Broken Heart Love Affair goes to the ROM

The Royal Ontario Museum has chosen Broken Heart Love Affair to help develop a new brand vision as it embarks on a strategic repositioning. The choice comes after a competitive review that began with about 20 agencies expressing interest.

The decision reunites ROM’s chief marketing and communications officer Lori Davison with Jay Chaney and Carlos Moreno, two of the BHLA leadership team who were also key architects of the Sick Kids Foundation “Vs.” campaign, developed while Davison was with the foundation.

However, BHLA did not win the account because of that connection to Davison. In fact, she recused herself from the selection process. The review was run by a five-person team of senior executives from the ROM.

Davison said she stepped away from the process because she has close connections to a number of the bidding agencies. “I felt best about creating a process that was clearly objective, and I wanted to hear from my colleagues on their personal point of view,” she said. “BHLA was recommended to me, and actually with a lot of enthusiasm. They hit it out of the park with their pitch and wowed everybody.”

BHLA launched in the spring with five highly accomplished, senior-level agency executives—Chaney, Moreno, Denise Rossetto, Todd Mackie and Bev Hammond. Their vision was to ensure that senior-level talent works directly with clients looking to transform their brands, a model that made BHLA a good fit for the ROM according to Davison.

“They’re just such a talented, senior group of people with an incredible track record on brand transformation specifically. And that’s what this is about.”

That brand transformation will coincide with a larger reinvention of the ROM itself.

“The strategic plan for the ROM is all about becoming a more outward-facing institution, contemporary and of the moment, and a real hub of culture for the city and less a place that is collecting and documenting the past,” said Davison. The goal is to become a focal point for some of the bigger and urgent discussions about issues facing society today.

“The role of the brand is to find ways to elevate the institution into that role, but also to use our channels to ignite those conversations, to provoke discussions, to push out knowledge that gives people pause, and invites participation and critical thinking,” said Davison.

“We are exhilarated by the vision for the ROM as a global cultural touchstone, so it’s a privilege to be entrusted with transforming the brand and reigniting love for this important institution,” said Rossetto in a release. Aside from developing the ROM’s new brand vision, BHLA’s Lifelong Crush will also be working on the business, developing what the agency called: “a new brand expression and enterprise-wide creative platform.”

Davison said they had their first meeting with BHLA this week, and hope to have their work ready by fall. “There is a lot of pandemic to get through,” she said. “But that’s our target right now.”

David Brown