Top art director: Rob Sweetman of Rethink

Rethink's Rob Sweetman tops the AD pack this year, and can take credit for Science World's quirky 'We can explain' campaign, which poked holes in ordinary transit and OOH ads with three-dimensional executions made of pencils, kitty litter and, er, sneezes. Sweetman, who finished fourth last year, also worked on Coast Capital Savings, B.C. Lions and NHL 2K9 in 2008, his fifth year at Rethink.

Rethink’s Rob Sweetman tops the AD pack this year, and can take credit for Science World’s quirky ‘We can explain’ campaign, which poked holes in ordinary transit and OOH ads with three-dimensional executions made of pencils, kitty litter and, er, sneezes. Sweetman, who finished fourth last year, also worked on Coast Capital Savings, B.C. Lions and NHL 2K9 in 2008, his fifth year at Rethink.

Second-place winner Anthony Chelvanathan makes his first appearance in the Top Three, thanks to his cute and colourful cartoon dogs, cats and bunnies for the Toronto Humane Society. And in third place for the second year in a row is Rethink’s Ian Grais for his art direction on Playland.

What was the state of Science World’s advertising before you and Rethink took a crack at it?

Like many museums, they did event-based marketing. This drove attendance when something cool was in town, but wasn’t doing much for them during the other 42 weeks of the year. We decided to promote Science World itself, and drive attendance year-round.

The media and art direction for Science World is very mischievous.

I guess spraying transit riders in the face with water could be considered mischievous by some – however, we just try to keep it fun and interactive, much like Science World does.

When did you know that the campaign was going to be awesome?

I didn’t really know it was good until we were briefed on it for the second year in a row – the year after the first fact-based campaign. No matter how hard we tried, we couldn’t top it. We couldn’t think of a better campaign than the fact-based one. To me that seemed like the mark of a good idea.

How much time do you spend there?

I still go there all the time. I have a five-year-old and a two-year-old and we love the water exhibits, the bugs, the audio exhibits, the wind machine and all the shows in the theatres.

Favourite science fast fact?

Herrings communicate by farting.

Runner-up • Anthony Chelvanathan, Leo Burnett

Chelvanathan has worked alongside Judy John and Israel Diaz (see p. 40) at Leo Burnett for five years, on brands such as P&G, Kellogg’s, James Ready and Campbell’s.

When did the idea for cartoon animals for the Toronto Humane Society come about? Where were you sitting, what were you eating, who said what?

That’s the great thing about working with others: multiple brains are usually better than one. And it can’t be healthy to talk to yourself, so it is great to have a few people around to bounce ideas off. I can’t say we had this idea going into it. But if you talk back and forth with people it usually ends up like this. An unrelated word may lead you to the right place. It’s a crazy process.

Any reason for the specific animals you chose?

They came to me in a dream and begged me to adopt each one. They actually sold themselves with the lines we had written. The whole experience was uncanny!

Do you have pets?

Well, I have a copywriter [Steve Persico, see p. 46]; is that close enough? I mean, it should be. They are great company when you stay late. Someone you can turn to and work endless hours with. And they are always there the next day, ready to do it all again. And aren’t they man’s best friend? Or at least art director’s?

Runner-up • Ian Grais, Rethink

Grais’s roots as an art director reach back to his first job at Palmer Jarvis in Vancouver in 1994. He worked on accounts including Greyhound and Playland, which moved with Grais when he started Rethink with Tom Shepansky and Chris Staples in 1999. He still flexes his AD muscles on Playland (see p. 34 and 39).

Top 20:

1. Rob Sweetman, Rethink 159

2. Anthony Chelvanathan, Leo Burnett 128

3. Ian Grais, Rethink 116

4. Monique Kelley, Leo Burnett 89

5. Angela Sung, DDB Canada 80

6. John Williamson, TBWA 74

7. Jason Hill, Taxi 68

8. Nathan Monteith, Taxi 66

9. Chad Kabigting, Rethink 62

10. Nellie Kim, John St. 61

10. Stuart Campbell, John St. 61

12. John Terry, BBDO Canada 60

13. Joel Pylypiw, DDB Canada 59

14. Mark Mason , BBDO Canada 57

15. Jonathan Lavoie, Sid Lee 55

16. Rob Trickey, John St. 52

17. Carlos Moreno, BBDO Canada 50

18. Tim Piper, Ogilvy & Mather 43

19. Dean Lee, DDB Canada 41

20. Paul Riss, DDB Canada 39

Jump to:

Introduction

Top advertiser: Playland’s wild ride

Advertisers: full list

Top agency: Rethink thinks local, wins big

Agencies: full list

Top creative director: Ian Grais & Chris Staples of Rethink

CDs: full list

ADs: full list

Top copywriter: Jono Holmes of Rethink

Copywriters: full list

Methodology