The Really Brief — Week of Oct. 15

October 18

Research firm Leger Marketing recently announced its 10th acquisition, the western Canada-based survey and market research company National Research Group (NRG). NRG chairman and CEO Brian Owen will join Leger’s board of directors and act as an advisor.

NRG has offices in Vancouver, Calgary and Winnipeg. The purchase makes Leger the largest Canadian-owned polling, market research and analytics company, with 600 employees. Leger said that the purchase doubles its operational capabilities and adds thousands of Western Canadian panelists to its LEO panel of more than 400,000 people.

October 17

Aside from becoming an NBA champion, Fred VanVleet has also become a very popular brand spokesperson, doing work for Roots, Axe, SickKids Foundation and now American Express, helping launch the new Business Edge Card designed for entrepreneurs.

The card gives business owners three times the points on business purchases like office supplies and electronics, rides and gas. The marketing campaign is built around digital, social and influencer content focusing on 40 business owners including VanVleet—who runs his own clothing line, FVV. VanVleet stars in a series of video ads focused on his entrepreneurial life off the court.

“At its core, both the new card and the campaign recognize and celebrate what makes business owners unique,” said David Barnes, vice-president of advertising and communications, American Express Canada, in a release. “That’s why we chose to put a spotlight on real stories from real entrepreneurs, showcasing their unique business journeys and those who have backed them along the way.”

Burger King has introduced a suitably irreverent Halloween-themed promotion promoting a “totally unreal” menu item called Ghost Nuggets.

Pre-roll ads, social video and banner ads from Toronto’s OneMethod tout the QSR’s current “10 chicken nuggets for $2.99” deal with the promise of “bonus” ghost nuggets. All of the creative pushes to a dedicated website, We can only assume the ghost nuggets came from the (kinda famous) Highgate Chicken Ghost.

October 16

Ogilvy has hired Tom Kenny (right) as chief strategy officer for Ogilvy Canada, reporting to CEO John Killam (left). Kenny joins from BBDO Toronto, where he was senior vice-president of strategy, and has worked on brands including P&G, Right to Play, PepsiCo, Paralympics, and Ontario Lottery & Gaming.

“This is an important executive-level position for Ogilvy. Tom is an ambidextrous strategy leader whose range of experience and expertise will be a tremendous asset as we continue to expand the reach of our offering in Canada,” said Killam.

Cossette has named Daniel Shearer (right) president of Ontario and West, and Louis Duchesne (left) as president, Quebec and East. Both had previously held executive VP and general manager titles.

“We’re creating presidencies to adapt our structure to our rapid growth of the past three years,” said Mélanie Dunn, chief executive officer at Cossette. “Daniel and Louis have played key roles throughout one of the biggest growth periods in Cossette history. Their experience and accomplishments put them in an ideal position to help me lead our team as we continue our agency’s evolution.”


Jackman Reinvents has made several additions to its leadership team through hires and promotions. Recently joining the agency are Brett Donald as VP, strategy activation and Keefe Lee as VP, digital activation. Meanwhile, Bev Vaters has been promoted to VP, creative studio, to lead strategic design and thought leadership for the agency, while Mike Kasprow has been promoted to VP, communications practice.

October 15

Screen Shot 2019-10-15 at 10.54.50 AM.pngMucho Burrito is marking the return of its Ghost Pepper Burrito with a new TV, online video and social campaign from Arrivals + Departures. It is the agency’s first work for the chain since winning the assignment in July.

The ad opens on a headstone for “Spicy Spencer,” before a fast pullout reveals hundreds of headstones—each marking an individual taste bud “killed” by the Ghost Pepper Burrito (that’s actor Michael Chan with one of the best facial expressions in recent memory).

In-store creative directs people who are unable to “handle the heat” to nearby rival chains like Wendy’s and KFC to try their “spicy” offering. The campaign launched Oct. 7 and runs through Dec. 26, with media from cairns oneil.

Shaw Communications has partnered with Rethink on a new content series called Dinner Debates, featuring Canadian actors, athletes and other personalities participating in a device-free discussion about topics such as love, food, social, comedy and e-sports.

The online series is supporting Shaw’s BlueCurve Home app, which launched earlier this year and promises “smarter wi-fi” by allowing users to manage how and when individual devices can connect to a network. The approximately four-minute segments are running on Shaw’s YouTube, Facebook Watch and IGTV channels.

Dentsu Aegis Network Canada has launched the network’s global education initiative The Code. Aimed at getting more students career ready, The Code is an acronym for fostering Creativity, identifying Opportunities for future talent, encouraging Diversity and promoting Empowerment.

It was created in response to Dentsu Aegis Network’s Digital Society Index, which showed that people are increasingly concerned about the impact of digitization on future jobs and worry about lacking the digital skills required to succeed.

Canada is the fourth market for The Code, with 80 students from Toronto and Vancouver participating in workshops running throughout the month.

Dentsu Aegis Network’s goal is to improve the digital skills of more than 100,000 young people, engage 50% of its network in volunteering, and foster a more diverse workforce in local markets.





Chris Powell