Rain adds to leadership, in-house content offering

The agency continues to grow its business nationally, having most recently added Centennial College to its roster.


Rain has made a senior hire and promotion, bolstered its internal production capabilities and added Centennial College to its roster as it focuses on growing nationally.

Phil Sylver has joined the agency’s leadership team as ECD, which also includes Laura Davis-Saville, who has been promoted into the role of chief strategy officer.

With previous experience from Taxi, JWT and Arrivals + Departures (where he worked on the Mazda, Molson, Fallsview Casino, TD and Rogers accounts), Sylver will work hand-in-hand with ECD and head of design Duncan Porter to lead the agency’s creative product.

Meanwhile, Davis-Saville’s promotion comes after four years of serving as VP of strategy at Rain. She will continue to oversee branding and go-to-market strategies for core clients, while playing a greater role in leading the national growth of the agency at a national level.

The agency’s six-person senior leadership also including Porter, owner and CEO John Yorke, Christine McNab (who was named president in May) and VP of integrated production Camielle Clarke.

Rain, which rebranded from Rain43 after adding Vancouver and Calgary outposts last year, has been eyeing a potential expansion into Montreal and Halifax. While there are no immediate plans for new offices, as Rain and Davis-Saville are currently focused on growing its portfolio in the western offices, the new chief strategy officer will support its eventual expansion into new markets.

The leadership changes come after Rain was picked as AOR for Centennial College in the summer, following a formal search process. Its mandate includes evolving the college’s brand strategy and leading creative development for campaigns, content, communications and planning.

Rain has also recently picked up work for the Toronto Board of Trade, the Retail Council of Canada, the University of British Columbia, Calgary-based non-profit Carya and Toronto-based charity CanadaHelps, while picking up additional work with existing clients Freedom Mobile and Carlson Wagonlit Travel.

To help support growing client needs, the agency has grown its content practice into an in-house production team supporting work for ATB Financial’s digital-only bank Brightside, as well as tool maker Stanley Black & Decker.

“We’re not looking at content as a separate capability, but instead building an expanded skill set into our integrated creative department,” McNab says. The team, consisting of animators, editors, photographers, videographers and in-house integrated producers, operates out of Rain’s Toronto office and services many of its western-based clients.

McNab says the agency’s decision to formalize the offering “happened organically” as its scope with Freedom Mobile grew to include everything from “large-scale advertising to always-on content.”

We needed to be able to cover the spectrum of needs,” she says. “The facility and process we established for them then started to meet the needs of several other clients, and before we knew it we had a full nimble solution that was able to meet the needs of our AOR relationship clients, and new clients who were looking for only content support.”