Top copywriter: Jono Holmes of Rethink

Rethink is on top again, thanks to copywriter Jono Holmes, who placed second on last year's Card. In his seven years in advertising, Holmes, who left Rethink in June for a senior copywriter position at Taxi Toronto, has worked on brands including Science World and Playland at Rethink, and Canadian Tire, Viagra and Rickard's beer at Taxi.

Rethink is on top again, thanks to copywriter Jono Holmes, who placed second on last year’s Card. In his seven years in advertising, Holmes, who left Rethink in June for a senior copywriter position at Taxi Toronto, has worked on brands including Science World and Playland at Rethink, and Canadian Tire, Viagra and Rickard’s beer at Taxi.

This year Holmes racked up points for work on B.C. Lions – he was on the account at Rethink for four years – which played up CFL fan rivalries by portraying stereotypical visiting team fans dressed in full regalia with horrified expressions of loss on their faces.

He is joined by two newcomers to the Top Three: Leo Burnett’s Steve Persico, who worked with partner Anthony Chelvanathan on the Toronto Humane Society campaign (see p. 44), and his onetime Rethink colleague Rob Tarry, who rode the Science World sneeze wave all the way to victory with his partner Rob Sweetman (see p. 42).

Where do you start with a brand like B.C. Lions?

Doing sports-related ads is tough – it’s all been done. My old partner Rob Sweetman and I would say that 99% of our ideas are Gold Lions…in 1988. The challenge is to find one for 2008.

How many hours did you spend watching football?

I’ve been to Lions’ games, but I rarely take the factory tour. I think clients would be shocked at how often we creatives don’t even know what their ‘quality meats and cheeses’ taste like. I’ve done ads for cars I’ve never driven and wetsuits I’ve never worn. But that’s the way it goes. It’s usually all in the brief – it’s more about finding a relatable insight for the viewer. And all that’s in my brain.

Which award are you most proud of?

A Cannes Press Lion [in 2007 for Playland], and getting a [B.C. Lions] spot on TBS’s World’s Funniest Commercials.

Runner-up • Steve Persico, Leo Burnett

Persico has been at Leo since he started in advertising over three years ago. His big clients in 2008 included James Ready beer, Toronto Humane Society (THS) and P&G.

The THS campaign was an interesting take on what is generally considered a depressing topic.

Everybody wanted to make it cheery and positive. I remember seeing a dog waiting for its owner outside a coffee shop, and everyone who walked by couldn’t help but stop and smile. That was the feeling we wanted the ads to have.

Do you have pets?

Over my lifetime: one turtle, three dogs, numerous rabbits and chickens, five cats, many fish and two birds. I once caught a giant beetle on a grade school trip but nobody would let me keep it.

What campaign of 2008 do you wish you could take credit for?

The Obama presidential campaign. Or that Ikea spot where the woman screams, ‘Start the car! Start the car!’ because my mom loves that spot. Sorry, mom, I’ll try harder.

Runner-up • Rob Tarry, Rethink

Tarry started his advertising career 13 years ago when he launched his own agency, OneRoom Creative, with a friend the summer after college. After three or so years of waiting to get paid, he moved to Rethink to work on clients including Science World, Mr. Lube, BCAA, Dose.ca and Children of the Streets.

What was your favourite project of last year?

Even after four years, Science World is a joy to work on. So often we’re asked to make a lot of noise over something that’s only mildly interesting. With Science World, we start with these amazing facts, so there’s excitement baked right in.

What inspires you outside of advertising?

Engines. It’s nice to know there are some absolute truths out there: things that work on a system, and that system works. I try to apply that same kind of detached, rational thinking to creativity. That and booze.

Top 20:

1. Jono Holmes, (Formerly) Rethink 180

2. Steve Persico, Leo Burnett 118

3. Rob Tarry, Rethink 103

4. Jason Perdue, Rethink 100

5. Marcus Sagar, Leo Burnett 96

6. Tim Piper, Ogilvy & Mather 69

7. Michael Murray, Taxi 68

8. Bryan Collins, Rethink 67

8. Hunter Somerville, Ogilvy & Mather 67

10. Stefan Wegner, Taxi 66

11. Chris Hirsch, John St. 61

12. James Ansley, BBDO Canada 60

13. Patrick Scissons, BBDO Canada 57

14. Guillaume Bergeron, Sid Lee 55

15. Chris Booth, DDB Canada 52

16. Mia Thomsett, John St. 51

17. Peter Ignazi, BBDO Canada 50

18. Arthur Shah, John St. 46

19. Neil Shapiro, DDB Canada 44

20. James Lee, DDB Canada 41

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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

Top art director: Rob Sweetman of Rethink

ADs: full list

Copywriters: full list

Methodology