The Really Brief — Week of February 24

February 28

Just in time for National Peanut Butter Lovers Day on March 1, Kraft Peanut Butter is addressing the perennial debate over crunchy or smooth with what it’s calling the “Stick Together Jar.” Currently in the development phase, the double-ended jar houses both types of peanut butter. The new creation is being promoted by a video developed by Rethink.

“Kraft Peanut Butter is all about bringing people together. So the fact there’s a divide between smooth and crunchy is something we think we can help solve,” said Daniel Gotlib, senior brand manager for Kraft Peanut Butter. “We’re excited to see what their response is to this idea as we constantly look for ways, big and small, to help bring people together.”

National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day, by the way, is April 20. Which should give Smuckers enough time to bridge the grape or strawberry divide.

February 27

Screen Shot 2020-02-27 at 11.16.32 AM.pngWendy’s Canada has joined the plant-based burger race with the introduction of “The Plantiful.”

Unlike other QSR chains, Wendy’s developed its new product—a pea-based patty that comes standard with lettuce, onions, pickles, tomato, mayonnaise, ketchup and a slice of cheese on a premium bun—in-house rather than partner with a plant-based company like Beyond Meat.

“No one does food like Wendy’s, and the idea of offering the same product as other competitors was simply not an option for the Wendy’s Canada team,” said senior director of marketing Lisa Deletroz in a release.

Cohn & Wolfe has been named AOR for Lighthouse Labs, which runs coding bootcamps. Established in 2013, Lighthouse has launched more than 1,000 graduates into careers as professional developers.

New Zealand’s Sacred Hill Vineyards, part of the FWM Wine, Beer and Spirits portfolio, has also tapped Cohn & Wolfe to drive its Canadian influencer marketing.

“Being trusted to partner with great clients like Lighthouse and Sacred Hill demonstrate our agency’s strengths of being curious, having deep marketplace understanding and connecting with a brands’ unique characteristics and needs,” said Cohn & Wolfe’s general manager Shannon Davidson in a release.

Screen Shot 2020-02-27 at 9.55.30 AM.pngCossette has added to its senior leadership team with the appointment of Daryn Sutherland as VP, business lead, overseeing the Canopy Growth, Walmart and Ministry of Health assignments with an additional focus on mentoring.

“Daryn is an exceptional leader who truly puts people first,” said Janis Lindenbergs, SVP, client services director at Cossette. “She has an incredible pedigree and a strong track record of leveraging the power of creativity to drive phenomenal outcomes for clients.”

Prior to joining Cossette, Sutherland was VP, client services at Community, and has also held leadership positions with agencies including Cundari, Bensimon Byrne and Taxi.

 “I’ve been so impressed with the calibre of work and level of strategic thinking coming out of Cossette over the last few years,” said Sutherland. “I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to collaborate with such a talented group of people in building great partnerships with our amazing clients.”

February 26

Upfield Canada’s margarine brand Becel has introduced a new brand campaign under the tagline “Take your health to heart” that plays up its plant-based credentials.

Developed by Edelman, with dentsuX for media and Advantage for in-store and shopper marketing, the campaign is part of a broader effort to modernize and reinvigorate Becel’s commitment to heart health.

It also includes an update to its logo and packaging. The campaign will run across out-of-home, online video, social, digital and in-store.

We told you a couple of weeks ago about how Rethink published a book to mark its 20th anniversary. Rethink the Business of Creativity is a 55-chapter, 40,000-word distillation of what the agency’s three founding partners—Chris Staples, Ian Grais and Tom Shepansky—have learned about advertising over the years.

Now the agency has added a cheeky addition to go along with the book: agency branded book covers so that people working at other agencies can read it without co-workers—or more importantly, their bosses—thinking they’re disloyal.

Innocean Worldwide Canada has promoted Christine Smith (pictured) to senior vice-president, client business.

Smith joined Innocean in 2017 to manage the Hyundai and Genesis Motors account. “Christine has been instrumental in the successful growth of the Hyundai business,” said chief operating officer, Norm Melamed. “Our recent wins at the CMA and MIA awards attest to the quality of work she and the team are providing.”

Smith is one of several promotions recently made at the agency. In the media department, Alison Binkley, David Nolet, Kimberley Davies, Manuel Pena, Warren Fragata, Sarah Barker and Estelle Nguyen have all been given new titles, while Tim Wong and Tina Tran have been promoted on the programmatic team.

On the accounts side, Jennifer Green has been promoted, while Deborah Lee has been elevated in the production department.

The Association of Canadian Advertisers has announced new chairs to two important committees. Lisa Pozhke, media and digital marketing manager at McCain Foods, will head up the Digital Committee for 2020. This committee represents marketer’s positions on data ownership and protections, media measurement and digital marketing technologies.

Ratko Vidakovic will lead the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) for 2020. Vidakovic is an industry analyst and founder of AdProfs, an independent ad tech consultancy focused on industry research and education. TAC is an invite-only forum of senior partners who are experts in the digital marketing space. Its mission is to provide neutral insight and guidance to ACA and its members.

“The implications of this year’s challenges in privacy and browsers will be with us for years to come,” said Chris Williams, VP, digital at ACA. “Choices made there will direct what options are available to marketers in targeting, media measurement and the opacity of their media operations.”

The Canadian Media Directors’ Council has named GroupM Canada CEO Stuart Garvie as chair of its board for a two-year term.

“Stuart has played a critical role in our media industry and is a dynamic leader in a rapidly changing sector,” said CMDC president Shannon Lewis. “CMDC will continue to advocate for the advertising sector and collaborate with our valued partners. Stuart’s leadership will be invaluable in achieving our goals as CMDC’s Chair.”

Garvie’s appointment comes just a few months after Kristine Lyrette was appointed chair. Lyrette had been president of Zenith at the time but is no longer with the agency. CMDC’s bylaws state that its chair must be a head of a Canadian media agency.

Asked about Lyrette’s departure from Zenith, Publicis Media would only confirm that Bettina Heimrath, SVP and managing director of Spark Foundry, would take on additional responsibility for the network.

February 25

Toronto’s Strategic Objectives has won the PR/influencer marketing assignment for cosmetics manufacturer Groupe Marcelle in a competitive review. The company’s brand portfolio includes Lise Watier, Marcelle, Annabelle Cosmetics and CW Beggs & Sons.

Strategic Objectives has been working with Groupe Marcelle’s internal social media team to build the brand’s social and digital presence since 2017. The new expanded purview includes PR, product launches and seasonal brand previews.

The agency has also been selected as Canadian PR agency of record for Portland, Oregon-based Keen Footwear. Keen’s brand marketing specialist, Tovah Laur, said in a release that Strategic Objectives’ record of award-winning CSR and brand programs makes them an “ideal partner” to build awareness for the brand in Canada.

February 24

Former Barenaked Ladies singer Steven Page apparently now has the $1 million (and probably more) he sang about all those years ago.

Kraft Dinner (which now goes by KD) today unveiled a new campaign featuring Page, clad in a fur coat (though probably not a real fur coat, ’cause that’s cruel) preparing a bowl of KD in a gold pot and eating it—complete with “Dijon Ketchup”—on an expensive-looking couch in front of what appears to a be a statue of Neptune and a wall covered in gold discs.

The ad is soundtracked not by the Barenaked Ladies, but the Lesley Gore song “You don’t own me.” “We’ve been waiting a long time for this,” said the Kraft Heinz Canada brand in a Tweet introducing the ad. “When you get the chance to put Canadian icon Steven Page in a KD commercial, YOU PUT STEVEN PAGE IN A KD COMMERCIAL.” read a follow-up tweet.

In the popular Barenaked Ladies song “If I Had $1,000,000,” Page sang about how if he had the amount indicated in the title, he and his bandmates “wouldn’t have to eat Kraft Dinner.” His bandmates then jokingly chimed in, saying that would actually eat more, with “really expensive ketchups, [like] Dijon Ketchup.”

KD has long been a staple of student diets because of its affordability and ease of preparation, but Kraft Heinz Canada seems to be saying that it’s now suitable for the wealthy too. We can’t wait to see what the brand team comes up with for “Be my Yoko Ono.”

KFC Canada is piloting Google‘s food ordering feature across the Google Search, Google Maps and Google Assistant platforms, part of the QSR brand’s commitment to creating what it calls a “frictionless” experience for its customers.

As part of the program, Canadians who search for their local KFC on Google Search or Google Maps will now be presented with an “order online” button that, when clicked enables them to browse the KFC menu place an order for delivery or pick-up and then pay securely without leaving the Google platform.

With a stated goal of digital sales exceeding offline sales by 2022, KFC continues to incorporate more digital tools into the consumer experience. It recently partnered with Amazon Web Services to develop a new Alexa Skill that allows consumers to interact with a Colonel Sanders soundalike.


Chris Powell