The Really Brief — Week of January 6

January 10

BCLC has just released a new ad promoting the guaranteed secondary prize of $1 million with every Lotto 6/49 draw. Created by agency Pound & Grain, the ad is a response to research that showed many people were unaware they had two chance to win with every draw.

BCLC and the agency rebranded the secondary prize as One Million Guaranteed, and the OMG acronym became the inspiration for the new advertising.


January 9

SSQ Insurance has chosen lg2 as its creative agency, overseeing all brand and product work. The agency started working with SSQ last April. “Our successful collaboration with lg2 over the past year convinced us to make a longer-term commitment,” said Annie Lafond, vice-president, marketing and e-business, SSQ Insurance. “The agency, which brings a full service offering to the table, is the dream team that will ensure we continue to stand out in our markets and reach our growth objectives nationwide.”

The work will be divided between the agency’s Quebec City and Toronto offices. “There is tremendous potential for SSQ Insurance to grow within Canada, and we are very proud to be able to contribute to the company’s expansion nationally,” said Jeremy Gayton, partner and president of lg2 Toronto.

January 8

123 West has launched an awareness campaign for E-Comm, the organization that manages the 911 emergency service for much of British Columbia. The objective is to remind people that when they call 911 from their mobile phone, they can’t expect to be tracked by their device’s GPS—they need to provide specifics about where they are, like an address, so emergency services can get to them as soon as possible.

“We were surprised to learn how many callers simply provide a vague location when calling 9-1-1 in an emergency—like, ‘I’m at the Starbucks downtown,’—instead of an exact address,” said Pierre Chan, creative director at One Twenty Three West. “You would never do that when giving your location to a cab driver or delivery guy.”

The agency worked with Facebook to create mobile 360-degree ads that allow people to step into the shoes of first responders trying to pinpoint the exact location of an emergency, and Instagram stories using location tag stickers with descriptions like “nearish to the bridge.”

January 7

Kevin Kivi and his wife are both native Australians, so the country’s unfolding wildfire tragedy feels particularly painful for the executive vice-president and general manager of Horizon Media.

“The ongoing news coverage is not getting any better and the images of the ongoing devastation has taken its toll emotionally,” he wrote in an e-mail Tuesday. He may be half a world away from home, but wanted to do something to help out.

On Jan. 27, the day after Australia Day, Horizon will hold a silent auction to raise funds for the Australian Red Cross and Wires Wildlife Rescue. Details are still being ironed out, but Horizon wants to spread the word and is looking for the industry community to help out if possible.

“We are asking all our partners and industry contacts to donate any merchandise, gift cards, tickets or product they have available at their disposal that could be used for the silent auction,” said Kivi. Anyone interested in learning more or contributing can contact Kivi directly at     

Like Timbits but wish they were crunchier? A new breakfast cereal from Post Foods Canada just might be the solution. The cereal company has partnered with Tim Hortons on a new product called Post Timbits Cereal. It’s currently available in two flavours: Chocolate glazed and birthday cake. Online reactions to yesterday’s announcement ranged from outright glee to WTF. We at The Message, meanwhile, are holding out for Boston Cream-Os.

January 6

Restaurant Brands International has elevated Axel Schwan to the top executive post at the company, replacing its president of two years, Alex Macedo.

Macedo was put in charge of Tim Hortons in late 2017, tasked with improving sales and overall results for the iconic Canadian coffee and donut brand. But in October, RBI CEO Jose Cil said that Tim Hortons’ results were “not where we want them to be.”

A Dec. 27 RBI press release said Macedo had “chosen to leave the company” in March. In the release, Cil praised Macedo’s previous work with Tim Hortons’ sister brand Burger King, and noted that he “led Tim Hortons through a period of transition earlier last year.” The same release said that Schwan—who was appointed regional president for Canada and the U.S. in October, reporting to Macedo—has been added to the RBI global leadership team. Tim Hortons did not respond to a request for comment.

Subway Canada has enlisted an unlikely spokesperson to promote its new Beyond Meatball Marinara Sub: Domestic doyenne Martha Stewart. And, well, it’s kind of a good thing.

A satirical video developed by Meat & Produce—a Veritas Communications spin-off that specializes in influencer marketing content—plays off Stewart’s reputation for sometimes over-the-top food preparation, as she shares a “seed-to-sandwich” guide for growing the plant-based meatballs. The process includes pruning the meatball plants with sterling silver shears and hand-fanning the plants when they get too hot. DentsuBos is creating additional TV and digital assets, with Carat handling media.

“Martha is the perfect partner to announce the nationwide launch of the Beyond Meatball Marinara Sub in Canada,” said Cristina Wells, Subway Canada senior marketing director, in a release. “[Her] green thumb and culinary prowess made her a natural fit to speak to the unbelievable cultivation and care that goes into creating the Beyond Meatball.”

Pizza Pizza has partnered with Toronto’s Unbun Foods to launch a line of keto diet-friendly pizzas featuring the Keto Uncrust. The pizzas come in three different varieties: Pepperoni, Margherita and Protein Lovers, as well as a create-your-own option. Available at more than 420 Pizza Pizza locations across the country, the pizzas have two net grams of carbs per slice.

The ketogenic diet, which eschews carb-laden foods like bread and pasta, continues to grow in popularity among Canadians. According to a recent study by Dalhousie University, more than one quarter (26%) of Canadians have either adopted the diet, tried it or considered trying it in the last 18 months.

McDonald’s Canada has replaced Tim Hortons as the title sponsor of TSN‘s SC With Jay and Dan, a partnership that includes several in-show and on-set integrations—including McCafe mugs on the side set and signage behind the main desk—as well as title sponsorship of the Jay and Dan Podcast, presented by McDonald’s.

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The QSR brand will also be incorporated in all promotional campaigns for the nightly sports highlights show. It is also presenting a daily in-show feature, although a Bell spokesperson told The Message that that particular element remains a “work in progress.”

“We look forward to featuring McDonald’s across the entirety of SC with Jay and Dan‘s beloved multi-platform content, from broadcast to digital to social media,” said Stewart Johnston, president, media sales and marketing for Bell Media and president of TSN.


Chris Powell