Many years ago, shortly after I moved to Vancouver to pursue a career in video games, a pal of mine moved here to join a young ad company. Sick of working for one of the international advertising big dogs, he picked up roots and moved to Vancouver to start small. The company, Rethink Communications, has grown into a sort of marketing cultural force – you’ve probably seen dozens of their ads, and probably talked about at least one around the watering hole. A&W, Playland, Science World, you name it, they’ve come up with a plan to promote it, stopping only occasionally to make their own beer brand or unique floor lamps.
They get a great deal of attention for their unconventional outdoor campaigns, like sticking a million dollars or some plants in a bus stop shelter, or covering a billboard with road-side assistance gear from Canadian Tire and an offer for people to help themselves (then over a few weeks, gas cannisters and tire jacks go missing from the board.) But what I love are their print ads – the moving picture of a commercial or even the narrative of a radio spot leaves a lot of room to get a point across. But catching someone’s attention, holding it, and making a point with a single image… that’s tough.
My current favorite are the new BC Lions ads, featuring traumatized players from other teams hiding behind various sideline personalities (camera crews, furry mascots, etc.) If you like funny and/or smart ads, and you want to kill a couple of hours, their online archives of their various campaigns are worth checking out!