(Video) John St. named Future Shop AOR

It was an ambush. Emily Bain, Stephen Jurisic, Ian Brooks, Nellie Kim, and Arthur Flesichmann – all senior leaders at the creative agency John St. – were invited to a Toronto  Future Shop location Thursday afternoon believing they would be asked a number of last-minute questions as part of the retailer’s ongoing agency search. Waiting for […]

The setup

It was an ambush. Emily Bain, Stephen Jurisic, Ian Brooks, Nellie Kim, and Arthur Flesichmann – all senior leaders at the creative agency John St. – were invited to a Toronto  Future Shop location Thursday afternoon believing they would be asked a number of last-minute questions as part of the retailer’s ongoing agency search.

Waiting for them as they entered was the giant projected image of Angela Scardillo, Future Shop’s marketing vice-president, who Skyped in from Vancouver. She asked just one question: would John St. be Future Shop’s agency of record?

(The entire reveal was filmed, and can be viewed below.)

The Toronto agency competed against four other shortlisted companies in a review that began in January and saw as many as 50 agencies participate in the initial RFI.

The Question

Cossette was the incumbent agency, and defended the account it had held for more than six years.

“What we liked about John St. was more than their definite strategic skills and their proven retail experience,” Scardillo told Marketing. “They were really energetic and showed they have a passion for technology.”

“We thought we were the dark horse,” said Fleischmann, who swore he had no idea what lay in wait for him when he walked into the store. “When we left the meeting in Vancouver, I told my partners I was deeply saddened because I figured the probability of winning was low, and we really liked them. The chemistry was great.”

While the retail sector faces many challenges in 2013 (showrooming, invading U.S. stores among others), Scardillo said her company’s most immediate challenge is customer connection.

The Win

“It’s about evolving our position… so consumers have an emotional connection with our brand,” Scardillo said. Research that John St. conducted as part of its pitch showed Canadian consumers have more of a connection with Best Buy, a competing electronics retailer that is owned by the same parent company as Future Shop.

“[Future Shop] has lost its sense of identity with people,” Fleischmann said. “They identify more strongly with Best Buy than with Future Shop, so job number one will be to reintroduce what Future Shop means to Canadians.”

John St. has partnered with Montreal-based Brad to produce French-language marketing. Brad will service the account from its Toronto-based offshoot, The French Shop.

The Celebration

A formal time frame for campaign work or new marketing materials has yet to be established.

Photography: Sinereh Soleimani (click each photo to enlarge)


Advertising Articles

Hall of Legends 2015:
Syd Kessler

Trust and honour are everything to this generous mentor

Scotiabank brings its movie marketing to Instagram

The Scene loyalty program finds a new home on Instagram

Hall of Legends 2015:
Andy Macaulay

Being the youngest kid in a political family helped found a remarkable career

Hall of Legends 2015:
Arlene Dickinson

An entrepreneur who's building her business around those who follow suit

Bud’s Red Lights bring Quebec puck makers to Nassau Coliseum

Anomaly crafts more stories of everyday fans getting big-league surprises

Travel Alberta uses Tumblr to inspire “winterlust”

Sponsored posts and targeted online ads tell travelers "Remember to breathe"

Jeff Dack joins Lowe Roche as chief strategy officer

The exec will be tasked with continuing the growth of strategy at the agency

Steve Groh joins Cossette in Toronto

Former Bensimon-Byrne VP joins recently acquired agency

On The Move: New talent at Intent, Marblemedia, Eyereturn

A weekly recap of who’s headed where in Canadian marketing and communications