A clean sheet is an invitation to greatness.
We are called cleansheet because we have a track record of helping clients overcome challenges with even fresher perspectives.
We create stories that take ideas to media never before imagined.
We create ideas that inspire corporations and customers in equal measure.
We reward clients' faith with accelerated growth.
Founded in 2005, cleansheet is an independently owned, full-service communications company with clients from packaged goods, to retail, to government to worthy causes. Our philosophy is best captured in our name. When we created cleansheet, we started with a clean sheet, a vision and a desire to do things differently and better for clients. We felt clients had unmet needs and we created a new model to service them.Read More
As an entrepreneurial agency, we are structured with more seniority, less layers and more nimbleness to help our clients’ businesses grow. The results are direct and open lines of communication for our clients. We do not answer to a head office. We answer to the results we work towards, day in and day out. We empower our people to help drive our clients’ businesses forward. Not surprisingly, our work and culture are notoriously positive, inspiring and optimistic in nature.
Our co-founders and principals are Neil McOstrich and Catherine Frank. Before founding cleansheet, they ran multi-national agencies like BBDO and DDB at the highest levels. Between them, they have been leaders at Agency of the Year awarded agencies 11 times. One of their campaigns was voted Top 10 of All Time by Canadians. Another, has become a viral sensation worldwide.
As an agency of thinkers and rainbow chasers, we love what we do and seek, with every campaign, to take every brand’s truth and create relevance in ways that compel people to engage. Because there is nothing more powerful than ideas people want to be part of! Something we know firsthand, since our “Wheels” ad for Canadian Tire has generated over 252 million viral views globally! And has been shared over 4.1 million times which, for perspective, is 2X more than the top ten Super Bowl commercials combined for that year.
We have always passionately believed that creativity and business success must live together. They especially thrive in situations when it matters most – which explains why, on 4 separate occasions, we’ve proudly watched our clients be named Marketing’s Top 10 Marketers that Mattered.
We make things happen because our work is hopeful and positive. Ideas like these can inspire the corporation as much as the customer. What results is not creativity, but sustainable creativity, where everyone innovates on the brand’s behalf. This creates business building acceleration. In every case, the key to this acceleration is marrying the brand’s truth with an insightful and compelling human truth. Connecting, in other words, a rational reason to believe in a proposition with an emotional reason to act upon it. It’s magic in action, as we found out with a rallying cry we created for Canadian Tire – We All Play for Canada. It has become a long-term brand asset rallying external and internal audiences alike.
There is no perfect brand we lust after, but there are perfect clients: those with a challenger mentality who aspire beyond the status quo. These are the folks we spring out of bed for each morning. These are the clients who have tasked us with 12 critical launches/relaunches in the past 10 years.
Our company’s name, should curiosity be getting the better of you, is inspired by the one thing common to our every success, past, present and future – a clean sheet. And with it, the potential for an unprecedented idea.
Co-founder & Chief Storytelling OfficerRead More
I believe storytelling is the essence of all great communication. As such, throughout my career, I have sought to convey human insights through hopeful creativity to build great brands. Brands that inspire customers and corporations in equal measure. Because when internal and external audiences are galvanized around the same motivation, the results delivered are always exponential.
I have had the good fortune to work on brands as famous as the Caramilk Secret, for entrepreneurs as celebrated as Phil Knight and Nike and for brands as nation-building and iconic as Canadian Tire. As proof of my approach, my creative leadership has been acknowledged with 5 Agency of the Year Awards for business-accelerating results.
As a builder of companies, I am presently co-founder and Chief Storytelling Officer of cleansheet, the company behind many of Canada’s most audacious launches and re-positionings. Including the We All Play for Canada platform for Canadian Tire – one so embraced, it positively impacted company morale, net positive sentiment on social media and brand image scores to unprecedented levels.
One commercial from that campaign called “Wheels” has become a worldwide viral phenomenon with over 252,000,000 organic, unpaid views. It has been shared over 4.1 million times which, for perspective, is 2X more than the top ten Super Bowl commercials combined for that year.
In every campaign I do, I seek to wrap the brand’s authenticity and relevance in ways that help people learn something about themselves as well. Perhaps this explains why two of my other commercials were voted among the Top Ten Ads in Canadian history by the Canadian public. Or why, just recently, my creativity was cited by New York publication Adweek alongside Drake and the Weeknd as among Toronto’s 5 most influential creative exports to the world.
I simply love what I do. And believe that clients of significance deserve nothing less than creative storytelling platforms of equal significance.
Outside of business, I wear many hats.
As an author, I have deployed the wisdom of storytelling and lessons learned in my book Once Upon a Plane to inspire everyone from CEOs to up and comers. As a sought after speaker, I am proud to have been named our industry’s “best storyteller” by AdLounge.
And as a hockey player who missed the NHL draft by– oh 30 years! – I have maintained my passion by touring 15 European countries playing, sharing beers in the dressing room and realizing that we are all not so different after all.
Our company is called cleansheet. I love that! Because there is nothing more inspiring than a clean sheet of paper in the presence of people who believe ideas can change the world.
Co-founder & Chief Strategic OfficerRead More
I believe doing good work with good people is the ultimate reward. Following this credo has seen me lead some of Canada’s most noteworthy agencies, including leading several of them to Agency of the Year honours based on business results no less than six times.
Almost 15 years ago, when Neil and I created cleansheet, we laid our career’s work on the table and asked ourselves what the best work had in common? Invariably, it was as inspiring to the corporation as it was to the customer. And that, is what creates the jaw-dropping acceleration we seek on our clients’ behalves.
I believe any agency that seeks to influence culture must abide by one itself. Precisely why on Wednesdays, we gather cleansheet around our big harvest table to eat – and more importantly, talk optimistically about ways to change the world. This has created a collaborative, respectful culture with turnover 1/10th the industry average. More importantly, it has contributed to an optimistic outlook that makes our work especially magnetic.
As an agency owner with many hats to wear, I am proud that cleansheet has been recognized across such diverse categories as: Profit Magazine’s Hot 50 New Growth Companies, Canada’s 10 Most Admired Companies nominee, Strategy Agency of the Year Shortlist, Top 10 Design Agencies in Canada, creators of powerful social media content and the worldwide viral phenomenon created for Canadian Tire at over 252,000,000 unpaid views.
I have always passionately believed that creativity and business success can live together, across all categories. As such, my experience spans from industrial to consumer marketing, products to services, packaged goods to highly technical, and retail to B2B. I simply love challenging situations where I need to be at my best when it matters most to the corporation – which is probably why, on 4 separate occasions, I’ve proudly watched my clients be named Marketing’s Top 10 Marketers that Mattered.
In every case, the key to success has been marrying the brand’s authenticity with an insightful and compelling human truth. Connecting, in other words, a rational reason to believe in a proposition with an emotional reason to act upon it. It’s magic in action, as we found out with a rallying cry we created for Canadian Tire – We All Play for Canada. The platform drove Canadian Tire’s results to unprecedented levels.– researched as the strongest campaign of all Olympic Advertisers (2014 and 2016), and earned Best of Show at the national Media Innovation Awards and multiple CMA awards for effectiveness (across the advertising, digital, community engagement and Integrated categories), 4 Clios and an Effie internationally. Since 2013, it has become a long-term brand asset rallying external and internal audiences alike.
Metaphorically, I see every day as a clean sheet. As an opportunity to work along like-minded individuals to challenge the status quo with ideas that make our world a better place.
• Brand strategy
Barrier Busting© methodology includes Discovery Workshops, Strategic Platform development, Brand Architecture, Strategic creative platform and expression, Brand Positioning, Brand Manifesto, Incubation SessionsTM, Brand Architecture, Brand Guideline development as well as initial target market research and refinement. We explore the most promising areas looking for ways to unite the Brand truth with the human need.
• Brand communications and channel planning
Strategic channel and key messaging are plotted per tactic to resonate most effectively where the consumer is in their path to purchase to drive exponential results, along the media funnel (awareness, interest and consideration), across all owned, earned and paid properties.
• Integrated marketing
Includes but not limited to video (from feature length, to brand videos to :06 second videos), social media advertising (Facebook, Instagram, SnapChat, Tik Tok), digital display, direct marketing including email (ECRM), customer relationship management (CRM), Social CRM, Mobile applications, websites or promotional landing pages, contests and promotions, experiential marketing, influencer engagement, Search (SEM) and internal employee communications. You name it, we’ve done it, and we’re always eager to explore new channels.
We leverage solid strategic foundations to develop motivating advertising creative that is brought to market across all formats and channels. We look for creative ways to express the insight. Regardless of the medium, the perfect expression will inspire the prospect. Because of our strategic application to everything we do our work has been awarded internationally as well as domestically for effectiveness.
• Design & Production
Cleansheet offers a unique mix of services in design. Our design team consists of digital designers, graphic/desktop artists, digital animators, art directors and video editor/animators. Like everything we do, we mine research for insights and translate them into powerful and thoughtful design. We believe design goes beyond beautiful imagery. It has the power to speak more eloquently than words ever could. Our vast experience includes naming, design of logos, brand identities, visual systems, e-newsletters, websites and more.
• Content creation with strong in-house video production capabilities
With interactive art directors, designers, and an in-house production arm called bestlight, we create content for the ever expanding social and interactive space. We create high quality content from :06 second spots, to traditional :30 second broadcast, to long form brand or corporate videos, to full feature length or documentary, we’ve don’t it all. Since we control the process from concept development to postproduction, we are able to deliver work under accelerated timelines.
• Digital Services
Services include digital discovery session and planning, customer journey mapping, website development and design, auditing and copywriting, content strategy, digital brand guidelines, UX, promotional pages, microsites, contests and promotions, mobile applications and digital display advertising. We partner with specialists and strategists to meet your digital requirements that set your digital channels apart by infusing your authentic brand story into all of your owned, earned and paid digital channels, for a unique, consistent and superior customer experience.
(or should we say kilometerstones here in Canada?)
• 2009: Biggest pitch in Canada goes our way and Wind Mobile gets to 100,000 subscribers faster than any other telco
• 2010: Named Profit Magazine’s Hot 50 New Growth Companies
• 2012: Nominated Canada’s Most Admired Corporate Cultures
• 2013: Launch We All Play for Canada platform for Canadian Tire. Independent Olympic study declares it the people’s favourite campaign 2 Olympic Games in a row.
• 2013: “Every Picture Tells a Story” documentary becomes the CBC’s most watched documentary with 1.9 million audience
• 2014: Venerable magazine Sports Illustrated raves about Team Photo Project “it’s earnest, it’s charming, it’s hockey.”
• 2015: Bestlight, our content creation studio is born
• 2017: “Wheels” film for Canadian Tire goes viral globally with over 252,000,000 unpaid views and 4,100,000 shares (2X more than the top 10 Super Bowl ads combined for that year)
• 2017: Awarded 4 Clio Sports Awards and Effie internationally
• 2017: Named one of Strategy’s Top 10 Design Agencies of the Year
• 2018: Ad Age declares our creativity one of 5 of Toronto’s Greatest Creative Exports to the World alongside The Weeknd and Drake
• 2018: CanadaSound Project awarded Clio Music statue; one of only two Canadians awarded – the other being to Drake
• 2019: “Art & Science of Advertising” seminar receives 94% rating from CMA members, the highest rated talk at annual CMAfuture conference
Cleansheet in the news