Dr. Bernstein Clinics names AOR

Giants & Gentlemen picks up the account, which isn't without its challenges: the weight loss clinic has faced caution from regulators for its ads in the past.

Toronto-based creative shop Giants & Gentlemen has been named agency of record for Dr. Bernstein Diet & Health Clinics and has begun work on a new strategic positioning for the well-known player in Canada’s diet industry.

The account is Giants & Gentlemen’s first client in the health category and came through a recommendation, said Alanna Nathanson, co-founder and creative director at Giants & Gentlemen, in an email. The agency was awarded the business after a presentation on its credentials, without a competitive pitch.

“This is a fairly big win for us,” Nathanson said. “More importantly, we see a lot of potential to do smart, relevant and breakthrough creative in a very cluttered, ‘me-too’ category.”

Nathanson says the work with Dr. Bernstein will have a national scope and a “substantial” media budget. This account, plus recent AOR wins for the National Arts Centre Orchestra and Mac’s Convenience Stores, has resulted in Giants & Gentlemen hiring a new account supervisor, Lauren Zigelstein.

Dr. Bernstein Diet & Health operates 60 clinics across Canada and the U.S., the first of which opened in 1974. Nathanson says a big challenge of working in the field will be staying on the right side of the College of Physicians and Surgeons’ advertising regulations, but she is confident that the agency will be able to do so. In May, Dr. Stanley Bernstein, founder of the clinics, filed an appeal to the College after it issued a formal caution in July 2013 about his advertising after a complaint said it made unsubstantiated claims about the effectiveness of its diet program. The Health Professions Appeal and Review Board has not yet made a public decision on the appeal.

Nathanson says her agency has just finished its review of Dr. Bernstein’s business and is now starting to explore its creative options. Giants & Gentlemen’s work is expected to hit next year.

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