In Brief: Bread fixing class action suit gets approval

Plus, RYU hires a familiar face as its in-house creative lead and voting for Radio-Canada's "Bye-bye" contest nears its end.
Several slices of whole wheat bread that had been set atop a gre

Class action over bread price fixing scheme gets go-ahead

An Ontario Superior Court judge approved a class-action lawsuit against Canada’s largest grocers and bread makers this week, alleging they manipulated bread prices and overcharged consumers by $5 billion over 16 years.

In 2017, the Competition Bureau executed search warrants related to an investigation into a price fixing scheme involving the biggest grocery retailers in Canada, as well as some of their biggest bread suppliers. For its role in blowing the whistle to the Bureau and its ongoing cooperation, Loblaw and Weston Foods were given immunity in the Competition Bureau’s case, but both companies are still named in the civil lawsuit. The other companies named are retailers Sobeys, Metro, Walmart Canada and Giant Tiger, as well as bread company Canada Bread. All of the other companies have maintained they have not conducted any illegal activity.

The proposed class includes anyone who purchased packaged bread from the companies named in the suit from Nov. 1, 2001 to the end of 2021. None of the allegations have been proven in court.

Outside of the civil case, the Competition Bureau said in the fall that its investigation is still ongoing and could still result in charges.

RYU hires in-house creative and strategy lead

Jay Gundzik is now the in-house lead for creative direction and strategy at athletic apparel brand RYU.

The job is actually a return for Gundzik, who was previously RYU’s creative director for a year in 2015. That was between stints as a brand-side CD at the likes of EA Sports and Lush, as well at agencies like Taxi Vancouver and L.A.’s ModOp. Most recently, he was co-founder and CMO of Rritual, a mushroom adaptogen company.

At RYU, Gundzik is leading the brand’s creative strategy, which is particularly focused on social media. In particular, he will lead a pivot to more video-based content, leveraging the company’s in-house video team, with a focus on Pinterest to help with product discovery as it moves from a niche brand to one that is more accessible.

Bye-bye de la pub nears end of voting

There are only a few days left for 18 brands to win free media space from Radio-Canada in the annual

Sketch comedy show Bye-bye is a reliable ratings hit with Quebec audiences on New Year’s Eve – the most recent edition drew 3.77 million viewers, roughly in line with the previous year’s preliminary audiences – resulting in a Super Bowl-like situation where many brands will create new ads just for the broadcast.

Now in its fourth year, the “Bye-bye de la pub” ad competition invites viewers to vote on their favourite ad they saw, with the first, second and third place winners receiving $75,000, $50,000 and $25,000 media campaigns from Radio-Canada, respectively. Given the size of the audience and opportunity to reach Quebcers, the broadcaster has also expressed an interest in national and English advertisers participating in future years.

Voting closes on Sunday, Jan. 9, with the winners set to be announced the following day. There are 18 ads in the running this year, with brands ranging from international (Volkswagen, Coca-Cola) to national (Metro, Fido) to local (SAAQ, Mondou).