The Really Brief—Week of February 18

February 21

Hudson’s Bay is launching a ’90s themed pop-up shop inside stores in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver, as well as on “The Nostalgia Project” will run through April, and feature more than 60 brands spanning categories including menswear, womenswear, footwear, accessories, cosmetics and gifting.

The more than 1,000 square-foot stores will carry a variety of ’90s-style staples, including Melissa Jellies Shoes, Champion sneakers, Fila tennis skirts and Lip Smacker chapsticks, as well as feature “new and unique” collaborations with partners such as Italian streetwear brand GCDS.

“The Nostalgia Project brings brands together that allow style seekers to reminisce while still offering them fresh up-and-coming designers that modernize the aesthetic,” said Hudson’s Bay fashion director Tyler Franch in a release. “Today, we see nods of the ‘too cool for school’ look on the runways globally… and we know there is consumer appetite for the trend.”

The retailer is promoting the initiative with an Instagram and Snapchat video, as well as dedicated window display housing collection favourites from Feb. 21 to March 9.

February 20

This week in unexpected brand alliances, J.P. Wiser’s and Boston Pizza are celebrating the “gift of time” with a new Leap Year-themed promotion. The brands are inviting consumers to visit a dedicated website to claim one of 10,000 free small pizzas—and a $6 J.P. Wiser’s pre-mixed Old Fashioned cocktail—when they visit a participating BP location on Feb. 29.

The initiative ties in with J.P. Wiser’s current “Drinks soon?” brand platform. Rebecca Lyttle, assistant brand manager at J.P. Wiser’s, says that a lack of time is the main obstacle to making “drinks soon?” happen, and the additional 24 hours created by Leap Year is a perfect occasion to get together with friends.

Screen Shot 2020-02-20 at 5.32.21 PM.pngWW Canada is partnering with truLOCAL, a subscription box service specializing in locally sourced meat and fish, on a new custom box.

Each $99 truLOCAL x WW signature box includes 16 servings of protein—including bacon, chicken and steaks—three of WW’s SmartPoints recipe cards, and a $25 truLOCAL gift card. The boxes will be updated throughout the year to mark special events and holidays.

“The partnership with truLOCAL is an extension of WW’s commitment to inspire healthy habits and to meet our members where they are,” said WW Canada general manager Kevin O’Brien in a release. The partnership will also be supported by influencer collaborations, in-studio activations, co-branded content, and reward programs.

February 19

Facebook announced Wednesday that—at long last—users in Canada can add music to their photos, video and stories on both Facebook and Instagram. Facebook first introduced the option in 2018, and it was widely used in the U.S. and Europe. However, rights restrictions and licensing issues meant users in Canada could not hear the music added to posts from those regions.

“These new experiences are made possible through new partnerships with music publishing societies and organizations, as well as labels and distributors in Canada, said Facebook in a release.

Citizen Relations has named Jenn Duggan general manager of its Toronto office. Duggan joined Citizen as SVP in February 2018 and spent 15 years before that with Proof Inc.

Citizen president Nick Cowling had been overseeing the Toronto office, which has more than 60 staff, and will now focus more on the entire Citizen network—which includes offices in Montreal, Vancouver, Quebec City, London, Singapore, New York, Los Angeles and Irvine.

White Claw Seltzer was a pop culture phenomenon in the U.S. in 2019, and now it is coming to Canada. Low in sugars, carbs and calories, seltzer waters spiked with alcohol have become popular with those looking for healthier options. Seltzer sales reportedly almost tripled in the U.S. in a year, and White Claw enjoyed a 55% market share. Its popularity became a running joke on social media—with a viral video at least partly to blame—and inspired the meme “ain’t no laws when you’re drinking claws.”

Produced by Mark Anthony Group, the Canadian company that created Mike’s Hard Lemonade in the 90s, White Claw Canada appeared on Twitter a week ago and a “Coming to Canada” countdown website suggests that March 1 is the launch date.

February 18

Bell Media and Destination Canada are running “For Glowing Hearts,” a bilingual campaign featuring well-known Canadians visiting tourist destinations across the country in winter and early spring. The three-minute episodes take over entire commercial breaks on Bell Media speciality channels, and are also featured on Bell web properties including, and, and the streaming service Crave.

“We want Canadians to discover new reasons and seasons to fall in love with Canada,” said Gloria Loree, chief marketing officer, Destination Canada. “We’ve curated compelling content driven by personal and powerful storytelling, aimed to reach and inspire Canadians to explore the country’s vast geography, diverse cultures, and amazing people,” said Justin Stockman, vice-president, brand partnerships and client strategy, Bell Media.

Mazda has erected a temporary exhibit outside of the Canadian International Auto Show in Toronto that is inspired by Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama—whose Infinity Mirrors exhibit was a huge hit at the Art Gallery of Ontario last year.

The Mazda exhibit, by Wunderman Thompson, puts a Mazda 3—recently named car of the year by the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada—inside a mirrored enclosure to give the impression of endless Mazda 3s viewable from nearly every angle.

“The beauty of the Mazda3 is that there’s something to appreciate any way you look at it. We wanted to create a visual experience where anyone passing can get lost in its design,” said Neal Bouwmeester, director, marketing at Mazda Canada.

Dr. Oetker is writing love songs for fans of its Ristorante frozen pizzas. Launched for Valentine’s Day, people can visit a special site and enter a few details about their romantic partner, from “What’s their eye colour?” to “If they had a super power, what would it be?” Three of the entrants will have their answers turned into an actual love song, with one winning a $10,000 diamond ring.

Creative agency Giants & Gentlemen is behind the campaign, and created a series of video ads showing a love song guru helping people who are literally speechless about their love for their partner.

“Romance is core to Risorante, so who better to help with the language of love? By hero-ing Ristorante as the modern day Cyrano De Bergerac, it becomes the romance whisperer, right in time for Valentine’s Day,” said Indresh Kohli, executive head of marketing at Dr. Oetker.



David Brown