Jason Theodor is a Creative Director

This body of work (portfolio) has a strong focus on brand strategy and digital content

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Jason is quite simply one of the best creative collaborators I’ve had the pleasure of partnering with. He is a multi-instrumentalist. The places his brain goes are inspiring. —Dré Labre, Creative Director at Rethink Canada

Overview

I hate marketing speak. I can do it, of course, having worked in the ad world for over 20 years. But it’s so calculated and disingenuous. I much prefer real conversations—the kind most people have with each other. People don’t want their interaction with a brand to feel like a legal business deal (unless it is a legal business deal). They want it to be frictionless, enjoyable, and something of value.

So if I’m selling myself, the same rules apply. Here’s what I can do, in plain English:

  • Win new business because I know how to think strategically and come up with ideas. But most importantly, I know how to present in a way that builds trust — it’s called being honest.
  • Help a brand uncover their purpose. I use a methodology that quickly gets to the differentiating attributes, benefits, values, and personality of a brand. It culminates in a challenging brand promise that speaks to both employees and customers. It can be used to judge campaign ideas, line extensions, and new business plans, by asking if they deliver on the brand promise.
  • Work with all levels of business. From small local brands to large multinational companies, I’ve worked with brands like PortsToronto and Aboriginal Peoples Television Network, as well as WestJet, Citibank, General Motors, and Nike (to name a few).
  • Up your creative and strategic game. Everywhere I’ve worked, I have mentored staff in creative skills. I take them through StrengthsFinder 2.0 and then we practice different ideation techniques. I’m also a big proponent of cross-pollination—where the senior staff’s branding experience is mixed with the junior staff’s life experience. This is the only way you can sell and create an effective, modern campaign. With the right teams, you can have both breadth and depth.

The following is an overview of my work experience, working backward in time to my first Creative Directorship in 2005.


loopmedia

January 2015 — April 2016 (learning sabbatical)

Loopmedia was a radical departure from big ad agency life. I came in as VP Executive Director of Strategy & Creative to help a video production shop dabble in digital marketing. I helped to shape their branding practices, culture, and technology and they taught me all they knew about animation, live-action, editing, and sound.

I pitched (and won) a lot of new business (APTN rebrand, PortsToronto campaign).

Clients included Pasco, Oxford Properties, Hayward Gordon, HollisWealth, PortsToronto, Planters Peanuts, and Aboriginal Peoples Television Network

I ran multiple brand workshops to help clients discover their purpose. Then I wrote brand definition documents to articulate our discoveries.

PortsToronto It’s My Airport Campaign

Magazine, Newspaper, OOH, Digital Billboards, Airport Tunnel, Television, Pre-rolls

This candid campaign started with a very simple idea: what if we found existing fans of Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport on Twitter, and asked them if they’d be interested in starring in a micro-documentary? The result was so genuine that it spun out into a full campaign of real, unscripted passengers explaining how Billy Bishop is their airport of choice.

Planters Peanut Butter

Facebook and Preroll

Planters wanted to do something different, and they got it. A tempting Mr. Peanut parodies everything from The Graduate to American Beauty. Warning: the following video may be disturbing to some viewers, but delicious to other.

APTN (Aboriginal Peoples Television Network)

Brand exploration, brand workshop, On-air rebrand

APTN’s Brand Promise & revised logo, part of the brand pyramid and brand guidelines

Challenge
Articulate APTN’s brand promise, then use it to create a new on-air design for the broadcaster and their properties.

Solution
After months of interviews, research and reading (including the fascinating book by Jennifer David, Original People, Original Television: The Launching of the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network), I was struck by the idea of calling their logo The Storyteller. Everyone saw something different in it—a dancing man, the sun setting over a lake, a watchful eye—so it played the part of a malleable symbol. After that, it all fell into place. APTN has a platform and a responsibility to tell the stories that others can not: from bedtime legends to hard-hitting journalism. APTN’s brand promise become:

Share the stories only we can tell.

Result
This different way of looking at the world translated into the graphical mnemonic of a skewed square: the trapezoid. Combined with bold colours and a refreshed logo, APTN looks like a premium channel with premium content, and the added value of a unique, refreshingly honest perspective on Canada and the world.


Publicis Modem Toronto

April 2012 — September 2014

  • head creative director for digital creative team of 20
  • pitched and won new business from WestJet, Canada Post, Red Lobster, Rogers
  • presented to and brainstormed with clients
  • hosted weekly creative session called “The Den” to promote presentation & ideation skills, and invigorate the creative department
  • clients included Canada Post, The Home Depot, LG, PayPal, CIBC, BMO, WestJet

WestJet

Mobile App

Download for iOS on iTunes

Challenge
Create a worthy airline app that ‘cares’ by putting the customers’ needs first.

Solution
A beautiful, useful app that keeps track of your trips and puts the contextual information you need upfront — including booking, check-in, flight status, and passbook integration.

Result
Apple called it a beautiful example of how to implement iOS 7 design. Customers gave it 3.5 stars, which continues to rise as new features are released.


Canada Post

Direct Mail reframing initiative

I coined and sold the term “Smartmail” to reframe the discussion about Direct Mail

BMO Financial Literacy

Responsive Website

Challenge
There is a need for greater financial literacy in Canada and the United States. The BMO brand stands for bringing clarity and confidence to financial matters (“Make money make sense”). This can be demonstrated by strategically combining their unique set of resources (Institute For Learning, money managers, and existing resources in print and online). This is not about selling products but about creating real value.

Solution
Let’s Start: a financial education site with strong gameification elements and relevant, step-by-step content around budgeting, mortgages, debt solutions. It acts as a mentor, pointing people to the right resources to educate themselves, and motivating them along the way.

Result
Positive internal reaction with planned rollout into the United States and consumer testing.

Blast Radius Toronto

August 2010 — April 2012

  • creative director for entire digital creative team
  • lead pitch teams
  • presented to and brainstormed with clients
  • inspired strategic focused ideation
  • clients included BMW, Cox Communications, Nike
Nike Toronto flagship store

Challenge
Launch the new fully reflective Vapour Flash jacket at the Toronto flagship Nike store, leveraging the night of Nuit Blanche.

Solution
Thirty Nike Run Toronto participants were outfitted with free jackets and asked to run through a predefined course, checking in at various locations. This created the word RUN on a projection at the Yorkville store, where customers could try on the jacket and star in their own Nike ad. Their stroboscopic photos were shared on Nike’s Facebook page where the customers could tag and share them.

2012 Silver Marketing Award for Digital Creative Use of Technology

Grey Canada Toronto

April 2010 — July 2010 (contract)

  • directed interactive creatives
  • presented and brainstormed with clients
  • clients included Playtex, Coppertone, Cialis

Challenge
Make teen girls aware of and more comfortable with the Playtex brand.

Solution
Create a fun, personalized quiz that taps into the user’s Facebook API to ask personalized questions about their friends and who they know best. Then the results are shared with their network, exposing their friends to the Playtex brand.

Result
Over 30,000 plays during the first week and impressions shared to millions.


Critical Mass Toronto

March 2008 — February 2010

  • lead pitch teams
  • presented to and brainstormed with clients
  • inspired strategic focused ideation
  • lead creative teams through an 18-month project re-imagining digital finance with one of the world’s largest banks
  • brought social media to Ferrero with the successful launch of @EllaNutellaCDN
  • led a successful pitch for Glad in Canada
  • helped to redefine the luxury furniture brand of Theodore Alexander

OgilvyInteractive Toronto

April 2005 — June 2007

  • creative director for digital teams
  • staffing, mentoring, strategy, brainstorming, presentations, consultation
  • Clients: Yahoo! Canada, Research In Motion (Blackberry), Smuckers (Robin Hood, Bicks), Cogeco, American Express, Winners, IBM, Lenovo, Quiznos, Cisco, Canadian Automobile Association, Olivieri, Domtar, Yellow Pages, Canadian Springs, DHL
  • Digital Consultant for mass brands like Dove (Campaign for Real Beauty, Evolution, Amy), Kraft (Diamond Shreddies, Honeycomb Beeboy.org), Mattel (Barbie)

Challenge

Make young people more aware of the new Yahoo! Mail product and it’s superiority over other email products.

Solution

Thumb-wrestling luchadors! Create a funny series of videos pitting the Yahoo! Mail Man vs. Sweat Mail (representing Hotmail), while demonstrating product superiority. Allow users to create, share, and print their own thumb-wrestling costumes to fight at home or in the office.

Result

Luchadors rose in both stature and popularity, and Yahoo! Mail also got some much-needed attention.

Jason Theodor
jason.theodor@gmail.com
+1 416 662 0144

Jason Theodor is a Creative Director, Speaker, WriterGeek

Jason’s modest goal is to unlock the world’s creative potential. He is regularly featured at conferences worldwide, including FITC, NXNEi, iab, Collide, springfestival, and Code Motion. Jason also enjoys sharing his experiences with students and is a frequent lecturer at universities like NYU, Rotman’s School of Business, and OCAD. With over 20 years experience in digital marketing, Jason continues to strive for new ways to communicate ideas that are captivating, strategic, and memorable. He is currently writing a book and publishing a daily art journal about creativity and the human condition on Medium.com called All-Day Breakfast.

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