The wild life: Critters, varmints and vixens

Global agency delivers raunchy retro pin-up promo
A racy calendar, parodying the 1950s marketing concept of Pirelli tires that used topless models, has been created as part of a new self-promoting business drive for the global agency, StrawberryFrog.

Global agency delivers raunchy retro pin-up promo

A racy calendar, parodying the 1950s marketing concept of Pirelli tires that used topless models, has been created as part of a new self-promoting business drive for the global agency, StrawberryFrog.

Founded by Canadian expats, Scott Goodson and Brian Elliot, the Amsterdam-based agency has created a series of tongue-in-cheek, saucy images, designed to position the freethinking new agency model against its long-running traditional competitors.

Some 5,000 calendars were shipped out on April 1 (in celebration of April Fool’s day) to prospective clients around the world, to try and attract new business.

The ads, which feature agency staff members in raunchy poses and outfits, have headlines such as ‘Agency Tramp’ and ‘The agency was a hellhole when the staff wore rubber.’

‘The images were created to remind us that ad agencies are a place to let our hair down and be silly and crazy, and that we shouldn’t try to look more and more like our clients in ties and suits,’ says creative director Goodson.

‘There are plenty of clients out there who are fed up with the ‘big agency’ way of doing business. These images reflect our manifesto – to challenge the big multinational agency networks. We would like to be one of the first Canadian-owned brands to challenge the Americans, French and the Brits.’

This is the first major self-promo campaign by StrawberryFrog. In the current competitive climate, Goodson says that marketing itself is more important than ever for an ad agency. ‘It’s the only way of showing the clients who’s out there,’ he says.

Early reaction has shown a mixed response. ‘Women think it’s great, but the older generation men think it is lewd and terrible,’ says Goodson. ‘It’s great that everyone has an opinion and they’re all talking about us.’


Client/Agency: StrawberryFrog

Creative Director: Scott Goodson

Designer: Andrew Watson

Photography: Reinoud Klazes

Tourism industry touts loons and loonies

Canada’s tourism industry has suffered enormous losses since Sept. 11, so a new campaign for the Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC) and its regional partners hopes to reposition the industry and bring tourists back to the country this summer.

Directed at the U.S. market, the print campaign created by Vickers & Benson Arnold in Toronto, launched in a range of U.S. travel publications including National Geographic Traveler and Travel & Leisure in early April.

‘As a result of Sept. 11 there’s a displaced American traveler who would otherwise have been going to Europe,’ says Scott McPherson, account director at Vickers & Benson. ‘These are high-value consumers who can really boost our tourism structure so we are trying to attract them in a range of different ways.’

The campaign is twofold, consisting of brand ads to reflect the whole country, while ads created for regional tourism boards each show a scene from a different city, together with the tagline: ‘Discover Our True Nature.’ A paragraph describes what that city has to offer and directs the consumer to the CTC Web site and call centre which they can call to obtain a Canada Discovery Guide.

A reference is also made in each ad to the value of the Canadian dollar. ‘We don’t want to focus too heavily on the dollar and make Canada seem like a discount destination, but at the same time, research from the CTC has found that the average American doesn’t understand the difference in the dollar values so that is an important selling point,’ explains McPherson.

Another key aim of the ads, says creative director, Steve Murray, is to communicate Canada’s international flair, which an American tourist may otherwise have sought in a European destination. ‘We want to get across the point that Canada has lots of night life and great cuisine,’ he says. ‘It is different and yet close to home, and easily accessible.’

Since Sept. 11, the CTC has lowered its target market from the 30+ group to the 25+ demographic. ‘They want to hit as broad a market as possible and research shows that travel to Canada is strong among the 25-to-34 age group,’ says McPherson.

New ads will continue to roll out throughout April and May. The CTC hopes to add a TV element to its 2003 campaign.


Client: Canadian Tourism Commission

Agency: Vickers & Benson Arnold, Toronto

Account Management: Scott McPherson

Creative Directors: Steve Murray & Bryan Tenenhouse

Art Director: Simone Vieira

Copywriter: Tracy Ennis

Squirrels star in B.C. B2B ads

The market for touch-screen technology in the catering industry is increasingly competitive, so Vancouver-based manufacturer, Squirrel Systems has launched a new campaign playfully positioning the attributes of its devices.

Launching in mid-April in the international trade mag Restaurant News, two full-page ads starring real squirrels will put a new push behind the simplicity of Squirrel’s touch screens.

‘Squirrel invented touch-screen technology and their selling strategy has long been that their devices are the simplest to use,’ says Bruce Fraser, creative director at Vancouver-based Glennie Stamnes Strategy, the agency behind the campaign.

‘Most waiters and waitresses can pick up the system in a few hours, so we thought that using the lovable squirrel icon in the ads would reflect that simplicity and position [the company] against the techno-intimidating competition,’ he adds.

Real squirrels were photographed in Vancouver’s Stanley Park and then digitally manipulated for the ads. One features a squirrel in a park playing chess with an old man. The headline: ‘Squirrel is now a smarter choice than ever,’ appears beside a small image of a touch-screen, together with a reference to Squirrel’s new seven-year guarantee and 24-hour help desk number. ‘The board shows a real chess pattern and the squirrel is winning, making the point that this is the smarter choice,’ says Fraser.

The second ad shows an old woman on a park bench feeding the squirrels around her, one of which has been digitally enhanced to appear considerably larger than the others. The headline here reads: ‘Squirrel is scalable,’ making the point that the system can easily be increased as a restaurant chain expands. Each ad has the tagline: ‘Squirrel Systems. We make restaurants run.’

Glennie Stamnes has also created a new sales brochure for Squirrel using the same images, and plans to roll out further print ads in the weeks ahead. The ads will also be displayed at industry trade shows during the coming year.


Client: Squirrel Systems

Agency: Glennie Stamnes Strategy

Creative Director: Bruce Fraser

Art Director: Friso Halbertsma

Account Management: Mark McCurdy

Photography/Digital Retouching: Hans Sipma, Hans Sipma Photography

Must be a guy thing

Getting into the minds of guys is the essence behind a new campaign to promote the launch of Corby Distilleries’ latest beverage, C.C.&G.

Two humorous 15-second spots hit the screens on April 1 to launch the beer alternative, which consists of a blend of Canadian Club rye whiskey, together with imported ginger and spices from the South Pacific.

Created by Goodgoll Curtis in Toronto, ‘Remember Me’ features a girl who walks up to a guy in a bar and asks, ‘Do you remember me?’ As the guy ponders the question, the camera zooms in to a close-up of his eye. Images of various girls in his memory flash past the screen, finally coming to a halt when the girl in question comes into view. A similar scene takes place in the second spot, when a girl asks: ‘How do I look? Do I look fat?’ The guy ponders the question as before, and finally replies: ‘No, honey.’ Both spots end with an image of the drink and the tagline: ‘It’s good to be a guy.’

‘We are trying literally to get into the head of our target audience – males aged 25+,’ explains Brian Hickling, creative director at Goodgoll Curtis. ‘Men generally don’t have a very organized way of thinking, which is the basis for the creative. We wanted to position the product as an undeniably masculine brand.’

Hickling hopes to launch several more spots for the same campaign later this year.


Client: Corby Distilleries

Agency: Goodgoll Curtis

Creative Director and Art Director: Brian Hickling

Writer: Ian Kiar

Account Supervisor: Jennifer Mullin

Producer: Diane Feather

Production House: Players Film

Director: Bradley Walsh

Music: Bonspiel