The future of Canada’s marketing industry will be shaped by its youngest talent—the super-worldly, plugged-in, brilliant and creative youth who are already making a name for themselves. Marketing put out the call to the industry to find the top 30 standouts under the age of 30 who have already made their mark on the industry.
From PR to advertising to media and beyond, our 30 Under 30 showcases the smartest, bravest and most creative ones to watch in the business
Tyler Turnbull, 29
Senior Vice-President, Strategy and Insight, Proximity Canada
“One of the reasons I love advertising life is that talent is rewarded regardless of age, experience and tenure,” says Tyler Turnbull.
It’s a well-suited statement from someone whose career has advanced at such a dizzying pace—he has moved from an intern at Publicis Toronto to senior vice-president, strategy and insight at Proximity Canada.
After graduating with honours from Queen’s University’s Bachelor of Arts program in 2006, Turnbull started with Publicis as an intern working on the Rogers Wireless account.
Despite not having any advertising experience or formal training under his belt, “it was like he had been in the business for years… There was something special about him when he came in and everybody recognized it,” says David Lafond, who at the time was VP brand director at Publicis, and is now president of Proximity Canada.
He was only there four months when the agency offered him a full-time position as an account coordinator to manage mass advertising including print, out-of-home and television. About a year in, he started gravitating towards “all things digital.”
While at Queen’s, Turnbull became an early friend of Facebook, which was still in its infancy. “I’m a geek by nature and I used all those [social media] services and kind of became the go-to person for [the Rogers] brand.”
In April 2007, he was promoted to account executive and a year later became a digital account supervisor at Publicis Modem Canada. But as business at the agency continued to grow, Turnbull split off from the account side and into digital strategy, working closely with Lafond.
“He was pretty much my partner,” says Lafond. “He was years younger but would come in on business pitches. He was probably 24 or 25 at the time and clients just responded to him.”
During his rise through the agency’s ranks, Turnbull’s girlfriend was working on her medical degree in London, England. After dating long distance for two and a half years, Turnbull decided to join her.
“From a personal standpoint I wanted to be with her but from a professional standpoint I was also interested in going to another market and discovering what different things and people and creative approaches there were,” he says.
At the end of 2009, Turnbull joined Publicis Modem in London where he started as a planning director and within 11 months became the joint head of planning, working with a team of 12 planners across a range of specialties including brand planning, engagement planning, SEO, data, analytics and community building. He was also responsible for leading Visa Europe’s London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic digital strategy and activation across 17 markets.
Earlier this year, Turnbull and his now-fiancé Jen returned to Canada. Lafond, who had kept in touch with Turnbull, offered him a position at Proximity Canada as senior vice-president, strategy and insight.
“Tyler is an incredibly loyal guy and I think after eight years at Publicis it was a big decision for him to leave,” says Lafond.
“I loved the creativity that Proximity has to offer along with BBDO as well as their global accounts,” says Turnbull. “BBDO/Proximity is one of the few places we actually run global work from this office… That’s kind of what excited me most.”
There’s more with Tyler Turnbull and all of the 30 Under 30 in the Sept. 10 issue of Marketing magazine.
Photo: Mike Ford