The Really Brief — Week of January 13

January 17

Long time Canadian marketer Jim Little has been hired as CEO of Senators Sports and Entertainment, the corporation that owns the Ottawa Senators. Little was most recently executive vice-president and chief marketing and culture officer for Shaw Communications, and before that was top marketer at Royal Bank of Canada and Bell.

“As our planned rebuild of the Senators continues to develop on the ice, Jim’s wealth of experience and fresh perspective will strengthen the company’s off-ice success, ushering in a new era for our club and fans,” said Senators owner and chair Eugene Melnyk.

Frank and Oak has released five new sustainability goals to be achieved by 2022, with an emphasis on using recycled materials and renewable energy sources and carbon offsets.

“Over the last few years, we have been able to be nimble and agile to adapt our business practices to better serve our planet, and as well, our customers,” said Ethan Song, Frank And Oak’s CEO and co-founder. “Though we have made significant strides, we recognize that there is still so much we need to do as the climate crisis continues to worsen.”

The five goals for 2022 are: zero virgin plastic in its supply chain; zero virgin polyester in its supply chain; 100% offset of greenhouse gas; increased use of renewable energies; and encouraging a zero-waste philosophy (including buying furniture that is second-hand or sustainably made).

January 16

Just in time for the Super Bowl, McCormick Canada is giving away 5-litre kegs of its Frank’s RedHot sauce (enough to truly put that s#!t on everything) via an online contest. The brand is promoting the contest through social media ads (see below) and point-of-sale materials developed by Diamond Marketing Group.

Deborah Sharpe, marketing director for Frank’s RedHot Canada, says the Super Bowl is the most important sales period of the year for the hot sauce brand. NFL fans purchase more hot sauce than the average consumer, says Sharpe, with dollar sales in the hot sauce sauce category as a whole growing 8% around the 2019 Super Bowl.

Content marketing agency ImageMotion has hired Noémie Monic as vice-president of brand partnerships, focused on retail and e-retail brands. Monic has more than 10 years of experience in fashion and beauty. “I’ve been a witness to a massive shift in industry practices and how brands place content at the forefront of their marketing efforts,” said Monic in a release.

Edelman Canada has promoted Rhea Dubois-Phillips to general manager in Vancouver. Dubois-Phillips has been with Edelman for 15 years, the last five in Vancouver and the 10 years before that in Hong Kong. “As a native Vancouverite who has lived and worked in Europe and Asia for 20 years, I’m excited to bring a global perspective to serving the business needs of our diverse roster of clients,” she said.

Screen Shot 2020-01-16 at 11.15.13 AM.pngMcCann Health Canada has appointed Sean Riley to the newly created position of executive creative director.  Riley is returning to his native Canada after 25 years, during which he worked with the McCann Health network throughout Asia and Australia. He was most recently ECD of McCann Health Singapore.

“Sean epitomizes everything we were looking for in our new ECD, including strong healthcare credentials and someone who could lead a creative team as large as ours,” said McCann Health Canada’s managing director, Neill Brown, in a release.

McCann Health aligned its healthcare communications and pharmacy marketing practices under the McCann Health Canada banner last year.

J.P. Wiser is having some fun with the Prince Harry and Meghan Markle story. Soon after it was reported that the royals (from the House of Windsor) were thinking about moving to Canada, the Windsor-based distiller put up a digital outdoor ad in Windsor inviting them for “Drinks soon,” the tagline for the brand’s current mass advertising campaign.

“Meghan and Harry, looking for another Windsor? Let’s get ‘Drinks Soon!'” reads the ad from J.P. Wiser’s creative agency, No Fixed Address.

“When the news broke that Meghan and Harry were looking to settle in Canada, we couldn’t think of anywhere better than our very own Windsor,” said Vanessa Clarke, senior brand manager at J.P. Wiser’s. “We’re proud of our long-standing heritage in this city and wanted to extend a personalized welcome in a way that only J.P. Wiser’s can.”

January 15

Tank will host the One Club for Creativity’s Portfolio night in Montreal on May 20. The event has been confirmed for 23 cities around the world, though One Club is still looking for hosts in Toronto and Vancouver.

“Portfolio Night is a unique global event that serves as a high-visibility opportunity for agencies and creative directors to give back to the industry by guiding the earliest steps of future copywriters, art directors, designers and technologists,” said The One Club’s CEO, Kevin Swanepoel.

The young creative judged to have the best portfolio in each market will be named to an All-Star team that will be flown to New York to work on a creative brief for a global brand.

CUPE Local 79, the union representing Toronto’s inside workers, has released the first in a planned series of long-form videos for its new “People Who Care,” awareness campaign. First announced last week, the campaign is alerting the public to possible cuts to city services such as long-term care, water testing and recreation programs.

Developed by Media Profile. the four-minute spot, “Cutz vs. Fun,” features the campaign’s central figure, a fictitious city councillor named Bob Cutz, visiting dance instructor—and CUPE Local 79 member—Sheerah Daly. “Remember, the city actually pays for this,” says a skeptical Cutz in the spot’s opening.

As the spot progresses, viewers see Cutz gradually warming to the dance lesson, even throwing in some “jazz hands” as he becomes more comfortable. “We will keep looking. Because there are places to cut,” Cutz tells the camera at the conclusion. The videos are housed on a dedicated website.

Hill+Knowlton Strategies has hired Pierre Tremblay as vice-president, public and government affairs in Quebec. Tremblay was most deputy chief of staff to Quebec’s Minister of Transport and Minister Responsible for the Estrie Region, François Bonnardel.

“We’re proud to have an expert in public affairs and communications of Pierre’s calibre on our team of seasoned professionals in Quebec. His understanding of the Quebec government’s actions and orientations is a real asset,” said Isabelle Verreault, senior vice-president and Quebec General Manager at H+K.

January 14

IKEA Canada is closing five of its smaller format “Pick-up and Order Point” stores in Ontario. IKEA, which launched the concept in Canada in 2015, said the program was a test to “learn more about how our customers want to shop with IKEA in new retail formats.” IKEA will close its pick-up stores in Kitchener, London, St. Catharines, Whitby and Windsor by the end of the month.

“With urbanization, technology and digitalization, we know our consumers’ lives are rapidly changing, including the ways they like to shop,” said the statement. “To best meet our customers’ needs in these markets, we will explore new solutions with a focus on enhancing our digital tools and improving our local service offer.”

PETA is running three bus shelter ads near Canada Goose’s flagship store in the West Edmonton Mall. The animal rights group has long campaigned against Canada Goose for using goose down and coyote fur in its coats.

“No jacket is worth the pain and suffering of coyotes who can struggle in traps for days or geese whose throats are slit in slaughterhouses,” said PETA executive vice-president Tracy Reiman. “PETA will continue to deliver blows to Canada Goose until it drops fur and feathers and goes animal-free.”

On Friday The Message looked at the tricky business of brands responding quickly to buzzy moments in pop culture. This weekend, Popeye’s Chicken provided a winning example of doing it right with this tweet.

The short version of the backstory: A contestant on the new Canadian version of the Family Feud got her Popeye the Sailor Man mixed up with Popeye’s the chicken chain. The video was a favourite on social last week, and Popeye’s Chicken jumped in to take advantage of the moment.

Meanwhile… McCain Foods CEO Michael McCain posted a series of very different tweets Sunday from the Maple Leaf Foods account. McCain says he is “livid” about the shooting down of the Ukraine International Airlines plane in Tehran last week. The wife and son of a Maple Leaf Foods employee are among the dead.

McCain seems to be blame Donald Trump for the rising tensions in the region that led to the downing of the jetliner, which killed 176 people, including 57 Canadians. McCain does not mention Trump by name, but refers to “a narcissist in Washington” and an “ill-conceived plan to divert focus from political woes.” Read the four-tweet thread here.

Screen Shot 2020-01-13 at 10.52.52 AM.pngA Toronto-based freelancer is putting the curry in cryptocurrency with an interesting bit of self-promotion.

To promote his copywriting services, Andrew Rennie is proposing that clients pay him not in cash, but in one of his favourite foods: goat curry. He’s calling it Goatcoin.

Rennie’s price list ranges from a single order of goat curry for one day of work, to a “king’s ransom of curry and seasoned meat” for more than five days. Offsite revisions require a side order of fried plantain. “Takeout is fine—but homemade’ll get you my ‘AAA’ material,'” says Rennie on his new website,

Screen Shot 2020-01-13 at 11.23.45 AM.pngCalgary agency Trigger Communications has introduced new creative in its ongoing “If it hurts, see a chiropractor” campaign for the Alberta College and Association of Chiropractors.

The new work is highlighted by the print ad “Snow Angel,” which demonstrates how pain can prevent people from moving at their best.

The two-year-old campaign is being credited with a 6% increase in chiropractor visits in the province, says Trigger’s managing director, Geoff Hardwicke,

“It’s a simple message that is resonating with Albertans,” says account director, Lindsey Hoedel. “We’re seeing a significant increase in consumer understanding of what chiropractic treats and more and more Albertans are choosing chiro as their preferred treatment. In one way, we’re helping the province get back on its feet.”





David Brown