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Elliott Kuss

Chicken Picketers

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Chicken Picketers

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A group of sign carrying protestors let Central Social Hall know how passionate people are about their wings. When the gastropub first introduced free wings with the purchase of a drink for its Friday happy hour, the intention was to keep it for a month. Then it was extended to two months. Then three. The Friday happy hour crowd loved the free wings so much, Central Social Hall decided to keep the deal indefinitely. Instead of a traditional promotion for the indefinite free wings on Fridays, we organized a protest to “coerce” the indefinite wing decision. With the help of some creative sign painters and some of Edmonton’s finest actors, we staged a demonstration outside of the downtown Edmonton location, right on the corner of two of the busiest roads in the city’s core. As far as we can tell, free wings for Friday happy hour isn’t ending any time soon.

Rob Jennings

A is for Ambition

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A is for Ambition

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Saying something like “We are defined by our ambition” is one thing. But quantifying it? That’s another thing altogether. How do you prove something like that?

Growth. That’s the metric for ambition. You prove it with growth.

Last month, we celebrated our 10-year anniversary and the ambition that drove us from a one-person consultancy to an agency of 25, working out of offices in Edmonton and Toronto.

And today, I’m very pleased to announce that Canadian Business and Maclean’s has ranked FKA No. 150 on the 30th annual Growth 500, the definitive ranking of Canada’s Fastest-Growing Companies. We made the list based on an impressive five-year revenue growth of 571%.

I’ve often said that the best client-agency relationships are founded on a like-minded approach to business. And I believe our growth is the natural outcome of working with our clients, a very successful and ambitious group of Canadian companies. Like us, many of them are headquartered here in Edmonton—a testament to the entrepreneurial spirit of our city.

Wow… No. 150 on the Growth 500. What else is there to say? I’m incredibly proud of our team for numbering among Canada’s Fastest Growing Companies and I sincerely congratulate all of the businesses who made the list.

Welp, someone in our industry has potentially said something outrageous, and we at FKA are very here for it.

Last week, the CEO and CCO of Havas Creative North America, Paul Marobella and Jason Peterson, adorned their finest streetwear and perched in front of a large green-screen for the first of a series of agency-wide video updates. In it, they implore their creative teams to shift their paradigm from that of creative to creator. As Peterson, a man who almost definitely owns a Supreme Brick, brusquely puts it: Havas’ competition is “…kids with iPhones and millions of YouTube followers.” He also happens to call the agencies of Leo Burnett, BBDO and FCB “shitty.” Poop emojis and a farting effect are added for good measure, obviously.

Check out their video here.

As you can imagine, this hot take has stirred the proverbial pot, springing forward a range of thoughts and opinions. Do they have a point, Tim and Eric-esque production aside? Did they cross the line? Is the video just really…lame?

For FKA’s erudite musings on the video, listen to the first snippet from our upcoming podcast below! (No, that’s not a joke. We’re making a podcast.)

 

Rob Jennings

FKA X

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FKA X

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After reflecting on my last decade in business, I’ve come to a few conclusions. When starting a business, there is a tendency to define it by what it is not. It’s not going to be typical. It’s not going to be like everyone else. It’s nothing like the places you may have worked before. It’s going to be different. But the irony is that in focusing on what we are not, we all end up the same. Because it is hard to be unique. It is hard to be true.

It took me most of our 10 years in business to date to actually define what started as Starburst and has since become FKA.

Two years ago, we started the branding process that would culminate in our new name and identity. The first step in the process? An internal branding exercise in which we asked everyone individually to choose three attributes that defined our agency, culturally and collectively. The results were telling.

Number 3. Fun. Why not! Fun is good!
Number 2. Knowledgeable. Phew! That one was a bit of a relief. At least we know what we’re doing.
And number 1. Ambitious.

Wow.

I don’t think I’ve ever been prouder in my life than I was the moment I realized my team decided that we were defined by ambition more than anything else. Yeah, I have kids, I’m proud of them, all the time, every day, obviously…but this was a high watermark.

Now, if you didn’t know already, it’s probably dawning on you how we settled on our new name. Fun. Knowledgeable. Ambitious. F. K. And above all, A.

Ambition. It defines us. We’re driven by it. Relentlessly so.

Ambition drives us to grow. 571% over the past five years. From one person (me) to twenty-seven. We are now among the largest agencies in the city.

Ambition drives us to seek out like-minded clients. Many of them retail but all of them successful businesses and organizations who demand results and share a philosophy which we internally refer to only semi-jokingly as “sell or die.”

Ambition drives us to learn more. To be better. To adapt to the accelerating pace of evolution in marketing and communications.

Ambition drives our processes. At FKA, we have banished “set it and forget it.” In every project, every campaign, every tactic, we seek out opportunities to learn from the results and make it better. Advertising is research. (Research that sells, too—what better kind, really.) Act. Analyze. Adapt. That is our mantra. Ambition means a bias for action. We prioritize doing and learning.

It is ambition that has brought us here, to this moment in time, this celebration.

And I want to say a few thank-yous. First, I want to thank all our clients. We are nothing without our clients and we are humbled that so many came out to celebrate with us last night. I also want to thank all our vendors, partners and contemporaries who joined us too.

Of course, I want to thank my team. Our team. The wonderfully diverse, incredibly talented and highly ambitious group of people that make FKA what it is. It’s a pleasure and an honour to work with every one of you. I especially want to thank Kim Odland and Robert Lennon, my business partners. Their investment and interest in this agency have been instrumental.

And finally, I want to thank my wife, Mieke. She has been a steadfast supporter (and frequent critic—always constructive, of course) of everything I do and I absolutely couldn’t do it without her.

Thank you all! See you in ten years. Or later this week, more likely—we have a lot of meetings!

Jeff McLean

CWB Mortgage Coach

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CWB Mortgage Coach

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We think you should celebrate all of life’s victories, including big financial wins. For a lot of people, the biggest financial win they will experience is buying their first home. And like any great victory, there’s always a coach looking out and guiding along the way. That’s exactly the point we wanted to get across with this video for Canadian Western Bank (CWB). Highlighting how the bank’s team of mortgage specialists help homebuyers from start to finish and through ever bump along the way demonstrates why the champion-level service from CWB’s mortgage team deserves a championship celebration. Fun fact, CWB’s President and CEO Chris Fowler is a former Canadian rugby player, so the sports analogies are especially appropriate for this bank.