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Queen St. Bakery campaign baked with abs and honesty

In an online-only ad, Canadian pole vaulter and Olympic hopeful Alysha Newman explains how she stays fit AND eats bread
A female wearing workout gear that exposes her abs

Since the start of last year, gluten-free bread startup Queen St. Bakery has secured a big-name investor and massively expanded its distribution. Now it’s looking to build on that momentum with its first national advertising campaign.

The “Honestly Good” ad initiative stars Alysha Newman, one of the top pole vaulters in the world and a Canadian medal contender at the Tokyo Olympics.

The online-only campaign features the outgoing Olympian playfully explaining why—unlike so many competitive athletes who avoid bread—she’s able to eat the healthy Queen St. Bakery bread. The campaign is intended to reinforce Queen St. Bakery's  position as a good-for-you bread product which, unlike other gluten free options, is also low in sugar.

“We’ve been able to make a piece of bread that is has 2x the fibre of wholewheat, has no sugar and doesn’t weigh you down like regular bread. That’s something we think anyone can get around,” said Queen St. Bakery’s chief marketing officer Mark Arvai, in a release.

In the ad, Newman talks honestly about herself and explains the benefits of Queen St. Bakery bread—“It’s only made from natural stuff, like water, chia and beans”—with pointed but non-specific comparisons to competitors products, all delivered with a playful smile and humorous tone.

“People have this idea that bread can’t be something you eat if you’re trying to be healthy, and that’s just b.s.,” said Arvai. “So we got the last person you’d expect to be eating bread to be our spokesperson, an athlete training for the Olympics.”

The honest talk was essential to Queen St. Bakery’s goal of differentiating itself from other brands in market. “Big brands love to tell you what their products don’t contain, that they’re free from this and contain none of that, without telling you anything about what it’s actually made of,” said Arvai. “The average piece of gluten-free bread in Canada still has more sugar than fibre, but you never see that on the front of the packet.”

Launched only in 2018, Dragons' Den star and marketing expert Arlene Dickinson became an equity partner in Queen St. Bakery last July. “Queen St. Bakery has created innovative products that consumers with gluten intolerance and personal preferences are interested in and have uniquely positioned themselves in the market,” said Dickinson at the time.

Queen St. Bakery has expanded its distribution from just 50 stores in the Greater Toronto Area to more than 1,000 stores across Canada.

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