The Really Brief — Week of July 6

July 10

Rental property operator Timbercreek Communities has launched its first foray into branded content with a new video series called “Moving Stories.”

Developed by Toronto agency Blackjet and its new production arm Impossible Studios, the series consists of five segments featuring interviews with Timbercreek Communities residents. Directing duties were split between veteran commercial director Keith White and Blackjet’s Eric Mair, who made his directorial debut with the series.

Blackjet CEO Rob Galletta says that apartments weren’t staged, and residents weren’t coached. “The result is five very distinct spots that highlight the diversity of Timbercreek’s residents and portfolio,” he said. Timbercreek has more than 100 apartment properties in 25 cities across six provinces.

The Canadian Council of Public Relations Firms has unveiled an action plan for Canadian agencies to take steps towards eradicating racism, discrimination and inequity both within the industry and in their work.

Developed by the CCPRF’s Diversity and Inclusion Task Force, the action plan addresses six key areas: leadership; recruitment, training and development; client work, content and partnerships, social investment and philanthropy, and accountability.

“This commitment flows from overdue self-reflection, conversations with employees and experts, and a determination for purposeful, sustained and strategic action to advance equity and fight racism,” said Daniel Tisch, CEO of Argyle Public Relationships and chair of the CCPRF’s Diversity and Inclusion Task Force. “By bringing competitors together to collaborate to fight racism, we aim to get greater scale, impact and change.”

Thirteen agencies have endorsed the commitment: Apex PR, Argyle, Broad Reach Communications, Casacom, Citizen Relations, Edelman Canada, Energi PR, GCI Canada, Hill + Knowlton Strategies Canada, Media Profile, Paradigm, Proof Strategies and Strategic Objectives.

July 9

Intel has selected Cohn & Wolfe as its PR and communications agency of record for Canada, with a remit that includes strategic communications, analyst and stakeholder relations, earned editorial and influencer engagement.

Ana Peña, Intel Americas communications director, called Canada a “key market” for Intel, citing its leadership in initiatives including the Internet of Things, 5G and AI.

“Having the right local-market partner to help us tell our story to Canadians about how Intel’s technology enables global progress and enriches the lives of many —both in Canada and abroad— is key to the evolution of my organization,” said Peña in a release.

July 7

FCB Montréal has just completed an ad campaign for Juripop, which offers free legal services for persons who have experienced or witnessed sexual violence.

“The misconceptions and stereotypes perpetuated by society cause victims and survivors to feel a strong sense of shame and guilt. They often feel judged and fear talking about their experience,” said Sylvain Dufresne, head of creative at FCB Montréal. “We decided to use these misconceptions to denounce the prejudice and demonstrate how Juripop is there to listen to and advise anyone who has experienced sexual violence, without judging them.”

The illustrations are by the artist Thaïla Khampo, and the campaign is running across Quebec with ads on TV, online, radio, La Presse+ and social media platforms. Some executions will target communities that traditionally have a higher incidence of sexual violence: First Nations, Black and other racialized people, as well as those living with disabilities, or with precarious immigration status and members of the LGBTQIA2S+ community.

Andy MacLellan has acquired full ownership of Verb Interactive, the Halifax-based digital agency specializing in travel marketing. The change comes with the retirement of Verb co-founder Edward Dorey. MacLellan said that he’s focused on growing Verb’s international business, having recently picked up work in Australia, Prague, Dubai and Korea.

Broken Heart Love Affair has picked up a number of new assignments since opening for business in late March.

The agency launched with the accounts and operational infrastructure of previous agency Republic, including clients Kids Help Phone, Everest Insurance and Kruger Products. Since then, BHLA has picked up new work for Arterra, Sandbanks Winery, WW (formerly Weight Watchers) and Hershey’s Jolly Rancher.

“The work and clients who have been coming our way is varied and really exciting,” said partner and chief business officer, Beverley Hammond. “We are grateful for the support we’ve received and the tremendous response to our business and senior talent model, particularly given the unusual timing of our launch.” Other client assignments include: Ozery Family Bakery; MoveSnap and Coveo.

July 6

Malcolm Roberts has released the first brand video for his new premium gin brand, Valley of Mother of God. “We wanted to establish the brand’s credentials,” says Roberts of the video, which is intended to convey what Roberts describes as its “rustic luxe” positioning.

Developed just before Canada Day, the 60-second video is comprised of original footage shot entirely around Roberts’ Foxglove Farm in the Hockley Valley region just north of Toronto and was created by Sam Davey, a film student at Ryerson University.

The video features a reading of the T.S. Eliot quote “We shall not cease from exploration and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time,” by voiceover artist Tom O’Bedlam.

Doritos and weed in the same location: how perfect is that? Cannabis retailer Fire & Flower has announced a partnership with convenience store operator Circle K that will see it open two stores adjacent to Circle K locations in Calgary and Grande Prairie, Alta.

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Fire & Flower said in a release that it expects to benefit from high customer traffic at the locations to deliver “an unprecedented level of convenience” to its customers, while maximizing the benefit of its Spark Perks and Spark Fastlane online ordering services at conveniently located stores.

Fire & Flower closed a strategic investment with Circle K parent Alimentation Couche-Tard in 2019 that saw the convenience operator pay $26 million for a 9.9% share in the company. The deal also included warrants to increase its ownership to 50.1%.

Screen Shot 2020-07-06 at 12.13.55 PM.pngArterra Wines Canada is offering a service to couples whose summer weddings have been cancelled because of COVID-19, introducing all-inclusive wedding packages at select wineries in Ontario and B.C. on Aug. 1.

Participating wineries include Jackson-Triggs, Inniskillin and Sandbanks in Ontario, and See Ya Later Ranch, Sumac Ridge and Nk’Mip Cellars in B.C. The $1,999 “minimony” package consists of a two-hour window for up to 20 guests, with an officiant, a photographer, wedding confections, charcuteries platter and VQA wine.

“While traditional wedding plans may have been stifled, we’re here to help couples achieve their dreams in a safe, uncomplicated way that is still breathtaking and unforgettable,” said Andrea Hunt, executive vice-president of marketing at Arterra Wines Canada.

Arterra operates eight Canadian wineries and owns The Wine Rack retail stores in Ontario. Its wine brands include Jackson-Triggs, Inniskillin, Sawmill Creek, Wallaroo Trail, Woodbridge by Robert MondaviRuffino and Kim Crawford.


Chris Powell