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New Talent

Get to Know 12 of The Freshest Young Talents in Canada

LBB Editorial, 3 weeks, 5 days ago

Exciting up-and-comers from Grey, Cossette, Sid Lee, Leo Burnett, KBS, Juniper Park\TBWA, Red Lion and JWT

Get to Know 12 of The Freshest Young Talents in Canada

Ah Canada. With all that outdoor space, clean air, beautiful lakes, bounty of wildlife and all manner of other quite lovely things, it’s no wonder the country spurs some of the world’s most exciting creative talent. And that’s exactly what LBB’s Addison Capper is casting his eye on today – the up-and-coming Canadian creatives that are most exciting him and the rest of the LBB team right now. Take note and keep your eye on these ones. 



1. Darrel Knight, Copywriter at Grey Toronto


How did you end up working in adland? 

DARREL> I had a passion for creating and acting to become a hybrid of Steven Spielberg and Johnny Depp: Johnny Spielberg. This led me to film school. While studying, the story of Don Draper hadn’t been produced yet. I had no idea advertising was even a career option. But while in film school there was an Introduction to Advertising course. After my failed experiments with the film industry, starring in one Nike commercial, I found my calling in advertising. 

Which piece of work are you most proud of and why? 

DARREL> I am most proud of ‘The Thoughtful Test Drive’. We placed donation items in the trunk of a car and asked people if they would like to donate them to a local charity, while in the middle of their test drive. It was an exciting new take on an otherwise mundane experience. If anyone has ever worked on a car brand they know how challenging it is to try and come up with a creative concept – let alone selling it through. 



Who and what are your biggest influences?

DARREL> Anyone who is doing anything fresh and wild influences me. Ideas that I see and wish I had done fill me with pleasure and, to be honest… jealousy. Mentoring is vital to my creative development. James Ansley and Joel Arbez at Grey Toronto (co-ECDs) are helping me fine-tune my craft. You can expect awe-inspiring ideas from this shop.

2. Alexis Caron-Côté, Copywriter at Sid Lee Montreal


How did you end up working in adland? 
 
ALEXIS> It may seem cliché, but there was a campaign that I saw when I was in high school from Le Lait that made me realise that advertising could be funny, serve a purpose and transmit a clear message. That's when I decided I wanted to do that. After my first year of university, I met Phil Meunier, Sid Lee’s co-founder (without knowing who he was), in the snowboard store where I was working. We ended up talking about what I wanted to do next and advertising came up. Later that month I was sending him four-five prints that I did in school and he gave me my first chance in adland with an internship as a copywriter.
 
Which piece of work are you most proud of and why? 
 
ALEXIS> The most proud? Tough question. Hmm I’d say the Reno-Depot bus shelter cause it’s still fresh in my head you know. Sometimes you start to look back at some work and you say to yourself: "Hmmmm I should have done it this way or that way". But yeah, the Reno-Depot Street Swatches is probably the one that I’m the most proud of. First because we took the idea of capturing colours in real time and crafted it to take it to another level (my partner Alex Béland is one of the main reasons for that great craft). To be able to pull off a simple idea and craft it like that is really satisfying.


 
Who and what are your biggest influences?
 
ALEXIS> Advertising-wise I’d say Chris Jones and Guillaume Bergeron. These guys mentored me five years ago when I was an intern and now it’s an honour to follow their footsteps, they’re great human beings (but a little bit weird) and really great storytellers. Another big influence is my dad. As a sports goods store owner, he showed me a lot about the art of selling and how to be a good communicator. He always told me that everything is in your attitude, so I try to live up to those words. 

3. Jennifer Szilagyi, Art Director at Juniper Park\TBWA

 

How did you end up working in adland? 

JENNIFER> When I was younger, all that I was sure about was that I loved art and synchronised figure skating. I spent all my time either in front of my easel or on the ice. Since being a competitive figure skater was only an acceptable career path until the age of 18 (for me, that is), I started exploring my options in the world of art and creativity. It was then that my parents actually stumbled upon an advertising program at Humber College that they knew I'd be interested in, and I completely trusted them. Good thing they were right, because I loved it - thanks guys!

Which piece of work are you most proud of and why? 

JENNIFER> Laura Simhoni (my copywriter at Juniper Park\TBWA) and I had the opportunity last fall to work on a campaign for the YWCA.

The YWCA is a women’s organisation that works to protect women and girls from domestic and sexual violence. It was the most challenging and rewarding job I have ever worked on in my career. The brief was to put the spotlight on victim blaming and show society how wrong it is. This project was so important to everyone across Juniper Park\TBWA because we knew what we were doing was important, and the survivors we met along the way inspired us to work even harder. We knew that the work was so culturally relevant and would make a difference in people’s lives, and that’s what the TBWA collective is about; making cultural impact. Here is what we did:

For the 2016 International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, we took on one of the ugliest aspects of rape culture – victim blaming. To do this, we launched a fake fashion line called Blamé and invited all of the fashion who’s who to come to the launch event. Once inside, they discovered that the tags didn’t have prices on them, they had real blames from real victim blamers. It caught people by surprise and made them think about whether a crop top or a pair of skinny jeans is a valid excuse for rape. 
YWCA is a most recent example of the amazing opportunities I’ve been given at Juniper Park\TBWA. Since the day I started I’ve been thrown right into the thick of things, and I couldn’t be happier about it. It’s given me the chance to prove myself every time a new project rolls in, and it’s hugely contributed to my development as a creative.

Who and what are your biggest influences?

JENNIFER> I was lucky enough to be raised to see the beauty in everything. This has moulded me to be a curious person – inspired by everything and everyone that surrounds me. I take my biggest influences from culture and the world around me. I find that if I need to kick-start my creative juices I just go and experience the world. Nothing works better than taking a walk through Toronto.

4. Kane Tchir, Illustrator / Designer at Twice, a division of DDB Canada



How did you end up working in adland? 

KANE> I got tired of working construction jobs so I went to design school. I almost dropped out in my last year to continue my ironworking apprenticeship, but I stuck with it. A month before graduation a local agency decided to roll the dice on me and gave me a job. I’ve been warming seats in various agencies ever since.

Which piece of work are you most proud of and why? 

KANE> The illustrations I did for the Edmonton International Airport’s Non-Stop Annual Report. I’m not proud of it because it won a handful of awards or that it got shortlisted at Cannes, I’m proud because that’s when I realised I could illustrate for a living.
Who and what are your biggest influences?

KANE> Anything that helps me question my perception of reality seems to have an influence on me. Subconsciously I’m soaking up the natural world; the colours, the patterns, and the shapes. I don’t look at other people’s work anymore. It’s toxic and pollutes the way you perceive things. If you’re truly talented you should be able to draw anything from your head.  

5 & 6. Jordan Hamer and Spencer Dingle, Creative Duo at Cossette


How did you end up working in adland? 

SPENCER> Jordan and I were in design school together and we were put in the same group for a project. We laughed at each other's jokes and started turning those jokes into ads (they were all shit, but we liked them at the time). We put a book together and shopped around. Cossette’s Peter Ignazi and Carlos Moreno (who were ECDs at BBDO at the time) saw the work and also laughed at some of the jokes.

JORDAN> Have you seen that episode of Seinfeld where Kramer accidentally gets a job in an office, and just keeps going back with a briefcase full of crackers? 

Which piece of work are you most proud of and why? 

SPENCER> It's tough to look back at our work, because I hate most of it (I have self-esteem issues and, as I get older, all I see are the mistakes). My favourite is probably a billboard we worked on for Nike. We had a robot mannequin doing chin-ups in the apartment window next to the billboard for a month straight. A lot had to happen for it to get made, including our creative director’s father negotiating with the landlord to put the robot in his living room window. My favourite work is when the idea seems crazy, but then somehow gets made.



JORDAN> I think for me it’s the Dunkaroos Smugglaroos campaign. It was a well-timed idea that, while completely legal, seemed like it shouldn’t have been. This made it interesting. So when it launched, it kind of took on a life of its own completely organically.



Who and what are your biggest influences?

SPENCER> Mostly film directors: Fincher, Scorcese, Coen brothers, Danny Boyle… the ones who can do everything really well. Our goal is to create work that doesn't feel commercial. In advertising, I really love the work that comes from Barton F. Graf. He’s consistently smart and funny as hell. We're also referencing Harold Einstein and Tom Kuntz's work all the time. Each of their reels is a joy to watch. Even for pleasure on a Sunday or something.

JORDAN> In advertising I think my biggest influences are Barton F. Graf and Droga5. They constantly make hilarious and insightful work I wish I had thought of. Outside of adland, I love movies and TV that feel genuinely new like Man Seeking Woman and Rick and Morty. They have the kind of originality we’re constantly striving for in our own work.

7 & 8. Jason Soy, Copywriter, and Sally Fung, Art Director at Leo Burnett Toronto

Left to right: Jason and Sally

How did you end up working in adland?

JASON> I was writing for a trendspotting website and noticed a lot of interesting work coming out of advertising agencies. After doing more research, I realised all my hobbies laddered up to being a creative. I decided I didn’t want to report on cool stuff anymore, I wanted to make the cool stuff.

I took a chance and went to an agency’s portfolio review night with a book I put together in just two weeks. It got torn apart. I made every advertising faux pas you could think of – puns for headlines, over-sexualised visuals, you name it. The writer I spoke with suggested I go back to school for copywriting, and I took his advice.

Exactly one year later, I was looking for an internship and that same agency happened to have another portfolio review night. I showed up and met with the same writer, who thought I looked familiar. He reviewed my book, liked what he saw, and convinced his creative director to take a chance on me.

SALLY> I never thought I'd be working in adland, at least not if you asked me five years ago. I became an art director by way of designing and working on a bunch of branding projects. Then I shifted to working on more interactive and digitally focused projects, which led to my first art direction gig at Leo Burnett. I guess I took the long route before discovering what I really wanted to do was art direction. 

Which piece of work are you most proud of and why?

JASON> Sally and I started out on banners – the stuff that never wins awards and that no one wants to do. Funnily enough, our banners did win awards. One took us both to Cannes after we won gold at the Young Lions competition, and another – The IKEA Hyperlapse Banner – helped us pick up some industry awards while delivering business results. Those banners opened a lot of doors for us. It just goes to show opportunities are what you make of them, and that good ideas can live anywhere.



SALLY> What Jason said. But more importantly, we’re just getting started. Jason and I always try our best with every project, but some turn out great and others… you don’t talk about again. Ultimately, I think we're capable of a lot more, and we’re still working towards that one project we'll be most proud of.

Who and what are your biggest influences?

JASON> My coworkers. From Judy John (CEO of Leo Burnett Toronto and CCO of Leo Burnett North America) to the most junior person on the team, I’m fortunate enough to be surrounded by really talented and passionate people, so I’m always learning from them.

Outside of advertising, my influences include my mom, my dad, my brother, my friends, Edgar Wright, Dan Harmon, Frank Ocean, Conor McGregor, all the random YouTubers I watch in my spare time; there are too many to name.   

SALLY> Honestly, it's the people I work with. Judy, Lisa Greenberg (SVP, Creative Director & Head of Art), the teams that we sit beside. You know how they say you never want to be the smartest/most talented person in the room? I feel that every day. It motivates and inspires me to do more and better all the time.

9. Cindy Marie Habana-Navarro, Senior Art Director at J. Walter Thompson Canada


How did you end up working in adland? 

CINDY> I knew I wanted to work in adland when I was in my first semester at OCAD University and I was enrolled in the Graphic Design Program. I was in the library and I came across an advertising annual so I flipped through it. I landed on a really clever Unicef print ad about putting an end to child labour. It was a great ad. It made me realise that I could put my art skills to work and do some real good in the world. The very next day, I switched from the Graphic Design program to the Advertising program. Today, I’ve been fortunate enough to work on brands like The Hospital for Sick Children and Kids Help Phone.

Which piece of work are you most proud of and why? 

CINDY> I’m most proud of the 'Better Tomorrows' campaign my partner and I worked on for SickKids. Our team had produced a 360 degree, fully-integrated television, print and online campaign that consisted of 45 different commercials that aired on 45 consecutive days, 12 newspaper ads, cinema commercials and a fully responsive website. With so many moving parts, this job was logistically my most challenging job to date.



But more than that, this job was also very emotionally challenging. We worked with real SickKids patients – children and their families – to get honest and sincere stories of their day-to-day lives at the hospital. Many were positive and encouraging, but just as many were unfortunately heartbreaking. In either case, I was truly honoured and humbled to have worked with such strong and brave people, hear their stories, and get a real look into their lives. I am very happy to know that we were able to help some of these amazing patients and their families, and potentially future patients to come.

Who and what are your biggest influences? 

CINDY> My mom is my biggest influence. 27 years ago, my mom moved to Canada from the Philippines by herself with nothing but one piece of luggage and a dream of providing a better life for herself and for her family. And she did. She’s the hardest working person I know, but still makes sure that her family always comes first.

My mom influences me to strive for better in anything that I do, and instils in me that I have to work hard to get to where I want to be. But the importance she’s placed on family keeps me grounded. She’s shown me that it’s possible to be both a woman and be successful, especially in an industry like advertising, when you’re smart and strong.

10 & 11. Marianne De L’isle, Art Director in Montreal, Caroline Sierra-Bornais, Art Director in Toronto at KBS

Left to right: Marianne and Caroline

How did you end up working in adland? 

MARIANNE> I studied graphic design at university so it was always something I saw for myself. Just before I graduated, my roommate got an internship and then a job at KBS. When they were looking for a new designer she suggested me. When I started it was like I already knew everyone.

CAROLINE> I went to OCAD for Advertising and in my third year I landed my first summer internship at Lowe Roche. The following year I got an internship at KBS.
 
Which piece of work are you most proud of and why? 

MARIANNE> This year we were lucky to work on creating and branding a new industry event called Show Off. Because it was industry-centric, we had a lot of latitude we don’t normally have. And all of us young creatives worked in collaboration so we were constantly challenging each other to go further. In the end, we all really liked the work.


CAROLINE> I worked on Life Brand for my fourth year thesis project – I got to develop a strategy, think of the idea, art direct, film and edit so it was incredibly satisfying to see the outcome after that whole year. Recently though, I finished working on an installation event for Innocence Canada about wrongful conviction. That one in contrast to my thesis was all hands-on deck, we had a vigilance to get the organisation and the issue about wrongful conviction recognised and it paid off when we ended up receiving government funding for them.


  
Who and what are your biggest influences?

MARIANNE> It all comes from the people around me. I’m lucky to be surrounded by truly passionate and talented people that have shaped the way I look at things today.

CAROLINE> My Spotify discover weekly playlist. Grant Achatz from Chefs Table Season 1. The streetcar. And my creative department. They all have qualities I want to have in myself so I’m hoping it’ll rub off on me, someday.

12 & 13. Kyle Carpenter and Andrew Parsons, Copywriters at Red Lion

Left to right: Kyle and Andrew

How did you end up working in adland? 
 
KYLE> Almost completely by accident. I wrote for music and lifestyle magazines throughout university, and I originally thought I would get into journalism full-time. Then I learned that writers who were way more experienced and educated – and let’s be honest, more talented – couldn’t find jobs in journalism. So I took a job writing tweets for a soda company instead.
 
But once I got to write my first script, I was hooked. I realised that what I loved about writing – the creativity, control, and ability to make things out of nothing – was multiplied by a thousand in advertising. And even though it can get tough, I try my best to make sure it doesn’t get boring.

ANDREW> I graduated from UBC in Vancouver with a Creative Writing degree, but it turned out no one wanted to hire a poet. I worked a few odd jobs and was kind of lost, until a chance meeting at a Toronto dive bar with a copywriter who convinced me to get into advertising.
 
Which piece of work are you most proud of and why? 
 
KYLE> The Escape Room. It started with a very small discovery. We were playing around with Instagram and we realised that if you create a hashtag that no one has ever used before, you can decide where it will take people when they click on it. So when one hashtag out of a huge list leads to somewhere different than the rest, it becomes like that one key on a giant keyring that opens the door. Once we had that trick up our sleeves, we were able to create the Escape Room.


 
When I was in high school, I got a piece of advice from an author that stuck with me: “If you finish writing something and it turns out the way you expected, it probably isn’t any good. Good writing will surprise you.” And when it was finished, the Escape Room was definitely a surprise.

ANDREW> Definitely this year’s Toronto Silent Film Festival Instagram Jigsaw Puzzle. They’re such a great client to work with and I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out. Instagram’s Save feature felt as overlooked as silent films themselves, so I’m glad we could get people excited about it.


 
Who and what are your biggest influences?
 
KYLE> I like people who take risks and make things that are totally their own, like Casey Neistat, David Chang, and Phil Knight. Also, comedian Bill Hicks (even though he hated advertising).
 
The creative work that I’m drawn to is the stuff that’s almost impossible to categorise. Often it’s a piece that you wouldn’t even think of as advertising, even though somebody at an agency came up with it. For me, the challenge is moving beyond doing work that’s good “for what it is,” and doing work where people think, “I don’t know what that is, but I like it.”

ANDREW> Throughout my time at Red Lion and Rethink, I’ve been lucky enough to learn from some great Creative Directors who have had a huge impact on me. Outside the industry, my biggest influence is probably the library. To name a single storyteller doesn’t seem fair to anyone not named Murakami.