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Sane man

Not only did Brian Harrod survive the Mad Men ad world of the 1960s, he went on to co-found the hottest Canadian creative shop of the 1980s and ’90s. Now he has left retirement to get back into the game.

Applied Arts, March 2009

Brian Harrod’s introduction to the Toronto advertising scene as a young art director in the late 1960s was anything but  promising. Having emigrated from South Africa with his new bride to take a job at MacLaren Advertising, in Toronto, he wasn’t prepared for what awaited him. “It was just dreadful,” he recalls. “It was going through a political upheaval, and all the bad stories I’d heard about North American advertising came true. It was a horror show of firings and backstabbing, and I thought,‘I have to get out of this business.’”

Fortunately, Harrod stuck around. And today, some 40 years later, he is widely recognized as one of the best in the business for his focus on smart, deceptively simple ads that speak directly to the relationship between the consumer and the product. Not only did he consistently produce award-winning work that pushed creative boundaries, he helped to launch and run the hottest boutique agency of the 1980s and ’90s, Harrod & Mirlin. “I’ve been very lucky,” he says of his career with trademark modesty. “If you have a good idea that grows out of consumer insight, it’s going to work.”

Read the whole story in the March 2009 issue of Applied Arts.

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