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DDB | Always pushing the creative envelope

DDB Canada didn’t become one of the most consistently celebrated creative agencies in the country by accident. The shop has carefully cultivated a unique culture where its talent is given the most important thing it needs to come up with brave, gamechanging ideas – the freedom to fail. After all, playing it safe rarely leads to breakthrough work. “You can’t be afraid to shake things up,” says David Leonard, president & COO of DDB Canada. “That’s what keeps us nimble and more street-smart than any other multinational brand.” In some cases, brands can’t afford to not take risks if they want to achieve dramatic results. That’s why DDB has partnered with a university

and a research partner on a new project designed to prove the worth of what they call ShareValue creative platforms. “Once new metrics and measurements are developed, we’ll have case proof and empirical evidence that proves the business contribution of our creative ideas,” explains Leonard. In the meantime, DDB’s game-changing work for brands like Subaru and the Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC) provides some pretty compelling evidence that taking smart risks can reap big rewards. Groundbreaking tactics like virtually transporting potential visitors to Canadian destinations through Google Maps and Street View technologies have

helped elevate Canada to being named the number one brand country in the world on FutureBrand’s Country Brand Index. Not bad for a country that was ranked 12th a few short years ago. DDB has also helped Subaru considerably elevate its brand cachet and significantly increase sales. Most recently, DDB’s innovative flipbook campaign for the Subaru WRX boosted sales by a staggering 126% during the campaign period. The flipbook concept helped bring the “Pure Performance” platform to life by showcasing the car’s speed, agility and raw power without violating any ASC guidelines. The core target of performance car enthusiasts clearly loved the novel approach, as evidenced by the 750,000+ page views the campaign’s online video elements have achieved to date. DDB created another successful follow-up campaign for Toronto Crime Stoppers earlier this year, which focused on boosting anonymous tips with a powerful concept that portrayed anonymous witnesses turning the tables on criminals. The tactic worked, resulting in a 33% increase in tips over the previous year, with arrests up by 26%. A big part of DDB’s ability to come up with game-changing ideas like these involves having the right people in place, and then giving them the freedom to experiment. “We’re looking for instigators,” says Leonard. The agency is constantly boosting its roster of top-tier talent, including recent hires

such as director of digital strategy Nikolas Badminton, senior planning director Natalie Godfrey and director of branding and design Chris Dallin in Vancouver and Jason Dubroy with the launch of Shopper DDB in Toronto. DDB makes sure its talent isn’t kept in silos, and continues to work its “one brand, one hallway” approach that ensures the right people are working on the right brands, regardless of which department or office they’re in. It’s not unusual to have people from the Vancouver and Toronto offices collaborating on a project. “The work is there for all to contribute,” says Leonard. “There is enough evidence to prove that if you have the right people, the right culture and great collaboration, you can achieve miraculous things.”

(Left) Compelling creative demonstrates that giving tips to Crime Stoppers helps expose criminals. (Above) DDB created a real flipbook that comes to life when the Subaru WRX passes by.

[ ] DDB Canada David Leonard President & COO 416-925-9819 1700 – 33 Bloor St. East Toronto, ON M4W 3T4


Strategy Magazine_DDB Canada_Creative Agencies  

Published by Strategy Magazine October 2011 highlights DDB Canada as Always pushing the creative envelope

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