Big Ideas from a Small World

Moving to C-level pastures.

If your reading this there is a way bigger party in town.

I’ve joined the ranks of the business owners and opened up my own shop – Switch Advertising.

You can follow us on Tumblr TwitterOn Our Blog

Or head right to our website and send us comments on the main page though facebook.

To the 10,000+ people who have read this blog thank you.


A Word From Jack Bensimon

Posted in Change Something, From Canada, Global Outlook, Make Friends by Ryan Thomas on February 3, 2010

At the Advertising Week Gala hosted by the ICA, I stole a moment of Jack Bensimon’s time.

I wanted to ask a brilliant and independent mind on advertising how he did it; how anyone can be small and independent and build an award-winning advertising agency.

Personally, I think I wanted to hear that strong investors or a rich background with industry connections made Bensimon-Byrne what it is today. That’s the kind of answer that would have excused every small agency struggling to keep above water in our holding-company-owned world.

The answer I got was surprising to say the least, and on a day when TOY in NYC has died an early death I think it’s an answer worth sharing.

Jack’s answer was humble:

We were five people working out of a small agency. I think the one thing we got lucky and did right was the day we were called by a potential client in the rental car business. He had heard of us and wanted us to submit for the RFP.

I made him commit right then and there that if we produced the best creative, we would receive the account. I did not want to create a full pitch and then lose because our agency was too small to handle the account. If we were big enough to submit a proposal, we were big enough to handle the work.

The Bensimon-Byrne team did in fact submit the best creative.

The client was hard pressed to admit it, but they were too small. But, they had promised to take a risk and the creative was there. 13 years later that same agency has created some of the most effective creative advertising in Canada.

Risk and Commitment – the two words we never hear often enough from clients and agencies alike.

To see a little bit of what Bensimon offers its clients look no further than

Make Videos – Get Job

Posted in Blue States, Get High Fives, Going somewhere?, Make Friends, Shop Talk by Ryan Thomas on August 11, 2009

Advertising Week in NYC above and beyond the best event for our community. From cocktails to talks with some of today’s best minds it’s an investment.

Print yourself about a 1000 extra business cards and head down. You’ll need them,

And if your a junior creative, the opportunities abound,  Crispin Porter + Bogusky, Ogilvy in New York, Proximity Atmosphere and Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness to create a value ad for juniors.

Check out the video to find out more:

For more contest info: click!

For more on Ad Week NYC: click!

Agency Culture: How Poke Stays Brilliant

Posted in Change Something, Make Friends, Method to the Madness by Ryan Thomas on July 28, 2009

Every AD should want to work at Poke, any culture that can commit to branding the looses of an agency game and still have fun doing it is a place that fosters creativity.


Poke Quick Draw Championships

Poke Quick Draw Championships

AMC creates online (themed) casting call.

Posted in From Canada, Make Friends by Ryan Thomas on July 23, 2009

It is what it sounds like. If you’re a fan of the show MADMEN and you have a few curves and a dream you owe it to yourself to fire off a picture.

Although it means competing with this girl!

She sortta looks like an Asian Mary Wells.

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Olympus + Blendtec’s Tom Dickson = Finally some great advertising from the camera market.

Posted in Global Outlook, Make Friends, Method to the Madness by Ryan Thomas on June 30, 2009

If you live in Canada you have most likely been subjected to 100’s of over saturated, digital Avril spots. These spots reek of such insincerity and lack of foresight that I won’t subject you to them here (clickers be warned). I don’t think I ever scratched my head harder then when Canada’s super brat pitched me a $1,200 SLR.

I don’t expect much from the digital photography market in the way of great advertising, which is why you NEED TO SEE THIS!

Tom Dickson, Blendtec pitch man, has made the jump to full blown cross promotion king. If you are looking to reach a smart digital savvy market this is how you do it. Tom’s signature style has not been changed in the slightest, he does his thing and Olympus gets a fun pay off.

Tom’s success with the 20 something college crowd was always sort of a mystery to me. His blenders are the McLaren F1 of the kitchen appliance world and way out of the price range for your average mudslide mixing internet hipster. I’m glad to see another company smart enough to see the value of borrowing some of his sweet sweet star power.

Good work Olympus.

Adding Brand Value – Lego Builds On Sucess

Posted in Change Something, Global Outlook, Go Read A Book, Make Friends by Ryan Thomas on May 25, 2009

There is an old marketing story about the birth of MTV and the decision to allow consumers to out grow their product. It’s a question that faces a lot of brands as they move through the product life cycle.

Do we shift our brand to meet the needs of established aging clientele?


Do we shift our brand to meet the needs of consumers coming of age in our current demographic?

It’s a serious question with serious consequences. MTV of course chose the latter and became the Peter Pan of the century choosing to forever stay young and inaccessible to aging demographics.

But what of the other side of this equation, how to do you keep loyal brand consumers loyal as they age?

I give you Lego’s new brand Lego Architecture:


This project is a simply amazing case study in borrowed equity and brand values. Personally I hope this project explodes for the brand, they could have a major crown jewel in their brand if this project is taken to its farthest reaches.

I see Lego fans finishing Sagrada Familia church, by Gaudí before the building itself is ever completed. Imagine the brand equity:

A building started in 1882, with a grand vision so big its current completion date is 2026. 15 years before the last stone is put into place Lego fans have built the building one hundred thousand times over.



If you’re not up on the works of this brilliant visionary of achictecture I suggest you start googling Gaudí on your iPhone now.

American (re)Design Porn

Posted in Blue States, Make Friends, Method to the Madness, Red States by Ryan Thomas on May 7, 2009

I caught this over on Super Punch this morning and wanted to share.

Papermag has asked some brilliant minds in American art, design and advertising to rebrand the United States, yes Shep is on the list.

Check it out.

Peter Buchanan Smith

Peter Buchanan Smith

Shepard Fairey

Shepard Fairey

5% of Americans Use Twitter.

Posted in Make Friends by Ryan Thomas on May 7, 2009

Personally it’s not the volume that attracts me to twitter, it’s the ability to communicate with early adopters who, if not for the novelty of new media, would never have the time to respond.

I’ll put Alex Bogusky, Andy Shortt, Tom Ajello and Warren Ellis all on that list.

If you’re into hard numbers and volumetric information there is some great stuff posted here.

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Alex Bogusky on Selling Great Creative.

Posted in Make Friends by Ryan Thomas on May 5, 2009

Yesterday I caught a twitter from Alex Bogusky who only recently returned to Twitter – It asked what question was burning on the minds of young students. Through the magic of twitter and social media here’s the answer I received at 12am last night:

How have you and CP+B Group sold ground breaking work?

We don’t really sell. The reason is we actually try to solve the business problem and so there is no difficulty in presenting the ideas and no need to sell the work because we did what they wanted in a way that they couldn’t have imagined. We didn’t do it to be creative. Instead, we used creativity to move their business and leverage their budget.

The answer is something that I have read and heard many times before. I would like to think everyone has faith in their creative – what’s really telling is that to Alex “great ideas sell themselves” is the obvious answer. Which says more about the passion for the work CP+B brings to the table than any agency client relationship or about great creative.

Many believe, few have faith.

Thanks Alex.


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