Industry vet Barry Quinn has a new agency called Quake

The agency, which has already led a rebrand for Goodfood, wants to help clients figure out which societal shifts will help their business.

Quake

Quake’s full-time roster (from left): Vy Vo, ACD design and creative; Cody Sennyuen, senior designer; Barry Quinn, founder and chief creative; Hailey Nguyen, graphic designer; Sarah Marangoni, account and project manager and Kevin Umana, design lead and creative.

Barry Quinn knows a thing or two about starting an advertising agency.

The industry veteran helped co-found Juniper Park and played a key role as one of its creative leaders prior to his departure in July 2017 to move within the Omnicom network and join DDB as chief design officer for North America. He held that role until Sept. 2019, and was directly responsible for the 72-year-old agency’s rebrand.

A few months later, the pandemic hit, and a number of seismic shifts – in culture, technology, economics and environment – converged. In the chaos, Quinn spied an opportunity.

“I started looking at the changes taking place in the world, in my life and in our industry. What advertisers do works really well in times of change – that’s when clients come to us, when they’re making big changes or facing them,” Quinn says. “The whole industry talks about how the client is going to be a huge agent of change and disruption, but our point of view is that they are equally likely to be disrupted.”

And that’s where Quinn’s new agency, Quake, comes in. The agency’s name is fitting, as it partners with brands that are looking to drive significant change – or that are facing it. It also identifies those changes as “quakes” – and identifying such quakes for its clients, as well as figuring out which ones will help or hurt their business and addressing those boons or banes accordingly, is key to its approach.

“Change is extremely challenging – but it is also the lifeblood of business,” Quinn says. “We start each and every client partner relationship with three questions: ‘What quakes are changing you? What quakes are you creating that will change others? Are you prepared for what happens next?’”

In addition to identifying and addressing those changes and the challenges they might present, Quake brings “deep advertising experience,” but also a “point of view that comes specifically from design,” he adds. “What’s becoming increasingly clear is those design skills are really useful in the new, consumer experience economy. As experience becomes more important to brands and media choices shift, we will really work hard to produce the operating system that holds a brand together from the customer experience point of view.”

The agency delivers its services via a “core-plus-more” approach, with an established physical office in Toronto’s Roncesvalles neighbourhood and six full-time staff.

“A lot of agencies [that started] during the pandemic went full virtual staff with freelancers, but we wanted to build a true team dynamic here with people who are used to working together,” explains Quinn. “We don’t want the equivalent of just session musicians – we like to have a band. And we feel, frankly, that clients deserve the institutional knowledge and backbone of people who are always there. But we do augment the core with freelancers, especially when we need subject matter experts.”

Quake’s first client is meal kit delivery service Goodfood, for which it led a full rebranding ahead of the country-wide rollout of its 30-minute delivery service.

“We work with clients creating and facing change and what’s great about Goodfood is they’re both of those,” says Quinn. The brand is a leader and “changemaker” in its space, but also “because of the pandemic and new entrants, they’re dealing with change and changing their offering,” he notes.

Quake_GoodFood_Casestudy_Feb3_20225The rebrand features eye-catching new visuals that harness an expanded colour palette and a mix of traditional botanical woodcut and vector art.

“The team at Quake has helped us elevate our branding and design to own our position in the grocery industry as a standout DTC online grocery company,” says Lauren Turchet, senior manager of marketing and communications for Goodfood. “The team is incredibly collaborative, strategic and creative, which provided the perfect combination to redefine our brand image.”

In addition to Goodfood, Quake has also won work with Colgate, Hasbro and Youthful Cities, as well as a soon-to-be-launched motorcycle culture brand.