The Really Brief — Week of November 18

November 22

There’s a vigorous debate taking place across Canada right now. It’s not about politics or hockey, but which of snack food company’s Vachon‘s wide variety of sweet treats is the best.

The 60-second spot from Cossette shows Quebeckers of various stripes—from office workers to a pair of stoners on a bus and a bowling team—all debating  in a about . The spots direct to, where giving away 500,000 of the most popular choice.

Of course, this is all rather pointless. Everyone knows that Au Caramel is where it’s at.

The Advertising & Design Club of Canada awards show Directions marked its 70th anniversary last week. Kicking off the evening, ADCC president and Edelman chief creative officer Andrew Simon reminded attendees just how much has changed since 1949, but that winning at the ADCC remains an important moment in the career of any creative, especially the first time it happens. “I certainly remember it, it was very special to me. And I actually found the piece I won for,” he said before sharing this gem from his reel.

Staples continues its efforts to modernize the brand and reinvent its offerings with the introduction of same-day delivery with Instacart across all provinces where the app is available.

Staples, which has been working hard to update the brand with new store formats and product lines, said the new delivery option will be useful to busy Christmas shoppers. “It’s all about helping our customers have a less hectic holiday season, and we’re doing that by making sure their holiday gifts arrive quickly and on time,” said CEO David Boone.

Instacart has built its business by delivering grocery orders to customers across the U.S. and Canada, but has been the focus of bad press lately for underpaying its workers.

November 21

It’s turducken season, and Canadian actor Ryan Reynolds has just introduced the advertising equivalent in a new spot that somehow manages to promote not only his new Netflix movie 6 Underground and Samsung‘s QLED TV, but also his Aviation Gin brand. That’s a brand spot, inside a brand spot, inside of another brand spot. We hereby proclaim this unlikely alliance sam-flix-iation (hey, work with us here).

We’re unabashed fans of Reynolds’ knowing work for Aviation gin (we’ve written about it here and here), but this latest spot is extraordinarily meta. It features the director coming on set to call Reynolds out for sneakily inserting an ad for Aviation inside a spot that’s ostensibly for Samsung and Netflix. “I bought a mid-roll ad placement,” he informs her. “It felt like the right thing to do.”

Giants & Gentlemen has hired Maddy Michaud as account manager. She joins from marketing agency THP, specializing in food and beverage content production and social media. The G&G creative team has also added Rodrigo Diaz Mercado as senior art director. He joins from Diamond Marketing, with earlier stints at Grip, Arrivals + Departures, and Trevor//Peter.

It’s the time of year when agencies start to make their year-end holiday messages. Taxi is out of the gate early with ThisIs2020: a quirky best wishes for 2020 built around their apparent appreciation of U.S. news personality Barbara Walters and her time hosting the famed weekly news show 20/20. Week after week on the show she’d proclaim,”This is 20/20.” At long last, she’s right.

Klick Health has hired Carl Turner as chief brand strategy officer based at the agency’s New York office. Turner spent the past five years with Publicis Health, most recently as managing partner and chief strategy officer of Razorfish.

“[Turner] has developed the strategy behind some of the industry’s leading brands and really knows how to leverage data and analytics in account planning,” said Glenn Zujew, Klick’s executive vice-president, creative and medical.

The hiring of Turner comes as Klick continues to enjoy strong growth, recently adding Rich Levy as chief creative officer.

A little family magic is at the core of Sobeys Christmas advertising, which launched early this week. The campaign is anchored by a TV spot (there’s a :60 and a :30) about a little girl who wants to make a snowman but can’t because of the weather. Her big brother comes up with a solution, with help from Sobeys. The theme of family and food was introduced earlier this year, and becomes particularly relevant during the holidays.

The ad also features Canadian singer Serena Ryder (who covered Fleetwood Mac for the summer advertising) singing her song “Calling to Say” but with lyrics rewritten to match the story in the ad.

November 20

Deodorant brand Secret has signed on as title sponsor of a Professional Women’s Hockey Players Association event scheduled for Toronto early next year. The Secret Women’s Hockey Showcase will feature 120 of the world’s best hockey players in a two-day tournament taking place at Herb Carnegie Arena on Jan. 11 and 12.

The tournament is part of the PWHPA’s Dream Gap Tour, which is aimed at drawing attention to the lack of opportunity and support for professional female hockey players in North America, while advocating for a sustainable women’s league.

“Secret believes equal sweat deserves equal opportunity,” said Secret Canada brand director Lisa Reid. “We hope all Canadians will join us to push for a more equal future in hockey.” The PWHPA will also host a Secret Showcase game in partnership with a planned Rogers Hometown Hockey Tour stop in Vaughan, Ont.

Last week, Budweiser introduced a new campaign using the hashtag #ForTheGame that highlighted the fact that many of Canada’s top female players don’t have a league after the folding of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League earlier this year.

November 19

Air Canada has launched a new mobile app that includes interactive maps of Toronto Pearson, Montreal Trudeau and Vancouver International airports to help travellers find gates for connecting flights, restaurants, restrooms, Air Canada lounges and estimated walking times. There are also upgrade and standby lists, in-bound flight tracking, downloadable boarding passes and flight notifications. It’s also an important piece in the airline’s planned roll-out of a new loyalty program next year.

“Air Canada is focused on making travel easier and more comfortable for everyone, particularly through the use of the latest technologies,” said Mark Nasr, vice-president, loyalty and eCommerce at Air Canada.  “[T]he new app provides the foundation necessary for future developments, most notably the launch of our new loyalty program in 2020.”

Speaking of loyalty… The Shoe Company has introduced a new points-based loyalty program called Shoe VIP. The program has two levels: The VIP Insider is free to join, with members earning one point for every $1 spent, while the VIP Influencer level is earned after spending $300 in a year, with members receiving 1.5 points per $1 spent. When it comes to point conversion, 100 points are worth $5.

Saje Naturual Wellness delivers the best retail customer experience in Ontario, according to new research from Leger. David’s Tea came in second, followed by The Wine Shop, Lindt Maitre Chocolatier and M&M Foods.

Leger’s WOW study measures in-store customer experience including major consumer irritants, network uniformity, customer feedback and the role the website contributed to the overall experience. The evaluation included feedback from 400 recent customers. Lee Valley Tools was sixth overall, with Nespresso in seventh, followed by Microsoft, Lush and Penningtons. Leger also ranked the top online experiences, with Simons first overall, (see the top 10 list above).

November 18

Tim Hortons has launched a new spot called “For Canada,” which talks about the chain’s role in bringing together Canadians in communities both large and small.

Developed by U.S. agency GUT Miami and directed by Canadian Dominique van Olm, the 60-second ad shows the exteriors of 22 Tim Hortons locations across the country—from Iqaluit to Blairmore, Alta. to Toronto.

“What’s so special about these lonesome looking places. Why are we brewing here?” asks the voiceover, before outlining Tim Hortons role as gathering spot for retirees, to first responders who need coffee quickly, to the local youth hockey team celebrating a big win. “If there’s a Canadian, there has to be Tims,” it concludes. It’s also the first TV ad in which Tim Hortons refers to itself with the familiar nickname Tims.

Have you ever looked at your Christmas tree and all the beautifully wrapped presents beneath it and thought “If only it smelled like seasoned beef and nacho cheese sauce.”

Well, Taco Bell is making that a possibility with its new Triple Double Crunchwrap Christmas wrapping paper. Each sheet of paper in the five-pack set looks and smells like its namesake menu item. Taco Bell introduced the wrapping paper last year, but the smell is new for 2019.

The CrunchWrapping goes on sale on Amazon for $4, beginning Dec. 2.

Bell Media specialty channel Discovery has partnered with snowmobile manufacturer Ski-Doo on a new content program called Escape Mountain. Currently available as a three-part digital series on, the program also includes a one-hour special, airing at 8 p.m. on Nov. 21.

The show follows five professional snowmobile riders, skiers and snowboarders who are dropped in the wilderness with nothing but their Ski-Doo snowmobiles and some clues to guide them.

It is being promoted by a 30-second trailer running across Discovery networks and TSN, a 15-second digital pre-roll trailer on targeted sites and via paid and social media. The hour-long show will also be rebroadcast on the Discovery networks Discovery Science and Discovery Velocity.








Chris Powell