Invoke Media techs out Telus Gardens

The agency behind Hootsuite is launching a new app for the condo building that encourages hallway chatter.
telus gardens

Smack-bang in the centre of Vancouver’s downtown area, the Telus Garden residential and commercial building  is busy being erected (like so many others during what’s been a budding condo construction phase for the city). The company can list the perks of living and working in the city core for prospective buyers and renters, however, so can many other developers, which means it’s going to have to think outside the box to attract residents and businesses to occupy its new space.

Enter Invoke Media, a Vancouver-based digital shop that is as much an advertising agency as it is a start-up accelerator company. For Telus, the agency is helping to build a home automation app that not only helps occupants lower the lighting or increase the heating, but will also have a social layer built in to encourage interaction with neighbours who tend to limit socializing to a wave in the hallway. The app, explains Chris Miller, the agency’s new managing director, who left Cossette as its director of innovation in March, will position Telus Garden as a “technologically-advanced building” – adding value to the tenancy experience – and is set to launch between the end of 2014 and mid-2015.

This project, like many others Invoke is currently and has previously worked on, is exactly why Miller decided to jump ship from a traditional agency that looks at advertising from an integrated lens, to one that builds campaigns, ideas and activations strictly around digital.

“Consumers don’t love advertising,” he states, “so we work hard at coming up with an experience or an idea that lives alongside consumers and addresses their needs, rather than interrupting them.”

Invoke’s philosophy is to approach client problems with a “start-up mindset.” By looking at client business this way, says Miller, the agency is able to bring them speed to market, rolling digital products out as quickly as possible and evolving and learning from the interactions and occasional faults that come with experimenting with new technology. It understands the start-up world because of its sister company, Invoke Labs, an off-shoot of the agency, which launched in early 2013 (after building successful companies like HootSuite and Sprout) as an incubator lab for startups, helping to fund and build new businesses, while increasing its own focus on product development. It has since helped launch the Food Network’s Eat St.,, Brightkit and others.

Combined, Invoke Media and Invoke Labs employ a total of 45 people, and the former most recently saw a string of new hires over the past few weeks. From Cossette, Ben Adams recently joined the shop as its new digital media strategist, while Carmen Chau, formerly at Noise Digital, has joined as client strategist. Also, Jordan Eshpeter recently left Domain7 to become Invoke’s new head of client engagement, Heather Stoutenburg joined from Blast Radius to become the agency’s new senior writer, while Andrew Klotz has come on board as designer from Electronic Arts.