Blog / June 14, 2017
In 1999, my partners Tom and Ian and I decided to open our own agency after a 10-year stint with Palmer Jarvis DDB. We knew we wanted to open a different kind of agency, which is why we chose the name Rethink.
For inspiration, we looked to agencies like Wieden and Kennedy and Andy Macaulay’s new agency Zig. We also looked to brands outside of advertising driven by belief— namely Apple and IKEA. We talked about how we wanted to be the IKEA of ad agencies— creating great ideas for the many, more efficiently and more humanely than other agencies.
On opening day, we filled our office with IKEA. A key purchase was a glass desk, called Moment, which I still sit at to this day.
Ten years later, we moved into much bigger offices. We needed new business cards, but we’re thrifty, so we went to an online supplier that gave you a choice of 100 designs for peanuts. We came up with a bunch of designs—some that showed off our office, or cartoons of our staff, or our philosophies like “keep going.”
But we also threw one card into the mix as a tribute to IKEA. Now, I know this could open us up to a lawsuit for trademark infringement—but it’s meant as the ultimate compliment. When I handed this card out, people would say, “Is IKEA a client?” And I’d always say, “Not yet. But we see ourselves as the IKEA of ad agencies. And we’d love to work with them someday.” We’re so happy and excited that someday has finally arrived.
Chris Staples is a founding partner with Rethink, with offices in Toronto, Vancouver and Montréal.