Copywriter

As Senior Copywriter for 15 years at Leo Burnett, Canada’s most award-winning agency, I wrote ads for the biggest brands and companies in the world, like Kellogg’s, P&G, Bell, IKEA, VISA, Smucker’s, Robin Hood, Toyota, Tylenol. I turned Gain Detergent from a little known name into one of P&G’s rare billion dollar brands. When Leo Burnett was pitching for Zellers, the whole agency was working on it, and I came up with a mom-centred campaign that won the account. When VISA was desperate for an idea to rival Mastercard’s “Priceless” campaign, the whole agency was on the case, and I came up with the “If life were like that, you wouldn’t need a Visa card” campaign that won at Cannes and lasted for years. When Tide in Japan was struggling, Leo Burnett sent me to Tokyo to help out a sister agency there because I was known as the detergent expert and the P&G client had worked with me in the U.S. and loved my work. A creative director at Leo called me the agency’s “secret weapon” they would send in when nobody else could crack a project. Clients benefited from my multiple talents – I acted in TV and radio ads, filmed and starred in a web series for Orville Redenbacher (for which I came up with the name Celebrity Josh), drew award-winning illustrations, and even wrote songs for TV commercials. My copywriting work has won the top awards in the world, like One Show, Clios and Cannes.

• Résumé and List Of Awards

TV Commercials playlist:

Radio Commercials playlist:

Print and Outdoor:

Wrigley is a demanding client – They want their pack of gum front and centre, and the benefit of the gum (fresh breath) featured prominently. They’re a traditional company, so are reticent to go too crazy with their ads. But I was able to come up with a unique, hilarious campaign that made focus groups laugh, consumers take notice, and gum sales rocket. I created the Excel Giant Gorilla, who freshens his breath by chewing people who chew Excel gum. We created a unique look, with real people’s bodies, super imposed with claymation heads. Agency: Leo Burnett Toronto

The Excel campaign started with the TV commercial Giant Gorilla. The client was wary of this odd, possibly scary idea. But the animatic tested higher than anything they’d ever tested. So we made the commercial.
The commercial was a hit, so I wrote a follow up, where now our gorilla was an official spokesperson.
Then Excel launched a spicy gum called Inferno. Our gorilla crashed the party.
We made a website all about the gorilla. We even made an emergency hotline phone number, where people could get help surviving the gorilla. Oh, and I was the voice of the hotline, because I’m also an actor and comedian.
Simple visual solution to communicate Orange Cranberry All-Bran Bars.

Altoids cinema campaign

Altoids Mints are famous for their tagline “The curiously strong mint.” I wrote a campaign that appeared on slides that were shown on movie screens before trailers began, and in movie theatre magazines. I played with famous movie lines and expressions about movies. Agency: Leo Burnett Toronto

Alzheimer’s Walk For Memories

I came up with the simple visual idea of a yellow shoelace tied around a finger. Yellow is the colour of Alzheimer’s care. A shoelace ties into the idea of the walk. And tying a string around your finger is a common example of how people remember something. The image was used in all sorts of media. The charity staff was on the TV news showing their finger string. Even the Mayor of Toronto was photographed with the string around his finger.

2003 Blackout

In 2003, there was a giant blackout. I quickly created some ads about it for various clients, pointing out how they could help in the situation. Here are examples for Zellers (a discount department store) and Cheer Detergent (which prevents fading of clothes).

Bounce Fabric Softener

Bounce comes in the traditional dryer sheets. It also comes in a new dryer bar that sticks to the inside of the dryer. The client like to push the dryer bar, since they make more money from it. So I found fun ways to talk about both formats.

Canadians For Equal Marriage

During the 2004 election, whether to allow gay marriage was a hot political topic. I wrote ads that compared the fight for gay rights to the civil rights fight for black rights.

This was a fun take on it, to appeal to university students.

Cheer Detergent

Cheer’s benefit is that it helps prevent clothes from fading. Over the years, they’ve explored the best way to communicate that – Is it about keeping blacks black? Is it about enjoying the brightest colours? Is it about being able to wear your clothes longer? Why would people pay more for this premium detergent? I was on the journey with the client for years, coming up with innovative TV commercials and print ads to tackle this problem from many angles.

Cheer True Fit

Cheer True Fit is a type of detergent that keeps clothes from stretching, so they keep fitting well. I came up with ads that played off the insight that women have trouble finding clothes that fit.

In my Cheer TV commercials, you’ll see that there are songs about love not fading away. I wrote these songs. For one commercial, the song was such a hit, we created a full song and sent CD’s to consumers. For another commercial, I had an idea for a song contest. A sound house wrote 2 songs, and I wrote 1, and we had consumers vote for which one they wanted on the TV commercial – My song won.

Chef Boyardee

Children’s Tylenol

It’s hard to get some humour into a usually serious Tylenol ad. But the humour spoke to the benefit, and resonated with parents. Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi Toronto.

Tylenol Menstrual