News + Ideas

EVERY BRAND IS A HEALTH BRAND

“It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.” 
Mahatma Gandhi

There’s an expression that nothing is more important than your health. And that age-old idea has really emerged in some notable and award-winning campaigns over the past few months.

After Cannes I shared an emerging theme that brands need to be defiant and add real value. As we begin framing our clients’ stories for 2020, we’re seeing another theme: brands and categories with a direct or indirect connection to health can add value by contributing to a healthier world.

The quality of campaigns by healthcare brands, such as The Breath of Life by GlaxoSmithKline that won a Cannes Lions Grand Prix, continues to grow and be recognized. Considering the regulatory, legal and medical hurdles pharma and healthcare brands have to navigate, bringing creativity to life in the healthcare space can be an especially big challenge.

But what’s truly remarkable is that now some of the best campaigns in health and wellness are no longer exclusive to pharma and healthcare brands.

An excellent example of this comes from IKEA in Israel. The brand’s Thisables campaign, which adapted top products to make them more accessible to people with disabilities, has generated a lot of attention and won multiple awards. Cannes jury president Shaheed Peera summed it up perfectly when he said, “We could have never imagined IKEA being in a health and wellness show.”

And it’s not just about healthy humans. Take the award-winning Purina Street Vet campaign (disclosure: Weber Shandwick worked on this out of our Paris office) which connected the dog and cat food brand to pet health. The campaign turned billboards into remote “veterinarians,” analyzing the urine left by passing dogs for potential health problems.

Why are we starting to see more non-healthcare brands talking about improving lives?

The reality is that issues in healthcare are big and complex. There’s access to care, affordability, health literacy, patient advocacy, mental health and privacy, just to name a few. There are hundreds of companies, government agencies, and individuals that contribute to a massive system. And the problems seem to get more complex every day.

So the real question is, do non-healthcare brands truly have the right to solve health issues? Or even to take a specific position?

According to Canadians polled in a recent survey hosted on the Angus-Reid Forum, the answer is they absolutely do. The survey tells us 61% of Canadians agree that brands not in the healthcare space (e.g. packaged goods, technology, fashion) have a duty to find ways improve their customers’ health and wellness.

The survey reveals that 89% of Canadians are more likely to purchase a product or service because it has a connection to improving their health and wellness. And 84% would switch their loyalty to a brand that improves health and wellness, compared to one that doesn’t.

So, even if you are not a health brand, you are a health brand. Or you should be. So where do you start?

Start by asking yourself these questions:

  1. Does your brand have a health or wellness story waiting to be told?
  2. What matters to your audience? What problems can you help them solve?
  3. What data does your organization have? How can you look at that data in a new way?
  4. What organizations do you currently partner with that can help you have an impact on health and wellness? What organizations can you find?

If you want to truly add value, make an impact, and compete in the busy public marketplace of ideas, consider how you can improve the health and wellness of your audiences. Because every brand is a health brand.


BUILDING A GREAT WORKPLACE

It’s important to be recognized for the work we do for our clients, and 2019 looks to be our winningest year ever. But the most important accolades we receive are the ones for creating a workplace culture that attracts the best talent and inspires all that great work.

That’s why I am so proud to share that, for the second year running, Weber Shandwick Canada has been certified as a Great Place to Work®. The certification is awarded after a thorough and independent analysis conducted by Great Place to Work® Institute Canada based on direct feedback from employees, provided as part of an extensive and anonymous survey about the workplace experience.

The certification is special because it recognizes the very heart of our culture.

A great culture doesn’t just happen. It takes work. It takes investment. And it takes the input and involvement of people across the agency.

Three pillars to a successful culture

Our workplace quality is based on the pillars of our culture strategy: Celebrate, Togetherness and Wellness. We ensure that everything we do delivers against these pillars.

It’s vital we take time to Celebrate. We work in a fast-paced environment where results matter and work is highly sophisticated. The expectations of our team, our clients, and our partners are incredibly high. When we help our clients be successful or add value to their business, we need to take the time to applaud the people behind the work. This rewards initiative and ingenuity while inspiring others to follow this lead. And there’s nothing better than celebrating great outcomes with our clients.

We also celebrate milestones in our employees’ lives like weddings and new babies. Our team provides a card and gift for our employees’ birthdays. We celebrate Weberversaries to recognize time spent with the firm.

Togetherness is the second pillar to our culture program. Every Thursday afternoon we have Jeudredi, where employees come to our common area to mix and mingle with colleagues. We recently held a Friendsgiving potluck dinner with delicious dishes prepared by team members. I personally host movie nights, and we bring all three offices together for joint summer gatherings, flying our team in to Toronto from across the country.

My favourite Togetherness program at Weber Shandwick Canada is Fasting with Friends, where during Ramadan employees fasted for one day in support of our Muslim colleagues. Non-perishable food was collected the week before, and just before they broke fast, the team donated it to the local food bank. This program was conceived by our employees; all we did was make it bigger.

Weber’s Wellness program provides ways to improve physical and mental health far beyond our subsidized gym memberships and assistance programs. Each week we get a delivery of nutritionist-selected foods and snacks to stock in our pantry and refrigerator. We hold regular wellness events, such as a mindfulness session hosted by an expert. And we encourage employees to come forward with new ways for us to help improve wellness of mind, body and soul among the team.

Developing people also builds culture

The final area that makes our workplace great is people development. Not only do development initiatives make our employees better practitioners; they engage and recognize our people with unique experiences and opportunities.

Take the Nicola Moore Courageous Creativity Prize. Each year we give one employee who demonstrated “courageous creativity in tackling a client challenge” $2,500 and five additional vacation days to pursue their growth. The objective is to provide a junior level employee with a career and life accelerating experience early in their careers. This peer-nominated program was created in memory of an employee who started her career at the agency and became a respected leader in our profession before she left us and our industry far too soon. The 2019 award winner got the chance to pursue his passion for gaming with a visit to E3.

And then there’s No Boundaries, where each year two employees get a $1,000 bursary and five additional vacation days to pursue a personal passion that contributes to personal or professional growth. Our 2019 winners have selected Japan and New Zealand as destinations, while last year’s winner spent time as a counsellor at Camp Ooch, a non-profit camp that brings joy to kids and families affected by childhood cancer.

Along with regular opportunities to attend conferences and hosting guest speakers through the Weber Shandwick Academy, I can’t think of another workplace that does a better job engaging employees through personal and professional growth.

Culture doesn’t just come from the top

When it comes to culture, it’s up to the office leadership to set the table. Leaders should provide resources, open up schedules, and show their support. But it’s the employees who will cook the meal for everyone to enjoy. At the end of day, the entire team needs to work together to build the culture and workplace they deserve.

I’d like to congratulate my fellow Weber Shandwick employees for this award. I’d like to applaud their commitment to culture. And I’d like to offer a sincere thank you to our clients for trusting us and giving us the opportunity to work with you.

What do you feel makes a workplace great?


STRATEGY NAMES WEBER SHANDWICK PR AGENCY OF THE YEAR (SILVER)

We are thrilled to share that Weber Shandwick Canada has been named a 2019 PR Agency Of The Year (Silver) by Strategy Magazine. This is the first time we’ve risen from the shortlist to a place on the podium by Canada’s leading marketing trade publication.

The current issue of Strategy provides a deep dive on what makes Weber Shandwick different and how our culture propels great work.

Some of the highlights include:

  • Our pioneering move towards an integrated model that’s ahead of the industry;
  • Our focus on building success with current clients and attracting new mandates;
  • Our focus on building our employee value proposition with a focus on diversity and impactful programs the Richard Ellis Scholarship;
  • Our ongoing commitment to culture and development;
  • Our award-winning work on campaigns featuring the Sport Chek Woods Parka Lodge, McDonald’s McHappy Day, and the PALentine’s Day campaign for Mondelez’ Cadbury Dairy Milk Oreo launch from this year’s submission.

You can read Justin Dallaire’s full article in Strategy here.

We are super proud of this accomplishment, but let’s always remember what got us here: none of us is better than all of us when we work together and put clients first.

Our clients give us opportunities to partner and do incredible work. Our talented people bring their whole selves to work and help us move forward together.

As we cap off an incredible awards season with more than 60 accolades, I’m humbled and grateful for what we all can accomplish together.


TOURISM’S OUTSIZED ROLE IN ATTRACTING NEW TALENT TO VANCOUVER

Every modern business, regardless of industry, size, or mission, wrestles with the same looming question: how do we attract and retain talent?

One area that may go overlooked is a city’s “desirability,” both as a home and as a destination. Where better than Vancouver, nestled between the Rocky Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, to host a discussion on that very question? Last week, Weber Shandwick, in partnership with Tourism Vancouver and SAP Labs Canada, hosted a panel roundtable on how tourism can serve as an engine for growth in the city.

The panel – made up of Ty Speer, President and CEO of Tourism Vancouver, Kirsten Sutton, VP and Managing Director of SAP Labs Canada, and Zuleika Sgro, VP People at Saje Natural Wellness – held a candid exchange on the strengths and challenges that local businesses face when attracting and retaining talent in Vancouver. Sharing their own perspectives, the panel explored what makes Vancouver an attractive global destination and spoke to how this reputation helps generate global investment and attract new residents and talent.

Ty Speer described how Tourism Vancouver seeks to build those connections. “We want to find harmony between our residents and our visitors. We want to make this a better place to live and work and play.”

The huge influx of visitors the city receives every year has proven to be invaluable for organizations such as Saje Natural Wellness. Zuleika Sgro beams with pride when talking about Saje’s roots in Vancouver. “Being an international destination, our products are experienced by people from all over the world,” she said. “It’s critical to be known as a Vancouver business. It’s how we grow. It’s what we lead with when we talk about our business.”

Kirsten Sutton agrees when she noted that “people have incredible loyalty to the industry here. As long as people stay and don’t go looking for work elsewhere, it helps everyone.”

The city does, however, face a number of challenges in the years ahead. Speer notes that by next summer, Vancouver will have more visitors than hotel rooms to meet the demand. “Talk to any large business and they will say they don’t do meetings in Vancouver in the summer because it’s too expensive,” he said.

Speer admits that infrastructure is a challenge economically. But that didn’t stop Vancouver from attracting 33 citywide conventions, according to BC Investment — a record the city will easily surpass in 2019. Similarly, as cruise ship traffic increases, the Port Authority plans to overhaul the port at Canada Place in downtown Vancouver while scouting other options for a secondary port along the Fraser River.

While Vancouver continues to experience unprecedented visitor growth, many stories of our city and communities remain untold. “There’s an incredible amount of talent and entrepreneurs in this city, said Sgro. “People across the world should know about that.” Sutton agreed: “We don’t talk enough about how scrappy and resourceful people are. In British Columbia alone there are 200 First Nations. It’s so diverse and people have been so resourceful here for generations.” Speer recounted a story that summarizes this sentiment perfectly; at a function, the question was raised as to whether Vancouverites were tolerant, and to Speer’s surprise, someone said, “We don’t tolerate here — we include.”

That notion of inclusion will have to extend to all aspects of Vancouver’s future plans. It’s vital that tourism, industry, and infrastructure work in tandem to entice continued investment and visitor growth. These systems are interconnected and rely upon each other to ensure the sustained growth and innovation that the city has come to be known for. And if we continue to invest in Vancouver’s desirability as an international travel destination, it will be Vancouverites who reap the rewards of continued investment and growth.


WEBER SHANDWICK LAUNCHES NEW DEBT SAVINGS BENEFIT

Often the best ideas come when you listen to your team – and act on what they tell you.

Our employees in Montreal, Vancouver and Toronto are brilliant, energetic, fun, and hard-working people. Like other agencies, our employees typically skew younger than on the corporate side. And their needs are different.

To attract and keep the best and brightest, we’ve cultivated an award-winning workplace and culture. We’ve invested in experience grants, themed weekly social events, flexible Weber Days, and brought in guest speakers to help employees grow.

So when our Gen Y and Z team members pointed out a gap in our RRSP matching program, we listened.

As it turns out, younger employees don’t contribute as much to their retirement because they still have to pay off their student debt. I was shocked to learn the average graduate today has more than $26,000 of student debt, much higher than it was even 10 years ago.

As we began to consider solves, two employees forwarded this article about a new pilot program that matches a portion of an employee’s student loan repayments with a payment to her retirement plan.

Could Weber Shandwick enter this program, they asked?

Fast forward to this month: our new Student Debt Savings Program is live. Now our employees don’t need to choose between planning for the future and paying off the education that got them here.

We made this a priority because we want to be the destination for the best people.

The best people do the best work. The best work attracts the best clients. The best work also gets better results, which keeps our clients with us. That leads to growth, and the need to bring on more great people, which helps all of us grow.


Best Buy Canada Names Weber Shandwick PR AOR

Best Buy Canada has selected Weber Shandwick Canada as its public relations agency of record (PR AOR) following a competitive review.

Best Buy, Canada’s largest consumer technology retailer with 175 stores and more than 12,000 employees nationwide, has engaged Weber Shandwick to help tell its story and connect with Canadian consumers. In its capacity as PR AOR, the firm will lead an earned and paid strategy to highlight Best Buy’s key competitive differentiators, including its evolved in-store experience and Blue Shirts and Geek Squad services.

“We chose Weber Shandwick because they understand the retail sector and have a passion for our business that is palpable,” said Polly Tracey, Vice President of Communications, Best Buy Canada. “The strategic thinking of their team and deep expertise will help us reach our ambitious goals.”

Weber Shandwick began its work with Best Buy Canada in March 2019.

“We are excited to move from being Best Buy fans and customers to real partners,” said Greg Power, President and CEO, Weber Shandwick Canada. “We are all-in as part of a great team using communications to help solve business challenges in the fast-moving retail sector.”


THE KEY ROLE FOR BRANDS TODAY: BE DEFIANT

Over the last decade, we’ve been benchmarking the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity to decode the industry’s evolution and identify a guiding theme for each year.

We think it’s an important exercise, because taking time to analyze and think critically about the festival’s best work can help brands gain important insights as they head into 2020 planning.

Our theme for this year: defiance as a mindset.

What do we mean by this? Simply put, it’s about brands standing in proud opposition to authority.

When you think of defiance in this context, you might think of Nike’s ‘Dream Crazy’ campaign. And while you’d be right, there’s much more to unpack.

So what does it mean to be defiant today?

All brands are challenger brands

The challenger position has always been the sweet spot in marketing. But it isn’t about challenging the brands around you anymore. Today, countless higher issues demand attention. Being a challenger brand is about challenging something, not someone. We’re talking about a spirit that allows us to disrupt established narratives and upset power dynamics.

The best brands are asking how we can fix problems affecting society in a way that moves the needle meaningfully and authentically. In essence, the next generation of branding is local and genuine, rather than global and pushed down/out. It’s about living in the real world.

To adopt a challenger mindset, start with where your brand can add value

Everywhere we looked at awards shows this year, we saw brands pushing the boundaries of what’s realistically and commercially viable. Brands exhibited a deeper cultural understanding by determining how and where they can contribute value.

While not all pulled it off, many definitely did. IKEA Israel’s “ThisAbles” campaign and The Female Company’s The Tampon Book from Germany are examples of brands standing up for what’s right in a way you just can’t help but talk about. They added value to their audience and society.

Be a guardian of culture, not an opportunist 

According to The Economist’s The World In 2019 report, “Businesses will need to be increasingly alive to social trends and the politics around them.”

But beware. Brands aren’t automatically adding value by talking about a specific issue. Without true skin in the game or an understanding of the context and culture, the work can backfire and you can end up looking like an opportunist. We’ve all seen this countless times.

It’s funny to think that today, brands are the new revolutionaries adding value from the ground up. They are moving from behaving like “opportunists” to becoming “guardians of culture” (that is, investing in the community, joining that culture and helping build something the culture will love) and standing up for what’s right.

American Express’s NBA Jersey Assurance program is one piece of work that’s about standing up for a community, showing you understand the culture, and adding to it. While this might not seem like a serious issue, American Express found its problem to solve, and it had an impact. Other stand-out examples of defiance’s range in emotion and tone include Ancestry’s Railroad Ties (disclosure: our Weber Shandwick New York office worked on this), L’Oréal Paris’ The Non-Issue in Vogue and Kraft Heinz’s LegalAde.

Defiance is most beautiful and impactful when done simply: just try and add value to the people who care about your brand.

To do this, we need to set ourselves a higher bar and lead our clients and peers by example. We need to get to a place where adding value is second nature.

 


Driving Forward On Diversity

Riding my road bike has been the source of many life lessons. For example, when my energy starts to fail climbing a steep hill, I know I won’t fail if I just keep my legs moving, consistently putting one leg in front of the other.

The same is true when making important cultural changes in a business. Pick your destination, then keep taking one step after another and keep moving forward. Stay focused and the drive from many consistent steps becomes irresistible.

I believe this is the right attitude to apply when building diverse talent and leadership in our agency.

A few weeks back I had the opportunity to meet with IPG CEO Michael Roth during his visit to our Detroit office. He was in an expansive mood having just returned from a triumphant week at the Cannes Festival of Creativity where IPG agencies outperformed the competition.

Roth spoke with pride about just hosting IPG’s ninth annual women’s breakfast at Cannes. In 2010, a couple dozen people attended the first breakfast. This year it was standing room only in a much larger room to hear from global brands like Adobe, Levi-Strauss, Microsoft, Mars and Unilever. The get together has become a global focal point for our industry to demonstrate the power it has to shine a spotlight on diversity as a creator of work that moves brands and changes our world.

Last year in Toronto, the Institute of Communications Agencies hosted the first ever I.D.E.A. Summit – three days talking about how inclusivity, diversity and equality in the advertising industry drives competitive advantage and better work for clients. Speakers included Cindy Gallop from IfWeRanTheWorld and Lisen Stromberg from The 3% Conference, plus a deep roster of Canadian leaders across the issues.

Like IPG’s first women’s breakfast, attendance by the industry should have been stronger. But the important outcome was a clear statement of intent and a commitment to lead change. I like to think of the I.D.E.A. Summit as the “Velvet Conference” in homage to the band that opened my mind to music. Music producer Brian Eno has the best quote about the power of innovative thinking once the idea has been hatched: “The first Velvet Underground album only sold 10,000 copies, but everyone who bought it formed a band.”

That’s how we make progress. Articulate a vision. Demonstrate commitment. Keep moving forward. And that is how we will continue to build a more diverse agency and industry. One where everyone feels comfortable to be their whole and authentic selves at work; where we are better together because we make the effort to understand each other, include each other, and treat each other fairly and with equity.

Natasha Bowman, author of the book You Can’t Do That At Work said it best at a recent industry conference, “If diversity is being asked to the dance, inclusion is being asked to dance, and belonging is being asked what song you’d like to dance to.”

Making progress on diversity matters to me. I work at IPG and Weber Shandwick because diversity matters to our global leadership. I am very proud to work with so many clients who are also committed to live progressive values and foster change.

We recently celebrated the corporate retirement of Richard Ellis, a great friend of Weber Shandwick in Canada. Richard built a stellar career at our agency rising to Canada CEO before departing for an impressive tenure at McDonald’s where he had Canadian, North American and global leadership roles in the Corporate Relations group.

Richard has been a role model for the kind of leadership that makes a difference for diversity. He championed diversity initiatives in his roles at McDonald’s, was recognized as a Canadian Diversity Champion by Women of Influence magazine, and has acted as a mentor on this issue to many leaders in our profession.

Out of respect to everything Richard has meant to Weber Shandwick as both a leader and a client, we are proud to take another step forward on diversity with the establishment of the Weber Shandwick Richard Ellis Scholarship. The scholarship will provide a $1,000 scholarship to a fourth-year student in the Humber College Bachelor of Public Relations program – a school that regularly attracts the best and brightest to our industry.

To get the scholarship, the student must demonstrate a passion and understanding of the role diversity and inclusion can play in improving our industry, along with some practical advice on steps we should take to achieve progress. We will award our first recipient in the Fall 2019 school year, and we look forward to the many recommendations on how we continue to drive forward with diversity.

There is much to do as we continue on this journey. But, like that hill on the bike, we will continue to keep moving forward until we get there.

 


NEW HIRES DRIVE DATA-DRIVEN PROBLEM SOLVING & CREATIVITY

We are delighted to welcome four new hires to the Weber Shandwick Canada team.

Their arrival fuels our continued evolution from a conventional PR services model to a client solutions mindset. They are also further confirmation that the culture of creative excellence that’s seen us become the most-awarded PR agency in Canada continues to make us a destination of choice for this country’s top talent.

Jamie Hong arrives as new Director of Data & Analytics. Jamie brings extensive experience in analytics and data-backed insights to build brands, drive growth, and measure impact. Drawing on his successes with data projects and technology automation Jamie will help drive the agency’s strategic planning based on deeper insights that guide clients in making data-driven decisions.

Sara Cook joins as our first-ever Vice President of Integrated Project Management. Sara’s experience of process enhancement at leading communications and marketing firms will help her drive efficiency and operationalize new models for our larger integrated clients. She will also lead operational efficiencies across the agency and the creation of new financials, resourcing and communications management processes.

Deane Code joins as Director of Integrated Media. Deane has led communications campaigns for some of the world’s top brands in food, health and wellness, consumer finance, home entertainment and beauty. She will help lead and expand the agency’s media and influencer programs. Erik dela Cruz joins as Associate Creative Director, with a focus on expanding on the Creative team’s award-winning copywriting and art direction capabilities. Erik’s work for General Motors, MasterCard and Molson Coors has been recognized in Canada and around the world.

Based in our Toronto office, and supporting all three Weber Shandwick Canada locations, these new team members will help the agency solve the unprecedented business challenges born of digital disruption currently faced by our clients.


MORE THAN GAMES

Of all the gifts I’ve received, there’s one that stands out. It was a little, royal blue cartridge containing an entire world and 151 monsters to catch. It was Pokémon Blue.

This game established my identity as a gamer. Before I started gaming, my 10-year-old self had interests, but not passions. Gaming calibrated my compass and taught me what it meant to be truly invested in something; an invaluable life lesson. Games present seemingly infinite possibilities. It’s exciting to have a role in the fate of a character. I enjoy an on-the-rail experience that guides a player through a meticulously-crafted story. But I gravitate towards open-world games; the feeling of immersion that comes from diving in and impacting a digital world is unparalleled in conventional forms of entertainment.

While my passions have grown since I was 10, I still try to play some kind of game once every day. I see passion as a muscle. It needs to be fueled and used to stay strong.

In 2018, I was lucky enough to be the recipient of Weber Shandwick Canada’s Nicola Moore Courageous Creativity Prize. The Nicola Moore award is a $2,500 investment in a career-changing experience for a junior staffer. The award was named after a talented employee who started her career with us and went on to become an industry leader with IPG sister agency Golin, but then left all us too soon in life. The award honours Nicola’s spirit, granting the winner the opportunity to go on an adventure and pursue their passions at a formative time in their career path.

I never had the opportunity to meet Nicola, but I’ve learned from those who knew her that she was the definition of a role model: a person who embodied passion and perseverance. After much reflection, I decided to follow my passion and attend E3, the world’s biggest gaming conference in Los Angeles. This trip gave me the chance to see what was at the leading edge of the industry and hear from the experts where they see things are going next.

The World’s Biggest Gaming Conference

The first thing I learned at E3 was just how big this community is. Games have been big business for years, but the extent to which games are impacting pop culture is reaching an unprecedented level. Since its release in 2017, Fortnite has reshaped the industry with massive player populations and subverted its digital world on a scale we’ve never seen.

Case in point, you can’t walk more than a few blocks without at least one person doing the floss dance.

Successful in-game locations like Weezer World and concerts hosted by popular DJs like Marshmello have proven that brand integrations aren’t just possible, they are thriving. With the model more than proven, we can expect to continue seeing Epic Games, the studio responsible for Fortnite, and its competitors continue to focus on building their online communities.

Going Beyond the Console

The second major takeaway was the push to expand in global markets. Many major studios, including Microsoft and Take Two, have noted their ambitions to improve their footprints around the world. While Stadia, a cloud game platform from Google, wasn’t present at E3, it was talked about or mentioned in almost every panel I attended. Unlike the traditional console model that would require the purchase of hardware, Stadia will only require a streaming stick, controller and internet connection. This would be a game changer, particularly in areas where consoles are prohibitively expensive.

The technology is great in theory, but the talk among industry experts is somewhat skeptical. The crux of Stadia will be a stable and high-speed internet connection which isn’t accessible to everyone, especially in developing regions. The main source of optimism is that making gaming more accessible through technologies like Stadia improves the capacity to tell more diverse and inclusive stories for a global audience.

The Art of Game Development

Finally, E3 showed me that the people who make games are filled with an overwhelming passion for their craft. While watching a number of panels over my three days at E3 it felt like development teams needed to defend their art to people outside of their core audience. One of the most highly anticipated games of 2020 is Cyberpunk 2077 from CD PROJECKT RED. During a panel with the company’s co-founder and joint CEO Marcin Iwiński, he made it clear that the company was about more than profit or turning out games on tight timelines: “We are not a games factory. We treat games as an art and we want to push the bar higher with every single game we make.”

Like any work of art, creating a game involves countless hours of dedication before the final product is delivered. One of the top-selling games of 2018, Red Dead Redemption 2, took nearly eight years (!) to develop with a team of nearly 1,000 people. Their process for delivering an impactful experience to the audience deserves as much praise as the latest Oscar winner or masterpiece in the MET.

I could go on about all the incredible things I saw, experiences had, and insightful panels attended. But reflecting back on my experience at E3, I’m nostalgic for all the traits I’ve picked up while gaming. I believe that searching along every hidden path and in every corner of the map helped me become a more dedicated person, ensuring every task is completed. Raising my Pokémon to be as strong as possible helped me learn patience and kindness. Replaying a challenging boss multiple times instilled a sense of perseverance. And taking on challenges with friends made me a team player before I played sports.

Too often in my life, I’ve heard people say gaming is a waste of time. I’ve made a point of choosing not to listen. As gaming continues to become the most popular form of entertainment, and opening new opportunities, I can’t help but look back.

I know I made the right decision to power up that little blue cartridge.


General Inquiries
Phone
T: 416-964-6444
New Business
canadainquiries@webershandwick.com
Human Resources
Leanne James
T: 416-642-7964