In Brief: POCAM becomes a non-profit, adds to its board

Plus, Boston Beer is stepping into Canada's cannabis market and Berlin Communications takes top prize at the ACE Awards.

POCAM adds seven to its steering committee

People of Colour in Canadian Advertising and Marketing (POCAM) is now a federally registered non-profit, and it has added to its leadership team to help steer its work in eliminating racism and discrimination from the industry.

The Steering Committee has added seven people to its ranks: Aleena Mazhar, partner, VP and managing director at Fuse Create; Chantae Allick, chief writer at Adventures in Storytelling; Chino Nnadi, talent acquisition specialist at MetaLab; Ishma Alexander-Huet, VP, client advice and management head of learning and culture at Initiative; Joycelyn David, owner and CEO of AV Communications; Leianne Vergara, ACD at Klick; and Darian Kovacs, founding partner at Jelly Digital Marketing. They join existing steering committee members Gavin Barrett, co-founder and CCO at Barrett and Welsh; Joshua Richards, director of creative technology and diversity and inclusion lead at John St.; Julian Franklin, president of Franklin Management Group; and Justin Senior, director of sales and marketing at SAMA Advertising.

It has been nearly one year since POCAM was formed, growing out of a LinkedIn group for people of colour in the industry that released an open letter to address systemic racism in advertising. That LinkedIn group continues to grow, and Senior says expanding the leadership team in a way that not only reflects the talent and passion within the group, but adds more representation and balance, has been a goal since POCAM started its work.

On the horizon for POCAM is the planned release of an update to its tracking tool, created so the 91 Canadian agencies that have committed to the diversity steps outlined in the open letter can track their progress in a transparent way.

Boston Beer Company launches a cannabis hub in Canada

The Boston Beer Company, which brews the Samuel Adams, Truly Hard Selzter and Twisted Tea brands, is setting up its first Canadian subsidiary, becoming the latest beer brewer to explore opportunities in the cannabis-infused beverage space.

As of now, the subsidiary is serving primarily as a research and development hub for the company, which has not stated plans for how any beverages developed would be sold or marketed. But Dave Burwick, CEO of Boston Beer, said “innovation is core to” what the company does, and the work done at the subsidiary will prepare it for opportunities in cannabis.

The company has also hired Paul Weaver to lead research at the subsidiary. Weaver brings experience from both the cannabis and beverage sectors: he was previously director of innovation at Canopy Growth and senior innovation manager at Molson Coors.

This would also be the first time the Boston Beer Company has done business itself in Canada; since 2010, its portfolio of beverages have been distributed by Moosehead Breweries.

Berlin, ZGM big winners at the ACE Awards

The 42nd edition of the Ad Club of Edmonton’s ACE Awards were held virtually this weekend. ZGM dominated the winner’s stage, taking 22 ACE Awards for work with clients including the Government of Alberta, V Burger, United Way and Hockey Diversity Alliance.

One of the few awards that managed to slip through ZGM’s grasp, though, was the top prize of the evening. Best in Show instead went to Berlin Communications for “Love AB Forests,” a campaign for the Alberta Forest Products Association that showed how forestry companies in the province plan 200 years ahead to ensure trees and ecosystems thrive, through a virtual tour guided by Nathan Fillion.