The Really Brief—Week of February 10

February 14

l to r: Marie-Christine Cayer, Guillaume Bergeron, Nicolas Baldovini, Hélène Fortin, Julie Pilon, Alexandra Laverdière et Keith Barry.

Montreal agency lg2 has joined the independent agency network Worldwide Partners Inc. Worldwide is a network of 70 agencies from around the world who collaborate and work together while still retaining total independence. Other Canadian agencies in the network are Wasserman + Partners, Fuse Marketing Group and Tequila Communication and Marketing.

Joining Worldwide, “gives us the decision-making freedom inherent to entrepreneurship, combined with access to the best talent from around the world,” said Claude Auchu, partner and chief executive officer of lg2 group, which also has offices in Quebec City and Toronto.

Lg2 also announced that seven of its employees have been given equity in the business as partners: Nicolas Baldovini, Keith Barry, Guillaume Bergeron, Marie-Christine Cayer, Hélène Fortin, Alexandra Laverdière and Julie Pilon.

Quebecor is launching a new content marketing platform called Hublo that will host and distribute brand content across the Quebecor network which, the company says, reaches 94% of Quebecers.

Content can be provided by the advertiser or produced by Quebecor’s “commercial content experts” and could be video or text based. Hublo goes live on Feb. 17 and will be hosted on a new section of the Journal de Montréal website, though content can be shared across the network.

“Today, brands are going digital while looking for a safe advertising environment,” said Patrick Jutras, senior vice-president and chief advertising officer of Quebecor and TVA Group, in a release. “Our goal in launching Hublo is to put our engaging digital ecosystem to work for our partners and bring our promotional content marketing offerings together in one place to help our advertisers tell their stories and promote their content to our audiences.”

Alice Choe has joined Innocean Worldwide Canada as new social media director, overseeing all social media strategies for Innocean’s clients—including Genesis Motors Canada, Kia Canada Inc., and Goodtimes Brand Inc.

Choe has 15 years experience in the industry, most recently as digital, social and influencer lead on consumer products at Huawei Canada. Before that she was director, digital and social media at North Strategic.

February 13

Restaurant chain Nando‘s has partnered with Toronto Raptors all-star Pascal Siakam to launch a new limited-edition version of its Nando’s PERi-PERi sauce called Spicy P (Siakam’s nickname).

The sauce will be available at Nando’s restaurants and Sobeys stores today, and additional grocery stores beginning March 4. A portion of sales will go to Right to Play, a non-profit that uses the power of play to empower children to rise above the impacts of poverty, war and disease.

Boston Pizza is promoting its Heart-Shaped Pizza for Valentine’s Day with a campaign developed by Toronto agency Mixtape. The video features Sarah and Nick, a couple in a long-distance relationship, who are “sharing” one of the pizzas via video chat—except that Boston Pizza has secretly flown Nick in from Nova Scotia to Toronto to surprise his girlfriend.

The heart-shaped pizza has become a Valentine’s Day staple at Boston Pizza over the last 40 years, and the company expects to sell 60,000 at its more than 390 restaurants across Canada on Feb. 14. The company donates $1 from every pizza sold on Valentine’s Day to the Boston Pizza Foundation Future Prospects, which funds organizations that provide kids with access to role models and mentoring programs.

February 12

Hill+Knowlton Strategies has hired Michael Sauvé as senior account director for its Ottawa office, further bolstering the PR firm’s digital and campaign expertise. Sauve has amassed considerable experience in advocacy, opinion and behavioural change campaigns.

He most recently worked with the data-management, PR and advertising firm Data Sciences, where he was the program lead responsible for optimizing social media advertising for more than 150 local election campaigns for the Liberal Party of Canada.

Prior to that, he spent more than five years with Mediaforce, developing strategic communications, sales and content strategies. Sauve also has a background in academia, including professorial roles at Algonquin College and Cégep Heritage College.

February 11

The Montreal office of lg2 has promoted Marilou Aubin to vice-president and creative director, and hired Sophie Desbiens as account services director. Aubin has been with the agency for eight years, while Desbiens was most recently marketing and communications director at Frank and Oak.

“Our company continues to place great importance on promoting female leadership, and these two individuals proudly join the other women at our agency who make up 56% of our management,” said Pénélope Fournier, general manager, lg2 Montreal.

Bond Brand Loyalty has acquired Atlanta-based loyalty specialists rDialogue which also has offices in Denver and New York. Bond said this is “the first in a series of planned acquisitions to accelerate the company’s growth.”

Bond, which specializes in data-driven customer experience and loyalty program development for brands, said the deal will expand its reach into more U.S. markets and sectors, while also enhancing its strategic advisory existing services and technology offerings with new communications and CRM capabilities.

Last week, retail agency Watt International Inc. announced that it had bought Communiqué Incentives Inc., which specializes in full-service event management.

“We’ll be able to offer even more compelling end-to-end solutions to our clients, building from solid strategies and framed in shopper-centric store experiences. This is timely as retail stores continue to evolve towards being more immersive and event-based,” said Vince Guzzi, managing partner of Watt International.

February 10

The City of Toronto has unveiled the latest iteration of its ongoing “Toronto For All” campaign, a partnership with TAIBU Community Health Centre that focuses on the impact of anti-black racism on the 400,000 Torontonians of African descent.

The campaign from Toronto agency Public includes three different transit shelter ads running until Feb. 23 and a dedicated website. It will conclude with the proclamation of Black Mental Health Day on March 2.

The City says that experiencing systemic discrimination and micro-aggressions can lead to heightened anxiety, depression, suicide or suicidal thoughts, as well as cardiovascular disease, breast cancer, high blood pressure and premature mortality.

This is the ninth phase of the “Toronto for All” campaign, which has the stated goal of “creating a Toronto that says no to all forms of discrimination.” Previous efforts have focused on anti-ageism in the workplace, disability awareness and inclusion, and trans youth of colour.

Screen Shot 2020-02-10 at 1.15.57 PM.pngConAgra Foods has partnered with Toronto chef Alida Solomon (owner of Tutti Matti restaurant and a judge on the new Food Network Canada show Wall of Chefs) to promote its Hunts Heirloom Tomatoes brand.

Solomon partnered with the brand to create three recipes featured on Conagra’s Ready Set Eat website, and is also including items made with the brand on the restaurant’s upcoming Winterlicious menu, complete with an on-menu mention of which dishes feature the product.

Hyundai’s luxury brand Genesis and Innocean Worldwide Canada have produced a series of social videos featuring Raptors superfan Nav Bhatia and his daughter Tia tied to the brand’s “Road Less Travelled” positioning. The videos are the first of a larger influencer campaign, with more videos planned for later this year.

Bhatia is well known as a fan of Toronto’s NBA franchise, but professionally enjoyed success as a car salesman and owner of his own Hyundai dealership after immigrating to Canada. His daughter is an actress and influencer with more than 100,000 followers on Instagram and 500,000 followers on YouTube. The videos are published on Genesis Motors Canada social media platforms including YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.


Chris Powell