Oct 27, 2021
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Front Page, Industry News

THE BRIEF: On the sunny side of the street

By TO411Daily Columnist Linda Chandler

Remember as a kid when you’d get invited to a friend’s house for dinner, and you’d notice that your friend had this really awesome family that wasn’t… well… like yours?

That’s the feeling you get at john st. 

From all appearances, written and anecdotal, john st. is decent, down-to-earth, self-effacing – all the while seizing up new business, killing at award shows, and flying above the turbulence.

I wanted to interview Arthur Fleischmann, President of john st., because it could only help to find out how an independently owned Canadian company of five burgeoned to 100. 

The Brief: You and your partners all met at the great Ammirati Puris, right? 

Fleischmann: Yeah. The five of us – Jane Tucker, Emily Baines, Angus Tucker and Steve Jurisic – worked together at Ammariti for about seven years. We carefully handpicked each other. Then, test-drove the partnership for another five or six years before we bought ourselves back from Envoy Communications. And then we opened up john st.

The Brief: So you advise an outrageously long courtship and perfect alchemy?

Fleischmann: True. The magic of john st. is that we have five relevant but diverse skill sets. We’ve also built up years of trust and can challenge ourselves. A lot of agencies are, by necessity, a hodge-podge of people who came together. A new President hires a CD he’s never worked with, or New York sends somebody up. If that gels it’s luck.

The Brief: Do you still pitch? 

Fleischmann: Yeah, we do.

The Brief: Spec?

Fleischmann: Nobody likes to, but we will at times. I’ll tell you a great story about pitching that transformed us.

The Brief: That’s why I’m here.

Fleischmann: Back in 2006, I received a call from a client at AstraZeneca asking us to pitch a project for them. I said we’re not a ‘pharma’ agency; we’re a consumer goods agency. I don’t think we’re right. And the client said, “…we’re only talking to non-pharma agencies because we’re going through a transformation and we’re looking for a different kind of shop.”

The Brief: Pharma, huh? 

Fleischmann: Yes. We did a strategic pitch, and AstraZeneca hired us and became our largest client. It’s a multi-million dollar piece of business and a great learning lesson. 

The Brief: Lesson being?

Fleischmann: Don’t presuppose that only some businesses are worth competing in. Look at all industries because you never know. Some of the most creative work we’re doing, we’re doing for AstraZeneca — helping them transform their business. 

The Brief: AstraZeneco actually transformed your business model too. Tell us something about that.

Fleischmann: Sure. john st. was fairly traditional until AstraZeneca came along, and here we had a new client whose business needed to move from the old-school, paper heavy model to online digital. Enter AmoebaCorp, one of Canada’s most lauded design firms, which is now part of john st.’s collaborative model. We’ve done some incredible things together. Like the campaign with Stanfield’s* called “the guy at home” in support of testicular cancer.

The Brief: The perfect segue to my next question. Is there a movement toward linking brands with causes? 

Fleischmann: I think consumers are looking for more action-oriented behaviors in their brands. Don’t just tell me that you’re good, show me why I should believe in you. 

The Brief: As you say, “a groundswell travels faster than advertising.”

Fleischmann: Yes. In this world where everything is commoditized, with the exception of very sophisticated technology – in a highly commoditized world you need something authentic to stand for. 

The Brief: How do you marry cause to a commodity?

Fleischmann: If you have a clear definition of the brand’s values, than that should align with a core set of values shared with the consumer. Then you build a campaign around that. 

The Brief: How’d that campaign go?

Fleishmann: A statistic just came across my desk wherein during the 25 days of the campaign, Stansfield’s generated 6.1 years worth of time spent on that website.* 

The Brief: I’ll send my readers to the website. Can you explain the ad, “We suck”*?

Fleischmann: john st. was nominated for Strategy Agency of the Year in 2009, and since we have ten planners in Canada working right here, with the most sophisticated research tools, we thought why not turn that learning on us. Are we creative because someone says we are, or are we really that good? Creativity is our only competitive advantage.

The Brief: Getting to the truth about yourself as a brand.

Fleischmann: I think this is john st.’s strong suit: We have all the core disciplines right here. We can actually surround the client by 360 degrees. At the table you’ll find: the designer; the digital strategist; consumer strategist; digital planner; creative team; accounting team.. me! There is no profit/loss involved in this.

The Brief: It takes a village for a brand to breakthrough.

Fleischmann: Or, if you’re going to build a better mousetrap, it better be an Apple!

The Brief: And cut. 

I want to personally thank Arthur Fleischmann for making himself so accessible to The Brief. 

Sources:

The five partners at john st.: Arthur Fleischmann, President; Emily Baines, Head of Planning; Angus Tucker, Creative Director, Copywriter; Steve Jurisic, Creative Director, Art Director, and Jane Tucker, Client Service Director.* http://www.johnst.com”.

The ad “We suck” http://www.johnst.com

The Stansfield Underwear campaign – http://guyathome.com

Next Wednesday: I ask three hot new shops “What Makes You Great?”

Comment to Linda at this address: thebrief@to411.com.
LinkedIn // Facebook // Twitter

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Front Page, Industry News

THE BRIEF: On the sunny side of the street

By TO411Daily Columnist Linda Chandler

Remember as a kid when you’d get invited to a friend’s house for dinner, and you’d notice that your friend had this really awesome family that wasn’t… well… like yours?

That’s the feeling you get at john st. 

From all appearances, written and anecdotal, john st. is decent, down-to-earth, self-effacing – all the while seizing up new business, killing at award shows, and flying above the turbulence.

I wanted to interview Arthur Fleischmann, President of john st., because it could only help to find out how an independently owned Canadian company of five burgeoned to 100. 

The Brief: You and your partners all met at the great Ammirati Puris, right? 

Fleischmann: Yeah. The five of us – Jane Tucker, Emily Baines, Angus Tucker and Steve Jurisic – worked together at Ammariti for about seven years. We carefully handpicked each other. Then, test-drove the partnership for another five or six years before we bought ourselves back from Envoy Communications. And then we opened up john st.

The Brief: So you advise an outrageously long courtship and perfect alchemy?

Fleischmann: True. The magic of john st. is that we have five relevant but diverse skill sets. We’ve also built up years of trust and can challenge ourselves. A lot of agencies are, by necessity, a hodge-podge of people who came together. A new President hires a CD he’s never worked with, or New York sends somebody up. If that gels it’s luck.

The Brief: Do you still pitch? 

Fleischmann: Yeah, we do.

The Brief: Spec?

Fleischmann: Nobody likes to, but we will at times. I’ll tell you a great story about pitching that transformed us.

The Brief: That’s why I’m here.

Fleischmann: Back in 2006, I received a call from a client at AstraZeneca asking us to pitch a project for them. I said we’re not a ‘pharma’ agency; we’re a consumer goods agency. I don’t think we’re right. And the client said, “…we’re only talking to non-pharma agencies because we’re going through a transformation and we’re looking for a different kind of shop.”

The Brief: Pharma, huh? 

Fleischmann: Yes. We did a strategic pitch, and AstraZeneca hired us and became our largest client. It’s a multi-million dollar piece of business and a great learning lesson. 

The Brief: Lesson being?

Fleischmann: Don’t presuppose that only some businesses are worth competing in. Look at all industries because you never know. Some of the most creative work we’re doing, we’re doing for AstraZeneca — helping them transform their business. 

The Brief: AstraZeneco actually transformed your business model too. Tell us something about that.

Fleischmann: Sure. john st. was fairly traditional until AstraZeneca came along, and here we had a new client whose business needed to move from the old-school, paper heavy model to online digital. Enter AmoebaCorp, one of Canada’s most lauded design firms, which is now part of john st.’s collaborative model. We’ve done some incredible things together. Like the campaign with Stanfield’s* called “the guy at home” in support of testicular cancer.

The Brief: The perfect segue to my next question. Is there a movement toward linking brands with causes? 

Fleischmann: I think consumers are looking for more action-oriented behaviors in their brands. Don’t just tell me that you’re good, show me why I should believe in you. 

The Brief: As you say, “a groundswell travels faster than advertising.”

Fleischmann: Yes. In this world where everything is commoditized, with the exception of very sophisticated technology – in a highly commoditized world you need something authentic to stand for. 

The Brief: How do you marry cause to a commodity?

Fleischmann: If you have a clear definition of the brand’s values, than that should align with a core set of values shared with the consumer. Then you build a campaign around that. 

The Brief: How’d that campaign go?

Fleishmann: A statistic just came across my desk wherein during the 25 days of the campaign, Stansfield’s generated 6.1 years worth of time spent on that website.* 

The Brief: I’ll send my readers to the website. Can you explain the ad, “We suck”*?

Fleischmann: john st. was nominated for Strategy Agency of the Year in 2009, and since we have ten planners in Canada working right here, with the most sophisticated research tools, we thought why not turn that learning on us. Are we creative because someone says we are, or are we really that good? Creativity is our only competitive advantage.

The Brief: Getting to the truth about yourself as a brand.

Fleischmann: I think this is john st.’s strong suit: We have all the core disciplines right here. We can actually surround the client by 360 degrees. At the table you’ll find: the designer; the digital strategist; consumer strategist; digital planner; creative team; accounting team.. me! There is no profit/loss involved in this.

The Brief: It takes a village for a brand to breakthrough.

Fleischmann: Or, if you’re going to build a better mousetrap, it better be an Apple!

The Brief: And cut. 

I want to personally thank Arthur Fleischmann for making himself so accessible to The Brief. 

Sources:

The five partners at john st.: Arthur Fleischmann, President; Emily Baines, Head of Planning; Angus Tucker, Creative Director, Copywriter; Steve Jurisic, Creative Director, Art Director, and Jane Tucker, Client Service Director.* http://www.johnst.com”.

The ad “We suck” http://www.johnst.com

The Stansfield Underwear campaign – http://guyathome.com

Next Wednesday: I ask three hot new shops “What Makes You Great?”

Comment to Linda at this address: thebrief@to411.com.
LinkedIn // Facebook // Twitter

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Front Page, Industry News

THE BRIEF: On the sunny side of the street

By TO411Daily Columnist Linda Chandler

Remember as a kid when you’d get invited to a friend’s house for dinner, and you’d notice that your friend had this really awesome family that wasn’t… well… like yours?

That’s the feeling you get at john st. 

From all appearances, written and anecdotal, john st. is decent, down-to-earth, self-effacing – all the while seizing up new business, killing at award shows, and flying above the turbulence.

I wanted to interview Arthur Fleischmann, President of john st., because it could only help to find out how an independently owned Canadian company of five burgeoned to 100. 

The Brief: You and your partners all met at the great Ammirati Puris, right? 

Fleischmann: Yeah. The five of us – Jane Tucker, Emily Baines, Angus Tucker and Steve Jurisic – worked together at Ammariti for about seven years. We carefully handpicked each other. Then, test-drove the partnership for another five or six years before we bought ourselves back from Envoy Communications. And then we opened up john st.

The Brief: So you advise an outrageously long courtship and perfect alchemy?

Fleischmann: True. The magic of john st. is that we have five relevant but diverse skill sets. We’ve also built up years of trust and can challenge ourselves. A lot of agencies are, by necessity, a hodge-podge of people who came together. A new President hires a CD he’s never worked with, or New York sends somebody up. If that gels it’s luck.

The Brief: Do you still pitch? 

Fleischmann: Yeah, we do.

The Brief: Spec?

Fleischmann: Nobody likes to, but we will at times. I’ll tell you a great story about pitching that transformed us.

The Brief: That’s why I’m here.

Fleischmann: Back in 2006, I received a call from a client at AstraZeneca asking us to pitch a project for them. I said we’re not a ‘pharma’ agency; we’re a consumer goods agency. I don’t think we’re right. And the client said, “…we’re only talking to non-pharma agencies because we’re going through a transformation and we’re looking for a different kind of shop.”

The Brief: Pharma, huh? 

Fleischmann: Yes. We did a strategic pitch, and AstraZeneca hired us and became our largest client. It’s a multi-million dollar piece of business and a great learning lesson. 

The Brief: Lesson being?

Fleischmann: Don’t presuppose that only some businesses are worth competing in. Look at all industries because you never know. Some of the most creative work we’re doing, we’re doing for AstraZeneca — helping them transform their business. 

The Brief: AstraZeneco actually transformed your business model too. Tell us something about that.

Fleischmann: Sure. john st. was fairly traditional until AstraZeneca came along, and here we had a new client whose business needed to move from the old-school, paper heavy model to online digital. Enter AmoebaCorp, one of Canada’s most lauded design firms, which is now part of john st.’s collaborative model. We’ve done some incredible things together. Like the campaign with Stanfield’s* called “the guy at home” in support of testicular cancer.

The Brief: The perfect segue to my next question. Is there a movement toward linking brands with causes? 

Fleischmann: I think consumers are looking for more action-oriented behaviors in their brands. Don’t just tell me that you’re good, show me why I should believe in you. 

The Brief: As you say, “a groundswell travels faster than advertising.”

Fleischmann: Yes. In this world where everything is commoditized, with the exception of very sophisticated technology – in a highly commoditized world you need something authentic to stand for. 

The Brief: How do you marry cause to a commodity?

Fleischmann: If you have a clear definition of the brand’s values, than that should align with a core set of values shared with the consumer. Then you build a campaign around that. 

The Brief: How’d that campaign go?

Fleishmann: A statistic just came across my desk wherein during the 25 days of the campaign, Stansfield’s generated 6.1 years worth of time spent on that website.* 

The Brief: I’ll send my readers to the website. Can you explain the ad, “We suck”*?

Fleischmann: john st. was nominated for Strategy Agency of the Year in 2009, and since we have ten planners in Canada working right here, with the most sophisticated research tools, we thought why not turn that learning on us. Are we creative because someone says we are, or are we really that good? Creativity is our only competitive advantage.

The Brief: Getting to the truth about yourself as a brand.

Fleischmann: I think this is john st.’s strong suit: We have all the core disciplines right here. We can actually surround the client by 360 degrees. At the table you’ll find: the designer; the digital strategist; consumer strategist; digital planner; creative team; accounting team.. me! There is no profit/loss involved in this.

The Brief: It takes a village for a brand to breakthrough.

Fleischmann: Or, if you’re going to build a better mousetrap, it better be an Apple!

The Brief: And cut. 

I want to personally thank Arthur Fleischmann for making himself so accessible to The Brief. 

Sources:

The five partners at john st.: Arthur Fleischmann, President; Emily Baines, Head of Planning; Angus Tucker, Creative Director, Copywriter; Steve Jurisic, Creative Director, Art Director, and Jane Tucker, Client Service Director.* http://www.johnst.com”.

The ad “We suck” http://www.johnst.com

The Stansfield Underwear campaign – http://guyathome.com

Next Wednesday: I ask three hot new shops “What Makes You Great?”

Comment to Linda at this address: thebrief@to411.com.
LinkedIn // Facebook // Twitter

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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