Edgy creative sets Short Film Fest apart

Is Miss Kitty a whore?...

Is Miss Kitty a whore?

That’s the probing philosophical question posed by a new television and cinema spot for the Toronto Worldwide Short Film Festival in June. The ad is part of a multi-media campaign created by Toronto-based TAXI Advertising & Design to promote the event and spur ticket sales.

The festival, now in its sixth year, is one of the largest of its kind, attracting submissions from more than 40 countries. However, it’s also just one of many film festivals that now form part of Toronto’s entertainment calendar, from the Toronto Jewish Film Festival, to the Canadian International Documentary Festival, to the big kahuna itself, the star-studded Toronto International Film Festival in September.

"The challenge was how to differentiate and distinguish the short film festival," says Sarah Jue, account director with TAXI. "How do we get it noticed?"

The creative strategy called for edgy, attention-getting executions that would underline just how far removed this festival is from the sort of event that showcases typical Hollywood product.

The TV and cinema spot features a cowboy and his teenage son on horseback, conversing in the manner common to rugged men of the old west. (That is, they pause a lot.) The pair first discuss the strange dearth of short films about cowboys, then move on to the question of Miss Kitty’s occupation. The tagline for the spot is "Miles from Hollywood."

A radio spot plays a variation on the same theme. A gravel-voiced woman of…um, a certain age is heard reminiscing about the many Hollywood stars she’s bedded in her day. But she’s a bit confounded by the short film festival, since she’s never heard of any of the "meaty young" actors who

appear, let alone slept with them. "Where are they keeping those boy toys?" she wonders. "Because they’re not in Hollywood."

The campaign also includes print and out-of-home executions, with headlines such as "Boat hits iceberg and sinks. Does the movie really need to be 3 hours long?" and "Crappy movie or crappy short film? Which would you rather see?"

Jue says the campaign broke in mid-April, and will run through the close of the festival.

"I think we’ve carved out a little niche for them and helped create a different positioning," she says.


Client: Toronto Worldwide Short Film Festival

Agency: TAXI Advertising & Design

Account Director: Sarah Jue

Creative Directors: Paul Lavoie, Zak Mroueh

Copywriter: Terry Drummond

Art Director: Alan Madill

Media: Television, radio, print, transit, outdoor

Start Date: April 17

End Date: June 11

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.