Neil McOstrich’s Clean Sheet

Neil McOstrich, who most recently had a short stint as president/COO at ACLC and is best known for his post as SVP/CD at DDB Canada, has opened his own agency, Clean Sheet Communications.

Neil McOstrich, who most recently had a short stint as president/COO at ACLC and is best known for his post as SVP/CD at DDB Canada, has opened his own agency, Clean Sheet Communications.

After more than 15 years in advertising, McOstrich says that his goal for the Toronto-based agency is to ‘do advertising of significance for marketers of significance.’

Part of his new approach surrounds a philosophy that great stories make for successful marketing. It’s with that thinking that he hopes to take small-fry Toronto-based potato chip manufacturer client, Chippery, into the big leagues in the US$17 billion North America snack foods industry.

‘People remember great stories,’ he says. ‘That’s why Ben and Jerry’s is a great product – because they have a great story.’ And that’s part of the approach that helped win the business, he says. Rather than present package design, which the client had originally asked for, his approach was to focus on the copy first, some of which now reads: ‘Natural is the highest form of food, it’s also the highest compliment to the people who grow it.’

Natural is also part of the company’s business strategy, he says, and it’s a message that can be brought to an increasingly influential medium – retail – since Chippery’s best selling point is freshness: The chip-making machine is in-store and only takes three minutes to convert potatoes into chips. ‘The advertising is in the store,’ he says. ‘And right now we have a whole marketing plan in-store to drive people to try the chip.’ The campaign, which is slated to launch in early spring in national grocery chains, will include in-store guerrilla tactics and putting POP messages in highly unusual places.

To date, no out-of-store marketing has been planned: ‘That’s part of the reason I find it interesting,’ he says. ‘I’ve spent my whole life doing advertising outside of the store.’