NorthStar Bets wants a ’90-min stat holiday’ to mark Canada’s World Cup kick-off

The Canadian men’s soccer team will make its first World Cup appearance since 1986 this Wednesday. And given the team’s impressive performance during the qualifying round, there’s reasonable hope it can improve on its three losses, zero goals for, and five against performance in Mexico 36 years ago.

The only problem is that kick-off for Canada’s first match is at 2 p.m., right in the middle of the work day. While The Message editorial team will be “in meetings” for the historic event, that’s not an option for everyone.

So, NorthStarBets is calling for a “statutory holiday” of 90 minutes (the length of a World Cup match) so that Canadians can watch the home team take on world No. 2 Belgium (gulp).

Working with Leo Burnett and the podcast Footy Prime, NorthStar Bets has launched a campaign running across TV, digital, social and out-of-home that is urging companies and senior managers to let their employees take 90 minutes off in the afternoon to watch the match.

The campaign features a video starring former Canadian national team goalkeeper and broadcaster Craig Forrest, who says he’s excited that Canada is back on the world football stage “after 36 friggin’ years.”

He urges Canadians to forward his video message to their boss requesting time off. “When Canada takes the field, we want you to take off work,” he says. “Do it not for you, but for Canada. But also you.”

The campaign also includes more than 30 different social assets that speak to specific constituencies, including advertising agencies (“See if A.I. really can do your job for 90 minutes”), influencers (“Turn off your ring lights for 90 minutes”) and day traders (“Focus on the red for 90 minutes”).

All of the creative drives to, which features a series of messages explaining the holiday that employees can send to their boss. They feature messages like “I’ll let you micromanage me for a whole week,” “I’ll write a 5-star review about us on Glassdoor,” and “After countless after-hours emails, can you do me a solid?”

Media for the campaign is from Starcom, with North Strategic for PR.

Chris Powell