What’s Hot



Wait till Quebec legislators hear about this one. The Whiskas cat food company last week launched the Canadian rollout of what it is calling the first-ever television commercial created specifically for cats. The 30-second spot, which actually debuted two years ago in the U.K., features a variety of images and sounds that feline focus groups – yes, you read that right – indicated were popular among mousers: specifically, images of mice, fish and birds, overlaid with meowing, tweeting and squeaking sounds. The tests, conducted at the Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition, suggest that about 60% of cats will respond to the ad, with actions ranging from ear-twitching and head-cocking to pawing and sniffing of the TV screen. A 15-second spot has also been developed to appeal directly to cat owners. No word yet on how they’ll react.


Canadian sales professionals travelled more often for business last year than they did in 1998 and a growing percentage of them booked their trips over the Internet. These shocking revelations come from the Canadian Professional Sales Association (CPSA), which conducts an annual survey on the business travel habits of its members. As might be expected in a buoyant economy, travel volume was up over the previous year, albeit by a relatively small percentage. Perhaps the most notable finding of the study, which was completed by 1,000 CPSA members, is that the percentage of respondents booking hotel, car and airfare reservations over the Internet quadrupled to 5.9% from only 1.3% in 1998. Of the 77.3% of respondents who use the Internet, half (49%) used the Web to browse for travel information, an increase of about 10% from the previous year. The typical CPSA business traveller is a 45-year-old male, with an average income of $82,140.


Perhaps not surprising in this age of online courtship, a recent study has revealed that consumers who bank online are more likely to be playing the field. The study, conducted by St. John’s, Nfld. marketing consultancy the Bristol Group, surveyed close to 1,600 adults in Canada and the U.S. regarding their relationships with their banks. Entitled Future Imperfect: Banking on the Internet, the study concluded that while the majority of North Americans deal with one primary banking institution, their fidelity declines noticeably when they move online. For example, Americans, who give – on average – 80% of their banking business to a single financial institution, provide only 48% of their business to a primary institution once they move online. The study’s author, Dr. Jim Barnes, says, "The Internet has given power and freedom to financial services customers by broadening their choices to global proportions."

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