Nissan’s ‘winter warrior’ wants to take on the big boys

February 10th, 2014 by Paul Halliday

Why, Nissan Canada president Christian Meunier wonders aloud, can’t his Rogue take on the big boys in compact crossover vehicles? Why not?

Well, up until this latest 2014 remake of the most important model in Nissan Canada’s lineup, the Rogue was an underpowered, undersized, uninteresting little rig, one competing in a world filled with stylish Ford Escapes and proven-reliable, made-in-Canada Toyota RAV4s and Honda CR-Vs.  Read More




Petro-Canada celebrates Olympic journeys

February 5th, 2014 by Sophie Bennett

With the world about to spend two weeks celebrating the achievements of amateur athletes realizing their dreams, Petro-Canada is putting the focus on a few of those competitors’ long journey to the Olympics. Learn more


Nissan Rogue Comes in Handy When You’re Battling a Marauding Band of Evil Snowmen

January 20th, 2014 by Sophie Bennett

Next time you’re caught driving in a winter storm, Nissan Canada wants you to be grateful you’re only dealing with the natural elements and not a supernatural mob of malicious snowmen who are hell bent on destroying everything around them.

Learn more here.




Scotiabank AIDS Walk for Life keeps it simple

August 14th, 2013 by Sophie Bennett

TBWA\Toronto and OMD are behind the latest campaign for Scotiabank’s AIDS Walk for Life that uses humour and the very simplicity of the event to spread awareness and reach a larger audience.

Learn more here.


TBWA\Toronto Names Nguyen Managing Director

July 13th, 2013 by Sophie Bennett

TBWA\Toronto welcomes new managing director George Nguyen on July 15, 2013. Working alongside Executive Creative Director Allen Oke, Nguyen will bring an experience in global markets to the team in Toronto.

Learn more here.


Nissan’s Holographic Showroom

January 28th, 2013 by Sophie Bennett

At the 2013 Canadian International Auto Show, TBWA unveiled a Nissan holographic showroom that invited consumers to experience 3D holograms of Nissan vehicles. Using Microsoft Kinect technology, a wave of the hand allowed consumers to navigate through different vehicle models.

Learn more here.


Give me wine, a little music…

November 2nd, 2012 by solo.gritskiv

Hundreds of Canadians banded together - ok we couldn’t help ourselves with “banded” – to create a digital musical mosaic that is not only fun to play with, it actually helped Canadian musicians keep on playing.

‘Play’ is a great word to add to the brand persona of the client we did this for – [yellow tail] wine leaves the snobbery to others and instead has chosen the path of being the accessible beverage for the spontaneous good times of your life. The disruption that has created a whole new space for [yellow tail] is in recognizing that really, most of us just want to enjoy a good glass of wine and to share it with our friends. Wine culture makes a lot of us edgy, and takes some of the fun out it – so [yellow tail] focused on that unpretentious side and is the easygoing, social brand that you can enjoy on your terms, your way.

It’s a great persona to work with – so we came up with an idea that would hit all the notes (sorry!) that say “[yellow tail]”: Our idea was social; fun; share-able as a great bottle of wine; and a bit silly yet also exactly the kind of thing we do when we’re happy.

We created the [yellow tail] Wine Orchestra. We called on Canadians to upload on to a webcam video of themselves clinking, dinging, tapping and rubbing their wine glasses and [yellow tail] bottles to create a rhythm, a sound, a bit of music all their own. Each entry within the Orchestra is added as a tile on a virtual wall of sound – no mean feat technically, but loads of fun to play with – and then we made sure that by highlighting the tiles and moving them around you can blend sounds and beats to create a sort of a symphony. You can take a break in your otherwise hectic and tune-free day to become an ubercool DJ, or conductor, or creator of your own special sound track.

We were inspired by the music of the street, when you see a guy start to drum on a couple of buckets and suddenly a crowd appears spontaneously, all caught in the unavoidable impulse to stop and enjoy the moment. That celebration is exactly what [yellow tail] is all about.

We took the Wine Orchestra a step further. We gave all that sound to composer Kutiman to use as raw material, and he has created an orchestral piece entitled The Wine Orchestra Players — where he sampled from those hundreds of video uploads of Canadians having fun with their favourite [yellow tail] bottle or wine glass as instruments.

For anyone who doesn’t know him, Kutiman is the Israel-born musician is known for his innovative 2009 release ThruYOU, an online music video project mixed from samples of YouTube videos. ThruYOU received more than 10 million views in the first weeks of launch and was named one of the best inventions of the year by TIME magazine.

The Kutiman-created holiday composition and video will be released on this week, supported by a multi-media campaign including outdoor boards, rich media online banners, print advertising and point of sale material.

Kutiman’s piece is a great gift from [yellow tail] to you, just in time for the holiday season.

The generosity runs a little deeper, too. For each submission from the May launch until September 30, [yellow tail] donated $1 to the Unison Benevolent Fund which helps musicians keep playing by offering financial assistance to anyone in the industry facing hard times.  Great Big Sea front man Alan Doyle joined the campaign to help support other Canadian musicians through Unison, and his own video is included among those created by [yellow tail] fans. Both Doyle and [yellow tail] were united in the desire to help musicians continue to colour our lives.

So go colour yours! Check out and put some ‘play’ in your day.


Nissan Canada Mobile Virtual YouTube Showroom Now Available

October 30th, 2012 by Troy Forster

Nissan Altima in 360 degree view on Nissan Canada Mobile Virtual YouTube Showroom

I am so proud of our integrated team at TBWA\Toronto\DAN. After a lot of extremely hard work the efforts have paid off and I can talk openly about the amazing Nissan Canada Mobile Virtual YouTube Showroom. Google has now made it possible to host custom gadgets on YouTube’s mobile site and we have launched one of the first and definitely most comprehensive experiences.

By building on the deliberate modular architecture of the Nissan Showroom – already available on the non-mobile YouTube site and Facebook – we were able to deliver a similar experience tailored for mobile users. Like its desktop big brother the YouTube Mobile Showroom is 100% pure web using HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript. Because the Mobile Showroom does not use Flash or any other proprietary plugins it runs extremely well on iOS devices including both iPhone and iPad. It also runs very well on Android, YouTube’s other supported platform for mobile channels.

Achieving this was no simple task as mobile devices always present technical challenges due to their slower CPUs and lower memory compared to their laptop and desktop brethren. A non-trivial effort was expended to ensure performance on smartphones and tablets exceeded everyone’s expectations.

One of the biggest obstacles we had to overcome was delivering 360 degree views of 8 cars in 8 colours each. That’s a lot of data to send to a little phone and it exceeds the small cache size of many devices which eliminated pre-loading as a strategy. Numerous other creative solution approaches did not meet our performance requirements:

  • sending individual PNG frames required so many HTTP connections that the device all but imploded
  • creating one 360 per car and colourizing at runtime with canvas did not produce realistic enough results
  • placing all frames into a CSS sprite reduced the HTTP connections but the sprite itself was too big to load
  • loading the 360 as an MP4 video wouldn’t have worked since iPhone insists on running videos full screen in the built-in QuickTime player
  • reducing the number of frames was too choppy
  • converting to lossy and lower-quality JPG was not satisfactory for our discerning creative directors
  • WebGL support wasn’t strong enough
  • web workers didn’t have access to the DOM
  • data URIs were even larger than the compressed PNGs.

Our solution was actually quite simple in the end blending CSS sprites and animated PNGs. We found that optimal performance was achieved by creating 4 individual sprites each with enough frames to render 90 degrees of view. The number of HTTP connections was significantly reduced without creating any single image whose size choked at download.

There were numerous other technical challenges to overcome and they included: Simulating a native-like experience in multiple levels of iframes across domains inside YouTube while preserving multi-directional gestures and events; Scrolling the parent frame into view while simultaneously having no access or control of the parent frame.

Jake Edur, our lead software engineer on this project, had to dig deep into his bag of tricks as well as invent some new ones to achieve what many experts said couldn’t be done. Some of the technical highlights include:

  • Building a reusable, modular and event driven architecture (this means that the Mobile Showroom isn’t limited to living on just YouTube)
  • Creating a hybrid CSS sprite/PNG sequence animation framework that plays frames out of multiple sequential sprites
  • Using hardware accelerated 3D CSS
  • Custom gestures and events to work around nested cross-domain iframes

The Nissan YouTube Mobile Showroom is live. To view it simply navigate to from your iOS or Android device.


Texting in Canada

October 30th, 2012 by trevor.thomas

Sitting next to her wood burning stove on a cool fall evening, Jennifer carefully dipped her plume into the inkwell, gently blotting out the excess ink. She pondered her feelings before applying the ink to the page. After completing her message, she blew the ink dry and then tucked the paper into an envelope and addressed it, ensuring she had all the correct details. The next morning she would hurry to the post office and post the letter to her good friend, Amanda.

Weeks later, while tending to the washing, Amanda saw the postman coming up the drive. She hurried to meet him and was excited to find that he had a letter for her. The return address showed that it had come from her very best friend, Jennifer. She opened it carefully as she walked back up the drive, excited to hear the news from Jennifer. Unfolding the paper, she examined the beautifully written words:

“Hey! How’s life? We tots gotta hang soon! luv J ;)

The history of messages between friends has a long and storied past. And while the above exchange probably never actually happened, you can imagine just how difficult – and pointless – it would have been in days of yore to take the time to send but 140 characters in a correspondence.

Fast-forward to 2012, and see how much easier it is for Jennifer and Amanda to make plans!

What does this mean for marketing? There are two things to keep in mind: 1) SMS offers the largest possible reach in mobile marketing, and 2) SMS is extremely personal. There is, of course, a glaring contradiction in these two statements. And that is that mass communications and niche communications rarely if ever play nicely together. In this case, though, there is an important intersection.

Because SMS is available to such a huge segment of the Canadian population, the chances of your target being accessible by SMS is very good. So, the key to them being accepting of a text message from you is a strong bond with your brand. Essentially, they need to love you. If not, they may sign up for a contest, but then remove themselves as soon as the promotion ends. For an ongoing conversation, they need to see you as a friend. If you have this status as a brand, then a text message now and then will be welcomed by your audience.


The 21st-Century Dad

October 26th, 2012 by trevor.thomas

Client: We’ve got a hot, new product that’s going to change life for families all across Canada by transforming housework from a chore to a joy!

Agency: Sounds exciting! Who are we targeting?

Client: We want to shout this far and wide, but make sure we focus specifically on our target: Dads.

Agency: Oh, you mean Moms.

When was the last time you briefed, or were briefed, on a product targeted at Dads? (Of course, we’ll need to omit to male mainstays of booze, cars and sports.)

Even in this age of modern-families and extreme-equality, we still follow the traditional marketing laws of women as caregiving, shopping, household managers and men as bread-winning, TV-watching, groundskeepers. While there’s no question that these stereotypes still exist, the rise of the modern woman and mother has also opened the door to the modern dad.

Who They Are

There are two key groups within this new set of dads: the Modern Married Dad, and the State-of-the-Art Single Dad, and each will force marketers to re-visit their communications strategies.

1) The Modern Married Dad: This group of dads is one that has evolved over time. As the role of women has shifted over time, these dads have adjusted their roles to take on more child-rearing and household responsibilities.

Typically younger (30-39), and urban, they are University educated and tend to work in management positions. These dads were raised by working mothers and expect that from their wives. That expectation is coupled with their acceptance of their role of a partner in the raising of their children and of household duties. More than any other group of Canadian men, these dads share the shopping responsibilities with their partners. They may still defer to mom in certain household decisions, but as the primary end-user of key products, they now have stronger opinions and influence over buying decisions.

2) The State-of-the-Art Single Dad: If the Modern Married Dad is an evolution in fatherhood, then this new single dad is a revolution. This dad is on his own and is the primary decision maker in the household. And the number of them continues to increase. From 2001 to 2006, there was a 14% increase in the number of single father households in Canada, up to 280,000. That number increased by 16.4% in 2011, bringing the number to 305,000.

Single dads are typically between the ages of 40-49 and have one child. He is likely to hold a trade certificate or diploma and work in a trade. They were very likely to be Modern Married Dads while still in their marriages, and they carry over those traits into single-fatherhood. But now, as the sole caregiver, they are responsible for all product research and shopping.

Where They Are

Acknowledging the existence of these two types of dads is a great first step, but now we must determine where they are and how best to communicate with them. While there are some similarities between the two groups, their relationship status creates some key differences that need to be recognized.

1) The Modern Married Dad: Like most young, urban men, these dads are constantly plugged in. They have multiple devices (PC, tablet, smartphone) and one, or more, is never far from reach. Like their partners, they are active social media users. There are 3.6 million Canadian men, between the ages of 30-39 on Facebook, over 394,000 of them are fathers and in a relationship. Unlike their partners, though, they use social media to observe. They will follow brands that they truly love, but are not the type to engage in contests or promotions.

2) The State-of-the-Art Single Dad: Slightly older than the Modern Married Dads, these dads also have a very different set of responsibilities. They have less time than the other group of dads, so spend less time online and on social for personal reasons, but still use multiple devices for news, shopping, information and business. They are also heavy TV watchers, and favour sports and news.

Regardless of who, or where, they are, a key similarity between these two types of dads is their growing resentment of mom-centric marketing. This was evidenced by the response to two recent ad campaigns by two CPG giants. The first, from Procter & Gamble, was entitled “Thank You, Mom”. It was developed for the 2012 Olympics and focused on all the hard work that moms put in to help raise Olympic athletes. Because of the campaign’s positive tone, it was successful, but that didn’t stop dads from around the world flooding message boards and comment sections with their disappointment of being portrayed as second-class. The second, from Huggies, took a far more negative tone in presenting the “Dad Test”, which left dads alone for five days while mom went off to be pampered. The premise was to see just how poorly the dads would fair when left to their own resources. A tidal wave of online petitions, Facebook comments and Twitter Posts forced Huggies to pull the campaign and issue an apology to dads everywhere.

The message is clear: these new dads exist and they are ready to be recognized. This may require some changes to your communications strategy, but faster you bring them into the fold, the larger the lead you’ll have on your competition.