The Really Brief – Week of June 22

June 25

Rethink has boosted its strategic team with the addition of two strategic planners: Shereen Ladha (right) and Nicole Rajesky (left).

Ladha joins Rethink from McCann Worldwide as strategy director, primarily focused on leading the IKEA business, which has grown to include a more global mandate. Rajesky joins from No Fixed Address as a senior strategist, focused on several brands across the agency.

Rethink also promoted Julian Morgan to strategy director. Morgan has been with Rethink for three years, working on brands like Heinz Ketchup, Molson-Coors and Nestle.

Pathways to Education is running a national campaign to raise awareness and money to help low-income students who face greater barriers to education because of the pandemic: financial insecurity, reduced access to online learning because of a lack of technology, and challenging learning environments.

The “Disconnected Education” campaign, by Toronto agency Camp Jefferson, uses images many would associate with losing an internet connection to illustrate how low-income students could be disconnected from their education because of COVID. The campaign includes a new landing page at the Pathways site, as well as print, video and social creative.

Pathways to Education has been helping students in a variety of ways during the pandemic:

  • Working with local partners to ensure students have devices to engage in online learning.
  • Deployed a low-bandwidth video platform to help students with limited or unreliable access to the internet maintain a connection to Pathways staff and tutors.
  • Staff remain in regular contact with students—providing encouragement, checking in on their mental health, and ensuring they have access to the resources they need.

Canadian band Walk off the Earth stars in a new video rendition of “O Canada,” produced for French’s Ketchup. Well-known for its unique covers of popular songs, the band uses French’s bottles as instruments while seated at a picnic table set for a Canada Day celebration.

“This year, we may be limited in how we physically get together on Canada Day,” said Deborah Sharpe, group marketing director with French’s. “So, we hope this playful rendition of our national anthem sparks joy and conversation around everyone’s table and offers a unique way to celebrate our Canadian pride.”

June 24

Screen Shot 2020-06-24 at 12.24.44 PMTissue brand Royale has announced a new marketing partnership with Canadian tennis star—and reigning U.S. Open champion—Bianca Andreescu that will continue through the rest of 2020. While the announcement did not contain specifics, Royale said that Andreescu will play a “vital role” in upcoming campaigns.

Andreescu’s first formal role is creating a Royale-sponsored Spotify playlist called “Bianca’s purr-oudly Canadian playlist” (the name is a nod to Royale’s brand identifier, “The Kitten Brand”) featuring her favourite Canadian music.

“Bianca is one of Canada’s most exciting personalities, and we’re thrilled to be partnering with her this summer,” said Jim Schedler, vice-president of marketing at Royale parent Irving Consumer Products. “Her commitment to her family, and proudly wearing the maple leaf around the world, truly echo the values of the Royale brand.”

Hollywood actor turned “Ordinary Canadian guy” Jon Hamm and his long-suffering assistant Brandon are back in a new spot for food delivery service SkipTheDishes.

The premise of “Going once. Going twice. Get great delivery,” the latest spot in the popular campaign from Arrivals + Departures, is that Hamm wants to sharpen up his online auction skills to sell off kitchen equipment (including a pretty sweet-looking maple leaf waffle maker) that’s going unused since he discovered the food delivery service.

Hamm’s SkipTheDishes spots have amassed nearly 12 million views on YouTube alone since he first appeared as a spokesperson for the company in 2018.

June 23

Sobeys has officially launched its new high-tech delivery service Voila by Sobeys in the suburban region of Vaughan, just north of Toronto. Sobeys plans to expand the service across the Greater Toronto Area in the weeks ahead.

Sobeys partnered with British firm Ocado to build its “state-of-the-art” automated distribution centre in Vaughan, where robots assemble orders (see another Ocado centre in action below). While the system has been in development for two years, the technology has unique appeal now: “Robots assemble orders efficiently and safely, resulting in minimal product handling,” says the Sobeys press release.

“Voilà by Sobeys is the future of online grocery retail in Canada, and now it’s here,” said Michael Medline, president and CEO of Sobeys parent company Empire. “Ocado’s technology gives us the best e-commerce platform in the country—there’s nothing like it in North America.”

Vancouver’s Herschel Supply Company has introduced a limited-edition product line called the “Re-Sail Collection,” consisting of items made from old sails donated by a local sailing club.

Proceeds of sales from the upcycled items (a utility apron, wall organizer, pen case and small and large bucket bags) are going to the Vancouver Aquarium to offset its $1 million in monthly operating costs. The aquarium has been closed since March 17 because of COVID-19.

“The Vancouver Aquarium is not only a favourite attraction for locals and tourists alike, but a beloved environmental institution dedicated to ocean conservation and marine research,” said Herschel Supply co-founder Jamie Cormack. “We designed the Herschel Supply Re-Sail Program to ensure that the Vancouver Aquarium can continue their invaluable work to protect our oceans and educate future generations.”

June 22

Audi Canada has created a virtual version of its annual speaker series Audi Innovation Series, highlighting leadership and innovation across business sectors. This year’s series is being pushed out through the luxury automaker’s social channels.

The featured speaker for the series is Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri, who participated in a moderated discussion about the keys to his success (see the full discussion below).

“Creating dialogue and driving engagement through our annual Audi Innovation Series has allowed us to once again spark a meaningful conversation on the power of innovation in all aspects of life,” said Audi Canada president Giorgio Delucchi.

Labatt Breweries of Canada-Labatt helping Canadian restaurants a

With restaurants and bars beginning the slow process of reopening, Labatt Breweries of Canada has developed special kits that include hand sanitizer and sanitizer towers, social distancing signage and support for going contactless including menus offered through QR code coasters, tent cards and point-of-sale integration.

The brewer has also partnered with fashion brand Pink Tartan to create non-medical facemasks, 135,000 of which will be donated to restaurants across the country.  The washable cotton masks are also being donated to Food Banks Canada.

The masks were developed and produced by Kimberley Newport-Mimran of Pink Tartan, and feature three Canadiana-inspired designs: Canadian Tuxedo, Classic Canadiana Lumberjack and a blue denim mask bearing a poppy image.

“Bars and restaurants are the cornerstone of our communities and play a critical role in bringing Canadians together,” said Charlie Angelakos, Labatt’s VP of legal and corporate affairs. “We recognize the significant challenges the restaurant industry is facing right now. They need partners like us to step up and help ensure those hit hard by the pandemic have access to the tools they need to restore consumer confidence and safely return to business.”

Screen Shot 2020-06-22 at 4.49.55 PM
Marco Tramonte

Toronto agency Juliet has hired Marco Tramonte, a former member of Red Bull Austria’s in-house marketing team, as its new head of performance media. Tramonte is a veteran of the ad tech space whose expertise spans ad ops, programmatic platforms and data management.

His career also includes roles with CIBC and Rogers Media, while his knowledge of the cannabis industry has also led to work with licensed producers across the country.

Tramonte’s hire follows a series of business wins for Juliet, including Milestones, Harry Rosen, The Bentway, Lawtons, Open Farm and Mark Anthony. “I’m excited to join Juliet because for them performance media isn’t its own island,” he says. “We’re able to bring strategy, media and creative into a mosaic, creating a bigger picture and completing the marketing funnel. Each individual piece is fully transparent and works in unison with the others to create more efficiency for our clients.”

DAZN Media North America, the sales and partnerships arm of sports streaming service DAZN, has signed what it describes as a “first-of-its-kind” deal with as official automotive online marketplace for its coverage of the English Premier League, which just restarted its 2019-20 season last week after being halted in March due to COVID. is the first brand to lock up category exclusivity on the platform. The deal runs through the 2020-21 EPL season.

The integration includes a video ad that will run across every single game shown on the platform through May 2021, a total of 472 matches. Some matches will also feature sponsored halftime coverage, while advertising will also appear on Countdown: Premier League, an original show recapping season highlights.

“… has a history of embracing innovation and new media opportunities. As technology and consumer behaviour evolves, being adaptive is part of how we maintain market leadership, and this new partnership with DAZN continues this tradition,” said Ian MacDonald, chief marketing officer of Trader Corporation.


Chris Powell