In a consumer centric world, every company is vying for the attention of every customer. The use of design, marketing and advertising allows companies to differentiate themselves from their competitors and assists in establishing a successful brand.
With the influx of digital media and online communities, many creative communications firms have begun fusing elements of traditional marketing and advertising with modern components like mobile applications and social media to stay on trend and expand their reach.
Here are 20 Toronto-based marketing & advertising firms who aren’t just helping companies sell products- they are mixing conventional and current trends to provide creative and effective solutions and build some of our favourite brands.
Arcade Brand Strategies
The ultimate challenge of selling a product that they cannot to a control to a consumer they may never meet, in a world where every local resident feels ownership, was taken on by Arcade Brand Strategies.
Arcade has been involved in countless destination branding and tourism marketing programs, focused on helping tourism organizations harness the collective power of their stakeholders, simplifying complex concepts and helping great people come up with great ideas.
For over 20 years, Ariad has been focused on creating beautiful ideas for brands. Their concentration on the audience and creating authentic moments that connect clients to their consumers has ultimately transformed their clients’ brands.
With their expertise in four strategic areas (strategy, content, digital and activation), Ariad continues to produce brand-building, business-driving moments of connection and transformation for their clients and their brands.
For more than 30 years, Bimm, a creative marketing communications agency, has crafted highly effective direct, digital and retail campaigns that get results. They’re experts in making consumers take immediate action and building longevity for brands. Bimm produces impactful creative solutions for clients like Audi, Shoppers Drug Mart, Toyota, Loblaws and Scotiabank.
Blade Creative Branding, Marketing & Advertising
The Blade Creative experience encompasses a remarkably wide range of markets and industries. Their team has boundless curiosity and a passion for seeking inspiration in different places and cross-pollinating ideas.
Blade offers a number of services including brand and competitive audits, strategic insights, branding platforms, brand development, in house design studio, messaging and imagery for all media, website design and development, media planning and buying, measurement and reporting and online media planning.
At Blast Radius they know that it’s harder than ever to build meaningful relationships with consumers. Changing media landscapes, smaller budgets, more vocal consumers and rapid technological growth create a media mix that is difficult to sustain and manage. Blast Radius is able to overcome these obstacles with what they call “the networked brand”, a method of creating fostering connections between all elements that make up a brand.
Driven by insights about people and a co-operative process rooted in the belief that great ideas can come from anywhere or anyone, Colour exists to help effect positive change. Positive change is how they define success for their clients.
They balance the worlds of advertising, public affairs and digital by bringing them together around creative ideas. At Colour, inspiration comes from integrating digital and traditional channels and producing new ways of applying creativity.
At Context Creative, their engagement begins at the strategic level as they work with clients to create campaigns that will accelerate and transform their businesses. Context Creative integrates campaigns on the Web, in email, television, print, direct mail and outdoors. They understand and deploy technology very well, but always in the service of communications.
Context Creative’s latest project was a campaign for Toronto Hydro. Using distinctive illustrations of talking squirrels, raccoons, blue jays and Canada geese are featured in outdoor, out-of-home, direct mail and online ads. With a bold green colour scheme, they promote Toronto Hydro and Ontario’s province-wide saveONenergy program with incentives to conserve electricity.
As a close-knit community of experts, the Cossette team creates success by focusing their combined thinking and creativity on improving the way people connect and communicate. By embracing a deep commitment to integration and innovation, they are able to turn their highly adaptive proprietary method for turning ideas into results.
The Cossette Team strives to help their clients improve the effectiveness of their marketing campaigns. With their passion to develop spectacular ideas and to find ways to amplify those ideas through innovative execution and channels, they are constantly able to achieve measurable results.
With over 30 years in the ad business and some of the country’s best talent, Cundari has an in depth and broad range of sector experience in both B2B and B2C, from culture and entertainment to energy and IT. Cundari uses the extension of a simple idea through an endless array of mediums. Using multiple media touch-points and diverse messaging they are able to produce some of the most creative integrated advertising, branding and design solutions.
Driven by an entrepreneurial spirit, sense of optimism and culture of creativity, Extreme Group has been producing creative marketing & advertising solutions for brands like Mr.Clean, Moosehead Breweries, Canadian Red Cross, Sony Style, Grand & Toy and Cadillac Fairview.
50 years of innovation is a pretty significant milestone for Mr. Clean. And to celebrate, Extreme Group wanted to have some fun and acknowledge the special relationship that Mr. Clean has with his consumers. In particular, women are in love with the idea of Mr. Clean and so, the idea was born. He really has been “The other man since 1959″.
Groundzero’s strategic approach is focused on one of their main tools, called The Simple Truth, which explores and combines insights from fourteen categories:
1. The Problem, 2. Perception vs. Reality, 3. Brand Aesthetic, 4. Company Vision, 5. Category Truism, 6. Break a Convention, 7. Emotional Fulfillment, 8. Brand Personality, 9. Brand Insight, 10. Human Insight, 11. Consumer Insight, 12. Hidden in Plain Sight, 13. Product Experience, 14. Product Advantage
Groundzero’s campaign for Benjamin Moore was based on a very simple brand truth: Benjamin Moore = colour (not paint). Their goal was to make a big splash downtown during the Toronto International Film Festival and they did just that, literally, with swathes of colour pouring over transit shelters, streetcars, outdoor, handouts and a new medium called walking billboards. The creative got loads of attention, including a visual plug on the Jimmy Kimmel Show.
Henderson Bas Kohn
Henderson Bas Kohn is an award-winning advertising agency rooted in insight and fueled by creative ideas, strategic precision, and measurable results. They live and breathe social, mobile and digital experiences. After all – it’s what keeps them in business, on top of their game and keeps clients coming back for more.
The HBK world is connected and portable. Advertising is in motion. Communication requires action from media to mobile, social to sample, tablet to table. Because these are more than just channels, they’re the foundation of new creative thinking.
At John St. they’ve recognized that in a commoditized world, unignorable brands win. They act differently. They don’t do what the category does. The embrace social media and design and technology. And they understand that when the customer is in control, brands must be interesting to be heard. John St. creative services include advertising, digital, social, experiential, design and strategy. Their ad for Wiser’s Whiskey was definitely unignorable- check it out here.
Leo Burnett Worldwide
Advertising legend Leo Burnett launched one of the world’s largest, most respected agencies. Established in the US, part of the French group Publicis and currently operating 104 offices globally, Leo Burnett Worldwide is responsible for creating some of the world’s most iconic brands like, Pillsbury doughboy, Tony the Tiger and The Jolly Green Giant.
Built on a belief that good things come in small packages, Lime Advertising is small because they want to be. Streamlined and efficient, this boutique agency is able to provide their clients with the complete, undivided attention that they may not receive at a larger agency. The team at Lime works together closely to generate the best creative ideas to suit their client’s needs and objectives.
Innovation at Lowe Roche is not just a way to reach consumers. Being innovative and unexpected in how they bring their clients to market proves to consumers that their clients have something special to offer and worth paying attention to. In doing that, they are able to help them win not just against their competitors, but against their biggest enemy: blending in.
Lowe Roche created a campaign for Audi Quattro that, in every medium, gave people a physical demonstration of exactly why Quattro is better. Newspaper ads showed how other cars react more slowly to changing conditions. And escalator handrails showed the kind of grip Quattro gave you. During the event, sales were 18% in September and 25% in October.
Whether it’s marketing plans, strategic plans, meal plans, user experience plans or weekend plans, at Lux 9, they love a good plan. The Lux 9 team specializes in developing and implementing integrated marketing programs, leveraging digital prowess for measurable campaigns that deliver on brand awareness, affinity and consumer engagement.
Mash Media creates meaningful dialogue with consumers wherever they are, 24/7. They combine full- scale marketing solutions with advanced digital capabilities for some of the world’s leading brands. Mash Media offers a full range of creative services including sales channel marketing, strategy, promotional marketing, digital and social marketing.
Their execution plan heavily involves surrounding and engaging consumers through social media and real social experiences while measuring results in real time. Mash Media aims to be a part of consumer’s daily experience- from traditional ads to mobile media, they are where their audience is.
Mars | Philter is a shopper marketing and retail creative communications agency committed to connecting shoppers to brands and back again. This is done by telling compelling stories. Why stories? Because no one wants to be sold anything, but everyone loves a great story. It’s something they believe in, live by, and put into everything that they do.
When creating a brand logo, corporate website, or an advertising campaign, they are developing a connection between people. Rather than just storytelling, Philter hopes to help brands inspire stories. Truthful, meaningful stories that connect brands with people.
Built on a foundation of enhanced market credibility, legitimacy and relevance, Pilot PMR has brought together the most diverse collaborative team of communicators, creative and technical professionals. Since 2004, Pilot has been recognized as one of North America’s most innovative PR agencies, working with both established and emerging brands.
Toronto and Montreal-based promotional marketing and activation agency, Proximity Canada is part of a global agency network with more than 2,000 employees and 61 offices around the world. At Proximity, they are able to change individual consumer behaviour with their digital expertise and deep knowledge of consumer data.
Pulp & Fiber Brand Marketing & Advertising
Fiber is part of Pulp & Fiber, a full service, Toronto-based advertising and design boutique, and home to a handful of industry experts. They pride themselves on their ability to gain new perspectives while implementing creative substance in all brand strategies, everything from name development and logo creation, to print production and execution.
Bridging the gap between imagination and visualization through artistic deign, Fiber Design is a collective of artists with a progressive approach to insight and innovation. For over ten years they have been connecting brands to consumers through engaging communications. By turning brand messaging into a visual language, their design studio brings visions to life.
The Sid Lee multidisciplinary creative team made up of 450 professionals who conceive and communicate unique brand experiences. They are quite passionate about embedding brands, products, spaces and services with meaning and resonance. Their approach is focused on commercial creativity which embraces all forms of business related creative disciplines while ignoring traditional crafts.
A creative ad agency, Spoke was formed to produce experience-driven campaigns for global brands in the lifestyle, retail and entertainment sectors. At Spoke, they promote sustainable, bleeding-edge ideas to create insightful conversations. Their creative team listens to global trends and cultural shifts to change human interactions.
Built on the philosophy and belief that a small group of experts should drive every piece of business- or as many as can fit into a cab. Being in a TAXI means everyone, including the client is headed in the same direction.
In 1992 Paul Lavoie and co-founder Jane Hope successfully collaborated their disciplines of advertising and design to create TAXI. Over the years, they have been recognized for their fresh, unconventional approach creating consistently strong brands for companies like BMW/MINI, WestJet, Canadian Tire and TELUS.
The Marketing Store
The Marketing Store (which isn’t actually a store) is a global integrated brand activation agency that creates tangible interactions that engage people, influence purchase and build measurable results. They’re obsessed with unearthing insights and discovering new brand dimensions.
Their belief is that insight provides inspiration and inspiration is the springboard of all creativity. The Marketing Store specializes in youth and family marketing, digital, CRM/loyalty, licensing, promotional premiums, events, sales promotions, and shopper marketing.
Zebra Studios may be one of the best agencies you’ve never heard of, that’s because they’ve been working hard servicing big retailers like Nike and HBC with innovative in-store and window campaigns for over 14 years. During that time they made additions to their creative team and improved their in house digital department.
Now, Zebra is a full service creative & marketing agency providing strategy, planning, branding, design advertising and promotions to their clients. Moving forward, they hope to partner up with passionate people to invigorate big brands, develop small brands and invent new brands.