Strategic Planner | Juniper Park | Toronto | Age: 27
Sean Hazell’s fascination with marketing started with a glass of beer—well two, actually. He was conducting blind taste tests with Bud Light and Coors Light while working as a student for Mosiac one summer. “I definitely took away an interest in the way brands interacted with consumers, and I definitely liked speaking with those consumers one on one,” he says.
It was this interest that led him to create AdBakery.com, an online community that showcases unsolicited ad ideas, be it an image, text or video. Hazell recognized an opportunity for an online hub where consumers, students and professionals in related industries could share and discuss their creative marketing ideas.
“Working in advertising, I realized that these ideas are valuable to advertisers from a research perspective,” says Hazell, a strategic planner at Juniper Park, where he works on the Virgin Mobile, Frito Lay US and Astral media accounts.
He supported the site with a video clip he produced with the help of a filmmaker friend on a shoestring budget of $600. The three-minute mock commercial, titled “Sure Lock: A True Poo Story,” has generated nearly 11-million views and won Best Web Clip at the 2008 Canadian Comedy awards.
The video follows the escapades of a woman who spends the night at her date’s apartment. She gets up in the morning to find her date dressed and ready to go to work. He tells her to take her time getting ready, and lets her know the front door locks itself. As she gets ready, she blocks the toilet. Mortified, she takes the “problem” with her in a plastic bag. She exists the apartment, closes the door, and realizes she left the bag on the kitchen counter next to a piece of paper with her name on it.
A Toronto native, Hazell graduated from Queen’s University with a BA in sociology. He then completed a oneyear sport and event marketing program at George Brown College before joining The Hive Strategic Marketing for three years. He started at Juniper Park 18 months ago.
“Sean is one of those few people who not only gather and synthesize information, but sees the true white space in between it all,” says Jill Nykoliation, president of Juniper Park. “In my 17-year career, I have met few people who have this gift.”
Hazell has a list of personal projects, and tries to commit to one a year. This year he created Take Your Customer to Work Day, an event that sees corporations open their doors to customers, allowing them to meet employees and better understand how the business works. And he and his girlfriend, a genetics professional, also produce the blog HerNatureHisNurture. “We are young professionals in very different fields: Allie in Genetics (nature), and Sean in Marketing (nurture),” reads the intro on the home page.
“We thought this would be an interesting way to share and compare insights with wider, very different, audiences.”
“Sean is someone who is completely an idea guy but what makes him different is not only that he has the great ideas, but he follows through on them,” says Anthony Hello, account director at MediaCom, who worked with Hazell at The Hive.
Advertising is a place where it seems everything has been done, says Hazell. Then “you find that nugget of information that kind of gives you goose bumps, you know the creative teams can take that and make something really special out of it.”