Digital hot shop opens in Toronto

Still riding high after winning a truckload of international new media awards, sizzling-hot digital marketing agency Deepend is trusting its new Toronto office will garner the same kind of recognition in Canada....

Still riding high after winning a truckload of international new media awards, sizzling-hot digital marketing agency Deepend is trusting its new Toronto office will garner the same kind of recognition in Canada.

Over the past 12 months, its digital branding and loyalty efforts have netted the six-year-old U.K. agency 17 international new media awards, including the title of world’s top interactive shop by Advertising Age International.

The agency opened its Toronto office in August, just six months after it first ventured into North America with branches in San Francisco and New York.

Deepend offers creative digital media communications and strategic brand planning services, encompassing Web design and development, brand and graphic design, multimedia and games, 3D visualization and animation, and interactive and Web TV.

Despite its technical expertise, creative is the company’s primary focus. And while Deepend doesn’t necessarily want to be the world’s largest digital shop, Gary Lockton, co-founder and CEO of holding company Deepgroup, says it does want to maintain its reputation as one of the best – if not the best – digital communications agencies in the world.

The key to achieving that goal, he says, is for Deepend never to veer from its belief that existing brands can be enhanced through a flawless extension onto the Web.

‘Certainly, I think being brand-focused and very brand-aware is something that has been very good for Deepend from the beginning.’

Lockton is quick to point out that while Deepend does work directly with some clients, it primarily works with ad agencies on big, established brands that already have a brand strategy in place.

Deepend’s blue chip roster of clients includes Volkswagen, British Telecom, Apple, Kenneth Cole, Sony, Nike, The Cartoon Network (Europe), Barclays’ Bank, Hoover, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney, Australia.

Lockton says Toronto is a perfect location for Deepend to establish a presence because Canada is extremely digitally oriented and has a great well of creative design talent to draw from.

To get the Canadian operation off the ground, Simon Waterfall, creative director of the firm’s parent company, Deepgroup, will be recruiting talent from the new media programs at Toronto’s Sheridan College and Ryerson Polytechnical University.

Maureen Tasker, most recently creative team leader at Leo Burnett Interactive, has joined Deepend Toronto as managing director.

The company has lined up partnerships with a number of Toronto ad agencies, both boutique and larger firms, that have agreed to farm out much of their digital creative needs to Deepend. The firm is already working with TAXI Advertising & Design on its Mini Cooper pitch for BMW Canada and has been in contact with numerous other agencies, including Toronto-based Zig.