Big Ideas from a Small World

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


Money just burning a hole in your pocket?

Posted in Going somewhere? by Ryan Thomas on March 25, 2009


When I tried to log on to Stimulant this morning I was met with this awesome 7 samurai as gorillas image. The event is a little cash heavy in these trying times but if you can rally the $300 I’m sure it will be an interesting day, and I have seen a lot more money spent for an event of this calibre.

That being said I have to give praise to Adverting Week in NYC’s Matt Scheckner for putting on so many free events for the community. It’s worth the trip down. I know that the ICA is building on its Canadian Advertising Week by trying to do the same in 2010.

Often the people who take away the most for these events are those junior staff who are last in line for tickets. I hope that as the date nears Stimulant will offer a student and junior discount.

Now the only issue is I’m torn as to going to this event or buying a fixie that makes me look like an art director:


Republic ships you a bag of parts for $344 and you build it yourself. That’s why the price is so very low. The other bonus is that you can get parts in any colour and customize your own bike. Someone needs to do a probono for these guys – it’s got a wonderful set of USP’s and a quirky brand personality.

If you’re an art director looking for a balling way to roll into work, click on their site and build your own skittles bike.

Art, event management and strategy in one post. Now all I have to do is find away to post Fallon’s HD experiment and I’m done for the day!


Award Shows Are The Advertising Of Our Industry

Posted in Change Something by Ryan Thomas on March 20, 2009

Seriously. We tell clients to spend harder when the economy is tanking, that way they’ll dominate mind share and rebound quicker as the market recovers.

Then an intern at the ONE show let’s slip a spending chart and it makes the news.

Via AdAge:

Yesterday an employee of the One Show inadvertently e-mailed a spreadsheet to several ad execs that contained a list of the agencies that have entered the One Show’s 2009 ad awards. The list shows how many entries each agency submitted and how much was spent on those submissions.

In all, there were 9,795 entries for the ad awards, at a total cost to the agencies of $3,507,860. The average cost of an entry was $358. The database does not account for the interactive or design entries to the One Show, just the advertising entries. Last year the One Show had 26,000 entries from 60 countries. Based on the average price for an entry, the One Show received about $10 million in entry fees, though the organization said the figure was far lower.

Listen, we sell for a living. If this is the cost of attracting great talent, getting your name out there to interested parties – that’s pretty cheap.

Think about what your client spent on his last TV spot. If it was not much, think about what FALLON spent for Sony! Iron Maiden! Poodles! HD!

(From now on, I’m going to make an effort to link this spot more often.)

Seriously though, today I thought BBH was a typo when they won an award for their work with WB and Oasis. Until then I did not know the agency existed.

Normally I would never admit that, but I think it illustrates a point – until agencies start buying ad spots for themselves, award shows will continue to be advertising for the ad industry.

That’s why I like Advertising Week so much – it’s a new kind of outreach.