Rethink on advertising: a new book marks the agency’s 20th anniversary

There’s an oft-repeated line that every journalist harbours a secret desire to write a book, but Rethink Canada founding partner Chris Staples sure took a circuitous route to authordom after attaining a journalism degree from Carleton University.

Staples and his partners Ian Grais and Tom Shepansky—aided by managing partner Morgan Tierney and dozens of other staffers who helped with art direction—have written what Staples describes as an advertising “workbook.”

Timed to coincide with Rethink’s 20th anniversary, Rethink the Business of Creativity is a 55-chapter, 40,000-word distillation of what the three partners have learned about (and from) the craft of advertising over the years.

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The book’s 256 pages encompass three sections—People, Product and Profit—with chapters including “No assholes,” “Find it, steal it & make it your own” and “If it’s wounded, kill it.”

First conceived two years ago and mostly written over the past year, the book is both an homage to the craft and a how-to guide for what the introduction describes as “creative problem solvers”—whether in advertising, design, architecture or software development.

“We’ve tried to write it so that any creative business can find it useful,” says Staples. “We just know how powerful a book like this can be.”

When the founding partners were first contemplating what would become Rethink, one of the books that served as their inspiration was Andy Law’s Open Minds—which chronicled the lessons and innovations of the London agency St. Luke’s.

“If we can inspire somebody at a big multinational agency to have the guts to break out on their own and start something brand new, that would be the ultimate reward for us,” says Staples.

Rethink the Business of Creativity is available for pre-order now at Amazon, Indigo and other online booksellers. It goes on sale Feb. 25.


Chris Powell