Jungle Media

Jungle Media flexes its collaborative muscles

Staff: 22
Office: Toronto
New Business: Sleeman Breweries AOR, Hunter Douglas Blinds, Azores Tourist Association, SickKids Hospital

Jungle Media struck Gold this year, taking home top prize in the Media Agency of the Year competition for its work for Cadbury, Ikea and BC Honda Dealers.

The agency has not only been applauded by industry peers here, but received global recognition at the 2012 Cannes Lions Festival. Sheri Metcalfe, VP and co-managing director of Jungle believes an ability to work closely with agency partners helped Jungle create campaigns that impressed the judges this year.

The progeny of Cossette has been challenged with establishing itself in the industry, even when some of its parent agency's existing clients, including Nike, Kraft and Sony Playstation, moved their business to Jungle after it opened its doors in 2010, says Metcalfe. "We're all legacy Cossetters and when we fairly quickly decided to create Jungle Media, it took us a good while to find our voice and figure out how Jungle was different and unique from Cossette," she says.

Metcalfe notes Jungle was created with the mandate of being a stand-alone agency; fully invested in international client business. The initial mandate was to provide global brands with personalized media solutions for the Canadian market, but that later shifted to include local brands in the portfolio. The agency's partnership with Columbus Media (an international association of independent media agencies) makes global client acquisition possible, explains Metcalfe.

"We work collectively when global business comes up for grabs," she says. "Make no mistake though, we are hungry for business and when an opportunity comes up that we believe Jungle would be perfect for, we go for it, international or not."

It didn't take Jungle too long to find its stride in the market though, with the agency landing the Ikea account at the start of its first year in business and going on to produce award-winning campaigns in its second. The "Moving Day" campaign for the Swedish retailer (which won a Bronze Lion in Media at the Cannes Lions Festival) saw Jungle placing empty branded boxes on walls around Montreal on a day when many Quebecers move house.

The idea to give out boxes came from the brand's creative agency Leo Burnett, but it was Jungle that proposed flattening and hanging the boxes on construction hoardings around the city, notes Metcalfe. From this, the campaign was able to achieve scalability and reach, she says, adding that beyond the OOH component, the agency also negotiated a radio partnership with Montreal stations to "get people moving" while in commute.

It was the frequent meetings and willingness to work closely with its creative agency partner that led to the creation of a cohesive campaign that best used the resources at hand, says Metcalfe.

She believes that the best work comes from media when it coexists with creative to amplify the core idea. "That kind of thing takes lots of meetings, and a lot of trust and fondness, to get to a creative solution with an agency partner."

Another collaborative sample of work, with agency partners DentsuBos and Hunter Straker, was the "Break into Alcatraz" contest from Sleeman Breweries. Consumers were given the chance to win tickets to the prison that once housed the brand's oldest customer, Al Capone, who was caught smuggling Sleeman beer in the early 1930s. It was promoted through radio stations such as 102.1 The Edge. Again, the directive was to "make the idea sing in media," says Metcalfe. "This was just one of those ideas that came to us when we were brainstorming. But it was truly a collaborative effort across all the agency partners."

Metcalfe says it can be challenging to find media talent that's comfortable with Jungle's hands-on philosophy "We have a lot of success hiring the entry-level out-of-university crowd and having them grow through our system, versus bringing people in with three to five years [experience]. I think itís because our brand of media is different than the rest of the industry."

"It really is a jungle out there," Metcalfe says, laughing. "There's a need to have a Sherpa guiding you through it all. What we do is just so complex. We have the challenge of trying to figure out new digital opportunities in terms of how to use them creatively. And that's a very iterative process, there's no dogma, it changes all the time."