Rob Jennings

EDMONTON, AB (January 5, 2017): Starburst Creative, an Edmonton-based marketing and advertising agency, has opened its Toronto office, marking the first new market expansion for the eight-year-old agency.

“Last year was an incredible year of growth for Starburst and we’re excited to begin 2017 by expanding into the country’s largest and most competitive market,” said Rob Jennings, President and Creative Director at Starburst. “We’re looking forward to another great year and our expansion into Toronto represents even more potential for new and exciting things.”

Account Supervisor Chelsea Rho will initially staff the Toronto office. Originally from the Toronto area, she’s been at Starburst since 2012 and is intimately familiar with the agency’s client base and service offerings. Future recruitment will focus on further building out the Toronto office’s capacity.

“Starburst already works with a number of national brands that have significant operations in eastern Canada,” Jennings said. “Not only is this expansion an opportunity to build our client base, but it will allow us to serve our existing clients even better.”

The new office is located at Suite 400, 901 King Street West.

About Starburst Creative:

Founded in 2008, Starburst Creative is a full-service advertising and interactive agency that integrates creative and consulting capabilities to help organizations achieve their business and marketing objectives. It is organized into five departments – creative, interactive, communications, media, and account service. It operates with a full-time staff of 18 people and has won numerous awards from the Advertising Club of Edmonton, Digital Alberta, and the International Association of Business Communicators.

Whose work will make The Wall? Ours, that’s whose!

Last night’s annual Capital Awards, hosted by the Edmonton chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC), celebrated the very best communicators and communications achievements in our city.

This year’s theme was “The Art of Communication,” and what do you do with art? You hang it on the wall. So, as the event’s creative sponsor, we actually built a wall. Winners would claim their awards and then proceed to The Wall, where they would physically nail their winning work to it (with a golden hammer, of course). Here’s how it looked by the end of the night:

You can’t see it in the picture, but Starburst made the wall five times with four Awards of Excellence and one Award of Merit.

Awards of Excellence

Central Social Hall – Menu Tasting Event: To generate excitement about Central’s new menu, which featured made-from-scratch ingredients, more locally-sourced items, and more healthy options, Starburst hosted an exclusive evening event to introduce local food bloggers and media personalities to the new menu items. 

Central Social Hall – Plus Redgie Campaign: Focusing on Central’s lovable in-house head chef, Redgie Salinana, this campaign highlighted menu items made in-house. The idea was simple: if Redgie makes menu items from scratch, why wouldn’t he make his own ads, too?

Edmonton Valley Zoo: In keeping with the zoo’s brand, we developed a campaign that was was welcoming and fun and at the same time highlighted animals at the zoo along with the new features (Entry and The Wander) to explore.

All Weather Windows: We developed a comprehensive, attractive, sales-oriented new website for All Weather Windows. Combining best practices with innovative thinking, the new website design offered a seamless online experience to different audiences. 

Award of Merit

Canterbury Foundation: In 2014, Canterbury celebrated its 40th anniversary, so we developed a commemorative book to outline its 40 year history and plans for the future. The book was distributed during their 40th anniversary celebration event to donors and corporate partners. Today, it is the main promotional piece for the Foundation. 

Thank you to each and every one of our clients for giving us the chance to be creative and make use of our team’s talents to further their objectives.

Until next year!

Liquor store employees frequently face resistance when asking for a person’s ID during a sale. The public perception around ID-checking is often negative, even though liquor store employees are simply doing their part to prevent underage drinking in Alberta.

For the Alberta Liquor Store Association’s latest ID Under 25 campaign, we developed a series of posters, till talkers and buttons that turned the negative into a positive. Nobody wants to feel old. Being asked for ID doesn’t need to be an inconvenience. Instead, it can be a welcome compliment.

The campaign is copy-driven and features headlines such as  “You’ve aged amazingly” and “Many people find it flattering.” The latter headline is used on a poster that also features a mirrored finish so the reader can see themselves reflected.

Not only does the light-hearted messaging show customers that being asked for ID isn’t a negative experience, it also helps to support and empower liquor store employees to increase the rate at which they ask for identification.

The posters and buttons work to dispel the notion that there should be resistance when a customer is asked for ID when purchasing liquor. Our goal with the campaign was to ensure employees feel comfortable asking for proof of age when a customer appears to be under 25 and that customers feel complimented, rather than affronted or inconvenienced, when asked to show identification.

I’m pleased to announce Brenna Voogd’s promotion to Studio Director.

Brenna Voogd, Studio Director

Brenna has done an exceptional job managing our creative team, as well as ensuring that all of their work is completed to the highest standards. Brenna has been an invaluable member of our management team and I know that she will continue to contribute greatly in her role as Studio Director.


Starburst Creative sponsored the Ad Club of Edmonton’s Student Speed Mentoring night on October 7, during which Starburst’s President, Rob Jennings, announced our two new NAIT and Alberta School of Business scholarships. Account Director Kiri Wysynski, Studio Manager Brenna Voogd and Account Executive Chelsea Rho were also at the event as mentors. Here are their thoughts.

Why did you volunteer as a mentor for the event?

Chelsea: A few years ago I attended Speed Mentoring as a student. I was eager and excited to get into the industry, but it was pretty intimidating and I wasn’t sure where to start. This event was a huge turning point for me in terms of understanding what kind of opportunities existed in the city and where my education was steering my career trajectory. Now, as a member of the professional community, I jumped at the opportunity to help bring that experience to the next batch of ad men and women.

Brenna: I was a part of the ACE board last year and the previous year and I wanted to continue to contribute to ACE and the student community. I also feel that ACE and the industry professionals that attend speed mentoring are a very important resource for students and wish I had taken the opportunity to participate more when I was a student.

Kiri: I’ve volunteered for this event for several years. I remember being that student who knew the importance of networking, but wasn’t quite sure how to do it. This is a great way for me to make networking a bit easier for current students. Also, it’s great for my own networking. It’s great to catch up with my industry colleagues, some of whom I may not have seen for several months.

What do you think is the value in an event like this?

Kiri: For students, it’s a chance to tap into a wealth of practical advice on the realities of working in the advertising industry and what different career paths are possible. For people in the agency world, there’s value in seeing who’s coming up through the schools, who’s got a good head on their shoulders, who seems driven and is worth watching.

Chelsea: Opportunities to sit down with some of the leading minds in Edmonton’s ad community don’t come by often. As a student, it can be scary to approach industry professionals on your own, so having a facilitated event that gives you scheduled one-on-one face time with the pros is extremely valuable. From the agency perspective, it’s great to see the next round of potential colleagues who will soon be entering the work force.

Brenna: The value of events like these are that we as professionals get to meet the bright-eyed and bushy-tailed students that are going to be a part of our industry in the next few years; more importantly, it’s a chance for students to get their face out there and set themselves apart from the other students that will be graduating with them. It means they’ll be remembered by the industry professionals they meet with after graduation.

What was your main piece of advice to marketing and advertising students?

Brenna: I had two main pieces of advice. Firstly, find a way to separate yourself from the flock. What makes you better than the next guy/gal? Make a point of being present at industry events, get over your fears of making small talk and meeting new people and take advantage of the knowledge and network that’s out there.

Kiri: It’s a small, connected community. Treat everyone respectfully – you can’t afford to burn bridges.

Chelsea: Get involved! Keep coming out to events. Volunteer. Pursue an internship. There’s no better way to get your name and face out in the community—and show that you’re serious about making a career for yourself in the industry—than to go beyond the basic requirements of completing your education.

What was the best question you were asked?

Chelsea: I had a few students ask me how I got to where I am—it was nice to be able to tell them firsthand how getting out into the community and getting involved really does make all the difference.

Brenna: The best question I was asked was “What can I do to set myself apart from the crowd?” It showed me that they were really interested in the industry and keen on figuring out how to get into the inner circle.

Kiri: “Did you ever take the ‘wrong’ job and regret it?” My answer was yes, I have taken the “wrong” job, but I don’t regret it because there’s always something to learn or a new skill to develop, and it’s ultimately led me to the right job.