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.
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.”
“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.
A formal time frame for campaign work or new marketing materials has yet to be established.
Photography: Sinereh Soleimani (click each photo to enlarge)