The Indie List: Republic

Empathy and Gen Z lead the way as a new way of running an agency
Canadians For Clean Prosperity’s satirical take on “fake news” showed unscrupulous media moguls using underhanded means to hide facts about carbon taxes.

Canadians For Clean Prosperity’s satirical take on “fake news” showed unscrupulous media moguls using underhanded means to hide facts about carbon taxes.

There are agencies that say they’re “flexible,”and then there are agencies that are willing to invest in large-scale change to serve client needs. Republic falls into the latter category, earning more than its fair share of headlines over the last year.

Seeing a need to do more than simply “take a brief” for its clients, the Toronto based shop shifted its focus to “empathy” – an approach that goes beyond raw data to find real human insights that, in turn, create stronger consumer connections for brands.

Agency Founder and CEO Beverley Hammond tells strategy that the aptly named Republic is purpose-built “for the people”. “Many of us have left something big for something different. As brands move further away from having a true people connection, we wanted to help them find a way back. Back to the consumer and back to the human element.”

The addition of ZED last spring – a division that is run by and for Gen Z to “help turn Gen Z values into bottom line value for brands” is the living breathing example of the agency’s approach. The overall idea is to give the keys for Gen Z-focused work to Gen Z itself. Beyond its in-house staff, ZED leverages its ZEDNetwork, a group of young Canadians from coast-to-coast that is part focus group and part creative resource for clients. ZED’s first client was the Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity (CCGSD) with whom Republic had previously worked on the award-winning campaign, The Gay Sweater.

In July, Kids Help Phone hired Republic over twelve other agencies competing for the job of overseeing its brand strategy and repositioning (in addition to handling its annual fundraising campaign). ZED was an integral part of that.

The agency’s series of spots for Canadians For Clean Prosperity featuring Canadian actor Frank Moore, took an entirely different approach to environmental marketing through a satirical look at the anti-carbon tax rhetoric. Written and directed by industry veteran Patrick Scissons, the campaign highlights the inner workings of a fictitious media organization F.A.K.E News that uses various means to distract people from the fact that Canada’s carbon tax will benefit its citizens. The message has been landing.

Over the last year, Republic also launched a campaign for BILD, the Building Industry and Land Development Association trade group to help Torontonians understand the industry’s efforts to solve the city’s housing crisis. It launched new products for the well-known food brand Summer Fresh, executed an award-winning tourism campaign for the Town of Bracebridge and helped Neal Brothers celebrate its 30th anniversary with a fully integrated campaign that also launched its new brand.

The “Hummus All Day” campaign inspires the Summer Fresh target to “hummus” in unique, creative and delicious ways.

The “Hummus All Day” campaign inspires the Summer Fresh target to “hummus” in unique, creative and delicious ways.

Republic has worked with an impressive list of clients like Canadian Tire, Everest Insurance, Muskoka Brewery, Lego, NCC, Starbucks, TechNation (Canada’s technology industry association) Weston Foods and Xplornet.

As far as growth strategies grow, empathy is yielding results.

CONTACT:
Beverly Hammond
CEO
bev@republicstory.com