Foss made indelible contribution to ad industry

John Foss, an outspoken advocate for commercial free speech and head of the Association of Canadian Advertisers for well over a decade, died Feb. 28 from complications from pneumonia while on vacation in Ecuador with his wife Pat. He was 74....

John Foss, an outspoken advocate for commercial free speech and head of the Association of Canadian Advertisers for well over a decade, died Feb. 28 from complications from pneumonia while on vacation in Ecuador with his wife Pat. He was 74.

A native Norwegian, Foss moved to Canada in 1957 and made an indelible contribution to the advertising industry during a long career that began at Canadian Canners, where he became director of advertising.

He chaired the Association of Canadian Advertisers for the 1973-74 term and later became the association’s president and CEO, a post he held for 14 years (from 1979 to 1993).

In 1996, Foss was awarded the ACA’s Gold Medal for his contributions to the advancement of advertising. Specifically, he was cited for his role in the establishment of the ACA’s educational initiatives, in the formation of the Canadian Congress of Advertising and its Cassies Awards Program, and his strong support of the principle of commercial free speech.

During the 1970s, Foss was a forceful opponent of proposed federal legislation that would have placed severe restrictions on advertising creative.

Foss was also involved with a number of other industry organizations, including the World Federation of Advertisers, the Canadian Advertising Foundation (now Advertising Standards Canada), the Canadian Advertising Research Foundation and the Audit Bureau of Circulations.

Google launches a campaign about news connections

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

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.