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.
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.
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.
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.