[ Science World | Future Shop | Dose | BC Lions | Solo Mobile ]
"Passionate," "smart," "zesty" - one even offered "inspirational." The glowing adjectives were flying this year when describing silver winner, Rethink.
After mustering an Honourable Mention in 2004, the accolades are apropos given its decisive showing in this year's AOY competition - the best in its short, six-year history.
"They have a zest to them. They have a spark. They obviously enjoy what they're doing," says Brian Tisdall, president/CEO of client Science World British Columbia. "[They have] a great flow and idea exchange."
And then there's the work: strategically sound and funny as hell. The Science World radio spots, for example, with the theme everything-you-wanted-to-know-about-science, were named time and again on our judges' three favourites lists. (They've also raked up Art Directors Club of Canada kudos, Gold Pencils and a Bronze Lion since they launched in 2004.) International judge Alan Young, ECD at hot London, U.K. shop St. Luke's Communication, wrote: "Rethink's [campaigns] were an inspiration."
That inspiration also flowed to their work for alt newspaper Dose, the BC Lions, Future Shop and Solo Mobile which round out the five submissions that helped secure silver for the shop founded by Chris Staples, Tom Shepansky and Ian Grais with a raison d'etre to rethink what an ad agency should be.
But might we add "impressively agile" to the list? Former Dose director of marketing Mark Shedletsky tells this pre-launch story: "[I was] impressed with not only the end result, but how we got the end result. Everything was down to the wire…our media strategy changed slightly at the last minute and they were able to shift on a dime and produce in one day: six 5-sec, 10 10-sec and 15-sec ads and four 30-sec spots all in one shoot."
But it wasn't all just about ad creative. Shedletsky says Rethink took part in creating, designing and branding the free daily targeting 18-34s from day one. "They're great at identifying new brands and doing smart, out-of-the-box programs," he says. And it's paid off: Besides picking up a slew of awards, the paper's pick-up rate is a whopping 90% in major market Toronto.
Rebranding is also a forté. "We really felt that from top to bottom they could help us," says Dave Champion, director of marketing at Future Shop, of the company's new look. He says that beyond the creative, the agency has also contributed to the slicker look of the stores, flyers and uniforms. "They push us," he says. "They try to take us out there and that's the way we want it to be."
BC Lions' Lindsay Carswell, director of marketing and corporate programs, agrees. He credits the agency with helping management develop creative that "breaks through the clutter," resulting in high recall for the brand. "They're true to their name," he says. "They look at things differently."
In parting, a tidbit: According to their Web site, the guys at Rethink hate awards ceremonies, finding the food bad and the presentations too long. Sadly, they'd better get used to the rubber chicken.