Word Is…

...TBWA Chiat/Day was actually the sole winner of Sears Canada's recently awarded $75-million advertising account, but felt it couldn't take on the entire account because of conflicts with Shoppers Drug Mart. Ammirati & Puris Lintas, which won a share of the...

…TBWA Chiat/Day was actually the sole winner of Sears Canada’s recently awarded $75-million advertising account, but felt it couldn’t take on the entire account because of conflicts with Shoppers Drug Mart. Ammirati & Puris Lintas, which won a share of the business with Chiat/Day and Young & Rubicam, apparently came in second in the selection process.

…Vickers & Benson may be close to closing the sale of its agency to MDC Communications, the integrated communications company that also owns a piece of Ambrose Carr Linton Carroll and LBJ-FRB.

…Canoe is meeting with a trio of unnamed Toronto shops to get some help with its branding, and plans to name a new full service agency of record this week. The online news and information provider – which is part of Quebecor’s new media division – had announced it was prepping for an agency review sometime in early February. But the portal has decided against calling a full agency review, and is instead speeding up the process so it can start promoting a number of new initiatives in the coming months, according to Rosanne Caron, the Web site’s vice-president of marketing and research. Canoe recently dropped its AOR, Ambrose Carr Linton Carroll, because it wanted a shop that had offices in both Toronto and Montreal, in order to service its French-language Web site.

…The takeover of Cashway lumber stores by Boucherville, Que.-based Rona isn’t the only home improvement merger in the works. With Rona, Revy, Home Depot and Réno-Dép`t now all competing in Ontario, two players are likely to blow off their big-box holdings and realign themselves in smaller boxes. Observers have long said there’s only room for two big-box players in the market, and the survivors of the shakeout are expected to be those with the deepest pockets.

…Timberland isn’t doing so well with the sportwear shop it recently opened on the lakefront strip in tony Oakville, Ont. According to Glenn Stonehouse, president of Grafton-Fraser, the chain’s owner, the boutique format is a bust and won’t be expanded as the chain rolls across the country. He says its mall stores, however, are doing just fine.

From Karen Howe’s dining table: Creativity, COVID and Cannes

ICYMI, The Township's founder gathers the best of the best campaigns and trends so far.

Cannes Base Camp

By Karen Howe

I’m attending Cannes from the glory of my dining room table. There’s not a palm tree in sight, yet inspiration and intel are present in abundance.

Cannes Lions is a global cultural pulse check. The social course correction in the wake of the murder of George Floyd and BLM has delivered far greater diversity in the judging panels as well as the work. And we are all better for it.

I’m proud to say that creativity defeated COVID, which speaks to its power. Great work and big ideas flourished, despite unimaginable odds.

The work from the past two years spans a vast emotional range. From the profundity of Dove’s “Courage is Beautiful” to the hyper exuberance of Burberry’s “Festive,” they are opposite ends of the spectrum, but each answered a need in us.

Take note, the ascendency of gaming cannot be understated. Smart brands have embraced the channel. It makes sense, because gamers participate to meet others around the world, not just to play. And they represent a huge and powerful community. That’s why QSR Wendy’s gamified their iconic gal in RPG’s Feast of Legends.

Burger King sponsored the unknown Stevenage Football Club, transforming the team into online heroes and vaulting BK into the fray at the same time. Once again, the brand embedded itself in culture.

The birth of gaming tourism arrived when Xbox snuggled up to travel guides and created a brilliant baby: a travel guide for gaming worlds. It, too, embedded itself in culture.

From the standpoint of social good, Reporter Without Borders showed how it worked with Mindcraft for its “Uncensored Library” to bypass press censorship, with Minecraft providing a loophole to a space where young people could be educated. It provided youth with a powerful tool to fight oppression: truth.

COVID changed us in unexpected ways. We learned how to pay attention again and there was a notable lack of 30-second commercials. Instead, longer format content thrived. Apple’s WFH was seven minutes long. Entertainment reigned king, so we find ourselves returning to our advertising roots.

Seeing competitive brands form partnerships was one of this year’s other great surprises. The brilliantly simple “Beer Cap Project” by Aguila to reduce binge-drinking saw the brand reach out to competitive beers to join in. Aguila put incentivizing (keyword: free) reminders to drink water, eat food and get home safely on its bottle caps from all sorts of fast food chains, ride-share co’s and H2O brands.

On a personal level, I’m so proud of Canada again this year. Given that it was two years of work from all over the world being judged, even making the Cannes shortlist was an accomplishment. Canada is herding in the Lions in tremendous numbers – and it’s not even over. Fingers are crossed.

KAREN-HOWE-PIC-higher-rez-300x263Karen Howe is a Canadian Cannes Advisory Board Member and founder of The Township Group