dough Brownie (which features cookie dough topping), and the $2.39 Pumpkin Spice Tea Latte.

Toronto’s Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital has launched year three of its campaign calling on brands to include more disability in their advertising. People are being asked to visit for information about the effort to support the call for advertisers to cast people with disabilities “who make up 22% of Canadians.”

Brands listed as supporting the initiative include BMO and Toyota, while industry suppliers include Mann Casting, Jigsaw Casting, Vapor Music, Somplace Nice, JGC, Pirate Toronto and HeydSaffer. Communications for “Dear Everybody” are by Forsman & Bodenfors, and include a video (below) directed at advertisers.








David Brown