End of an era

It's a regular occurrence at Strategy to publish news of the comings and goings of various marketing industry personnel. Occasionally, such news focuses on staffing changes within Brunico Communications itself, the company that publishes this periodical. This issue, we're sorry to...

It’s a regular occurrence at Strategy to publish news of the comings and goings of various marketing industry personnel. Occasionally, such news focuses on staffing changes within Brunico Communications itself, the company that publishes this periodical. This issue, we’re sorry to say, marks the last in which Strategy’s founding editor, Mark Smyka, will be listed on the masthead as a senior vice-president within the company, as he has made a personal decision to embark on a new direction in his career and his life.

Here, Mark shares his thoughts behind his decision:

I suppose that most people carry around in their heads meaningful phrases and aphorisms that pop up, like guideposts, to help them through difficult moments in life. When I began contemplating what for me was to become the toughest decision in my professional career, the one thought that helped me through was a comment that appeared in a story that ran in KidScreen three years ago.

It was a tribute to Joe Bacal and his partner Tom Griffin, who together built the New York ad agency Griffin Bacal into one of the world’s leading specialists in kids advertising.

I had asked the reporter to make sure to explore, with Joe in particular, how he had found the courage to leave his comfortable agency surroundings (he was at Benton and Bowles at the time) and start something new. His answer appeared in the opening sentence. It read:

‘I met Ray Bradbury at a dinner a couple of years ago and we got to talking about creative courage,’ remembers Joe Bacal. ‘And he said, ‘If you get to the edge of the cliff, don’t be afraid to jump off. Have faith that you’ll grow wings on the way down.”Well, I never met Ray Bradbury, but I did meet Joe Bacal and got to know him well when we launched the Golden Marble Awards almost two years ago. Joe doesn’t even know how he’s influenced me with that wonderful anecdote. But it was that thought – of finding the faith in oneself – that helped me muster up the resolve to leave this company, which I have loved and helped build and will so miss.

In particular I will miss my partnership with Jim Shenkman, a unique individual, who has been my greatest inspiration and the foundation of whatever creative accomplishments I’ve achieved at Brunico.

Mark Smyka

Missed, but not forgotten

Almost 14 years ago, someone suggested to me that a young associate editor at Marketing magazine might be a perfect choice to help launch a newspaper about the film, TV, and radio business in Canada. A few days later, I met Mark Smyka and learned that not only was he eager for a new opportunity, but that he had his own dream of launching a magazine about commercial production in Canada.

Mark and I immediately clicked and within just a few days, he had agreed to leave Maclean Hunter after eight years to join me, someone who knew nothing about either publishing or the film, TV, and commercial production business. We combined our ideas and Mark became an investor and founding shareholder. Together we moved very fast. Within five weeks of meeting, we had named Playback (our first publication), developed a business plan, assembled the investors, commissioned a design, and incorporated the company.

Almost from the day we began working together, Mark wanted to launch a business publication that was really about marketing and not just the advertising and services business. Hence, Strategy was born three years after Brunico began and, under Mark’s editorship, it quickly became one of Canada’s largest trade papers.

In 1995, we decided that it was time to go international and Mark became the founding editor of KidScreen, probably the first truly international trade magazine to be published out of Canada. In 1998, Mark realized another long-held dream, but on a much larger and more successful scale than he had previously imagined. Organizing an advertising award show was something he had long wanted to do. But to put one on in New York City, the centre of the advertising universe, and attract a huge audience right off the bat, was a remarkable accomplishment. And so with Mark as the champion, the first ever Golden Marble Awards were born.

The publication of Boards last Fall was Mark’s fifth product launch. Almost ironically, this launch brought Mark full circle back to when we first met in 1986 and he described his idea for a commercial production magazine for Canada – only with Boards, we are doing it on a global scale.

Mark is now ready for his next challenges, but he is looking for something very different. And so here I am today, almost 14 years and five amazing product launches later and I find myself announcing that Mark is leaving Brunico Communications, the company he very much helped to conceive and build.

Mark will be very much missed. He has been an editorial inspiration, not only in shaping the content we distribute, but also in recognizing and fostering so much talent over the years. His combination of patience, insight, and caring has been invaluable to not only the success of this business, but also to so many careers he has fostered. I know this was a very difficult decision for Mark to make, because he is leaving behind a family that means so much to him. But his legacy shall long remain and ever be appreciated. I certainly wouldn’t be where I am today without his guidance and support. I shall miss him as a partner. I shall always value his friendship.

James Shenkman

President, Brunico Communications Inc.

Executive Publisher, Strategy

In Brief: The Garden picks CDs to take on daily creative leadership

Plus, Naked names two new leaders of its own and Digital Ethos comes to Canada.

The Garden promotes two creative directors

ACDs Lindsay Eady and Francheska Galloway-Davis have taken over responsibility for day-to-day creative leadership at The Garden after being promoted to creative director roles.

The pair will also help develop the agency’s creative talent, formalizing mentorship and leadership activities they have been doing since joining the agency four and three years ago, respectively. In addition to creating the agency’s internship program, the pair have worked on campaigns for Coinsquare, FitTrack and “The Coke Challenge” campaign for DanceSafe.

Eady and Galloway-Davis will continue to report to The Garden’s co-founder and chief creative officer Shane Ogilvie, who is stepping back from daily creative duties to a more high-level strategic role, allowing him to focus on client relationships and business growth.

Naked Creative Consultancy names new creative and strategy leadership

Toronto’s Naked Creative Consultancy has hired Yasmin Sahni as its new creative director. She is taking over creative leadership from David Kenyon, who has been in the role for 10 years and is moving into a new role as director of strategy, leading the discipline at the agency.

Sahni is coming off of three years as VP and ECD at GTB’s Toronto office, where she managed all the retail, social and service creative for Ford Canada. She previously managed both Vice Media and Vice’s in-house ad agency Virtue.

Peter Shier, president of Naked, says Sahni’s hiring adds to its creative bench and capabilities, as well as a track record of mentorship, a priority for the company. Meanwhile, Kenyon’s move to the strategy side, he says, makes sense because of his deep knowledge of its clients, which have included Ancestry and The Globe and Mail.

Digital Ethos opens a Toronto office

U.K. digital agency Digital Ethos is pursuing new growth opportunities in North America by opening a new office in Toronto.

Though it didn’t disclose them, the agency has begun serving a number of North American clients, and CEO/founder Luke Tobin says the “time was right to invest in a more formal and actual presence in the area.” whose services include design, SEO, pay-per-click, social media, influencer and PR,

This year, the agency’s growth has also allowed it to open an office in Hamburg, Germany, though it also has remote staff working in countries around the world.

Moray Hickes was the company’s first North American hire as VP of sales, tasked with business development in the region.