Frank Palmer hosting a talkshow for nabs

One of Canadian advertising’s best-known and talkative legends is starting a talk show of sorts, as a way to raise money and awareness for nabs.

“Ad chats with Frank Palmer” will see the chairman of PS&CO holding in-depth and candid conversations with other Canadian advertising greats. The series is presented by Lifeworks (formerly Morneau Shepell), which provides crisis support through nabs, and will be used to promote nabs Canada events and encourage viewers to donate to the charity.

As with so much of the world, the pandemic has had a transformative impact on nabs, said Tom Shipman, the nabs board co-chair who took on an expanded role with the charity earlier this year. “Nabs was heavily dependent on events and that has been literally taken away,” he said. “And then on the other side, it created unbelievable demand for its services.”

Events will come back in time, he said. “But we need to have new ideas and create new revenue streams.”

Ad Chats is an example of the new ways nabs is looking to raise revenue and connect with the community. “The cool thing about Ad Chats is it’s a great idea, but also provides value,” he said.

The first video featuring Palmer in conversation with Rethink founder Chris Staples, for example, provides real insight into what it takes to succeed in the creative side of the industry. “If you are somebody looking to get into agency world or creative world there is tremendous upside to watching this thing,” said Shipman. “If we can do things that give back to people in terms of their careers, I think that pretty awesome.”

The series debuts Sept. 16, with two episodes on nabs’ YouTube channel and Spotify. The first guests are Staples and Arlene Dickinson.

Staples rose to industry prominence while working for Palmer at Palmer Jarvis DDB in Vancouver in the ’90s, before splitting to start Rethink to take on his former boss. Dickinson is both the president and CEO of Venture Communications, and one of the stars of CBC’s award-winning show Dragon’s Den.

The creative duo of Denise Rossetto and Todd Mackie, founding partners of Broken Heart Love Affair, will appear at the beginning of October, while other planned guests include Target’s Noel O’Dea and Zulu Alpha Kilo’s Zak Mroueh.

Palmer said he’s got a list of about 30 possible guests for the show, including former colleagues, coworkers and competitors from across his long career in the industry.

“The nice thing about it is they all know me and trust me, so we get into talking about a lot of the interesting stuff, and it’s a little off the normal track of interviews,” he said. “They get quite personal, and really dig into who they are, what they are and what they’d like to do.”

David Brown