Zig moves brand into US

On Monday afternoon, the entire staff of Toronto's Zig agency welcomed colleagues from Chicago's ad boutique Hadrian's Wall. Then they all celebrated both American Thanksgiving (a few days in advance) and the launching of Zig's first US location.

Toronto-based agency Zig is entering the US ad marketplace via a partnership with Chicago’s savvy ad boutique Hadrian’s Wall, which will be rebranded under the Canadian shop’s name. Formed in 1999 as a partnership between ad industry veteran Andy Macaulay and creative team Elspeth Lynn and Lorraine Tao, Zig is no stranger to the US, especially since the spotlight shone on some of the agency’s work on Ellen DeGeneres’ talk show last week, when she named their Vim and IKEA spots as personal faves. The agency currently houses 60-plus staffers handling such clients as IKEA Canada, Molson, Unilever, Best Buy, Virgin Mobile and Greenpeace.

Macaulay tells MiC that even though Zig Toronto’s portfolio does not include media, Hadrian’s Wall ‘has done media on a project basis, so where they’ve done that in the past, we will continue it.’

Management from the two shops have worked together previously, and the Chicago team will be adopting Zig’s project-management-driven structure, a style that’s similar to their own approach. Each client is assigned an ‘Idea Team’ composed of a strategic planner, a writer and art director, and a team leader/project manager.

Macaulay says the transition to the US should be ‘seamless’ for Zig, which positions itself as a small agency working for big brands. ‘I think that makes all the difference. Clients won’t get lost with us, as they might in a big agency environment.’

Macaulay will lead the new Zig management team as president and partner, with partners Lynn as art director and Tao as copywriter. Although he declined to divulge financial terms of the deal, Macaulay confirmed that Hadrian’s Wall founders Steve Carli and Kevin Lynch will remain principals with a minority ownership stake in the Chicago Zig shop. Lynch will serve as partner and copywriter, while Carli will act as managing partner and planner. Martin Beauvais will be creative director, and Christian Mathieu and Shelley Brown will act as managing directors and team coaches. Stephen Leps will be associate CD/art director, while Aaron Starkman will be associate CD/copywriter.