The Indie List: Giants & Gentlemen

Entrepreneurial spirit that knows no bounds
Harkening back to Fisherman’s Friend’s iconic heritage, G&G leveraged the trope of tall fish tales.

Harkening back to Fisherman’s Friend’s iconic heritage, G&G leveraged the trope of tall fish tales.

Maximizing its freedom and independence, the agency is following opportunities in new businesses, new talent and new capabilities.

Toronto’s Giants & Gentlemen has strived over seven years to build a reputation as a growing, collaborative shop delivering bold work with integrity. And the proof of G&G’s entrepreneurial spirit can be witnessed with the opening of a production company, a partnership with a media planning and execution firm, and even the forthcoming launch of its own craft gin.

In this cheeky campaign, the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) and G&G want you to know you’re a traitor if you’re a Canuck who chooses to use the .com domain name over .ca

In this cheeky campaign, the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) and G&G want you to know you’re a traitor if you’re a Canuck who chooses to use the .com domain name over .ca

The growth into new areas of expertise has been spearheaded by the drive of its three partners: Natalie Armata and Alanna Nathanson – co-chief creative officers – and chief operating officer Gino Cantalini. G&G’s core of 30 staffers are accustomed to stepping up and tackling all manner of challenges.

They exercised said boldness in a campaign for the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA), which looked to promote the value of the .ca domain name and persuade small-business owners to use it instead of the .com default option.

“It was a challenging objective, considering that in Canada we are David vs. the ‘.com’ Goliath,” says Nathanson. “However, we had a client willing to put a stake in the ground, and the result was a tongue-in-cheek creative campaign that resonated with Canadians.”

The Don’t Be a Traitor campaign features a 30-second spot in which the wacky “.ca Eh Team” comes after Canadians who default to .com, pouring syrup on one’s laptop and chasing another down the street in a Zamboni. The commercial, coproduced by the agency’s two-year-old Brave Productions unit (which handled 52 projects this year) and Partners Film, aired on TV, in cinemas and online.

It was also a case in which G&G’s new in-house partnership with PUSH Media – specializing in performance media planning and execution – came into play.

“We saw the need to collaborate more deeply with media day-to-day, as it’s so intertwined with creative, and found the right fit with PUSH,” Cantalini says. “Just like G&G, the PUSH team brings a ‘grow or die’ attitude to both our business and our clients’. This isn’t just a job for us.”

The Backyard Axe Throwing League: BATL and G&G propose an adrenaline rush alternative without the threat of death.

The Backyard Axe Throwing League: BATL and G&G propose an adrenaline rush alternative without the threat of death.

That growth imperative resulted in client wins including ERBN GRN – a cannabis and lifestyle retailer G&G is branding from scratch – energy-solutions company Enercare, and brand and communications support for mixed-use developer SmartCentres. It also launched the first campaign for the Backyard Axe Throwing League: BATL.

Canadian Business placed the company on its Growth 500 list of fastest-growing Canadian companies, citing a revenue increase of 230% over the past five years.

The G&G focus on business growth infuses the agency’s work and guides strategic choices that lead to results for their clients. For Circle K convenience stores, they took a human approach to a category typically devoid of it.

Starting with the idea of convenience, the multi-touchpoint campaign was shaped around something more emotive: the customer’s hour of need. The “Whenever. Wherever. Whatever.” campaign brought the client 34.9 million impressions, a 647% increase in social community likes and follows, and 212,000 incremental visits online and to stores.

This campaign shows that although life can be unpredictable, Circle K convenience stores – with over 800 locations open 24/7 – are there for their customers wherever, whenever and for whatever.

This campaign shows that although life can be unpredictable, Circle K convenience stores – with over 800 locations open 24/7 – are there for their customers wherever, whenever and for whatever.

G&G’s effective portfolio of creative was recognized this year by making the shortlist for strategy’s small Agency of the Year. It also won an Effie Award for its campaign for Assaulted Women’s Helpline and was recognized at the ADCC for its work on Fisherman’s Friend.

Of course, in addition to winning new business, growth requires a welcoming culture. G&G describes itself as “an open, ego-free environment” that’s attractive to new talent. Canada’s Top 100 Employers included the agency on this year’s list of Top Employers for Young People, partly for its “Genternship” program for grads, which involves shadowing a senior Gent and completing agency and client projects.

Dr. Oetker work

The shop also recruits insights from outside its own walls. One of the agency’s tactics is to call on “Outthinking” to achieve optimal results, as in a collaboration with Days Inn Canada. The agency interviewed a flight attendant who shared the insight that business travel was a break from responsibilities back home, leading to the creative platform “Enjoy Your Bizcation.”

“We bring in an outsider to help broaden or shift perspectives on a given project, which uncovers ownable, relevant insights,” Armata explains. “And as two of our CCOs are women, which is highly unusual, we have additional perspectives few agencies can offer.”

CONTACT:
Gino Cantalini
Co-Founder & COO
g.cantalini@giantsandgents.com