Break out the champagne

I always find it strange to hear that women don't buy beer. Or that they don't swig enough of it to matter to brewers in this country. Perhaps it's because I grew up in a small Southern Ontario steeltown, where there wasn't a hell of a lot to do, except drink.

I always find it strange to hear that women don’t buy beer. Or that they don’t swig enough of it to matter to brewers in this country. Perhaps it’s because I grew up in a small Southern Ontario steeltown, where there wasn’t a hell of a lot to do, except drink.

Which everyone did. Friday and Saturday nights saw impromptu parties spring up everywhere – on the beach, in a field, at a farm – and beer was always the number one choice of beverage. For guys and gals. (No self-respecting party girl was ever seen with a cooler in her hand.) This was good training for my post-secondary education at the University of Guelph, which back then sold more suds on campus than any other academic institution. Or so the story went.

There are a lot of small towns across Canada. And I’m wagering that, while their urban counterparts might be sipping martinis, a lot of young women in small towns still like their beer. (Judging by the behaviour of my 22-year-old sister and her friends back home.)

So unlike some in the industry I’m not surprised that Zig was handed the Molson Canadian account last month, even though its creative partners are, heaven forbid, women. Surely men have conceived tampon ads in the past, and nobody has batted an eye. And likely, none of those guys ever used the product. So we thought it would be fun to give Elspeth Lynn and Lorraine Tao an opportunity to answer their critics. Check out their cheeky response to the industry on our back page this issue.

In the meantime, here’s my theory as to why Zig won the Molson Canadian account: They are a damn good agency. One of the best. One that keeps strategy at the core of a campaign. Like in the Ikea ads that inform consumers that the chain’s furniture is no longer just for students. Work like this is why they nabbed the silver in our Agency of the Year competition.

But Zig still didn’t beat Taxi, which has scored a hat trick with this year’s golden win. After watching the agency’s reel a few days ago with my colleagues, I completely agree with the judges that, once again, they are Canada’s top agency. Interestingly, the ads that seemed to get the most reaction in our little group were for Telus. (Although, admittedly, the vomiting and pissing in the Athletes World campaign also induced a reflex.) It just goes to show that when a campaign idea has legs, it can become iconic. Congrats guys. No need to change your phone message.

I want to applaud all of the shortlisted agencies, in particular those like TBWA (a finalist this year), which is re-establishing itself as a creative powerhouse, via hilarious campaigns for AGF and the Vancouver International Film Festival, not to mention strategically sound work for the likes of Nissan.

And if it happens that your agency didn’t make the shortlist, that doesn’t mean you aren’t making an impression on the Canadian ad community. That’s why, this year, I’m happy to introduce strategy’s peer review section, which highlights those shops that have won the best accounts, hired top talent, showed the most improvement, such as Grey, and so on.

Break out the champagne. Or, if you prefer, crack a cold one.

Lisa D’Innocenzo, editor