The Really Brief — Week of November 9

November 12

Toronto’s SickKids Foundation is getting a fundraising boost from Ryan Reynolds and the U.S. discount retailer Sam’s Club.

Reynolds has renewed his long-term “rivalry” with Hugh Jackman for a marketing campaign for Sam’s Club. For years the pair have pretended to be bitter rivals, often played out in funny videos and pranks on shared on social channels. (Read this post to see how Reynolds used their rivalry to raise money for SickKids last year.)

Sams Club created “The Feud” for people to choose whose side they’re on, while also encouraging people to buy Jackman’s Laughing Man Coffee or Reynolds’ Aviation Gin. At the end of the campaign, Sams Club will make a donation to Jackman’s charity of choice, Laughing Man Foundation, and Reynolds charity, SickKids Foundation.

Caroline Kilgour is the new executive vice-president and managing director of Lifelong Crush, the agency launched earlier this year by Broken Heart Love Affair.

Kilgour was most recently VP and managing director at doug&partners, but before that she worked with BHLA partners at both BBDO and Red Urban.

“Over our many years creating powerful brands and award-winning work, we have had the good fortune of working with the best in the business, and Caroline is one of them,” said partner and chief business officer, Bev Hammond. “We are excited about Caroline’s experience, her track record of success, her passion for delivering great work and her ability to build a team of top talent.”

Andrew Shulman and David Chong have been named managing directors of Dentsu’s sports specialist agency MKTG Canada, with Brian Cooper remaining as chairman.

Shulman and Chong have both been with MKTG (and its earlier iteration S&E Sponsorship, which was acquired by Dentsu in 2016) for nearly a decade. Their promotions follow the recent departure of previous MKTG president and CEO Michael Beckerman, who is now with Torstar.

“I’m excited to have Andrew and David join our Canadian leadership team, and partner closely with the MKTG team and our clients,” said Dentsu Canada CEO Jeff Greenspoon. “As we continue to innovate the way our clients’ brands are built, both Andrew and David’s industry-leading expertise, passion and client-centric approach is vital as we look to work more collaboratively with our clients.”

Vancouver agency Palmer Stamnes DDB has named Katie Ainsworth its new VP creative director. She will oversee all creative for the agency alongside James Bateman, who leads the agency’s brand design arm, PS Brand.

Ainsworth has more than 25 years experience, including CD posts at Rethink, TBWA\Vancover, Grey and most recently Cossette.

PS DDB launched earlier this year with the return of Canadian ad legend Frank Palmer after an 18-month retirement.

“I’m excited by the opportunity to launch a new agency model in our market and to collaborate with the industry icons at the helm, our talented agency team and a growing roster of great clients,” said Ainsworth. “PS DDB is the perfect combination of entrepreneurial boutique, which is ideal for our market, and global powerhouse.”

November 9

It’s beginning to smell a lot like KFC. Following two sold-out runs in the U.S., KFC is bringing its popular “11 Herbs & Spices Firelog to Canada” this week.

The limited-edition firelog, which produces the instantly recognizable smell of KFC when burned, goes on sale in Canadian Tire stores this week for $19.99 (or the price of a six-piece bucket and two large sides).

Canada’s winter season and fireplaces go together like an iconic KFC bucket of chicken and gravy,” said KFC Canada’s chief marketing officer Samantha Redman. “It’s the comfort of a warm fire and the delicious aroma of our world-famous fried chicken that makes The KFC 11 Herbs & Spices Firelog a truly hearth-warming and hunger-inducing experience for all.”

Your move Popeyes.

With many of its in-store restaurants closed because of the pandemic, IKEA Canada is making popular menu items including its iconic Swedish meatballs, butter chicken and fish and chips available for takeout. Customers can place a takeout order at a special kiosk in its Bistro food market, which sells popular grab-and-go options like hotdogs and frozen yogurt.

The retailer is offering family meals including a Swedish Meatball Family Meal consisting of 24 meatballs, two sides, accompanying sauces and a family size chocolate cake for $29.99. It is also selling a vegetarian meatball option for $19.99.

The in-store restaurant is a huge draw for IKEA customers, with a 2017 Forbes report noting that nearly 30% of its customers come to its stores just to eat. The company serves more than 650 million diners a in more than 50 countries, with food sales alone totalling more than $1.6 billion.

“We know that many of our customers look forward to an affordable family meal at the IKEA Restaurant when they visit our stores. We want to be there for our customers—whether they prefer to dine-in or takeout,” said Danielle Beauchesne, head of IKEA Food, in a release. “Our new restaurant takeout option offers an easy way for Canadians to enjoy their IKEA favourites, however they choose to.”

SkipTheDishes is attempting to further differentiate itself from competitors in the crowded food delivery space with the latest instalment in its three-year-old advertising featuring “honourary Canadian” Jon Hamm. Jeff MacEachern, chief creative officer for SkipTheDishes’ agency partner Arrivals + Departures, says the new campaign is about repositioning the brand around empowering Canadians to live life on their own terms.

“In an increasingly competitive and prominent category, being a convenient delivery option is no longer enough, and selling category benefits isn’t either,” he said.

“Your life. Your toppings,” the eighth TV spot in the campaign that features Hamm playing an exaggerated version of himself, features the actor clad in an all-denim “Canadian tuxedo” as he informs his long-suffering assistant Brandon that he’s done with acting, having grown tired of playing roles that others have written for him. He informs Brandon that his life now is about “me doing whatever I want,” which at that particular moment includes eating pizza with pineapple.

The campaign also includes national out-of-home and digital ads supporting the company’s new Skip Rewards loyalty program. Media for the campaign was handled by UM Canada.

Nintendo of Canada has recruited three Canadian champions from the worlds of tennis, auto racing and dancing as part of a new promotional campaign for the Nintendo Switch gaming system.

The #ChallengeAChamp promotion is giving Canadians a chance to compete against Canadian stars including tennis star Bianca Andreescu and racecar driver James Hinchcliffe in Nintendo Switch titles including Mario Tennis Aces and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. Participants can also earn the right to play Just Dance 2020 alongside celebrated Montreal dancer Shanie Blais.

To enter, participants must respond to dedicated posts on Nintendo of Canada Twitter and Facebook pages commenting on why they are skilled at one of the three titles for the chance to win a 60-minute online gaming session with one of the three Canadian champions.

It hasn’t exactly been a quiet retirement so far for Canadian ice dancing star Tessa Virtue.

In addition to appearing in a new campaign for Buick Canada promoting its all new Encore GX (see the ad below), Virtue is also the face of a new integrated campaign for healthy food brand Kashi Canada called #FullOfLife.

Virtue, who retired last year after a 22-year ice dancing career that included two Olympic Gold medals, will appear on in-store signage and on the brand’s social media channels. She is also hosting an Instagram Live session on Nov. 10 in which she will share her own tips on leading a more mindful lifestyle and her personal recipe for success.

Other campaign elements include #FullOfLife social content, a video series and national PR. The campaign is built around helping Canadians achieve their healthy eating objectives.


Chris Powell