The Really Brief — Week of Nov. 1

Nov. 2

Taxi has reached a milestone, with a series of recent hires across its Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver offices that push its head count past 300. “But it’s not only about the numbers,” said president Emma TothMore than 60% of the new hires are women, and more than 30% are from diverse backgrounds. “Diversity is a key strategic pillar in Taxi’s growth plan as it keeps evolving, and we plan to evolve with it.” 

New additions to its team in Toronto include the creative team of senior copywriter LB Cooper and senior art director Sasha Ortega, while Siddharth Khanna joins the strategy department and Tyler Harris assumes oversight of Audi as group account director. Black Taxi intern Sydney Gittens and partner Leo Ding officially join the creative ranks.

In Montreal, Marie-Josée Bourque joins as managing director, while Maxime Mercier joins as account director, leading the CircleK/Couche Tard account. The creative  leadership in Montreal has also seen the addition of associate creative directors Alexis Caron-Côté and Alexandre Béland, while Black Taxi intern Ifrah-Sophia Zarowsky also joins the  group and will make contributions to VMLY&R Global client teams such as Colgate.

In Vancouver, the design group has been expanded to support an increasing number of brand-design assignments from the west coast and prairie provinces, with the hires of art director Rebekah Maurice and creative production designer Anselmo Lourenço.

Leo Burnett Canada has launched new creative for AAA Northern California, Nevada & Utah showing how its quality insurance means that it doesn’t need marketing gimmicks like jingles and athlete endorsements to stand out in the crowded field.

“Buying home or auto insurance shouldn’t be left to the most entertaining insurance provider,” said Leo Burnett’s co-chief creative officer, Steve Persico. “This campaign reminds consumers about the importance of looking for providers who offer the best protection.”

The ads are running now across TV, online video, radio, digital, and print.

Nov. 1

Pathways to Education recently launched a campaign created by Camp Jefferson aimed at encouraging donations to the charity—which works to ensure that people from low-income households receive a proper education. The campaign, which coincided with the organization’s recent Grad Ball fundraiser, includes TV, online video, digital audio, digital display, print, and paid and organic social.

The 30-second spot features a teenage boy raising his hand in class, only to be violently thrust from the school. As he dusts himself and looks at the school from the outside, a super reading “The gap between students in low-income communities and their education is growing” appears on-screen.

According to Pathways to Education, 300,000 Canadian youth live in low-income households, with many facing barriers to graduating high school.

Their struggle has been further exacerbated by the pandemic, which has also widened the achievement gap between students in low-income communities and their peers. The organization said that young people living in low-income, single parent, newcomer, or racialized families have found themselves up to 12 months behind in their schooling, compared to eight months for their middle-class peers.

Toronto’s Naked Creative Consultancy has hired only the third creative director in its 22-year history, with Yasmi Sahni joining the agency on Nov. 1. She assumes oversight of the agency’s creative product from David Kenyon, a 10-year Naked veteran who is now responsible for the agency’s planning discipline.

Sahni was previously VP, executive creative director at Toronto’s GTB, where she built and managed all retail, social and service creative for Ford of Canada. Prior to that, she managed Vice Media and it’s in-house agency Virtue, with oversight of work for brands including Kraft, BMO, Sony, Fido, Palm Bay and Sephora. She is also an instructor at both George Brown College and Miami Ad School.

“We had an opportunity to add senior bench strength to the company and Yasmin fit the bill perfectly,” said Naked president Peter Shier. “It’s a huge win for us and our clients, as Yasmin’s skill set, personality and relevant experience will add diverse, industry attributes to Naked. She also has a passion for mentoring and developing teams, which is a priority as we look to grow both as a business and our offering.”

The Garden has added to its senior creative ranks, promoting former associate creative directors Lindsay Eady and Francheska Galloway-Davis to creative director roles, responsible for oversight of the agency’s creative product and developing its next generation of creative talent.

They have been with the agency for nearly four years and three years respectively, and are natural leaders who have instinctively taken on mentorship roles within the agency, says The Garden’s co-founder and chief creative officer Shane Ogilvie.

In addition to working on some of the agency’s highest-profile work, Eady and Galloway-Davis also launched the agency’s intern program during the pandemic. It started as a way of reviewing student portfolios until it became apparent there was a lot of creative talent who were struggling to enter the industry during the pandemic, so they expanded its mandate.

Their decision to turn it into a full-fledged intern program led to the agency’s hire of the new creative team of copywriter Nuala Murray and art director Mriga Suchdeva, who have already had a tangible impact on its creative product. Their promotion also means that Ogilvie will step back from day-to-day creative duties to prioritize strengthening client relationships and growing the business.

Vancouver appliance retailer Midland Appliance has chosen Full Punch to lead a strategic rebrand as it focuses on growth and brand communications. The company launched a review earlier this year.

“We’ve spent the past year laying the groundwork to take advantage of our growth opportunity. With new store openings in the pipeline, a great partner network, and a strong team, we are operationally poised for growth,” says Jaclyn St. Pierre, brand marketing manager at Midland Appliance. “We’re now at a point where we need our brand to catch-up, to help accelerate our potential.”

Midland Appliance will roll out the new positioning and identity this fall.


Chris Powell