Movers & Shakers

CLIENTS: Richard Blickstead has been appointed president and COO of the retail division of Boucherville, Que.-based home improvement chain Rona. Blickstead, formerly senior vice-president of marketing at Holt Renfrew, has also hung his hat at BiWay, Wal-Mart and Peoples Jewellers. ...


Richard Blickstead has been appointed president and COO of the retail division of Boucherville, Que.-based home improvement chain Rona. Blickstead, formerly senior vice-president of marketing at Holt Renfrew, has also hung his hat at BiWay, Wal-Mart and Peoples Jewellers.

Virtual banking operation ING Direct has promoted Stacey Grant-Thompson to senior VP, marketing from VP, direct marketing. Grant-Thompson is replacing Jim Kelly, who recently moved to the U.S. to launch the company’s new division there.

Bell Canada has boosted its focus on the Internet with the appointments of John Sheridan as vice-chair, market groups, and Terence Jarman vice-chair, corporate. Sheridan takes responsibility for all customer units, including its ActiMedia, Mobility, Nexxia, Ontario, Quebec and World divisions, as well as the Network Operations Group. Jarman, meanwhile, has responsibility for the company’s overall corporate strategy as well as its marketing, advertising and communications.

Cybersurf has chosen Stephen Monk to be its new executive VP of corporate development. He comes to the Internet software developer from Sprint’s parent company, Call-Net Enterprises.

Trimark Investment Management has named Nick Mancini executive VP, sales and marketing. Mancini was previously executive VP at Canada Trust.

The Toronto-Dominion Bank has shuffled its marketing department following its merger with Canada Trust. Chris Armstrong, Canada Trust executive VP of marketing and customer strategy, remains as executive VP marketing while Barbara Cromb, formerly TD’s VP enterprise info warehouse, has been named senior VP, marketing planning. Dominick Mercuri has moved from Canada Trust VP, target marketing to senior VP, advertising and marketing services, and Janet Hawkins has moved from VP of customer strategy and information at Canada Trust to the new organization’s senior VP, strategy and information.


Laurie Sloan has joined Grey Canada as managing director. She comes to the Toronto agency from J. Walter Thompson, where she held the same position.

John Gallagher has been named VP, managing director of Profusion Marketing Solutions, the promotional and event marketing division of PNMD. He comes to the Montreal-based shop from Cossette Communication-Marketing.

Guy Thouin has been promoted to senior VP, general manager of Montreal-based Saint-Jacques Vallée Young & Rubicam. Previously, he managed the Quebec portion of the Ford of Canada account.

Larry Bleau joins Marketing & Promotion Group as VP, Labatt Team. Previously, Bleau was VP, advertising at St. John’s, Nfld.-based Bristol Group, where he handled the Aliant and Atlantic Lottery Corporation accounts.

Sherry O’Neil has been promoted to VP, director of broadcast buying at OMD Canada, where she will head television negotiations. Chantale Vien was also named VP, after five years with the company. Most recently, she was media director of OMD Montreal.

Google launches a campaign about news connections

The search engine is using archival footage to convey what Canadians are interested in.

Google Canada and agency Church + State have produced a new spot informed by research from the search giant that suggests it is a primary connector for Canadians to the news that matters to them – a direct shot across the bow of the legislators presently considering Bill C-18.

In a spot titled “Connecting you to all that’s news,” the search giant harnesses archival footage reflective of many of the issues Canadians care about deeply, including the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, truth and reconciliation and the war in Ukraine, to demonstrate the point that many Canadians turn to Google as a gateway to the information and news they’re seeking.

“From St. John’s to Victoria and everywhere in between, when Canadians want to understand or get updated on the most pressing topics, Google connects them to the news sources that provide it,” says Laura Pearce, head of marketing for Google Canada. “All of us at Google are proud to be that consistent and reliable connection for Canadians to the news they’re searching for.”

In some ways, the goal of the campaign was to tap into the varied emotional responses that single news stories can have with different audiences across the country.

“News may be factual, but how people respond to it can be very emotional,” explains Ron Tite, founder and CCO at Church + State. “Importantly, those emotions aren’t universal. One news story can create completely different reactions from different people in different places. Because of that, we simply wanted to let connecting to news be the focus of this campaign. We worked diligently to license a wide variety of actual news footage that we felt would resonate with Canadians.”

The campaign can be seen as a statement by the search provider on Bill C-18 – the Online News Act – that is currently being deliberated by a parliamentary committee. That legislation seeks to force online platforms such as Meta’s Facebook and Alphabet’s Google to pay news publishers for their content, echoing a similar law passed in Australia in 2021. The Act has drawn sharp rebukes from both companies, with Facebook threatening to ban news sharing on its platform.

Google Canada is not commenting on whether this new campaign is a response to C-18, but it has been public in its criticism of the legislation. In testimony delivered to parliament and shared on its blog, Colin McKay, the company’s head of public policy and government relations, said, “This is a history-making opportunity for Canada to craft world-class legislation that is clear and principled on who it benefits.” However, he noted that C-18 is “not that legislation.”

The campaign launched on Oct. 24 and is running through December across cinema, OLV, OOH, podcast, digital and social. Airfoil handled the broadcast production.