Archive for July, 2015

Hiding Behind Technology

Wednesday, July 29th, 2015

Shauna MacDonald, Principal & Founder


As our ever-increasing social and media-buzz world continues to get smaller and smaller, the tendency to blame technology is really getting old. Does, “sorry, it must have been in my junk-folder”, or “strange, I never got that text…” ring a bell?

Case in point – Tim Horton’s is now considering removing their Tims TV in-store digital screens. Really? Was it really the screens fault for last month’s clash between environmentalists and energy industry supporters?

For years, brands have been accused rightly or wrongly of not being transparent when controversy comes knocking. The Tim Horton’s debacle was not a technology issue or a political issue. It simply was a marketing strategy gone wrong.

Tim Horton’s put itself in the hot-seat for selling ad space to pipeline mammoth Enbridge on its in-store digital screens. The commercials angered environmentalists who launched an online petition to get the ads pulled from stores, but when Tim Horton’s decided to remove the Enbridge ads, energy industry supporters called it an insult to one of Canada’s most powerful industries and launched their own boycott. Did I forget to mention this all played out on National Donut Day?

The controversy highlighted the potential pitfalls of a brand like Tim Horton’s selling ad space to companies that could anger some of its customers. But again, it was not the in-store screens’ fault. This is not a scenario where “blame the messenger” actually might work. Ultimately, Tim Horton’s marketing due diligence did not consider potential adverse reactions to the ads. Had Tim’s done its research and realized these ads could cause certain audience groups to be upset, the donut giant would have had two options; 1) own its decision and maintain its position for choosing Enbridge as an advertiser or 2) realize the potential reputational risk would far outweigh the monetary gain and not sign with Enbridge.

Either way, the outcome would have been far better than what played out in social, media and public circles and technology would not have been blamed…again.

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-Shauna MacDonald is Principal and Founder of Brookline PR and enjoys debating the pros and cons of current events, marketing and political moves and financial plays, especially with her two young sons.

Brookline’s #summeratMARKET

Tuesday, July 28th, 2015

Ashley Vilgrain & Danielle Alfaro, Interns


On June 24, Brookline helped coordinate a media dinner at one of Calgary’s trendiest restaurants, MARKET, to showcase its fresh summer menu and new team members. MARKET’s two new co-executive chefs, Alex Edmonson and Sean MacDonald, created a seasonal menu that was not only delicious, but visually stunning as well. As per MARKET’s local and sustainable food philosophy, all menu items were created using only seasonal and farm fresh ingredients.

Local media were given an exclusive sneak peek of the dishes available on the reimagined menu, as well as a few off-menu items created especially for the event. Traditional media and bloggers including the likes of Toques and Truffles, Mr. Fabulous, Branded Magazine, It’s Date Night, le Voyage Gourmand and many more, attended the dinner to celebrate MARKET’s new kitchen leadership and summer happenings.

The evening’s nine course meal featured a fresh take on the classic milk and cookies combo, introducing a foie gras and pear cookie to the mix, and incorporated a number of modern, trend-setting twists, like the combination of popcorn and seared scallops. MARKET’s co-executive chefs, bar manager/mixologist and management were present to guide guests through the evening, describing each dish and beverage in detail as they were served.

Social media was abuzz with photos of the artistically plated dishes as media shared photos and accolades with their online followers using #summeratMARKET.

As a result of Brookline’s media relations campaign for the dinner, MARKET received exceptional coverage and rave reviews from Mr. Fabulous, Calgary is Awesome, Jody Robbins, Scribbles and Sass and Scrumptiously Fit Food, to name a few.

To say the very least, the #summeratMARKET menu is a must try, and it was a pleasure to be a part of this amazing evening. When you get a chance, make sure to take a peek at the new offerings and tag #summeratMARKET.

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– Ashley Vilgrain and Danielle Alfaro are Interns at Brookline Public Relations.



A Taste of Whiskey – Jack Daniel’s returns to YYC

Friday, July 24th, 2015

Erica Morgan, Account Specialist


Just in time for Stampede week, the one and only Master Distiller for Jack Daniel’s popped into town to give us cowpeople a good old-fashioned whiskey education. Jeff Arnett has held this position for seven years and is the seventh Master Distiller in Jack’s nearly 150 year history – talk about lucky No. 7 right? JD fans, you know what we’re talking about.

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We had the pleasure of coordinating a comprehensive media tour for Jeff during his time in Calgary and had the opportunity to secure interviews for him with the likes of CTV, Global, the Calgary Herald, the Weather Network and 660 News.





In partnership with Jack Daniel’s, Brookline also hosted an exclusive media tasting event for local consumer lifestyle and food and beverage publications and blogs. Jeff was able to share his extensive knowledge of whiskey, Jack Daniel’s history and the distillation process, along with his southern charm, with a wide range of traditional and non-traditional media.



The media tour not only built awareness for the Jack Daniel’s brand, but also created interest and excitement for Jeff’s visit to Calgary, the recent Canadian launch of Jack Daniel’s new whiskey label, Tennessee Fire, and Jack Daniel’s sponsorship of the Nashville North Stampede tent and musical talent competition, Nashville North Star.


We can’t think of a better way to celebrate the Stampede season than with a little bit of Jack and the Brookline team was proud to be a part of helping to elevate the Jack Daniel’s brand in Western Canada once again.


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– Erica Morgan is an Account Specialist at Brookline Public Relations. She brings experience in the areas of internal communications, branding and business ethics. Erica’s main areas of practice focus on event management, social media strategy and media relations.