BBDO Toronto Indulges Female Fantasies in Effort to Revive Harlequin

By Kiran Aditham 

Long before 50 Shades of Grey’s PG-13 Twilight fanfic enthralled millions of women around the world, there was Harlequin Enterprises, the 65-year-old publisher of female-oriented fiction and romance novels that have adorned many a grocery store checkout aisle over the years.

In an effort to revitalize the longstanding brand name and lure ladies back to the books in an era of Kindle, Nook and, yes, 50 Shades, BBDO Toronto is helping out its hometown client with a campaign that skews towards the “mature” woman who’s just seeking out that sense of escapism. Aptly titled “Escape the Everyday,” the campaign features two idealized Harlequin characters–a cowboy hero and a military hero–who spring out of the pages to satisfy the fantasies of possibly-bored women everywhere. The very slightly naughty work highlights Harlequin’s new mantra “Whatever You’re Into,” which promotes the fact that the brand publishes 110 titles a month in 34 languages and 110 markets(!).


Client: Harlequin
Agency BBDO Toronto
Executive Creative Directors: Carlos Moreno, Peter Ignazi
Associate Creative Director: Linda Carte
Copywriter: Shiran Teitelbaum
Art Directors: Linda Carte, Alice Blastorah
Account Directors: Martina Ivsak, Paul Forrest
Account Coordinator: Zach Kula
Agency Producer: Aimee DeParolis
Production Company: Someplace Nice
Director: Pete Henderson
Executive Producer: Chilo Fletcher, Estelle Weir
Director of Photography: Jonny Cliff
Editing: Matt Dell, Ricochet
Music/Sound House: Ricochet
Colour: Eric Whipp, Alter Ego
Casting: Shasta Lutz, Jigsaw Casting