The Agency A List: McCann

Helping brands play meaningful roles in people's lives
Guys don’t like to talk about prostate exams, but they do like to talk about sports, music and movies. So to get guys and doctors talking, McCann took the old latex exam glove and re imagined it as The Famous Fingers Collection: gloves modeled after the famous hands of Hall of Famers, musicians and superheroes. Because making it easier for guys to talk about prostate cancer just might save their lives.

Guys don’t like to talk about prostate exams, but they do like to talk about sports, music and movies. So McCann took the old latex exam glove and re imagined it as The Famous Fingers Collection: gloves modeled after the famous hands of Hall of Famers, musicians and superheroes. Because getting guys to talk about prostate cancer may save lives.

With a new CEO at the helm, a slew of international awards and client Chevrolet Canada named one of strategy’s Brands of the Year, 2018 was strong for McCann. Ryan Timms, SVP, managing director, McCann Toronto implores the industry, “Just wait and see what’s next.”

Tourism Vancouver needed a new destination brand identity that captured the city’s stunning beauty and progressive nature. Starting with the promise that Vancouver connects people and inspires them to live with passion, McCann created a modern, welcoming design system inspired by a compass rose and an accompanying ad launch campaign in online video, digital and social, transit, OOH and radio.

Tourism Vancouver needed a new identity that captured the city’s stunning beauty and progressive nature. With the premise that Vancouver connects people and inspires them to live with passion, McCann created a fresh, welcoming design system inspired by a compass rose and an accompanying launch campaign across online video, digital and social, transit, OOH and radio.

Simon Sikorski, who previously served as chief client officer for IPG’s Craft and worked for McCann Erickson in the U.K. and McCann Worldgroup in New York, took over in January as CEO of McCann Worldgroup Canada. “Simon is the consummate integrator across divisions and disciplines,” Timms says. “His presence will help us tap into the company’s diverse talent to find the best ways to solve a business problem – whether through traditional marketing forms, experiential, deep digital or our McCann Health practice.”

This past year the agency brought in new clients and delivered award-winning programs for major players.

Celebrating Canadian values was the key approach on Petro-Canada’s “Live by the Leaf” campaign. McCann led strategy and creative and the brand refresh extended to stations. “We were able to demonstrate how much we understood what they needed to do – to connect with Canadians over one of the most commoditized products in a more meaningful manner,” Timms says.

Petro-Canada’s “Live by the Leaf” came to life as a mantra Canadians could rally around and as a playful reflection of our shared realities. McCann executed a brand re-launch that touched everything from advertising to in-store retail signage. It’s an ongoing patriotic nod that benefits a brand Canadians interact with as part of their daily routine.

The mass campaign encompasses an anthem video set to Stompin’ Tom Connors’ “My Stompin’ Grounds” and amusing shorter spots about distinctly Canadian behavior rolling out on TV, digital, social and a microsite. “We’ve given them a platform from which they can talk to Canadians where it’s not just about gas prices and location, but rather to demonstrate they’re Canadian, too,” Timms says.

Mastercard PricelessMcCann’s Mastercard campaigns also tie the brand to Canadian culture. Last year the agency picked up Midas Awards for its “Priceless Surprises – Ball Hockey” work, which provided a special surprise to a Mastercard cardholder: a deluxe rink on his street and a visit from his hero, Darryl Sittler. Meanwhile, the “Priceless Tables” initiative in Toronto let cardholders enjoy fine dining on the Roy Thomson Hall stage during a live orchestra performance. Digital spots and social directed to the Mastercard Priceless Cities website.

“Finding a way for Mastercard to continue to stand for pricelessness in Canada was a big part of that campaign’s success,” Timms says. 

Ninety-five percent of new moms plan to breastfeed, but by the end of month one, 60% introduce formula. Nestlé Good Start had to capture the attention of these moms during this key time. So McCann launched a platform via online video, paid and organic social and YouTube bumpers reminding them that no matter what, their baby will always think mom is the best.

Ninety-five percent of new moms plan to breastfeed, but by the end of month one, 60% introduce formula. Nestlé Good Start had to capture the attention of these moms during this key time. So McCann launched a platform via online video, social and YouTube reminding them that baby will always think mom is the best.

Humour has proven to be a winning approach for Prostate Cancer Canada, which wants men to have their prostates checked. Last year McCann won 17 awards from Cannes, The One Show, The Crystals Awards, the Clio Awards and the LIAs for its “The Alternatives” campaign, which encompasses online video, radio and print. It imagines awkward scenarios in which men too uncomfortable to have their doctor perform the exam would instead do so themselves or ask a friend or – gasp – their mother.

The agency followed up with the “Famous Fingers Collection” campaign, which this time has men being tested with latex gloves modelled after legendary characters such as Babe Ruth or Frankenstein. It won gold and silver at the LIAs.

“The subject matter may be immensely serious, but to resonate with the people we’re trying to reach, using humour or pulling at people’s heartstrings – common approaches in mass advertising channels – is a big part of that success,” Timms says.

Even potato farmers don’t really talk about potato herbicides, so it was a challenge to convince them to buy top-of-the-line product Sencor STZ herbicide. The way in was to educate farmers that by using the premium brand they could spend less time worrying about weeds and more time enjoying the little things in life. The “Grower Vacations” campaign resonated and the product launch surpassed first-year sales goals by 25%.

Even potato farmers don’t talk about potato herbicides, so it was a challenge to convince them to buy top-of-the-line  Sencor STZ. By showing that using the premium brand meant they could spend less time worrying about weeds and more time enjoying the little things in life, the “Grower Vacations” campaign surpassed first-year sales goals by 25%.

He adds that McCann is embracing a more “creative-first mentality,” which is how the agency has been reinvigorating itself globally. “Around the world and here at home we believe creativity is the only way to survive. It’s rooted in a powerful belief that our role is to help brands play meaningful roles in people’s lives.”

McCann evolved Chevrolet’s hockey strategy from a brand sponsorship to an ownable platform that rewarded Peewee teams for giving back to their communities. Whereas so many programs focus on how teams perform on the ice, the agency created the Chevrolet Good Deeds Cup to inspire and reward teams that had the best season off the ice.

McCann evolved Chevrolet’s hockey strategy from a brand sponsorship to an ownable platform that rewarded Peewee teams for giving back to their communities. Whereas many programs focus on how teams perform on the ice, the agency created the Chevrolet Good Deeds Cup to inspire and reward teams that had the best season off the ice.

The agency continues to invest in proprietary research to support that belief. In 2016, it released Truth About Canadians, an in-depth industry report in partnership with Ipsos. The nationwide, bilingual, quantitative and qualitative initiative takes the pulse of Canadians with respect to their opinions, values and expectations of modern brands.

In 2018, McCann followed up with the provocative The Truth About Canadian Women, which explores the changing lives, roles and expectations of women and their effect on the new norms in Canada. The agency leverages its research on its clients’ businesses on a daily basis.

CONTACT:

Ryan Timms

SVP, managing director, McCann Toronto

ryan.timms@mccann.com