30 Under 30 – Jason Cassidy

Digital marketing manager, Cara

Some days, Jason Cassidy is a community manager. Other days, he’s a strategist, a PR rep or a photographer. And every now and again, he’s a model.

Today, Cassidy is sitting in a booth at a Toronto Jack Astor’s, the biggest brand in the stable of Sir Corp, where Cassidy served as manager of digital strategy for the past two years. (Since being named to the 30 Under 30 list, Cassidy took on a new role as digital marketing manager for Cara restaurants.)

He pulls out his phone and shows a text his friend had sent him; a photo of a woman posing next to a Jack Astor’s transit ad. In the ad, three young people are saddled up along one of the restaurant’s bars. Dead centre: Cassidy.

Cassidy laughs and explains the shoot had a quick turn around, and part way through, the team decided they were short on male models. Looking around the room, Sir Corp’s vice-president of marketing, Lauren Michell, turned to Cassidy and says, “You’re in.”

According to Michell, this kind of thing happened often with Cassidy. While modeling isn’t usually the task at hand, Michell says Cassidy is a jack-of-all-trades who filled in wherever he was needed, whether it was overseeing the responsive redesign of seven of the company’s consumer-facing websites, or introducing new marketing tactics, such as paid social and native advertising.

Cassidy was Sir Corp’s first social-media hire, originally brought on in 2013 as Jack Astor’s community manager after reporting for CBC Sports and The Hockey News, an internship at the analytics firm Radian6 and a master’s thesis on content marketing at Ryerson University. Soon after joining the company, Cassidy proved to be the digital advocate Sir Corp was looking for, and soon his role expanded to include managing search, mobile and digital ad strategy for all 65 of the company’s restaurants.

While at Sir Corp, Cassidy had his hand in a number of socially driven campaigns, including a hockey-themed viral video that earned 120,000 views; a contest for a surprise flight to Muskoka that packed Jack Astor’s patios on Saturday mornings this summer; and a PR visit to Toronto from the Kickstarter “Potato Salad Guy” that earned Jack Astor’s more than 12 million media impressions.

This spring, Cassidy was promoted to the role of digital strategy manager. Michelle says Cassidy’s “approachable” take on new marketing tactics earned him the trust of Sir Corp’s execs, who used him as a guide to all things digital.

“He has an incredibly ability to dumb things down,” Michelle says. “For not only my team but also our senior leaders, our COO and our owner, to help them understand the value of digital.”

Meet the rest of the 30 Under 30 for 2014

Photography by Mike Ford
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