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


A Woman’s Voice: Ad Women of Toronto / ICA

Posted in From Canada, Make Friends by Ryan Thomas on April 9, 2009

If you’re in Toronto, consider joining the Ad Women of Toronto. They have a great cause and some some brilliant resources behind them.


This business requires some amazing voices and neglecting them could leave your next campaign falling flat on its face.

If you want to find out more head to the website, or join the facebook group.

Their first reception is comming up this month and the line up is pretty amazing:

Topic: What advice would you give to your younger self?
Come hear how 5 successful women (and one man) would share this advice.
5 pieces of advice on what to do and 5 bits of wisdom on what not to do.

Date: Thursday, April 16th, 2009
Time: Panel Discussion – 4:00 to 5:30pm
Networking Reception – 5:30 to 7:00
Location: Capital Theatre,
2492 Yonge Street, Toronto

Panel Discussion Participants: Moderator:
Anne Sutherland, New Thinking
Tony Altilia – Past Downtown Partners President, Author ‘I wish someone had told me that’
Heather Fraser – Past Taxi President – now Program Director Rotman Design Works
Rachel Lai – Agency Planner Publicis
Beth Thompson Glow Magazine Editor in Chief
Nancy Vonk – CD Ogilvy, Co-Author ‘Pick Me-Breaking into advertising and staying there’

To Register: For One Ticket, Click Here To purchase a Group of 10 discounted tickets, Click Here

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More on Suzanne Pope!

Posted in From Canada, Go Read A Book by Ryan Thomas on March 30, 2009

Seems she did a course on writing for the ICA.

Here’s hoping she’ll teach it again:

But whatever you decide, I hope you will decide to write. Because we as writers have a problem. And for us, the only way out is the way through.

– Suzanne Pope 2009