Maple Leaf celebrates empty spaces, but not empty fridges

Who: Maple Leaf Foods and Sid Lee, in partnership with Food Banks Canada and Community Food Centres Canada.

What: “Apart Together,” a new campaign promoting the food company’s efforts around reducing food insecurity in Canada, which includes a $1 million donation to emergency food relief organizations.

When & Where: The campaign broke today (April 23) and is running across TV, online and social. There’s also a dedicated website,, where individuals can make donations to the country’s emergency food relief organizations.

Why: Access to food, particularly among vulnerable Canadians, is one of the most worrisome aspects of the COVID pandemic. Food Banks Canada CEO Chris Hatch recently told Global News that demand at the 3,000 food agencies represented by his organization could increase by as much as 30% or even 40% as businesses are forced to close or lay off staff. The initiative aligns with Maple Leaf’s efforts to reduce food insecurity in Canada by 50% by 2030.

How: The ad features the by-now familiar images of empty classrooms, streets and sports stadiums, with the voiceover noting that this is what it looks like when Canadians do their part to prevent the spread of COVID-19. “But an empty fridge is a reality for millions of Canadians during this crisis.” The ad notes that “Staying apart doesn’t mean we can’t stick together.”

But we could also use a laugh right about now: Well, Maple Leaf has once again demonstrated its knack for creating highly amusing ads from user-generated footage as part of its “We’re for real” positioning.

This time, the focus is on people trying (and failing) to cut their kids’ hair during the lockdown period. The super reads “To all the parents doing what needs to be done… hats on to you.”





Chris Powell