One of Canada’s top creative minds joins growing indy agency
“Years ago someone told me an adage I’ve lived by my whole career: if someone great becomes available, hire them,” said Chris Staples, one of Rethink’s founding partners. “Guys like [Starkman] don’t become available every day. It’s a no-brainer for us.”
Starkman, a multiple award-winning creative director, said he has long rooted for the independently owned Rethink. “I’ve known these guys for years, and seen them in Cannes many times. I’ve always been a fan.”
Rethink’s newest co-owner will share CD responsibilities with Dré Labre and Chris Booth in Toronto. There are currently six CDs across the agency’s two offices who work in rotating partnerships with each other, with Staples and Ian Grais overseeing all creative output.
“I’ve always enjoyed working with partners. I spent most of my ad life working with [Taxi New York CD] Stephen Lepps. This feels very normal and very right. Everyone works with everyone.”
Starkman will work on all of the agency’s accounts, including Bell Canada, Sobey’s, A&W Foods and the newly acquired Molson Canadian, which Rethink won in a review after Starkman’s former employer Crispin Porter + Bogusky lost it in September. (Starkman left CP+B in November, as did agency CEO Shelley Brown.)
“I really love the Molson clients. They have a really clear direction of what they want to do,” said Starkman. “They’re really collaborative.”
Staples said he did not pursue hiring Starkman until after he learned of his departure from CP+B.