The Really Brief—Week of October 21

October 25

The Period Purse, an organization working to provide free access to menstrual products and eliminate the stigma surrounding menstruation, has introduced a new campaign from Doug & Partners called “Say the word.”

Created in association with production company OPC and the directing team Michael and Ella, the campaign features online videos depicting routine scenarios—a dad helping his son with his homework, a plumber meeting with a customer and a weatherman delivering the next day’s forecast—in which the word “period” is repeatedly substituted for the words people would expect to hear in that situation.

The campaign is being deployed across social media channels, while a collection of custom GIFs is available through the hashtag #SayTheWordPeriod.

Egale Canada, which works to improve the lives of LGBTQ+ people, has launched a new program called “#GetHerOnEllen” aimed at raising awareness of LGBTQ+ seniors who face discrimination, social isolation and fear of being forced back into the closet.

Created by Juniper Park\TWBA and its in-house production company BOLT Content, the program profiles 88-year-old Canadian drag queen Michelle DuBarry (AKA Russell Alldread) and her dream of meeting daytime talk show host Ellen DeGeneres to give voice to the issues faced by LGBTQ+ seniors. Campaign elements include out-of-home, digital, social and online video.

According to data from Egale, 52% of LGBTQ+ seniors fear being forced back into the close in residential care, while 53% feel isolated and 40% have not disclosed their sexual orientation or gender identity to their primary healthcare provider because they fear discrimination.

Burlington, Ont. agency Swerve has been named the public relations and influencer AOR for the global breastfeeding products and education business Medela.

“Their capabilities in public relations and influencer marketing and their expertise in reaching and successfully communicating brand narratives to our target market, make them the perfect partner for Medela,” said Ileana Ibbett, director of marketing at Medela Canada.

Canadian homeware designer Umbra has hired boutique agency Unbound Production as its in-house creative agency, handling strategic planning, content production, graphic design, internal marketing workflows and process. Founded by Natasha Aquin, Unbound Productions is a creative studio based in Toronto.

“I am proud of the reputation that Umbra has built over the years with our products but we have had a frustrating history of both agency and in-house marketing communicating who we really are to our customers,” said Umbra founder Les Mandelbaum in a release. “I was wary when Natasha first approached me, but was impressed by her confidence, work ethic and brand understanding to give Unbound a chance. Not only have they exceeded my expectations but have been embraced by our team.”

October 24

Longtime CBC/Radio-Canada sales executive Jean Mongeau is leaving the company. The broadcaster announced today that he will step down from his current role as general manager and chief revenue officer of its Media Solutions Group on Feb. 24.

Mongeau has spent more than 40 years in media sales, his career bookended by stints with the public broadcaster.

He spent 15 years with the broadcaster’s sales and marketing department from 1980 to 1995, returning in 2009 as general manager of sales and marketing. He became general manager of the Revenue Group in 2011, and was appointed to his current position three years later. In this role, he oversaw the merger of CBC/Radio-Canada’s advertising sales and distribution operations.

Mongeau said in a release that he has one wish for the broadcast industry: “I hope to see it accelerate the paradigm shift that will take us from utility to creativity, as we join forces to take on the digital giants. We need to turn words into action. We need to embrace the global market to remain competitive and ensure the success of all domestic players.”

October 23

Sobeys is testing a new Smart Cart that scans and weighs products as they are put in the cart and provides a running tally so customers can pay without lining up at a checkout. The grocery retailer said this functionality is just the start. With A.I. and machine learning, the carts will be able to help navigate the store, provide product suggestions and highlight promotions.

Made by New York firm Caper, the carts also have high-resolution cameras capable of capturing 120 frames per second, as well as sensitive weight measures. People will eventually just place items in the cart without scanning, and the cart will determine what it is and how much it weighs.

“This is a unique way for us to test innovative new technologies aimed at enhancing the customer shopping experience and learn how best to make it faster and easier,” said Mathieu Lacoursiere, vice-president, retail support at Sobeys Inc. “The carts will also give our in-store teammates more time to interact with customers and answer questions about food and new products.”

Young Timbit hockey players tell NHL superstars Sidney Crosby and Nathan MacKinnon that puppies, donuts and farting goalie pads could make hockey more fun in a new Tim Hortons ad released Wednesday. The ad was inspired by data showing that 67% of parents think youth sports are too serious.

“Sid and Nate are two of the best players in hockey today, and we’re happy to have played a part in this through Timbits Hockey,” said Paloma Azulay, CMO, Tim Hortons. “When we make sports fun, kids continue to play and don’t just excel, but can achieve their dreams. We are incredibly proud of our local restaurant owners across Canada who are helping kids do just that every year.”

October 22

Canadian custom apparel brand Indochino has partnered with Toronto-born NBA star R.J. Barrett on a new clothing collection.

The New York Knicks rookie, the third overall selection in the June NBA draft, chose each of the six fabrics and two linings for the R.J. Barrett Collection which will be available online and in Indochino locations beginning Oct. 24.

As Indochino’s first NBA brand ambassador, Barrett will wear its suits throughout the season and to a number of high-profile events. Barrett has previously signed multi-year endorsement deals with Puma and RBC.

Zulu Alpha Kilo has made two senior hires, appointing Maxine Thomas as group strategy director and Ola Stodulska to the newly created position of director of integrated production.

Most recently an independent consultant, Thomas has also worked at Rethink. She also spent 16 years at Taxi as a partner and head of strategy—working alongside ZAK founder and chief creative officer Zak Mroueh on clients including Canadian Tire, WestJet and Viagra.

Stodulska joined ZAK as a producer in 2013, subsequently becoming director of digital production, working on notable projects including the ParticipACTION Canada 150 web app and the CAMH web amalgamation project.

October 21

Nissan Canada is giving away reflective stickers at dealerships across the country to help make kids safer on Halloween night. Called Glow Guards, and developed with Juniper Park\TBWA, the stickers can be applied directly to any costume. They reflect car headlights and make young trick-or-treaters more visible to drivers.

“When it comes to road safety, Nissan believes in a mindful and holistic approach that helps to promote road safety for all,” said Steve Rhind, director of marketing Nissan Canada. “It’s why we’re putting our focus on proactive safety measures that will help trick-or-treaters and drivers alike.”

Christine Saunders has been promoted to president of Starcom. The move follows the promotion of previous president Alastair Taylor to CEO for Publicis Media in Canada. Saunders has a long history with Starcom, but more recently had been working across Publicis’s three media brands: Starcom, Spark Foundry and Zenith. “The biggest change is I can really focus on the one brand versus across all three,” she said.

“Christine has been an absolute key player as we have re-energized Starcom and Spark Foundry,” said Taylor. “She has always been a Starcommer at heart and was the absolute obvious choice when I started to think about succession planning.”

For it’s new Age of You exhibition, Toronto’s Museum of Contemporary Art has created a giant “thinking” emoji that is making appearances around the city. The exhibition is described as being about “how the self has become more extreme, and what it means to be an individual today.” In other words, an exhibition that makes you go hmm.

Leo Burnett created a giant modern-day version of The Thinker, which made an appearance at Toronto’s Distillery District on the weekend and will be in Yorkville on Tuesday.

“Our lives exist in both the real and online worlds which are commodified into data—a resource everyone is competing for,” said Rachel Hilton, managing director, Museum of Contemporary Art. “The Thinking Emoji is meant to give visitors pause about their place in the digital world.”


David Brown