I began my career after failing out of OCAD (ok I quit) and took a job as a studio paste up person(look it up) and then as a typesetting rep (look it up) and then a Zippo Lighter Salesman. I then took a job as a art director at a small agency making one half of my then salary. Because I wanted to do what I loved.
After a year I decided to go to the US. I landed a job in New York at Lord Geller, then Chiat Day, Olgivy and then Chiat Day in Seattle for a year and Hal Riney in San Francisco for 18 months. Won a lot of pretty awards at the One Show. Returned to Canada after 8 years as my dad wasn’t well. Worked as CD of FCB and then Chiat Day. Fired by Chiat, I thought of starting restaurant but my wife intervened and started an agency instead.
Over twenty years we won Agency of the Year seven times, Agency of the Decade and Ad Age International Agency of the Year. Most proud of the people we hired many of whom went on to great things but always love talking about the happy/crazy/ wild days they had while working for us.
I sold the last part of the agency in 2011 and within two years the geniuses at IPG in New York and a less than great team in Toronto managed to run it into the ground. It closed. A sad day.
I decided to work on other things
Our son and I had created Dogbook (now called 3Million Dogs) in 2007 so I focussed on that. It has over 2.5 million downloads and is about to be re-launched very soon.
In 2019 I partnered with Jack Harding (29 years young) to start disruptincy.com. It’s a way for companies to get solutions to their business problems that are often unsolvable with “traditional ad agency magic”. We’re also launching 500Elevators this month which is a way for companies to get help defining their 60 second “elevator pitch”. So many struggle with this at the expense of client acquisition, employee engagement and overall vision. I’m also deeply engaged with Paymi which is a cash rewards app. Most interesting is the data side of it which allows advertisers to target consumers in ways that are unheard of. Given Apple’s announcement recently that you will be “asked” if you want apps to “follow you” and Google getting rid of cookies our platform is truly a game changer in the traditional ad space.
My induction into the Marketing Hall of Legends, an ADCC Lifetime Achievement Award and an OCAD University Distinguished Alumni award were all pretty great moments.
In my spare time I draw (geoffreydraws on instagram) learn about new tech from our four kids, one at Tesla in SF, one ex Facebook in SF, one recently returned from 8 years in the UK (fireworks/ champagne/cheers) heading an amazing children’s charity and one here thank goodness-who is protecting us during covid. My wife is also pretty cool (39 years!) and our dogs are quite thoughtful and well behaved. I also try to end each zoom call with a tasteful but funny joke which seems to make people happy in this harrowing time. That’s all up to now though I’m not done.