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.

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