Newfoundland creative firm named Canada’s Best Small Agency

Target wins Strategy’s Small Agency of the Year 2019

A creative ad agency stubbornly rooted in Newfoundland, a location which most industry people considered to be the most unlikely place to start an ad agency, has now been named Canada’s Small Agency of the Year 2019.

Target Marketing and Communications, located in a restored heritage building on the waterfront in St. John’s, was honoured at a gala event in Toronto by ad industry bible, Strategy. For more than 30 years, the Agency of the Year award has recognized “brilliant creative agencies” in Canada. Target is the inaugural winner for independently- owned shops with under 50 staffers.

“This place is the farthest east you can go in North America without getting wet,” said Noel O’Dea, Founder and Director of Strategic and Creative Planning. “It’s about as far as you can get from the centre of the advertising universe in Toronto, New York, and London. So lots of people said we were nuts. We didn’t care. Newfoundlanders are used to that.”

“We were never good at being predictable,” O’Dea continued. “Predictability is the antithesis of creativity. And creativity is the secret sauce for competitive advantage.”

Target is perhaps best known for its brand and advertising campaigns for Newfoundland and Labrador Tourism. Since 2005, the Find Yourself campaign has become widely recognized as the most successful and most awarded tourism and destination marketing campaign in North America. Target’s tourism work was also awarded the prestigious ‘Best Campaign’ award at the Agency of the Year gala event.

In addition to travel and tourism, Target also has extensive experience working for clients in a wide range of consumer and business categories including airline, retail, food, telecom, universities, and beer. More than half its business comes from outside Newfoundland.

Catherine Kelly is Director of Account Management and a 21-year veteran at Target. “Newfoundland is our secret ingredient,” she says. “It’s the most creative place in the world. We see things differently here, and that shapes how we think, how we go about seeing a problem.” 

Strategy’s write up for the Agency of the Year Award noted that “Target has always worked at the intersection of strategy and creative”, noting Target’s “outsider’s point of view, and a human creative approach.”