An idea is intangible. You can’t touch it, feel it, see it. Its virtues go only so far as another’s subjectivity. A good idea can come from anyone, anywhere, at anytime. (Let’s add bacon!) Good ideas paint the canvas of our society. We see them daily, peppering us with information-overload to the point of being unable to discern one from the next. It’s great ideas that adorn our visual landscape with opulence and intrigue. Great ideas are much less constant. They’re born of a mix of wisdom and bravery – wisdom the foundation, bravery the structure.
Community Agency – the marketing shop under the Pulp&Fiber umbrella – incites great ideas. You’ve likely seen its work, confident in execution and unabashedly juxtaposed next to another firm’s merely good idea. Community’s work has stood out to you, it’s affected you. Whether it be the toy block wall at the Thompson Diner that was actually a covertly interactive Heineken installation, or the Bacardi branded bar at the Rogers Centre where you snatch your tipples pre-game, or the intensely beautiful Caesarstone carvings that projected silhouettes on the rustic walls of the Fermenting Cellar, Community’s craft is memorable and engaging. It turns the consumer into the brander, proffering queues for next-day water-cooler chatter and Google hangouts. (Do people use Google hangouts…?)
The trinity at the helm of Community Agency is comprised of Art Mandalas, David Smulowitz, and Jesse Carere. These three modern-day mad men (in the loosest definition, of course) have pooled their talents – and those of their 60-person team – into a fully-functioning agency, where traditional campaigns, experiential marketing, design, and digital not only meet, they flow through each other in a pas de deux of refinement and finesse.
This trio of ideators redefines the “mad men” archetype: Art, the Quiet Creative; David, the Duke of Digital; and Jesse, the Shark. They’re the guys you want on your case… because heaven help the competition of their clients…
Art Mandalas | The Quiet Creative
He’s more introverted than you’d expect. He’s gone through the growing pains of traditional meets digital meets experiential, and shows reverence for all. He and David began Fiber Design years back before integrating Pulp Printing into their portfolio. (They bridged to become Pulp&Fiber.) Through the age of service maturation via new clients and the splattering of Fiber’s work across King West, Community Agency was incepted as a way to holistically approach P&F’s clients’ growing marketing needs. Now Art and his cohorts sit atop an umbrella of capabilities, able to redact solutions with confidence and aplomb.
For someone in such an auspicious role, you’d think there’d be markings of ego strewn across his persona. Instead he’s a quiet man, one who celebrates victories large and small. He credits his team – a community in and of itself – alluding to design thought process being as important as experience itself. He’s an early adopter. He’s a trendsetter. He’s helped shape the aesthetic of Toronto’s hospitality industry. And yet you get the sense that he’d be contented without the titles and accolades. For him, his virtues lie in his craft – his joie de vivre. And it’s that very characteristic which has helped guide Community’s many successes…
David Smulowitz | The Duke of Digital
Of all three Community heads, David is the one you’ll want to shoot the shit with over a pint. If we were to debase the Community men down to Freudian terms, David would be the ego – the balancer. He’s affable, clever, and very much an everyman. His command of digital practices is to be lauded – ever-evolving his and his team’s capabilities.
David’s days are spent in the digital and experiential realms, where efficient and innovative execution is tantamount to success. He talks about the lifecycle of digital (four digital years to one analog) with a slight smile. He compares social network numbers using terms of loyalty and engagement vs. vast stretches of networks; there’s an understanding of quality over quantity, something often missing in the social sphere. You get a sense he knows he’s on top of it all, but he’s simultaneously cognisant that in a flash he could fall behind. Digital is a cat-and-mouse game where you can never rest on your laurels, and David is the Duke of Digital, after all.
Community has been influential in altering how brands look at design and execution. An online version of the Game of Life built for CAA to bolster brand interaction and that uses real-time weather to dictate the skyline background is a non-traditional build for web that even two years ago would have been a tough sell. But it works. (I want car insurance and I don’t even drive!) That’s what David’s after: altering a consumer’s perception of brand and interactivity. And it’s what he and his Digital/XM teams do. And they do it well. Which, naturally, makes The Shark’s job that much easier…
Jesse Carere | The Shark
Jesse’s got the kind of edge about him that makes it difficult to get fully comfortable in his presence. It’s not his mannerisms, nor his demeanour necessarily. Maybe it’s that sitting down for an extended conversation makes him uncomfortable. Not because he isn’t conversational or a slightly convivial fellow… but because you sort of get the sense that he has a hard time stepping away from his work. He’s a Shark, and he’s looking for that next big fish…
Of which he’s had many. Jesse joined Community at its inception a couple years ago. (He actually presented the name.) At first he was somewhat of a one-man-show in the newly formed agency, nabbing clients, selling ideas… working ’round the clock chasing the dream whales. He now oversees a rather substantial team, netting him the luxury of crafting the big ideas, the ones you shop to potential clients who are being massaged by countless other agency sharks. Community wins when Jesse wins… and Jesse likes to win. A tastemaker in the most classical sense of the term, Jesse’s hunger for perfect execution and helping shape a brand’s message in ways few other agencies would attempt let alone muster the courage to shop around is admirable.
You want Jesse’s ideas to surround your brand because you want your brand to be synonymous with whatever will catapult you above your competition. And what is winning but the pursuit of being better than the rest, not better than yourself…?