TORONTO, ON – Independent creative agencies Extreme Group (founded in 1997) and Blammo Worldwide (established in 1991 as Gee, Jeffery & Partners/GJP) are pleased to announce that the two firms have combined to form Arrivals + Departures.
The move brings together a talented and creative workforce of over 50 staff in Toronto and Halifax who are able to offer clients access to a greater range of specialized services.
With the formation of Arrivals + Departures also comes a newly appointed President, Mike Bevacqua (formerly BBDO, Y&R, FCB, ACLC), who will run the agency’s Toronto office. Bevacqua, also a Partner, joined Extreme Group in 2008 and was one of the company’s first hires outside of Atlantic Canada. He has been a driving force in expanding the agency’s presence, building a strong roster of clients and developing a passionate and talented team.
“This is a great story about two successful independent shops coming together to evolve and push the boundaries of what we’re capable of offering our clients,” said Bevacqua. “The timing was perfect to rebrand and bring everything together under a new identity. The partnership has resulted in new client wins, exponential growth in our Toronto office, a new location in Halifax, and the addition of seasoned and passionate creative talent to our team.”
“When we joined forces, I couldn’t have been more impressed with Extreme Group and the chemistry I established with Mike. The energy and entrepreneurial culture is infectious here. I’m loving watching the teams come together to develop a fresh way of thinking,” said Gee who will act as Toronto’s Chief Creative Officer.
The Arrivals + Departures brand is one that is inspired by travel and the journey we take with each other and our clients. For the agency, the new name underscores a shift from traditional thinking.
“When we travel, we experience new surroundings, new food, new cultures and new languages, and we begin to see the world differently,” said Bevacqua. “Every journey requires us to depart from what we know and arrive somewhere new. It is our responsibility to our clients to look at every challenge and opportunity with fresh eyes and not fall into the trap of delivering the expected.”
Rounding out Arrivals + Departures’ leadership team in Toronto are Phil Sylver, Creative Director, Dawn Whiteman, Director, Planning, Claire McRae, Director, Production and Daniel Tolensky, Partner, Chief Financial Officer, who was instrumental in bringing the agencies together. New senior hires include Ian Brooks (formerly John St.) as Director, Client Service and Sathish Bala as VP, Digital & Technology.
Shawn King, Partner, Chief Creative Officer, and Martin Delaney, Partner, VP, Planning, both of whom have been with Extreme for well over a decade, will continue to lead the agency’s Halifax office.
For Extreme Group’s Founder and CEO, Paul LeBlanc, the formation of Arrivals + Departures and arrival of Gee marks an exciting new adventure for the creative shop he established almost 20 years ago. “I’m very proud of how far we have come and I am excited to set course for new territory. Alan sees the world differently. He’s a bold visionary. Both agencies have had great international success but we know that this is a business that doesn’t have a rear view mirror…the best is yet to come.”
Since establishing the partnership, the firms have grown existing accounts and participated in bids to win business including Ivanhoé Cambridge (Vaughan Mills, CrossIron Mills, Tsawwassen Mills), goeasy and ConAgra Brands, who recently expanded their portfolio with the agency from Orville Redenbacher’s to include VH Sauces, Act II, Healthy Choice and Marie Callender’s. Additional Arrivals + Departures clients include Fallsview Casino Resort, CAA, Efficiency Nova Scotia, Stanfield’s, Enbridge Gas New Brunswick and NSCC to name a few.