Honourable mention – Zig

Honourable mention - Zig

Toronto-based Zig, no stranger to AOY, has its best showing since 2004, when it earned Silver. Judge Esmé Carroll, CEO and chairman at ACLC, found its Scream TV work particularly insightful. ‘It incorporates an event, PR and TV to pique people’s interest. A very clever idea.’


With more television channels than ever in Canada, and new ones emerging faster than before, Zig faced the big challenge of getting Scream TV noticed on a very small budget. As in $50K small.

The agency opted to do something that would get folks talking. For three weeks in September, a ghost ‘haunted’ an old Victorian house in Toronto, appearing at various times throughout the night. She was illuminated by a holographic projector and programmed to perform 40 different actions such as walking, looking down or skipping from window to window. They also released online videos of the ghost from both inside and outside the house, leaked the house’s address and started online discussions revolving around the ghost’s background.

In early October, the ghost revealed a message: ‘Get scared more often. Scream TV.’ People saw her raise this sign at the house, in a television spot and online.

For only $50,000, over 2.1 million people discovered the campaign online, while millions more read about it in major Canadian publications like the National Post. Thousands saw her first-hand at the house. Scream TV, which had struggled to get subscribers, saw an immediate subscription increase of 36% (13% above its objective).

The folks at Cannes especially liked what they saw: the campaign won a Gold Lion in the Publications & Media category and a Silver Lion in the Stunts category, and Zig took Bronze for Media Agency of the Year.


Ikea had set some pretty ambitious goals for kitchens in fall 2007. The challenge to Zig: achieve an aggressive increase in kitchen sales and grow top-of-mind awareness without any additional media support. As well, the agency had to continue to chip away at the notion that Ikea’s low price equals low quality, while spreading the word about the furniture retailer’s design and installation services.

Building on Ikea’s tradition for smart design, Zig developed the ‘Beauty and Brains’ strategy: get on consumers’ awareness list by pushing style, and move up the consideration list by showcasing function in a fun Ikea way. The structure of the campaign was simple: TV and radio were used to build mass awareness of the kitchen offering (inside and out), while newspaper and magazine ads showcased the product range in detail.

In ‘Fight,’ a 30-second TV spot, for example, a couple is in the middle of an epic argument when the audience realizes that the kitchen’s brilliant self-closing drawer dampeners have rendered it slam-proof, and the cabinet doors don’t rattle or crash. To combat questions surrounding its ease of assembly, Ikea distributed a handout made to look like one of their standard instruction manuals at the Interior Design Show in Toronto. Visitors learned they didn’t have to lift a finger to get their kitchen properly installed.

In the end, results outpaced even Ikea’s initial goals: the absolute number of kitchens sold went up 45% in a year when retail sales in Canada grew less than 4% and home improvement spending grew by only 6%. Ikea Canada actually exhausted the global supply of ‘Nexis Black/Brown,’ the cabinet style featured most prominently in the magazine and television advertising.


Once at the forefront of the environmental movement, Greenpeace was being overshadowed. Curiously, in the wake of the green phenomenon, its profile was in decline. With Zig’s help, the

not-for-profit org hoped to get back on the map as an environmental leader.

Research concluded that most Canadians dismissed Greenpeace as an ineffectual fringe organization. Most perceptions were locked in the past, with visions of radicals chained to trees. Moreover, in the eyes of the potential donor, such actions generated a bit of press but did little to effect change. That, however, was another misconception. Greenpeace had been successful in spearheading large-scale change: major publishers like Germany’s Der Spiegel were forced to use chlorine-free paper, and the org championed the development of Greenfreeze (an ozone-friendly refrigerator technology).

The resulting print campaign focused on that success. The mug shot creative juxtaposed the current perception of Greenpeace as radical with details of the changes it had effected, punctuated by the ironic tagline ‘Guilty since 1971.’

To date, the campaign has generated enormous buzz, with donations showing impressive jumps since launch. It’s also been recognized on the awards front, including ADCC Gold, Silver and Merit, the Cannes shortlist and One Show finalist.


Few Canadian brands define luxury like Holt Renfrew. While Canadians who love fashion agree that Holts is without peer, that doesn’t always mean they think to visit the retailer. Zig’s challenge: how to deliver hard-working, traffic-driving retail advertising to the luxury store.

The solution lay in the insight that the fashion-savvy, who live for the new collections, are driven less by loyalty and consistency and more by surprise. The agency decided to replicate this experience in the advertising by building campaigns using newspaper, direct mail and guerrilla efforts around three specific events:

• To celebrate Burberry’s 150th birthday, they created a newspaper campaign that recalled the heady days of the British invasion.

• To make Holts the destination for designer shoes, they created a campaign of six full-page newspaper ads rooted in the relationship the fashion-savvy have with their shoes.

• And finally, to support the opening of a new store in Vancouver, they created a newspaper campaign using the look of architectural blueprints that featured drawings of models wearing designer clothing and accessories.

Holts is a private company and doesn’t release results, but all events exceeded objectives for traffic and sales. Burberry is bigger than ever, the shoe boutique is setting sales records and the Vancouver store launch was very successful. The ‘Chase’ campaign, featuring crazed fashionistas, also picked up ADCC Gold, Silver and Merit awards.


The Canadian beer category has changed dramatically, with value beers and super premiums polarizing the market. As a result, high-volume mainstream players like Molson Canadian have been squeezed into a no man’s land between cheapest and best. To confront this challenge, Zig chose to speak to the beer’s target – 19-to-24-year-olds – rationally.

Following ‘brand strengths audit’ research, the agency determined that the target preferred a beer that’s easy to drink and Canadian. No harsh Euro beers or watery US brews, thank you. To best reach them, it chose to tap into the brand’s cultural provenance with the equally rational and emotional tagline, ‘True Canadian Taste.’

To bring this to life, Zig created the ‘Defenders of True Canadian Taste’ multimedia campaign, which included billboards, viral and TV spots, which star comedian Jason Jones of the Daily Show.

The results are in: advertising tracked above norm on intrusion, while message communication and purchase intent, share and volume are

up in the second quarter vs. the first quarter following the launch of

the new campaign.