Word Is…

...Molson is close to naming a shortlist for its estimated $55-million media business. Although the brewer will not comment on which agencies it has approached, sources say three shops are in the running: Optimedia (Montreal offices); HYPN, which formerly held the...

…Molson is close to naming a shortlist for its estimated $55-million media business. Although the brewer will not comment on which agencies it has approached, sources say three shops are in the running: Optimedia (Montreal offices); HYPN, which formerly held the Labatt media business; and Starcom, which will pitch together with MediaVest, the media buying arm of Molson Canadian AOR Bensimon*Byrne*D’Arcy.

Earlier this month, a global agency alignment prompted Labatt Breweries of Canada to move its media account from HYPN to Initiative Media. Initiative, in turn, resigned the Molson media business, leaving the brewer just 90 days to find a new AOR.

Further to the beer business shakeup, Initiative has changed its name to M2 Universal Communications Management to align itself with Universal McCann, the worldwide media management brand of Interpublic Group’s McCann network.

Under this new umbrella, the company has set up three specialized units: M2 Universal Retail, M2 Universal Online and M2 Universal Health Care.

…In an effort to stem the tide of mutual fund redemptions that has plagued the mutual fund industry, Trimark Investment Management is looking at giving its customers a reason to keep in touch through e-mail. The company is considering implementing an incentive-based, e-mail communications program that will give clients deals on financial books, software and other financial planning goodies when they contact Trimark through the Web.

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