Account Action

Microsoft Canada has named Publicis Canada of Toronto AOR for its advertising account, estimated to be worth upwards of $25 million. Leo Burnett, MacLaren McCann and Young & Rubicam were also on the shortlist. The business had been with The Communiqué...

Microsoft Canada has named Publicis Canada of Toronto AOR for its advertising account, estimated to be worth upwards of $25 million. Leo Burnett, MacLaren McCann and Young & Rubicam were also on the shortlist. The business had been with The Communiqué Group.

Telus Advertising Services and Dominion Directory Information Services have picked Ogilvy & Mather as the creative agency on their account, estimated to be worth $6 million. The agency will handle the business out of its Calgary and Vancouver offices. Telus recently awarded its $30-million wireline consumer creative account to Palmer Jarvis DDB and its $15-million wireline business creative to Lanyon Phillips Communications. Both agencies are based in Vancouver. Telus’ media buying is with OMD Canada.

Toronto-based software company Hummingbird Communications has hired The Communiqué Group to create an international ad campaign for its Enterprise Information Portal. The assignment is valued at US$5 million.

Ontario Power Generation, one of North America’s largest electricity generating companies, has named Toronto-based Wolf Group its advertising agency of record. The assignment calls for an integrated communications program that will target business-to-business, employee, and plant communities.

The University of Alberta has completed its advertising review, giving Palmer Jarvis DDB the nod for its $1-million account. Creative will focus on student and faculty recruitment as well as fundraising efforts.

The Square One shopping mall in Mississauga, Ont. recently awarded its creative and media duties to Young & Rubicam of Toronto and its public relations business to Fruitman Communications Group.

Berminghammer Foundation Equipment, a Canadian engineering company that manufactures and markets direct drive diesel hammers, has hired Hamilton-based Cooper, Spearing & Stone Advertising as its agency of record. The agency was also named Canadian AOR by cost-reduction company Expense Reduction Analysts International.

Canoe has awarded the media buying portion of its $5-million account to Carat Canada. The business will be split between Carat Canada’s two divisions, Carat Strategem of Montreal and Carat Cairns of Toronto. Bos of Montreal recently picked up the creative business.

Alliance Atlantis Communications, owner of specialty channels Showcase Television, HGTV Canada and Life Network, has named The Communiqué Group of Toronto as agency for its account, valued at more than $4 million.

Meat and plant-based sales are both strong at Maple Leaf

Both priority areas performed well in the company's full-year results, helped by a boost in marketing for new products.
Maples Leaf All Natural 4

Maple Leaf Foods reported higher Q4 and full-year 2020 sales, driven by its sustainable meats and plant-based proteins. 

The CPG co. reported quarterly sales of $1.13 billion, up from $1.02 billion for Q4 2019, as well as net earnings of $25.4 million, compared to $17.5 million for the same period the year prior (an increase of 45.2%).

For full fiscal 2020, the company reported a total increase of 9.2% in sales, driven by what it says is “strong growth in both the meat and plant protein groups.”

“We have repositioned our portfolio towards two high-growth categories now representing 20% of our annual sales generating a compounded growth rate in excess of 25% over the last three years,” says Michael McCain, the company’s president and CEO.

Meat protein group sales  comprised of prepared meats, ready-to-cook and ready-to-serve meals, snack kits, value-added fresh pork and poultry products that are sold to retail, foodservice and industrial channels, and agricultural operations  grew 11.3% for the quarter. 

Meanwhile, sales of plant protein products  refrigerated plant protein brands such as Lightlife and Field Roast, premium grain-based protein, and vegan cheese products sold to retail, foodservice and industrial channels  was up 5.5% over the same period. 

Sales growth for its meat portfolio was driven by “a favourable mix-shift towards sustainable meats and branded products,” but also growth in exports to Asian markets, and pricing actions implemented to mitigate inflation and other structural cost increases, according to the company. Strong demand in the retail channel was offset by lower volume in foodservice as a result of COVID-19.

For its plant-based offerings, sales for 2020 were $210.8 million compared to $176.4 million last year, representing a growth of 19.5%, or 18.1% after excluding the impacts of foreign exchange. The segment was driven by expanded distribution of new products, continued volume increases in its existing portfolio, and pricing actions implemented to mitigate inflation and other structural cost increases.

SG&A expenses totalled $144 million for the plant group alone in 2020, with investments focused on advertising, promotion and marketing to build awareness, as well as supporting brand renovation and new product innovation. SG&A for meat proteins were $346.6 million for the full year, and the company says it expects SG&A levels and marketing investment in 2021 to be largely in line with where they were in 2020.

The company, which in 2019 announced it had gone carbon neutral, says it’s amplifying this commitment while “focusing on eliminating waste in any resources it consumes, including food, energy, water, packaging, and time.”