BBDO Toronto, Harlequin Books Offer ‘Romance When You Need It’

By Erik Oster 

BBDO Toronto launched a new campaign for Harlequin Books earlier this month promising “Romance When You Need It.”

The online spot follows a hard working woman named Helen who’s told “You’ve been at that all day, why don’t you take a break?” Deciding she’s accomplished a lot, and does deserve that break, saying, “You know what? It’s Helen o’clock,” reaching into her bag for a Harlequin novel. Soon she’s heading off to Monte Carlo with her billionaire boyfriend, while everyone else in the office heads out with their own version of a dream man, from rugged cowboys and shirtless firefighters to doctors and police officers. Given the product, the approach, mixing humor and buff dudes in various states of shirtlessness, makes sense, with Helen concluding at the end of the spot that “everyone deserves a romantic getaway.” It highlights the brand’s selling point as escapism that can fit into spare free moments throughout the day, a message supported by social media and print components, targeted online buy, in-store, loyalty and event programs, and blogger outreach initiatives. The spot is live on a campaign page that also includes links to 17 free Harlequin Romances, offering instant gratification for intrigued viewers. 

Harlequin Romances offer today’s women a perfect break from their daily stresses and pressures,” said BBDO Toronto vice president, associate creative director Linda Carte. “The work also demonstrates Harlequin’s relationship with women in an engaging, playful manner.”

Client: Harlequin Enterprises
Vice President, Single Title Marketing: Stacy Widdrington
Creative Director, Romance Fiction: Tony Horvath
Director, Digital Products: Farah Mullick
Director, Romance Publicity, Partnerships & Events: Michelle Renaud
Product Manager, Retail Marketing: Shana Mongroo


Agency: BBDO Toronto
SVP, Executive Creative Director: Denise Rossetto
SVP, Executive Creative Director: Todd Mackie
VP, ACD, Art Director: Linda Carte
VP, ACD, Copywriter: Irfan Khan
Broadcast Producer: Jennifer Morrison
Account Director: Paul Forrest
Account Executive: Zach Kula

Production Company: Partners Film
Executive Producer: Gigi Realini
Directors: Ben/Dave
Producer: Andrew Sulliman
DOP: André Pienaar

Post House: Saints Editorial
Executive Producer: Michelle Rich
Editor: Griff Henderson
Assistant Editor: Tim MacLennan

Audio House: Ricochet Post Productions
Executive Producer: Mary Beth O’Dell
Audio Production Manager: Mike Rosnick