The Indie List: Mackie Biernacki

Where every problem doesn't look like a nail
Steph Mackie, Mark Biernacki and Steve Carli getting Mackie Biernacki settled in Bloordale Village.

Steph Mackie, Mark Biernacki and Steve Carli getting Mackie Biernacki settled in Bloordale Village.

Nestled between a print shop and a bakeryon Bloor St in Bloordale Village you’ll find a different sort of storefront. Peer in and you’ll see a group of people gathered around a communal table, but passersby aren’t quite sure what to make of the Toronto neighbourhood’s latest addition. Those in the know, however, will recognize the logo on the door as that of indie agency Mackie Biernacki.

This street-front office is the first for the five-year-old agency, and an incredibly convenient location for a quick vox pop. Prior, the shop operated out of the Soho House, staking claim to the largely underused top floor. But as the private club’s membership grew, and as the agency continued to expand, it was time for a permanent home.

Known for its creative output, co-CD’s and co-owners Steph Mackie and Mark Biernacki recently bolstered the agency’s strategic capacity when they lured Steve Carli to join as president this summer.

Formerly of Red Urban, Carli’s role is to strengthen the strategic foundation of the agency and expand on providing business counsel to clients. It also allows them to grow the agency without compromising what they do best: creative business solutions according to the needs of the client.

In the past year the team has: helped Dutch baby formula brand Kabrita break into the U.S. market; built an architectural exhibit for the redevelopment of Cloverdale Mall; executed brand strategy, identity, package design, and a campaign launch for Canadian vet pharma offering Grey Wolf; produced brand films for kids clothing brand Hatley; and is developing a robust fundraising and multi-media brand campaign to build Canada’s first smart hospital for Mackenzie Health.

The variety is reflective of the fact that the agency works to ensure output is based on the client’s business problem versus a pre-determined deliverable.

“It’s the old adage that when you’re holding a hammer, every problem looks like a nail,” says Steph Mackie. “We’ve all led agencies where we’ve been forced to churn out solutions based on existing staff. Here, we have the freedom to staff for the right solution.”

To establish goat milk formula in the US, Kabrita turned to Mackie Biernacki, which created a digital video campaign and online assets that featured a voice-activated “smart goat” that provided useful information on the benefits of formula made from goat milk.

To establish goat milk formula in the US, Kabrita turned to Mackie Biernacki, which created a digital video campaign and online assets that featured a voice-activated “smart goat” that provided useful information on the benefits of formula made from goat milk.

“The Mackie Biernacki model is built to take advantage of the proliferation of interesting and effective media avenues,” says Carli. “We have teams with architects and construction experts and other teams with health strategists and vets. What we’re able to do is bring in people with expertise while maintaining the strategic vision of both the agency and our clients’ business.”

Currently, Mackie Biernacki has nine full-time staff across creative and client service, which Mackie says are the “essentials,” and count another nine contractors who act as “full-timers for the client” within their extended family of collaborators.

“Everyone here has their lanes but they also get their hands dirty,” says Biernacki “We are fortunate enough to work with likeminded people who never say ‘that’s not my job.’”

CONTACT:
Steve Carli
President
steve@mackiebiernacki.com