Greetings from Toronto! I’m pumped to share my five picks, repping work out of Canada that in-one-way-or-another is recalibrating culture. We’ve got big brands making big swings and smaller initiatives still agitating to disrupt. Also in common? All of this work feels genuinely inspired by real people and the things they care about...
Tim Hortons - 'Timbiebs: Tims x Justin Bieber'
Agency: GUT Agency x The French Soup
Production: Boy In The Castle
Director: Colin Tilley
VFX: The Vanity
Music & Sound: Grayson Music
Tim Hortons as a brand is supremely popular in Canada, but by no means hype. Its clever collab with The Biebs is definitely shifting it into the pop-culture stratosphere. The 60-second spot completely re-establishes the energy - and even the aesthetic - of the brand. Gone are the Canadian clichés of hockey arenas and wintery car rides. Instead, we get an off-the-cuff brainstorm session that sets a new irreverent tone for the brand. Add the launch of Timbiebs merch (that’s selling for buckets on places like Poshmark), and we’re already excited for the next hot drop from our homegrown heroes.
White Ribbon - 'Uncomposed'
Agency: Bensimon Byrne
Production: Soft Citizen
Director: Henry Lu
Post: Button Factory
Music & Sound: Berkeley Inc.
Gender norms drive me crazy and make me prone to frothy rants. There’s lots going on culturally to counter how girls and women are socialised or expected to behave and feel, but less so for boys and men. The evocatively named 'Uncomposed' is a project in partnership with White Ribbon, an organisation that works with men and boys to prevent gender-based violence, in-part by challenging social norms. The premise is simple: a group of men revaluate their firmly-held beliefs about masculinity and showing emotion while listening to an originally scored piece of music. Deliberate and raw at the same time, you see music’s transformative impact in real time.
Children’s Aid Foundation x FUSE - '52 Better Fights to Have This Holiday'
Agency: FUSE Create
The overarching holiday narrative this year is going hard on togetherness (for reasons that are obvious and whose name shall not be spoken). And I love some togetherness! But I also love that '52 Better Fights to Have This Holiday
' takes a different tack on the same insight, syphons off all sentimentality, leans into the sweaty tension and still
puts a positive spin on it. So listen, your holiday is gonna be fraught with subject matter minefields? No probs, because there’s a more festive way to scrap with your loved ones! It’s fun, it’s funny, diverting and tactile - totally getting both the cultural moment and human behaviour in one. You can buy the decks on Shopify with a portion of proceeds going to the Children’s Aid Foundation.
Canadian Congress on Diversity and Workplace Equity - 'The Micropedia of Microaggressions'
Agency: Zulu Alpha Kilo
Production & Editorial: Zulubot
Director: Barb Shearer
Sound: Pirate Toronto
I think 'microaggression' as a word has been bandied about the zeitgeist - sometimes in meaningful ways and sometimes as something borderline amorphous. I like 'Micropedia of Microaggression' because it spells it all out so there’s no excuse to plead confusion. Developed on behalf of organisations like The Black Business, Professional Association and the Canadian Congress on Diversity and Workplace equity, The Micropedia is nimble, deceivingly simple and does some essential double duty: educating people about what microaggression is so they can stop doing it and validating those who have experienced it. It takes the best of Wikipedia (which I assume is it’s inspiration for name and execution) in it’s democratisation and access to knowledge. And because people can submit their own experiences, it’s an ever-expanding resource which makes space for everyone’s voice.
YouTube Shorts - 'We Like Short #Shorts'
Shout-out to my agency for this amazing bit of business. The short form version of the world’s most popular video platform was designed to give Gen-Z creators the most satisfying tool for their self-expression and the art of the riff and remix. For the launch spot, we handed the mic to the creators themselves to capture the spirit of collaboration culture. The energy is vivid and infectious, and the track by Canadian producer WondaGurl (who’s worked with Drake and Mariah Carey) is a banger. As an agency, we’re inspired by humanity and that’s what drives all our creative. I love that you can literally feel that radiating off the screen in this work.