Rob Jennings

The name of our agency is a bit of an inside joke. Serious creatives in the advertising business hate starbursts. I don’t like starbursts either. And I thought that was pretty funny in 2008.

What I didn’t know at the time was that Starburst would grow from a one-person consultancy to one of the largest independent agencies in our market with 29 employees (and counting), national clients and a second office in Toronto. Sometime in the past nine years I realized that we had outgrown the name. About four years ago, I started to take seriously the idea of changing it. I consulted with some of my team members. I even registered various domains when ideas came to me or others on the team.

And then nothing happened. Well, a lot happened. We expanded our services, took on new clients and started growing at an impressive rate. (Our compound annual growth rate for the past five years is 38.2%.) I told myself we didn’t have time to work on our own rebrand and the project was shelved before it had a chance to take off.

When we moved into our new office in early 2016, I told our interior designer that I didn’t want to install any signage at reception or elsewhere in the space. “Let’s wait until we have a new logo,” I said. I was certain that moving was the catalyst we needed to roll up our sleeves and actually get to work on a new brand.

And still nothing happened. Until September of 2016, when I boldly declared that we would start work immediately on a new brand and launch it to the world in just eight weeks. We’d become our own worst client: “Start. Stop. Start again. Stop again. Wait… okay now rush.”

In the first week, everyone in the agency was engaged to identify the attributes that defined us collectively: ambitious, most of all, but also knowledgeable and fun.

In the second week, we explored our positioning: we take an agile, always-on, constantly updated and continuously optimized approach to marketing that prioritizes doing and learning over researching and planning. Act, analyze and adapt—then repeat for best results. It’s an approach we’ve honed by working closely with fast-paced retailers that demand a quantifiable return on their marketing but it’s bigger and broader than that—the principles are sound and it can be applied to any organization.

Then, in the third and fourth weeks, we started to working on names. From there, we short-listed two names: Charter and FKA.

This is Charter.

Meet FKA.

We were getting somewhere, right? But then something totally awesome happened. We were approached by two different companies to develop two new national brands.

One was a rebrand for Canadian Direct Financial, an entirely online bank and a division of Canadian Western Bank, one of our amazing clients. The other was a new brand for a company taking on disrupters like Casper and Endy in the highly competitive online mattress category.

Both projects were bigger than anything we had taken on before. Both brands needed new names, visual identities, websites, collateral and big budget advertising campaigns. More importantly, both needed to launch in the first half of 2017. Something had to give. Our rebrand was put on hold again.

Olive is Canada’s better-made bed-in-a-box.

Motive is the national online bank for serious savers.

It’s been an outstanding year. We’ve all been very fulfilled by the work and we’re proud of the results. Our brains have been steeped in branding—which brings us more or less to today.

We’re kicking off our rebrand project again. But this time, we’re doing it differently. We’re going to put our money where our mouth is by taking an agile and iterative approach. We’ll edit and optimize along the way. We’re not going to hide our process or our work then reveal it when we think it’s ready. Instead, we’re going to open it all up to the world by sharing it in real-time along the way. It’s ambitious—but that’s who we are.

BTW, we’re going with FKA.

Starburst Creative congratulates All Weather Windows on their strong showing at the Canadian Home Builders’ Association Edmonton Region Awards of Excellence, held Saturday, March 18.

All Weather Windows was recognized at the event with the very special Supplier of the Year award in recognition of their exceptional products and outstanding service to the home building industry in Edmonton.

They also won Best Radio Commercial for Don’t Let It In, a 30-second radio advertisement promoting All Weather Windows Renovations turn-key window and door installation service. The ad was developed by Starburst and aired on major radio stations in Edmonton and Calgary late last year. The award was accepted at the event by Tracy Nadiger, director of marketing at All Weather Windows.


Starburst worked with Fay Poholko at All Weather Windows to develop the ad. The spot was written by Rob Jennings with concept and creative support from Brenna Voogd and account support from Chantelle Campbell and Kiri Wysynski. Recording and production was handled by KOKO Productions in Vancouver, while the media campaign was planned and bought by Sara Kerr at Mediactive.


Starburst Creative is extremely pleased to announce Jeff McLean as Creative Lead starting March 6.

McLean is one of Alberta’s most celebrated creative professionals, having won numerous local, national and international advertising awards during his 25-year career. He has worked at agencies in St. John’s, Vancouver, Toronto and Edmonton and has engineered some of Alberta’s most successful and recognizable campaigns,

“Jeff is one of the most talented and accomplished creative minds in Western Canada,” said Starburst President Rob Jennings.

Starburst has experienced tremendous growth over the last several years, posting 31% revenue growth in 2016 and opening up a new office in Toronto last month.

“Adding Jeff to our growing team brings us closer to our vision of becoming the number one professional marketing services agency in Edmonton,” Jennings said. “Jeff is going to help us conceptualize bigger, better ideas for our clients.”

McLean becomes Starburst’s 20th full-time employee, with four new positions being added in the near future.

“I’ve been fortunate to work with some of the best marketing professionals in Canada over the course of my career,” McLean said. “That’s what drew me to Starburst. This is an ambitious agency that really understands where our industry is going and I’m excited to be a part of it.”

About Starburst Creative:

Founded in 2008 on the principle that better marketing transforms organizations and improves lives, Starburst Creative is a consulting and creative agency. Organized into five departments—creative, interactive, communications, media, and account service—it operates with a full-time staff of 20 people with offices in Edmonton and Toronto. It has won numerous awards from the Advertising Club of Edmonton, Digital Alberta, and the International Association of Business Communicators.

For more information, contact:

Kerry Bezzanno, Communications Director
780 628 5622 ext 503

Rob Jennings

Now serving brunch.

| Culture, Featured, News

Now serving brunch.

| Culture, Featured, News

Starburst took some time out this morning to purchase, prepare and serve brunch to families staying at Edmonton’s Ronald McDonald House. We all smell like eggs and bacon but it was well worth it.

After breakfast was done, Kristi Hammond, Donor Relations Officer at Ronald McDonald House Charities Northern Alberta, took us on a tour. As a parent of two young children, I was really moved by the good work being done there to support families in the middle of one of the most difficult and emotional experiences one can imagine.

And though our team may have shed some tears during the tour, the families staying there seemed so strong. I think that’s because Ronald McDonald House is helping them cope during a stressful time by contributing a level of normalcy back to their lives. Before we left, I decided that we needed to do a little bit more and let Kristi know Starburst would also be making a financial contribution.

It was a very rewarding morning and I’m very proud of the Starburst team. I would also like to thank Brock Harrison and Kayla Sommer for planning this opportunity for our agency to give back. Each month, a new department takes over the Culture Committee for our agency and organizes social events or outings–this was their suggestion for January and it was a great one.