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Agency Profile: Target Marketing & Communications

Posted on September 26, 2011 and read 7,641 times

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ignaciocreditpic Agency Profile: Target Marketing & CommunicationsIgnacio Oreamuno

Some interesting facts about St. John’s, Newfoundland:

  • Newfoundland is an Island… so to arrive, you must fly or take a boat (or be born there);
  • St. John’s is the most eastern point in North America;
  • St. John’s is the oldest city in North America;
  • St. John’s was the first city to have wireless communication in the world;
  • St. John’s has more bars per capita than any other North American city, and its party street, St. George, has more bars per square foot than any other street in North America.

In little St. John’s is a little agency with 50 people called Target Marketing & Communications. You probably don’t know about it, but if you live in Canada and go to the award shows, their name very frequently pops up. In fact they are “…proud to be one of only 11 agencies in the country to win Gold at Cannes.”

nlgoogle maps 261x261 Agency Profile: Target Marketing & CommunicationsI was always curious about Target and I even know of really talented creatives that made their way there, but I just never came around visiting since it is, well, an island and a bit out of the way.

Since St. John’s is in spirit a small fishing village, my preconceived notions were that everyone was going to be super nice and friendly. Those proved true and surpassed my expectations. Everyone at Target was drinking lots of happy Kool-Aid, that’s for sure. And after going out with them one night I learned that this Kool-Aid could be mixed with rum, beer and other magical potions. The city is spectacularly beautiful and the views to the bay and the sea accompany you wherever you go. There is no traffic and if you have a car and drive, you can essentially be out in nature in the middle of nowhere in less than 20 minutes. There are plenty of gorgeous hiking trails with movie-like views that one can access by taking a little stroll from downtown St. John’s. Somebody said the city grows on you, and I can understand that. If you like a high quality of life, fresh air and amazing people, this is the place to be. There is something romantic about living in the easternmost point of Canada on an island next to the sea. It’s no surprise the agency has attracted people from England, New Zealand, South Africa, United States, Serbia, South America and tons from all over Canada including Toronto, New Brunswick, Edmonton, and Nova Scotia.

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As an agency, Target made a very big strategic decision some time ago, which was to not grow. They had a big building ready to move into, and they decided to sell it and stay in their own place which would literally contain growth since it can literally only hold about 50 people. Containing growth allows people to not have to chase new clients, and instead they can focus on building strong relationships with the ones they already have. It’s a simple rule but it makes a lot of sense, and has allowed them to have clients like Air Canada since 1985, which for the agency world is pretty much a lifetime and a half.

Get the Flash Player to see the wordTube Media Player.
Get the Flash Player to see the wordTube Media Player.

Everybody at the agency was extremely nice and it was clear they really loved their jobs, since many of them had been there for over a decade. The founder of the agency, Noel O’Dea, (who looks remarkably like Santa Claus) is one of those laugh-really-hard, everything-has-a-good-side, let’s-have-a-beer attitudes that is really fun to be around.

The space is really cozy and nice, and sits next to the water with a prime ocean view. I looked around and noticed there was no Ping Pong or pool table. When I asked, they said “we are a Wii agency!” The agency is located right near downtown so there were plenty of great restaurants where you can munch down on oysters, or any of the other delectable seafood the area has to offer. The mood was relaxed and fun, and the vibe was very positive.

Get the Flash Player to see the wordTube Media Player.

cross Agency Profile: Target Marketing & CommunicationsWhen asked about fun, most agencies respond with “We have beers on Thursdays,” but at Target the answer was a bit more extensive. While the agency gets together often for normal things like BBQ’s and beer on the beach that “involve lots of kegstands,” they also endeavor to do other fun things together like going bowling, curling and Chili cook-offs. The agency has an actual social committee that takes it upon itself to do things like boycott Valentine’s Day on the 14th and instead celebrate Single’s Day on the 15th for all the singles in the agency, as well as the usual Halloween festivities, alcohol budget-blowing St. Pattie’s parties, and even cross-dressing Christmas Parties.

msh just do it again billboard 468x234 Agency Profile: Target Marketing & Communications

Writing this article was hard, because Target is very simple and its philosophy of “Hire the best people. Select the best clients. Do the best work. Have fun.” might appear to be bare bones bland, but it is just the truth. No crazy Disruption, 360, Lovebrands agency philosophy here; just simple, modest and fun, the way they like it out east.

buried car 468x234 Agency Profile: Target Marketing & Communications

  • Jack Adamson

    I dare say, you’ve captured the essence of the most favorite agency I ever had the pleasure of freelancing with.

  • Randy Diplock

    I’ve had the pleasure of taking the trip to Target more than a dozen times now. And while there are many things I always take away from my experiences there, one of the more important ones is the proof that the quality of your work doesn’t have to be directly proportional to how big an asshole you are or how chaotic you can make things. Or how much you sweat, or pretend to.

    They confirm to me something I’ve always suspected about the business in general. That you can laugh until you cry and still keep your eye on the ball.

    You can have other interests and obsessions and still put 100% effort into the job at hand.

    And that irreverence can sometimes lead to work that gets revered.

    Having been an art director, writer and director, and with the exception of reps, I’ve probably been in the boardrooms of more ad agencies than anyone in the country. And I can count on one hand with four fingers chopped off, the number of agencies I’d run through a brick wall for.

    (You have three guesses and the first two don’t count.)

    Randy Diplock,
    Toronto, Ontario

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