In a TIFF: Tastemakers

The product placement company's gifting lounge at the InterContinental hotel in Yorkville brings brands such as Joe Fresh and Mattel together with celebs in an interactive environment.

Joe Fresh, we must say, is looking particularly snazzy today.

The fast-fashion brand, distributed through Loblaw grocery stores and stand-alone stores nationwide, was all decked out in lights on Wednesday in the Tastemakers Lounge at the InterContinental Toronto Yorkville hotel.

As one of the premier brands in the suite, Joe Fresh had stylists making up and manicuring TIFF attendees and media with Joe Fresh Beauty products, with an emphasis on the brand’s new nail polish line. Brand reps will be stationed at the display throughout TIFF, ready to touch up makeup or offer mini-manicures to celebs and VIPs on a moment’s notice.

The brand has been with Tastemakers since it launched in 2005, Elaine Quan, senior PR manager, Joe Fresh, told MiC. It previously promoted its apparel, but now with its still relatively new Beauty line, the fit is even better with the event, she said.

‘This is our way of participating even though we’re not directly related to the film industry,’ she explained. ‘The first few years we supported with apparel, and now we have beauty, which is popular because talent want to get touch-ups before they hit the red carpet.’

Lighting up another corner of the suite is Mattel, which is using its Tastemakers opportunity to promote some of its new board games, along with time-honoured favourites like Uno. The games are available for Tastemakers guests to play as they while away the time between events or interviews, and celebs are also encouraged to sign the board games, which will then be auctioned off with proceeds going to Sick Kids Hospital.

‘We feel like it’s a great opportunity to really showcase our games,’ Kathleen O’Hara, brand manager, boys marketing, Mattel Canada, said. ‘Celebrities are people too, who need downtime and like to play games, so we feel like it’s a great way to get games out there and giving back to the Sick Kids foundation was a great opportunity for us.’

The last stop on the whirlwind Tastemakers tour is the Wescan Optical station, a wall of eyewear from brands Fysh UK, Evatik and Kliik. Those who pay attention to major-market OOH will likely recall the Fysh brand, which keeps a widespread OOH buy in market featuring out-there eyewear fashion. This year marked its first with Tastemakers, after a smaller-scale foray into gift-lounging last year at the George Stroumboulopoulos-hosted lounge. The company is hoping this year’s investment pays off even more, explained Beverly Suliteanu, CD and VP, product development, Wescan Optical, to MiC.

‘Tastemakers is a little bit larger and a little bit more interactive. The fact that we can be on-site here is significant,’ she explained, noting that was not the case the year previous. ‘Glasses aren’t like T-shirts, you need someone to help guide you through the selection.’

Other brands on site included Bamjamz, Damn Heels, Guats Active Life Style, Indeed Laboratories, Jessica Jensen and MM Crystal. Each participating brand pays a fee to Tastemakers for its participation, which is based on the level of exposure an interactivity, company co-founder Leesa Butler told MiC.