Jon Toews joins Public as CCO

The former Critical Mass ECD will lead creative at the social impact-focused shop.
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Toronto’s Public Inc. has a new chief creative officer, hiring Jon Toews for the role.

Toews was most recently an independent creative consultant. Prior to that, he worked as SVP general manager and executive creative director at Critical Mass in Toronto, which he left at the end of 2015 (he’d also worked at Critical Mass as a CD from 2006 to 2008 before leaving for a stint at Bensimon Byrne, also as a creative director).

He fills the role at Public left vacant by Pat Pirisi, who left in March. Toews will lead creative for the multidisciplinary team at the boutique agency, including researchers, strategists and writers.

Public’s focus on social purpose was a draw for Toews, who says the demand for building that kind of impact into brands’ business strategies – outside of just cause marketing campaigns – is where much of the marketing industry is headed.

For his part, Public’s co-founder and CEO Phillip Haid says Toews’ varied background in both traditional and digital media and his capacity to solve problems in a channel-agnostic way made him the right fit.

In particular, the agency was seeking a CCO who understood how creativity and audience engagement can come together for social purpose that drives business benefit (Public’s main mission), versus solely creating a campaign around a social cause.