April is the Cruellest Month

By Suzanne Pope

It’s been a humbling few weeks for brands. What, if anything, have they learned?

The past few weeks have not been good ones for the dignity of our industry. Perhaps the most consoling news was that the US Airways employee responsible for that pornographic tweet will not be fired for the mistake. (It’s entirely possible the “employee” is, in fact, an unpaid intern, but let’s not dwell on that.)

General Mills showed similar quick thinking over controversy regarding a quiet change to its legal policies. The New York Times revealed that under General Mills’s new legalese, a simple “like” on the company’s Facebook pages might revoke a consumer’s right to sue — so Facebook users flocked to those pages for the sole purpose of saying they wouldn’t be back.

Cheerios Backlash

Read more of Suzanne Pope’s “Creative Licence” column here.

2014 Advertising + Interactive Awards Deadline Extended


Some welcome news after a long weekend: You’ve still got a couple of days left to enter the 2014 Applied Arts Advertising + Interactive Awards! We’ve extended the deadline to this Thursday, April 24. We want to have the best representation of work out there, so get those entries submitted!

The winning entries are published in the prized September/October 2014 issue of Applied Arts magazine after they are selected by our panel of talented judges, who are all at the top of their careers in their respective creative fields. To see who will be judging your work, click here for Advertising and here for Interactive.

Winning an Applied Arts Award gets you more than print coverage — work is also displayed in our online Awards Archive and at our annual AACE Awards party.

The AACE (Applied Arts Creative Excellence) is awarded to the highest-scoring entrant representing the best of the best in each of our awards disciplines (Photography, Illustration, Design, Advertising, Interactive and Student). The 2014 winners will be revealed at the gala later this fall.

There are two new categories for the Advertising Awards this year: Craft Copywriting for TV and Young Blood Complete Advertising Program.

In addition, we’ve introduced a new element to entering this year: When you submit two or more entries, you automatically receive a year’s subscription to Applied Arts!

For more information, a full list of categories, and to enter online, click here.

Thankfully, They Didn’t Make the Cut

Dude, where’s my yarmulke?

In an effort to show that the selections at the Toronto Jewish Film Festival (TJFF) are only of the highest calibre, DDB Canada Toronto recently rolled out a campaign to show all the (fictional) films that had been “rejected” from the festival’s programming — think the aforementioned take on the 2000 teen classic and The Fasting and the Furious: Tel-Aviv Drift.

This is the second year in a row that TJFF has tasked the Toronto ad agency with its promotional materials, aiming to attract bigger audiences that include the non-Jewish demographic. DDB is looking for another repeat performance — its campaign for TJFF last year increased box office sales by 14 per cent. The purpose of this year’s campaign is to show that just because a film fits the criteria of “Jewish” doesn’t mean it’s worthy enough to make it into the festival — the tagline is “It has to be good. Real good.”

TJFF screens feature films, shorts and documentaries, all related to the Jewish culture and psyche. This year’s offering includes 116 movies from 23 countries.

Watch for the campaign in print, on TV and radio, and in OOH and digital ads.

TJFF posters by DDB Canada Toronto

TJFF posters by DDB Canada Toronto

2014 Design Awards Winners Announced


After hours upon hours of entering, collecting, sorting, judging and tallying, it all leads to this: the announcement of the 2014 Design Awards winners!

Our nine esteemed judges (pictured above) spent days reviewing digital entries, and then convened at S1 Studios earlier this week for a full day of scoring all the hard-copy work. We had a record number of entries this year, which is always a good sign: more work is getting picked up, and the creative community is thriving!

All of the winning work will be displayed in the July/August 2014 issue of the magazine, the Winners Gallery and Archives on our website and at our AACE Awards Party which will be held in Toronto this fall.

The AACE Design Winner and Young AACE Design Winner will be kept under wraps until the AACE Awards Ceremony, held in the fall of 2014. They’ll receive our coveted AACE cube award and extended coverage in an all-AACE issue of Applied Arts, published in March 2015.

Congrats to all for an outstanding year in design! Without further ado, here’s the full list of Design Awards winners.


Easter is Coming…

Some lighthearted Easter fun for you in time for the long weekend: a pop culture/Easter mash-up courtesy of Easy Explain Video, which creates animated films for advertising agencies and other companies.

The spot features some television favourites dressed up as Easter egg versions, including Game of Eggs, Breaking Egg and Star Tregg.

See you back Monday on The Wire!

The Sky’s the Limit

Photographer George Steinmetz is known for his impressive landscapes, which are made all the more vast because he shoots them from the sky.

The National Geographic shutterbug makes an appearance this month in Toronto to discuss his latest exhibition Desert Air, which mounts 42 large-scale photographs from the eponymous book. The exhibition was commissioned by public-art organization Arts Brookfield.

Photo by George Steinmetz

George Steinmetz/Copyright of George Steinmetz

Steinmetz spent 15 years photographing the world’s deserts from the air. He journeyed to 27 countries to document their most extreme desert regions, taking a trip to Antarctica’s frosty Dry Valleys in the process. From the Andes in South America to the Afar Depression in Ethiopia, Steinmetz floated above his subjects in a slow-moving motorized paraglider.

Photographer George Steinmetz

George Steinmetz/Copyright of George Steinmetz

Photo by George Steinmetz

George Steinmetz/Copyright of George Steinmetz

The exhibition is running alongside “Landscapes of the Earth,” a photography contest. To enter, follow @FirstCanadianPlace on Instagram and post your landscape photo(s) with the tag #fcpEARTHpic. The winner will be chosen by George Steinmetz himself, and the prize is a signed copy of his book Desert Air and a $100 gift card to Black’s. Click here for contest rules.

Desert Air runs April 21 to May 16 at First Canadian Place in Toronto. George Steinmetz will speak at 12:15 p.m. on April 22 (Earth Day) at the Waterfall Stage in First Canadian Place.

Natrel’s New Look

The milk aisles in Canadian grocery stores have recently seen a welcome update with Natrel‘s new packaging.

The dairy label, a product of Agropur Dairy Collective, tasked Quebec design firm lg2boutique with its much-needed makeover. The new branding is heavy on black elements and accented with bright colours, making it stand out among a sea of white boxes.

lg2boutique for Natrel

lg2boutique for Natrel

lg2boutique for Natrel

“It was important that all [the brand's] contact points clearly communicated its new brand promise: ‘Inspired by nature and created with enthusiasm,’” says the team at lg2boutique in a release.

Each product in Natrel’s line now has its own font, photo and colour treatment, making them clearly distinguishable in stores.

Natrel’s website has undergone a redesign as well, with a recipes section boasting cookbook-worthy food photos and tips.

lg2boutique for Natrel

lg2boutique for Natrel

lg2boutique for Natrel

Seneca College Students Win Big

Seneca College animation students had a taste of Hollywood, or at least of Hollywood North, at the Canadian Screen Awards last month when Subconscious Password, the film they helped create, won Best Animated Short Film.

The 11-minute 3D short by Oscar-winning director Chris Landreth was produced by the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) with the help of Seneca’s Animation Arts Centre and Copperheart Entertainment. Landreth used the pixilation technique to animate live-action clips, which chronicle the story of a man who forgets his friend’s name, and has to enter deep into his own mind in order to remember it. While in his subconscious, the character becomes involved in an adventure modeled off the famous celebrity-studded game show Password.

Subconscious Password by Chris Landreth

Subconscious Password by Chris Landreth

Fifteen students from Seneca’s Summer Animation Institute assisted on the film as animators, set designers and lighting technicians from early pre-production stages through to post-production. “Students were expecting they’d come in and be instructed with what to do, but they were actively invited to contribute their ideas into how a scene or moment might play out, or how something might be animated,” says Mark Jones, Seneca’s chair of Creative Arts and Animation and an executive producer of Subconscious Password. “[The director] Chris is really good at including them. He’s a gifted animator and filmmaker, but also a great teacher. We’ve worked with him on three films now.”

For his part, Landreth reciprocates. “Seneca is one of the top programs for animation,” says the director. “Students there are very hungry, very professional and very smart.”

Jones says that after Seneca first collaborated with Landreth on the short film Ryan, which went on to win an Oscar in 2005, the college decided it wanted to build on the lessons learned from that experience and apply them into its programming. “We couldn’t do it within the confines of our three-year advanced diploma in animation, because you need that time to learn the basics,” Jones says. “[Creating] the Summer Animation Institute was the most flexible option. We could attract students who graduated from the full-time program to stick around and continue their training.”

The hands-on approach of the summer program, which partners with studios that are producing short films, has long-term value for participating students. “Partnering with big animation studios means [the work] has guaranteed distribution. Other [school] projects don’t get serious exposure in the same way. It means a student who worked on a film can go to a job interview and say, ‘I worked on this,’” says Jones. “It puts the student at a competitive advantage.”

Nothing beats practical experience — several of the students were hired on to help finish the film after they graduated from the summer program. “It really solidified their training in terms of feeling prepared for the professional world,” Jones says. “Several students said that it didn’t feel like school, it felt like work. And it’s supposed to feel like work, but embedded within an educational program where there is faculty support to provide guidance.”

Watch the trailer for Subconscious Password below. To download the full movie, click here.

Judging Underway for the 2014 Applied Arts Design Awards

Design Awards entrants, cross your fingers and toes! Judging is underway today for the 2014 Applied Arts Design Awards at S1 Studios in Toronto. Our dedicated judges (see the full list here) have already evaluated countless digital entries in the last couple of weeks, and now here they are assessing rows upon rows of physical pieces.

Design Awards judging


Design Awards judging

“It was an inspirational week of judging [the digital entries],” says jurist Pamela Lee, creative director of Multiple in Vancouver. And from watching them judge a few categories already this morning, we’re sure they’re going to find the hard copy entries to be just as creatively stimulating.

Winners and full credits will be published in the highly anticipated annual July/August Design Awards issue of Applied Arts. They will also appear in our online Awards Archive, which attracts more than 300,000 visitors annually, and in our Winners’ Exhibit at our annual AACE Awards party this October. Watch The Wire for the announcement of winners, coming later this month.

VIA Gets Down to Business

If only there were more hours in a day…

There can be, according to VIA Rail Canada‘s new advertising campaign promoting its redesigned business class. The train provider tasked Cossette with the ads, which appear in Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa on billboards and in newspapers and transit stations.

Cossette worked with Montreal photographers Leda & St. Jacques to execute the “buy yourself some time” concept, which targets business travellers looking for a stable alternative to air travel. The agency tapped five business leaders to appear in the photographs including venture capitalist and onetime Dragon’s Den panelist Bruce Croxon, as well as venture capitalist and “dragon” on Quebec’s Dans l’oeil du dragon François Lambert.

“Business travellers are people who want to use their time productively, and who value the quality time they get to spend on board,” says Antoine Bécotte, chief creative officer at Cossette in a release.

VIA Rail

VIA Rail

VIA Rail

VIA Rail