Billy Bee boards create a buzz

Remember Billy Bee? Little guy. Black and yellow. Wings. Kinda cherubic. You know who we mean. Billy has been keeping something of a low profile in recent years. But if you've been out and about in the major centres of Ontario...

Remember Billy Bee? Little guy. Black and yellow. Wings. Kinda cherubic. You know who we mean.

Billy has been keeping something of a low profile in recent years. But if you’ve been out and about in the major centres of Ontario or Atlantic Canada in recent months, you’ve almost certainly noticed that familiar, smiling face.

This past fall, in an effort to renew brand awareness, Billy Bee Honey Products of Toronto launched a high-profile outdoor campaign. And the star of the production? None other than that much-loved mascot, little Billy Bee himself.

The company, which is Canada’s largest private honey packer, has traditionally relied more on radio, print and point-of-purchase advertising. The fall campaign was Billy Bee’s largest in recent memory – and its first outdoor effort in at least 10 years.

‘We knew we didn’t want to rest on our laurels,’ says Elie Grossman, vice-president of operations with the 50-year-old, family-run organization. ‘With our character, we have a well-known salesman to strengthen our image and remind consumers of Billy Bee – through a highly visual medium.’

The campaign, which was created by Toronto’s Zeppelin Communications & Design, had two phases – the first focused on pure brand awareness, the second devoted to introducing Billy Bee’s new family of honey products.

Phase one rolled out in October, and ran on billboards for eight weeks. The clean, simple creative execution featured the brand icon and a headline intended to promote Billy Bee honey as a healthier substitute for sugar: ‘Bee Healthy – Billy Bee, the natural sweetener.’

Phase two, which added bus panels to the mix, promoted the new Billy Bee products – among them honey mustard, honey barbecue sauce, honey-roasted peanuts and honey lemon candies – with such headlines as ‘Bee Nutty’ and ‘Bee Saucy.’

‘We had to keep it simple,’ says Christine Fox, director of promotions with Zeppelin. ‘With billboards, you only have a few seconds for people to see it, so we used brilliant background colours to grab attention, and the bee to provide instant [brand] recognition.’

The campaign employed billboards positioned in the vicinity of grocery stores in order to catch the eye of the target audience – namely, women 18-plus with children, and other health-minded adults.

Although packaged goods companies are not generally the leading users of outdoor, Fox says advertisers in these categories can make highly effective use of the medium.

‘You can put stuff on shelves or use displays at retail [to encourage an instant purchase],’ she says, ‘But that’s not necessarily what we were doing in this campaign. It was more of a message to remind people about Billy Bee – that it is natural, and that there is this family of products. And the best way to do that was the way we took.’

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- Let the good times roll: Demand is up, credibility is no longer an issue and turnaround is faster than ever. So why doesn’t outdoor garner a greater share of the advertising pie? p.21

- Video Board a standout: Largest of its kind in Canada, board will showcase DaimlerChrysler, TV spots for next five years p.25

In Brief: The Garden picks CDs to take on daily creative leadership

Plus, Naked names two new leaders of its own and Digital Ethos comes to Canada.

The Garden promotes two creative directors

ACDs Lindsay Eady and Francheska Galloway-Davis have taken over responsibility for day-to-day creative leadership at The Garden after being promoted to creative director roles.

The pair will also help develop the agency’s creative talent, formalizing mentorship and leadership activities they have been doing since joining the agency four and three years ago, respectively. In addition to creating the agency’s internship program, the pair have worked on campaigns for Coinsquare, FitTrack and “The Coke Challenge” campaign for DanceSafe.

Eady and Galloway-Davis will continue to report to The Garden’s co-founder and chief creative officer Shane Ogilvie, who is stepping back from daily creative duties to a more high-level strategic role, allowing him to focus on client relationships and business growth.

Naked Creative Consultancy names new creative and strategy leadership

Toronto’s Naked Creative Consultancy has hired Yasmin Sahni as its new creative director. She is taking over creative leadership from David Kenyon, who has been in the role for 10 years and is moving into a new role as director of strategy, leading the discipline at the agency.

Sahni is coming off of three years as VP and ECD at GTB’s Toronto office, where she managed all the retail, social and service creative for Ford Canada. She previously managed both Vice Media and Vice’s in-house ad agency Virtue.

Peter Shier, president of Naked, says Sahni’s hiring adds to its creative bench and capabilities, as well as a track record of mentorship, a priority for the company. Meanwhile, Kenyon’s move to the strategy side, he says, makes sense because of his deep knowledge of its clients, which have included Ancestry and The Globe and Mail.

Digital Ethos opens a Toronto office

U.K. digital agency Digital Ethos is pursuing new growth opportunities in North America by opening a new office in Toronto.

Though it didn’t disclose them, the agency has begun serving a number of North American clients, and CEO/founder Luke Tobin says the “time was right to invest in a more formal and actual presence in the area.” whose services include design, SEO, pay-per-click, social media, influencer and PR,

This year, the agency’s growth has also allowed it to open an office in Hamburg, Germany, though it also has remote staff working in countries around the world.

Moray Hickes was the company’s first North American hire as VP of sales, tasked with business development in the region.