The Really Brief — Week of February 3

February 7

The Garden has added a group of new clients across a diverse range of business sectors. The wins include Audley Travel, which selected the Toronto independent for a new creative assignment in a formal review; the Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA), which partnered The Garden for a wide-ranging remit that includes brand strategy, visual identity, creative and production; and Stone Tile International for creative and production for a new product offering.

The Garden is also working with two undisclosed Toronto tech start-ups, one in the real estate sector and the other in the software as a service category, on brand strategy, visual identity, tag line and customer communications. “We’re excited to be starting the new year with a strong roster of clients who are looking to grow their business in meaningful ways,” says The Garden’s co-founder and chief strategy officer Shari Walczak.

February 6

Procure, a Quebec non-profit working towards a cure for prostate cancer (which accounts for about 20% of all male cancer cases), recently introduced a new tech-enabled fundraising initiative called “Give a sit.”

Developed by Rethink Montreal, the program enables people to make a micro-donation to the cause simply by sitting on a chair equipped with the same near-field communication (NFC) technology used in contactless payment systems. The program was built around the insight that about 80% of all men carry their wallet in their back pocket.

Participants can select how much they wish to donate before sitting down, with the payment automatically deducted from their card of choice. “Finding new ways to fund research and our awareness initiatives is essential. The simplicity of micro-donations helps us reach a new generation of donors,” says Procure chair Laurent Proulx.

Toronto FC unveiled new uniforms for 2020 that will include a sponsor logo on the sleeve for the first time. The GE Appliances logo will appear on the sleeve of TFC jerseys until the 2023 season.

“We’re very proud to be the inaugural sleeve patch partner, alongside the Reds at every important moment when the team hits the pitch,” said Bob Park, chief brand officer, GE Appliances Canada.

Publicis reported its Q4 and 2019 numbers on Thursday, and one of the highlights in a “transition” year was organic growth of 8.3% in Canada. By contrast, organic growth was down 4.1% in the U.S. and 2.3% globally. Net profit was up 9.8% to €1.2 billion.

Chair and CEO Arthur Sadoun cited the Epsilon acquisition, management changes at Sapient, and the implementation of a new country model as some of the disruptive forces that made for a tough year.

“All of these necessary changes, combined with the effects of our transition, had a negative impact on our organic growth in 2019,” he said. “Now that we have completed our transformation in terms of assets and organization, we are in position to deliver what our clients really need to thrive in a world increasingly dominated by the platforms, as we demonstrated in our recent wins with Disney and Novartis.”

February 5

Toronto agency Fuse has hired Patrice Pollack (right in photo) as its first creative director under ECD Steve Miller, who joined the agency last year. Pollack, who previously worked with OneMethod and J. Walter Thompson New York, will lead day-to-day creative on the CIBC business.

“In addition to a keen creative eye and a knack for uncovering insightful gems, Patrice brings an energy and positivity to the agency that’s as much influential as it is infectious,” said Miller.

Fuse has also promoted Aleena Mazhar from VP of Fuse Live to managing director of the agency’s Experiential practice. The senior executive changes at Fuse follow the addition of new clients Nature’s Way and the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority, as well as an expanded mandate with Purolator.

February 4
NWT Tourism is running a new campaign targeting Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver with a VR experience meant to provide an immersive sense of visiting the North West Territories.

Starting Monday, people in downtown Toronto can catch a ride in a NWT-wrapped car that will take them anywhere in the city (up to 10 km). During the ride, passengers can don a VR headset to get 360-degree view of a migrating reindeer herd, dance under the Northern Lights and paddle an alpine lake under a midnight sun.

The car will be at the Hilton hotel on Richmond Street in Toronto until Feb. 9, before moving onto Vancouver Feb. 16 to 23 and Calgary March 23 to 31. The videos can also be viewed online

Hill+Knowlton Strategies has made another senior hire, adding Darren Cunningham as vice-president in Alberta. Cunningham has more than 20 years of experience in federal and provincial politics, public affairs, and communications.

“Darren’s appointment paired with Natalie Sigalet‘s promotion to senior account director in Edmonton sends a strong signal of our commitment to strengthen and grow both our team and our service offering for clients here in Alberta,” said Stephen Smart, general manager, Western Canada for H+K, in a release.

February 3

Canada Goose has named supermodel Kate Upton as its newest “Goose Person.”

Upton is in the outerwear company’s spring 2020 global ad campaign promoting its Polar Bears International collection. The collection, which debuted in 2007, features parkas and accessories in a blue hue known as “PBI Blue.”

Canada Goose will donate $50 from the sale of each jacket to Polar Bears International. The company has donated more than $3.5 million to the organization since launching the collection in 2007. The campaign also features a new documentary short called Bare Existence, which focuses on the work being done by PBI to preserve the polar bear population.

Despite the contributions to polar bear protection, Upton has faced criticism for her association with Canada Goose which is frequently targeted by animal rights groups for the use of animal fur and down in its coats.

Jon Hamm is back with more new ads for SkipTheDishes. This time, Hamm’s over-the-top caricature of a spoiled actor is despondent about not landing a role as a “cute jock in the new team drama.” His assistant Brandon is once again there to help, with Hamm instructing him to “order me something young from SkipTheDishes like avocado toast.” Arrivals + Departures is the creative agency behind the work.

Aside from the TV spot that ran during the game on CTV, SkipTheDishes released shorter digital versions of Hamm eating avocado toast, and rosé penne, and trying a little too hard to seem young enough to be cast a cute jock for a teen drama.

Kraft Heinz ran a version of the video ad produced for its twisted label stunt back in September. To help people hold their glass bottle at the ideal angle to coax the ketchup out and onto the plate, Kraft Heinz and Rethink twisted the label (the perfect pouring position is reached when the bottle is twisted such that the label is an upright position).

The stunt generated quite a bit of international attention back in September—the kind of simple, big-idea-on-a-small-budget idea that generates media coverage and free media for a brand.

“We’re always thinking of fun, cheeky ways we can highlight the iconic and timeless nature of the product to give our consumers a smile,” said Brian Neumann, senior brand manager at Kraft Heinz Canada at the time. However it is not clear how or if Kraft Heinz is activating the idea in stores. Rethink’s Mike Dubrick said Kraft Heinz is “working hard to see how we can bring the tilted label bottles to more Canadians.”

The Clio Awards convened a jury of 16 senior creatives to judge all of the Super Bowl advertising. The panel picked four shortlisted contenders last night before settling on a winner this morning: “#SnickersFixTheWorld,” by BBDO New York/AMV BBDO, will receive the Super Clio for best ad of Super Bowl LIV.

“It was a lively and engaging discussion and we talked at length about idea, execution and the very specific media event that is the Super Bowl,” said Clio president Nicole Purcell. “In the end, we loved Snickers for being so in-tune with the world as it is right now, for being a fresh idea that re-frames a longstanding campaign, and for having a really, really good laugh at the overly earnest ads of recent Super Bowls past. It seems sadvertising’s reign might just be coming to an end.”

Joining Snickers on the shortlist were: “#BeforeAlexa” by Droga5 London for Amazon; “Groundhog Day” by Highdive Chicago for Jeep, and “Loretta” by Google Creative Lab for Google.



David Brown