Red Rose resurrects brand with funeral spot

According to a Southam News report, Copps would explain to the elderly rocker that he couldn't have a star on the Walk because he wasn't Canadian. His scripted reply: "Only in Canada, you say? Pity."...

According to a Southam News report, Copps would explain to the elderly rocker that he couldn’t have a star on the Walk because he wasn’t Canadian. His scripted reply: "Only in Canada, you say? Pity."

Mick, of course, wouldn’t have got the joke. But there are precious few Canadians over the age of 15 who could possibly have missed the reference. The "Only in Canada …" line, which was employed in television spots for Red Rose Tea for more than 20 years, is arguably one of the best-known and most beloved slogans in this country’s advertising history.

Still, time takes its toll on all things – pop stars and advertising concepts alike. Which is why Red Rose has, at last, retired its famous tagline.

With no television support for several years, and an image that had grown increasingly staid, Red Rose was beginning to lose its bloom, says Mike Welling, vice-president, brand development for Toronto-based Lipton Canada.

"As nice as it was to say ‘Only in Canada’ and sell it as the Canadian brand of tea, the advertising and the brand identification was a little less relevant to people," he says. "It was coming across as a bit older, British and stuffy."

To counteract this, Lipton launched a campaign in February that introduces a new positioning for Red Rose.

The new tagline for the brand is "A cup’ll do you good" – a slogan that Welling says reflects the role that tea plays in people’s lives.

Television is the primary medium for the campaign, which was created by Toronto-based J. Walter Thompson. The first of the spots began airing in February, and will run through the spring.

Welling says the advertising plays on the idea that "a cup of tea helps to facilitate conversation." The new television spot, for example, takes place at a funeral, where the wife of the deceased sits weeping. When a priest appears with a tray of Red Rose and offers some to "Mrs. Wright," she pipes up in reply – as does the woman sitting next to her. Soon the two Mrs. Wrights are sharing a cup of tea, and trading notes on the late Mr. Wright.

Lipton did considerable research before setting out to give Red Rose a face-lift. From this, they learned that consumers associate tea-drinking with bonding.

"People find tea to be an icebreaker," says Rick Kemp, senior vice-president, creative director with J. Walter Thompson. And if any brand is capable of owning that territory, it’s Red Rose.

While the brand may have adopted a new positioning, it hasn’t abandoned its sense of pride in being Canadian. The second spot in the series, which will begin airing in summer or early fall, features a World War Two veteran from Canada visiting a former battlefield in France. There, he meets a German counterpart. After an awkward moment, the Canadian breaks the ice by offering a box of Red Rose. "It’s Canadian," he says. In return, our hero is handed a set of keys – "It’s German" – and the spot ends with him driving happily away in a new Mercedes-Benz.

Kemp says this spot trades on the brand’s Canadian heritage, and reflects the same wry sense of humour that has long been part of the Red Rose character.

While the original "Only in Canada…" campaign relied almost entirely on television, today the brand is employing multiple media channels in an effort to reach its target audience.

"It’s a cluttered marketplace out there, and we have to find more ways to reach our consumer," says Matt Scholes, vice-president, management director with J. Walter Thompson.

With this in mind, Red Rose is supporting the TV advertising with a print campaign, running mainly in women’s magazines. The full-page ads downplay the humour, focusing instead on the warmth and simplicity of tea, and its role as a conversation catalyst.

In addition, Lipton has redesigned the brand’s packaging, and launched a Red Rose Web site,

Karen Kilcullen, tea brand manager at Lipton, says the Web site is lifestyle-oriented, offering recipes, gardening tips and even a recommended reading list (since many people enjoy a mug of tea while relaxing with a good book). Visitors can also join the brand’s "Time for Tea" club and receive a free set of Red Rose note cards for filling out an online questionnaire.

Lipton has taken Red Rose into other media, Kilcullen says, because it’s important to reach consumers wherever they may be – and not all of them are guaranteed to be found in front of the TV anymore.

Still, television remains central to the brand’s media strategy. No other avenue, says Welling, would enable Red Rose to forge the same kind of emotional bond with consumers.

Also in this report:

- Shorter formats a double-edged sword: By opting for spots of 15 seconds or less, advertisers can stretch their advertising dollar — but they may also be contributing to the problem of clutter p.TV1

- CCM arouses interest with sperm spot p.TV4

- Painting the smaller canvas: How creatives make their mark in 15 seconds or less p.TV4

- Ford Focus puts the squeeze on credits: Sponsored previews of top-rated shows in bid to give campaign added impact p.TV8

- Jetta campaign a brand-new love story: Automaker bids farewell to popular Phil and Loulou characters p.TV10

- Is TV worth the money? p.TV12

- BTV blurs line between editorial, advertorial: Companies featured on business show pay about $10,000 for repackaged material p.TV13

In Brief: The Garden picks CDs to take on daily creative leadership

Plus, Naked names two new leaders of its own and Digital Ethos comes to Canada.

The Garden promotes two creative directors

ACDs Lindsay Eady and Francheska Galloway-Davis have taken over responsibility for day-to-day creative leadership at The Garden after being promoted to creative director roles.

The pair will also help develop the agency’s creative talent, formalizing mentorship and leadership activities they have been doing since joining the agency four and three years ago, respectively. In addition to creating the agency’s internship program, the pair have worked on campaigns for Coinsquare, FitTrack and “The Coke Challenge” campaign for DanceSafe.

Eady and Galloway-Davis will continue to report to The Garden’s co-founder and chief creative officer Shane Ogilvie, who is stepping back from daily creative duties to a more high-level strategic role, allowing him to focus on client relationships and business growth.

Naked Creative Consultancy names new creative and strategy leadership

Toronto’s Naked Creative Consultancy has hired Yasmin Sahni as its new creative director. She is taking over creative leadership from David Kenyon, who has been in the role for 10 years and is moving into a new role as director of strategy, leading the discipline at the agency.

Sahni is coming off of three years as VP and ECD at GTB’s Toronto office, where she managed all the retail, social and service creative for Ford Canada. She previously managed both Vice Media and Vice’s in-house ad agency Virtue.

Peter Shier, president of Naked, says Sahni’s hiring adds to its creative bench and capabilities, as well as a track record of mentorship, a priority for the company. Meanwhile, Kenyon’s move to the strategy side, he says, makes sense because of his deep knowledge of its clients, which have included Ancestry and The Globe and Mail.

Digital Ethos opens a Toronto office

U.K. digital agency Digital Ethos is pursuing new growth opportunities in North America by opening a new office in Toronto.

Though it didn’t disclose them, the agency has begun serving a number of North American clients, and CEO/founder Luke Tobin says the “time was right to invest in a more formal and actual presence in the area.” whose services include design, SEO, pay-per-click, social media, influencer and PR,

This year, the agency’s growth has also allowed it to open an office in Hamburg, Germany, though it also has remote staff working in countries around the world.

Moray Hickes was the company’s first North American hire as VP of sales, tasked with business development in the region.