1. What’s more greasy than a Double Down? Two million Double Downs. Canadians have eaten almost that many of KFC’s new item (which, replacing deep-fried chicken pieces for a bun, resembles a novelty gag more than an actual sandwich) in two limited-time runs since 2010. This week, parent company Yum Brands Inc. brought it back for a third go at the market. It also added a spicy version just in case patrons weren’t getting the heartburn kick they were hoping for from the original, with its 30 grams of fat and 1,740 milligrams of sodium. Clearly stating its target demographic, this week Yum also launched a marketing campaign encouraging fans to “Make Time for Man Time,” including a Facebook contest with “manly prizes” such as night-vision goggles. In good news for digestive tracts everywhere, there is still no plan to make the Double Down a permanent menu item.
2. Those who have pursued a buy-and-hold strategy for their loyalty cards, racking up points and handing over personal information in exchange for the potential of future value, may want to take note. A class-action lawsuit against Shoppers Drug Mart has been authorized by Quebec Superior Court, a case that will raise questions about the value to consumers of loyalty programs, and their management by companies that use them as a marketing tool. Quebec members in the Optimum program under Shopper’s Pharmaprix banner found that the value of the points they had collected dropped after the company made changes to the program in 2010.
3. Canada has a new independent advertising startup. Toronto agency Giants & Gentlemen, which launched with a staff of four, will be led by two former employees of agency Taxi 2, Alanna Nathanson and Natalie Armata; as well as Gino Cantalini, former vice-president at Publicis Canada. Managing director Mr. Cantalini has also worked on the client side, and is known for being part of the team that developed the “ Bud Light Institute” while a brand director at Labatt. Giants & Gentlemen has two clients for now: Edmonton-based real-estate developer Beaverbrook and not-for-profit Canopy, which pushes eco-friendly paper alternatives for companies.
4. Ah, spring. Fresh air, the warmth of the sun, the wrenching jolt of your tires hitting a crater in the road. Ad agency Taxi Montreal is helping Canadians avoid those pavement pitfalls, and report them. This week it launched an iPhone application called Pothole Season, allowing users to tag, on a Google map, potholes they spot. The app collects those reports and every night at midnight, e-mails the appropriate local office in charge of fixing them. The app can also be set to voice alerts so a driver receives a warning when approaching a tagged pothole. The app, which is free to download, is also an ad campaign for Taxi Montreal. The agency is showcasing its talent for utility to prospective clients, and says it may also seek sponsorship for the app from existing clients if it proves fitting for their brand.
Editors note: Real-estate developer Beaverbrook and not-for-profit Canopy are clients of Toronto ad agency Giants & Gentlemen. Incorrect information appeared in an earlier online version of 30-second spots.