Q’s & coffee…Brian Elliot

The Canadian ex-pats behind ad shop StrawberryFrog -

The Canadian ex-pats behind ad shop StrawberryFrog -

co-founders Brian Elliott and Scott Goodson – have been basking in the limelight lately, thanks to big brand wins, such as Old Navy and Heineken.

For the latter, the agency not only won the global branding assignment, but also a campaign to promote the brewer’s sponsorship of the current UEFA Champions League, which sees all the best soccer clubs across Europe square off. Advertising includes TV up to three minutes long, featuring a ball being booted ’round the world, as well as five, 10- and 20-second spots.

When Elliott was in Toronto for the Media in Canada Forum, he revealed insights behind the agency’s winning streak.

You mentioned you look outside the industry for ideas on how to build your team. Can you tell us more?

For intance, [we] looked at collaboration amongst scientists, where it’s a process of challenging each other to improve an idea. We said to ourselves: ‘Hey, there are a lot of really bright people in the creative services industry, not all of whom need to work within our four walls.’

Can you give an example of how you’ve used this model?

With Heineken we were able to, without bullshit and without bureaucracy, reach out to our own agile team of strategic planners in key markets around the world. And within about three days, we got back some incredibly useful and interesting insights into the consumer mind-set. We actively nurture a network of ‘froglancers,’ people who are not staff members but are as permanent on our client’s business as any people anywhere. We can package them such that a client pays for them when needed. So that adds constant value.

Has it also enabled you to access unique talent?

Yes. The latest thing we’ve done for the Asics Onitsuka Tiger brand, is used a transformer character, built out of running shoes, in ads…. You need to be open to saying: ‘How do I solve the client’s problem, regardless of where that talent resides?’ [Because] you can’t staff an agency by having a manga comic book artist in the corner, just in case such a client comes along.