Following the layoff, Hahn says he spoke with all kinds of companies—“everyone from platforms and tech to in-house, to holding companies,” he says. But what remained foremost in his mind was, “What is the model that would worry me? As a holding company you’re in a system that is under fire from every side—from the top, from the side, from other agencies, from clients. The walls felt like they were crashing in on that model. I thought the one model that seems free from that would be very nimble, creatively focused, very tied to making things—that actually had the talent.”
That’s what he found in No Fixed Address, a name he says kept popping up on LinkedIn while he was doing research.
The independent agency was founded three and a half years ago in Toronto by Canadian agency veterans Serge Rancourt and Dave Lafond, who previously spent more than a decade building the Publicis brand there. No Fixed Address espouses a talent-focused philosophy and eschews cumbersome overhead, complex processes, silos, fixed hours and inflexible compensation models. The shop was honored in Ad Age’s Small Agency Awards in 2018 and 2019, earning both Agency of the Year and Campaign of the Year nods.
No Fixed Address started with about a dozen people but is now 150-strong, with more than 47 clients, including AB Inbev, LIttle Caesars, Questrade, Dairy Farmers of Ontario, J.P. Wiser’s and Mattamy Homes. And it continues to grow, even during the pandemic—since mid-March, the agency has added 15 staffers, with zero cuts.
“The company was doing what everyone’s been trying to figure out for the last three years—flexibility to work in ways that make people happy, not being tied to a specific payment structure, transparency with clients, being nimble—all the things people are talking about now during COVID,” Hahn says. “They were way ahead of the game.”
Hahn says he was the one to make the first call but it also so happened that No Fixed Address had already been entertaining the idea of opening in the U.S. “We had a few client assignments in the U.S. and a pretty big pitch in the fall of last year," says Co-founder and CEO Lafond. “We got pretty far along and we felt, 'OK, we can’t just be a Canadian agency pitching in U.S. cities. We’re going to need top talent.' Greg became the solution to an opportunity we were trying to create for ourselves.”