Ottawa agencies set for a showdown at second annual Rock Off event

A group of Ottawa advertising agencies will go head-to-head at the Rainbow Bistro blues club on Nov. 22., participating in the second annual 613 Rock Off—a battle-of-the-bands competition to raise money for the non-profit Girls+Rock Ottawa.

The organization uses musical programming to foster empowerment for girls, women, femmes, trans, non-binary, two-spirit and gender non-conforming community. Its flagship event is a three-day camp during which participants learn an instrument and give a live performance.


Conceived by McMillan writer Chris Campeau in 2018, this year’s Rock Off event will feature bands from six agencies: McMillan (The Grateful Deadlines), Mediaplus (Letraset), Syncopate Media (Sub Floor), Alphabet (The Alpha-Beats, last year’s winner), Banfield (Filthy Pink) and Salt (Los Grouchos). Each band will perform a 20-minute set.

“The name of the event is ‘Rock Off,’ but we encourage agencies to play whatever they want,” says Campeau. “If you just want to get up there and air guitar and lip sync, you can do that. If you want to play a harp, if you want to play a triangle, if you want to scream death metal or hip-hop, it’s up to you.”

McMillan is promoting the event with a poster and social media campaign called “Less Shop. More Rock,” built around a series of posters that connect familiar rock lyrics with familiar ad industry frustrations.

For example, “Hey, wait! I’ve got a new complaint,” from the Nirvana song “Heart Shaped Box” is attributed to “every client ever,” while Aerosmith’s “Dream on” lyrics are ascribed to “when the client wants a viral video.” McMillan also sent repurposed vinyl featuring the Rock Off branding to more than 20 agencies across the city.

Event information and tickets here.















Chris Powell