Work Experience

If this were Call of Duty, I’d have to say I’ve seen my share of action in advertising. 3 Countries. 4 tours of WPP. 2 tours of TBWA. 2 tours of SidLee. And, most recently, almost 5 years at Zulu Alpha Kilo. This does account for my time spent at agencies like Network BBDO, Cundari and a host of other agencies you may not have heard of in Canada. My experience also encompasses a really broad range of disciplines. That’s why this vet has meddled and medalled in everything from direct, digital and social to good old-fashioned TV, radio and print on both sides of the Atlantic.

Recent Highlights

After enjoying the best year in the worst year ever for Subaru, we launched their successful Welcome to Uncommon brand campaign. This was followed by a collection of real-life owner stories. Other highlights included numerous product launches including The GOOAT (Greatest Outback Of All Time) and the all-new Subaru Wilderness brand. I also oversaw 4 years of retail events as Subaru achieved record growth. Beyond Subaru, the launch campaign for ‘A lot goes into a little’ at Burnbrae Farms. I added a fun spot for Home Equity Bank, celebrated Chinese New Year in a new way with Interac, gave the Tim Hortons sign a boost during the NBA finals, and added a new mask to the Harry Rosen signature collection at the start of Covid. in 2023, a call to #ReverseTheBan on Pride Jerseys for PFLAG.


Helping to win the Adidas pitch in Canada, and establishing the Adizero brand, was another highlight of my career. As was the subsequent work that followed on Gatorade, Nissan, Ford and, more recently, Subaru. In depth knowledge of any brand is key. But, they can’t all be global brands. That’s why elevating Standard Bank to be the most loved brand in South Africa also stands out as one of my finest achievements. No international awards, but an incredible accomplishment for a financial brand to best the likes of Apple, Nike and Coca-Cola. That’s why I was the financial guy long before being the BMW guy. In Canada, financial brand experience includes Meridian, Interac, Ninepoint, BlackRock, i-Shares, Home Equity Bank and Visa.

Car Experience

No two brands are alike. Especially in the automotive industry. I should know, I’ve worked extensively on BMW, Ford, Subaru and Nissan. I launched the BMW M2, M3CSL, M5 and 7-Series (twice). The Ford Mustang, New F-150, 2nd generation Nissan Leaf, plus Subaru Outback, Legacy, Impreza, Forester and the Subaru Wilderness brand. Ford and Subaru include social and retail work. All have been a great training ground for developing brands.

Good Causes

I believe every brand can do good in the world. The same goes for advertising agencies. And advertising people. I take pride in saying that all the work actually ran. Especially important when you include charity organizations. I stand by this because your name is everything in this business. Even if it happens to be as ubiquitous as John Smith.

New to advertising? Don’t worry about whether your award is gold or not. It’s your pursuit of creative excellence that matters most. Even a finalist means your work is in the top 1 percent in the world.

1 Yellow Pencil, 1 Graphite, 3 Wood

Cannes Lion

Gold, 2 Bronze, 6 finalists


Best of the Best, 5 Golds


2 Gold, 2 Bronze


2 Gold, 2 Silver, 2 Bronze


Top 10 TV, Top 10 Digital, OOH Impact Awards


1 Platinum, 1 Gold


Silver, 2 finalists

One Show

2 Merits, 2 Shortlists



Young Gun



Big Idea Award

Loeries (South Africa)

Grand Prix, 3 Gold


Silver, Finalist

Communications Arts

6 entries


I had the pleasure of working with Jonathan as his client when we developed the welcome to uncommon platform for Subaru Canada. He is insightful, clever and magnificently quirky in his thinking and approach. He really explored the far corners of the play-box that we provided in the brief. Apart from that he is a genuine and truly kind soul and I look forward to the opportunity to work with him again.

Don Gill

Jonathan Smith is one of the most original thinkers that I’ve had the pleasure of working with. Outgoing and friendly with a wicked sense of humor, clients love Jonathan. He rewards that love with big ideas that builds their brands and sells their products. Within the department, Jonathan shares his passion for his craft with his co-workers inspiring them to bigger, better, and bolder work. He would be an asset to any creative department.

James Ansley

Executive Creative Director

Jonathan is not only a brilliant creative, but also an excellent strategist. He works well in both traditional and non-traditional media and is a true 360 thinker. He is amiable, intelligent, an excellent presenter, and a meticulous craftsman. I’d love to work with him again.

Gary Du Toit

VP, Creative Director

Jonathan is a thinker. He looks at problems differently from everyone and isn’t afraid to challenge thinking that is ordinary or conventional. I have met no other creative with the power of insight that Jonathan has. Very strategic. Very rare in a creative to be so different in their output, so informed in their thinking. A true measure of the man though is his willingness to mentor the young. I know that the juniors on both creative and account side felt that they learned so much in the time they worked with him, that he was so willing to find the time to nurture their potential. Sorely missed.

Allen Oke

Executive Creative Director

Jonathan is the best type of client for a music house to work with. He provides us with top level creative. He’s a great collaborator – sharing his vision and criteria for the project but allowing us to explore, experiment, bring new ideas to the table. I’ve worked with Jonathan for 3 years now and hope to be working with him for a lot more.

Adam Damelin

Partner Eggplant Collective

Jon Smith is a brilliant writer who thinks. Or is he a brilliant thinker who writers? I’m not sure, but I valued both of these qualities in him. He’s one of the best I’ve worked with, and I’ve worked with some top people. He works hard, he’s excellent with clients, he’ll make your team much stronger. Thank you for everything, Mr. Smith.

Jack Neary

Writer & Creative Leader

Having worked with Jonathan at Sid Lee, I found him not only a pleasure to work with but also took much inspiration from his approach to the industry. I would describe Jonathan as a 360 copywriter, as adept at crafting headlines and television scripts as he is at coming up with ‘the big idea’. I worked with Jonathan on a variety of projects but mostly for the adidas client and their sub-brands. During my time working with Jonathan, it was easy to imagine him leading and inspiring a team of creatives. Imagining that he would tend to lead by example rather than rule by the iron fist. All being said, I would not hesitate to work with Jonathan again and would highly recommend him to those who have the opportunity to collaborate with him.

Ollie Miles

Creative Director

Jonathan is one of the most gifted creative directors I have ever worked with in my career. There is a reason why he wins awards. He is able to take your vision and make it a reality, maintaining the integrity of the project and taking your goals on as his own. His care for your direction and sensitivity to being respectful of the subject is what makes his projects win, standout and generate buzz and attendance. He is exceptional at taking a concept that has never been done and giving it a life and brand that sets it apart from all others. He is equally capable of breathing fresh perspective into long time brands. I consider Jonathan to be one of the brightest creative lights in this country and would be happy to discuss the projects he led for us with any prospective clients.

Barb Stegemann

CEO – The 7 Virtues | WXN Top 100 Most Powerful Women

When sitting in the first group reviews with Jonathan, the depth of his ideas always astounded me. A true thinker with the ability to draw an astoundingly clear line between thought and product, something one does not encounter very often. With Jonathan in the mix, be prepared for some astoundingly original thoughts and the brilliant big-idea campaigns that will follow.

Konstant van Huyssteen

Creative Consultant

Jonathan possesses one of the my most sought after and admired characteristics: passion. His attention to detail and his desire to rethink what has already been thought to ensure he and his team have wrestled the most out of the work before finish ensures a high standard of quality and execution. Jonathan’s understanding of client-agency mechanisms and campaign objectives is richer and more insightful that most people twenty years more experienced. But most importantly Jonathan’s fresh directions and original concepts make him a valuable asset in any creative arsenal. One project alone can leave an indelible impression.

Jeffrey Fish

Directorial Practitioner

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