Industry Profile: Jungle Connection Planning Director Brooke Leland In Her Own Words

Bringing up the topic of media partners and outside media buying companies to agencies in Canada instigated an array of responses. Most of them, sadly, sat on the “ugh” end of the spectrum, reflecting frustration in the fact that the media planning function often sits separately from the buying function. Usually with one inside an agency and the other with the media partner. Innovation and the opportunity to attempt fresh solutions seemed to fall somewhere in between that gap.

So imagine my surprise when one (just one) time, I asked about media partners and heard, “I love our partner.” I stopped dead, and said “who are they and may I talk to them?”

“They” is Brooke Leland, Connection Planning Director at Jungle Media. Brooke started her media career 12 years ago on the Saturn/Saab account, and has been pushing her clients to innovate in the world of media ever since. At Jungle, Brooke aims to direct the perfect intersection of message and media neutral touchpoints. She has managed a diverse list of clients, including  Coca-Cola, Nike, Playstation and IKEA. Known for her media creativity and customer service, Brooke’s philosophy is "never say never," whether bravely embarking on a brand new media idea or in the midst of tense media negotiations. She was rewarded with OOH buyer of the year and is often invited to sit on media panels. Brooke has also served as a judge for Canada’s  Young Cannes Competition for the past 3 years.

Thankfully Brooke was willing to speak with The Saturn Return Project to share her perspective and insights on the media side of the industry in Canada.

The Saturn Return Project: How did you get into this crazy media business?
Brooke Leland: I sort of fell into it.  I find people either go to College for "media" (can't imagine a lamer course) or they just stumble into it after a misspent youth.  I had finished up an artsy University degree followed by a "radio broadcast" degree from College and was stuck bartending by night and selling Radio ads to Strip bars, car dealerships and massage lounges by day in London, Ontario.  I wanted to move back to my hometown of Toronto, so I just started calling people up and met with a wonderful crew of senior men and women at Toronto advertising agencies.  I eventually met Lauren Richards who was the Media Director at Cossette media.  I LOVED her, we hit it off and I couldn't wait to start.

TSRP: What lead you to Jungle? 
BL: I've technically worked at Jungle for 12 years!  From that first meeting with Lauren, as part of Cossette, Canada’s leading integrated marketing services agency, and most recently as part of Jungle: a fully distinct and unconventional media-only agency. We are owned by the same company but operate quite separately. We had a number of clients at Cossette media who did not work with our in-house creative agency. These innovative clients worked with outside agencies in Canada, the US and globally so we created a media agency that catered to these specific clients.

TSRP: As I understand from some of your agency clients, Jungle takes a unique stance and provides a distinct POV in the marketplace. Can you tell me about that?
BL: We're always told by our clients that "you're not like other media agencies." We've moved away from a backroom function and sit right at the table with creative and strategy to define a great campaign. However, I think it's our service that they appreciate the most.  This roll-up-your sleeves partnership approach is embedded in our culture.

We're known for our innovation... perpetually re-inventing our craft by challenging the media "norm" and making existing media channels better or by developing new media networks, if we can't find what we want, that are then sold to other agencies! (barbershops, rec centres, soccer facilities, floating barges, local arenas, tattoo parlours etc...). 

And of course we ALWAYS insist on quality, performance and results in every plan.  A guiding principle of ours is:  Spend each client dollar as though it were our own.  We're scrappy.  We're like that little guy at the bar who picks fights....but has a HUGE buddy standing behind him.  We're smaller and more flexible but we have the clout of Cossette media $ behind us.    

TSRP: Do you find that Jungle's focus on new digital media allows you to be more current in the work and partnerships that agencies and brands are looking for? Are clients in Canada demanding the resources you are able to offer?
BL: We speak digital and we think in digital. It’s ingrained from the outset of any plan, and it's our job to educate our clients so they can embrace our recommendations and creative recommendations. The creative teams appreciate this. Our digital crew consists of industry pundits who have been quoted by some of Canada’s leading publications and have taken on Education Best Practices by developing curriculum for Canadian schools (U of T, Humber, York, Universite de Montreal) as well as hosting Client learning sessions. Some of our clients are more digitally savvy than others....but they all have a thorough understanding of how it benefits their business and best practices thanks to our super smart digital team.

TSRP: What is the coolest project you have worked on?
BL: Easy!  Almost every Nike project we've ever worked on.  In particular "Ready for your :45" "Nike +" and "Air Force 25". 

Thanks to Brooke for sharing her thoughts and experience!

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