Consumer-driven solutions win the room

Agnostic's research-backed philosophy shows the benefits of acting on insights.
Working with Truss Beverages, Agnostic created a new LCBO (Local Cannabis Beverage Outlet) in partnership with Toronto retailer Miss Jones to draw attention to the unfair advantages alcohol retail has over cannabis beverage retail

Working with Truss Beverages, Agnostic created a new LCBO (Local Cannabis Beverage Outlet) in partnership with Toronto retailer Miss Jones to draw attention to the unfair advantages alcohol retail has over cannabis beverage retail

Agnostic is a full-service Toronto-based agency driven by the overarching ethos “better thinking, better results.”

And the challenges of the past year or so have demanded a lot of the former to achieve the latter.

But the fact that COVID-19 tore up the playbook may have been a blessing in disguise, says Agnostic president Sarah Crabbe. As the landscape shifted under everyone’s feet, clients and agencies had to be open to solutions they might not have considered before. Crabbe believes that’s led to a more informed approach – and that can’t help but improve the work.

Agnostic worked with Metro to launch My Health My Choices, a guide that allows customers to easily shop from over 52 product attributes including keto, gluten free and dairy free. Metro engaged registered dietician Abbey Sharp as spokesperson, and she appeared in broadcast segments and generated content for Instagram and YouTube.

Agnostic worked with Metro to launch My Health My Choices, a guide that allows customers to easily shop from over 52 product attributes including keto, gluten free and dairy free. Metro engaged registered dietician Abbey Sharp as spokesperson, and she appeared in broadcast segments and generated content for Instagram and YouTube.

“It gave us the ability to tell clients, ‘This is what we need to do. This is the research we have. This is what is happening in the world,’” she says. “And people were listening like never before. They were not overly dependent on one channel over the other. What they really wanted was clear counsel, sound insights and research-backed thinking. They want to know that the work we’re putting into market is really going to help them.”

Without a playbook, Crabbe says the Agnostic team worked to a simple plan of doing the next right thing: Ask, what is the client’s business challenge? What do they need? How can we meaningfully deliver against those needs?

And, she adds, it came back to the agency’s three core principles/queries: What are the stories we can tell? Can the audience see itself in the work? And great ideas matter. The team certainly came up with some of those in the last year.

Agnostic helped Cisco shed light on the impact remote work is having on Canadians by developing proprietary data highlighting the need for companies to be ready for the return to the office and how Cisco is at the core of those conversations.

Agnostic helped Cisco shed light on the impact remote work is having on Canadians by developing proprietary data highlighting the need for companies to be ready for the return to the office and how Cisco is at the core of those conversations.

For QSR Harvey’s, Agnostic played into the immediate relevancy of a travelling RV that gave out free Thanks Burgers to those who got vaccinated. Crabbe says the campaign – a partnership with local health authorities – was “very much rooted in the idea ‘What is the right thing for us to do with the brand?’ as opposed to it being price-driven, retail-driven or channel-dependent.”

Working with Truss Beverages – a line of Cannabis-infused drinks – Agnostic set up its own LCBO (Local Cannabis Beverage Outlet) storefront as a parody of the Ontario government-owned alcohol outlet. The goal was to draw attention to a fundamental unfairness in the market: consumers can buy alcohol almost any time at the actual LCBO, but Cannabis products are far more tightly controlled.

Agnostic_3

Ahead of Valentine’s Day 2021, Harvey’s launched its Smokin’ Hot burger with spicy ghost pepper sauce. Rather than celebrate those in love, Agnostic invited Canadians to share their own “ghosted” dating stories for a chance to win a free Smokin’ Hot burger, leading to the QSR’s highest engagement rate to date on social.

Meanwhile, for carsharing company Turo, Agnostic put a spotlight on the fact that the platform was one of the only places where consumers could test drive the much-desired model Y Tesla, driving huge interest in Turo as a result.

But perhaps most notably, working with Humber College and the Code Black Communicator Network, Agnostic created The Impression Campaign to address the significant lack of racial diversity in the Canadian communications industry. And, because Agnostic realized the effort would be more impactful with as many agencies on board as possible, it put out a call to other PR firms and raised $100,000 in recruitment and retention funding for PR education.

Celebrating Canadians taking their “Best Shot” by getting the COVID-19 vaccine, Harvey’s partnered with pop-up vaccination clinics across the GTA. Once attendees received their shot, they were greeted by the Harvey’s RV upon exit and could receive a free burger.

Celebrating Canadians taking their “Best Shot” by getting the COVID-19 vaccine, Harvey’s partnered with pop-up vaccination clinics across the GTA. Once attendees received their shot, they were greeted by the Harvey’s RV upon exit and could receive a free burger.

The agency also added new business in Shopify, Sleepout, Long View Systems, Aegis Brands, Bridgehead Coffee, Root & Seed, Swoop Finance, Inagene Pharmacogenetics, Health Products Stewardship Association and Capgemini. In response, agency headcount has grown from 10 to 25.

“When we started almost three years ago, I wanted to see what better thinking could look like,” says Crabbe. “Our plan is to continue this fast-paced growth and expand into the health space, but not lose sight of the work that we are committed to doing, and the principles that have driven us from the very start.”

 

CONTACT:
Sarah Crabbe
President
scrabbe@thinkagnostic.com

The Indie List:

Welcome to the agency of now

Zulu Alpha Kilo: Colouring outside the lines

Arrivals+Departures: Seeing what others don’t see

Doug&Partners: The difference intellectual diversity makes

Target: Master storytellers

Rain: helping brave brands grow

Art & Science: Leading the transformation

G&G: A decade of rewards from risk

Labour: Rebranded agency puts innovative model to “work” for brands

Round: Small is beautiful. And effective.

Here Be Monsters: Helping brands navigate unchartered waters

m5: An agency beyond borders