Beer camp, nap machines and ski trips

Clichéd as the saying is, it really isn't easy teaching old dogs new tricks. Which is why so many big ad agencies - once the harbingers of pop culture - have fallen behind today's media-savvy, technologically inclined, impatient consumers. With many agencies still focused on building mass campaigns around TV spots, the few that dare to throw the old model out are getting noticed.

Clichéd as the saying is, it really isn’t easy teaching old dogs new tricks. Which is why so many big ad agencies – once the harbingers of pop culture – have fallen behind today’s media-savvy, technologically inclined, impatient consumers. With many agencies still focused on building mass campaigns around TV spots, the few that dare to throw the old model out are getting noticed.

Whether it’s structural, like Montreal-based Sid Lee’s addition of architects and industrial designers to its staff, or informal, like NYC-based StrawberryFrog’s ‘nap machines’ for mid-day office rejuvenations, many of today’s top agencies are going to great lengths to foster creativity and get staff thinking outside the traditional advertising box. And it’s paying off. From Toronto-based Capital C’s ‘Bride Has Massive Hair Wig Out’ viral on YouTube for Sunsilk to Toronto-based PHD Canada’s stunt that transformed public urinals into mini football fields for Loto-Quebec, some of the most memorable ad efforts these days are rejecting traditional formulas.

Strategy decided to take a deeper look at five agencies behind some of today’s more innovative work, to see what they’ve done to adapt and thrive in the new media-neutral environment. Some of their methods may surprise you.

Critical Mass

Sid Lee

PHD Canad

Rethink

Capital C