You have arrived at Groundzero
for big ideas and zero attitude.


We’re a full-service advertising agency that helps our clients out-think their competition rather than out-spend them. We see the bigger picture, staying tenaciously objective and open to all possibilities because the marketing challenge is always more complicated than meets the eye. We approach every project from the ground up, doing the hard work of truly understanding your business so we can zero in on the real challenge facing it. We get to the important insights that make our ideas soar and help us create work that resonates deeply with your target. That’s how we build more meaningful and powerful brands that help our clients succeed. And you get all this with zero ad agency attitude.

HALO Brand Leadership is our sister agency, proudly committed to driving results for not-for-profits with breakthrough branding and public engagement programs. Halo also works with for-profit organizations that want to build compelling corporate citizenship programs and know that doing good is a responsibility that makes good business sense.

Best of all, we’re both under one roof.


CI Investments “A salute to golfers”
Pizzaville “The 30 year old ad campagin”
Revera Living "Choices"
Benjamin Moore “Paint the town”
Senior Discovery Tours
Brampton Transit “Get there faster”
Master Lock Bull's-eye
Toronto Real Estate Board “Passionate about their work”
Bridgepoint Health “A new kind of disease”
CASA Paperclip “Life Stages”
Sleeman Brewery "Dear John"
AOL “The way the Internet should be”
Toshiba “You’re not alone”
Visit Britain "It's out there"
Benjamin Moore “Understanding the customer”
Pro-Line "Eat. Sleep. Sports"

CI Investments

A salute to golfers
Even though CI Investments is Canada’s largest independent asset management company, it’s virtually unknown to investors and is up against much bigger companies for the attention of Financial Advisors. For this campaign, we secured a PGA golf sponsorship to reach affluent investors. In addition to brand commercials, we created golf-themed TV and online (pre-roll and display) to celebrate CI’s support of golf and motivate investors to speak with their Advisor about CI products and services. Our work, over the last three years, has tripled unaided awareness among investors. In fact, CI has become the fourth most recalled financial services company in Canada.


The 30-year-old Rainy Day campaign
The pizza category is full of multi-national “big pizza conglomerates.” The secret to our Pizzaville campaign is that it’s the very antithesis of pizza advertising—it has no singing phone number and features a Brit talking about pizza (what do the British know about pizza?). For 30 years, the radio spots have used the same iconic opening, “It was a rainy day…” Because Pizzaville has a limited budget, we have stuck to this campaign so that, over time, people have the impression the company is much bigger than it really is. The result is the longest-running campaign in Canadian advertising history with a cult following that has helped build a very successful brand in a category full of much larger competitors.


In many seniors’ minds, moving to a retirement residence is like being incarcerated. This stems from irrational and deep-seated fears of being controlled and regimented. It’s mushy peas at 5 p.m. and lights out at 10 p.m. We addressed these powerful misperceptions head-on by showing that, at Revera, you have choice—to do what you want, when you want. We used television as the primary brand building vehicle and hyper-targeted direct mail, e-mail, mobile and digital to drive response. Our work for Revera over the last five years has contributed to significant brand and occupancy growth. Specifically, our digital marketing—via on-going testing and optimization—has reduced our cost-per-lead by 60% in the last year.

Benjamin Moore

Paint the town
When you’re competing against giants, as Benjamin Moore is with Home Depot, you need to think differently and be nimble. Benjamin Moore wanted to make a statement during the Toronto International Film Festival, when 500,000 creatively minded visitors fill the city centre. With the cost of an official sponsorship being prohibitive, we went guerilla, splashing paint over transit shelters and streetcars across downtown and using social media to push the visuals to an even wider audience. To top it off, we hired “walking billboards” to interact with moviegoers as they streamed in and out of theatres. The campaign got loads of attention, including a plug on the Jimmy Kimmel Show. Over the years we developed many innovative promotions and localized digital campaigns—hyper-targeting customers in the purchasing mode—which have successfully driven foot traffic to every Benjamin Moore store across Canada.

Senior Discovery Tours

The world is beautiful
After 40 years, Senior Tours is still Canada’s leading tour operator for affluent mature travellers. We proposed changes to the brand to spark growth. But these had to be managed pragmatically. Insight research with the target uncovered a simple truth: people 65+ consider themselves “forever young” and deplore the label “senior.” Some customers actually told us they love everything about the product but are embarrassed to tell friends the name of the tour company. We re-launched the brand with a modified name and brand identity: Senior Discovery Tours. The new name focuses on the emotive power of the word “discovery” while continuing to leverage the word “senior” to optimize organic search results. Our advertising uses storytelling to resonate with those who travel for status and want to share their experiences with friends. We brought this idea to life with the tagline “The world is beautiful.” The new, integrated multi-media campaign features direct mail, newspaper, collateral, online, a revamped website, social media and radio. Early results show that sales have increased 20% year over year.

Brampton Transit

Get there faster
Züm is Brampton’s rapid bus line. Thanks to fewer stops, real-time next bus info and the ability to change traffic lights, it gets you to your destination faster. We successfully reached current and potential riders using geo-targeted online, outdoor, newspaper and in-theatre. During our tenure, Züm enjoyed two consecutive years as the fastest growing public transit system in Canada.

Master Lock USA

Bull’s eye
We were approached by Master Lock USA to re-brand their Safety Solutions division. Even though Master Lock is a household name, in the safety sector, they were up against more established competitors. We created a “brand manifesto” to stake out the safety sector high ground. It became the inspiration for a magazine and online campaign that shows how Master Lock protects the lives of every single employee with a zero tolerance for workplace accidents.

Toronto Real Estate Board

Passionate about their work
With today’s online marketing tools, some homeowners believe they don’t need a Realtor to sell their home. They think they can do it themselves and save money. The Toronto Real Estate Board needed to overcome this perception to ensure that buyers and sellers recognized the value that Realtors bring to the transaction. Using hyperbole, we positioned Realtors as passionate professionals who consider every last detail of a home transaction to ensure their clients maximize their investment.

Bridgepoint Health

A new kind of disease
Our job was to rebrand Bridgepoint Health (formerly Riverdale Hospital). This was the important first step in a fundraising strategy to finance a $60 million capital campaign to build the now-completed new hospital. We needed to raise awareness for what had been, until then, the unknown health issue of complex chronic disease in a very competitive environment dominated by bigger downtown hospital foundations. We developed a strikingly simple and unconventional campaign called “Osteocanceritis,” a word formed by combining three complex chronic diseases. It launched with a website, employee marketing, major media event, full-page newspaper ads and sequential geotargeted outdoor boards.

Creative Arts Savings & Credit Union (CASCU)

CASCU is the credit union that services the banking needs of freelance artists like actors, musicians, dancers, directors and editors. This demographic often works project-to-project and pay-cheque-to-pay cheque. Therefore, they don’t often have the collateral or credit scores required by a traditional bank. This understanding of CASCU’s unique target market led us to reposition them as a more flexible option than banks. We creatively brought the benefit of flexibility to life by turning CASCU’s existing logo, the “bankers paper clip,” into an integrated campaign featuring the shape of objects that consumers typically borrow money to obtain.

Life Stages
The Investor Education Fund (IEF) is a not-for-profit funded by the Ontario Securities Commission, charged with increasing the financial literacy of Ontarians. Sound a little dry? We thought so, too. So we re-branded IEF as, which put the brand benefit and promise into the URL itself. People are generally pretty apathetic when it comes to thinking about their finances. So we concentrated the advertising on big life moments, when people actually get interested. TV spots showed how easy and important it is to take control of your finances while online ads drove Ontarians to the new website to learn more. With this strategy we saw strong results, doubling web traffic in just over a year.

See some of our classic campaigns.

Sleeman Brewery

Dear John
In a category dominated by big beer brands that advertise on TV, Sleeman played the role of the underdog by sticking to radio—the medium for those who couldn’t afford TV. The problem was that people were getting tired of hearing John Sleeman talk about his family history on the radio. So we turned the tables on John by taking him off the air and giving his customers the podium to share their thoughts on his beer with him.


The way the Internet should be
AOL had a problem: they’re a huge international company but in Canada they were a small brand compared to online giants Rogers and Bell. Since we didn’t have the money to fight Rogers and Bell head-on, we decided to find a niche that AOL could occupy based on the strength of their online offerings. We created the idea that AOL would be the Internet company for families.


You’re not alone
Toshiba operates in a highly competitive category against industry giants like Xerox. Our research indicated that buying the office copier is not a job that anyone relishes—people don’t feel qualified to make such a large purchase, plus they don’t have the time. We decided we wouldn’t sell them copiers, we’d give them help and the “You’re not alone” campaign was born. This campaign struck a chord with the target and became the most successful B2B program Toshiba ran as measured by response rate and sales conversion.

Visit Britain

Britain. It’s out there
Canadians had a “been there, done that” attitude towards Britain. Worse, Britain was up against far more romantic destinations like Italy, France and Thailand. So we decided not to compete with them but, instead, give Britain a different personality, based on the insight that Brits are quirky, fun-loving and unconventional, with a campaign called “Britain. It’s out there.” We created a new brand identity, website, print, and online ad campaign that featured wacky and surprising things to experience. Click-through rates increased to more than twice the average for travel marketers and trips to Britain outpaced the competition.

Benjamin Moore

Understanding the customer
Benjamin Moore is the number one premium paint brand in Canada. But that’s a long way from being the number one paint in Canada when you’re only sold at independent retailers and your competition is sold at big boxes like Home Depot. So we gave discerning purchasers a better reason to buy Benjamin Moore. Benjamin Moore are the paint experts and understand purchasers’ home decorating aspirations better than any big box employee ever could.


Eat. Sleep. Sports.
Research showed that young males aged 18 to 24 accounted for a highly disproportionate amount of the $200MM annual sales of Pro-Line sports lottery in Ontario. Rather than attempt to extend the appeal of the brand to older male non-users, our strategy was to celebrate the real sports enthusiasts and to compel them to play even more. We created a campaign that became the mantra for all existing and new sports lotteries called “Eat. Sleep. Sports.” because it validated our young male target’s obsession with sports.

Senior Team

Bill Roberts
Bill Keenan
Colin McCallum
Fabrizio Tenaglia
Bill Roberts

Bill Roberts

Managing Partner
Bill Roberts has 30 years of marketing and advertising experience, earning a reputation with clients as an excellent listener and someone who never takes the easy road (luckily he doesn’t do the driving on family vacations). He graduated with an MBA from the University of Western Ontario and launched his career at Grey Advertising, working on packaged goods. After ten years, Bill became Managing Partner at Promanad Communications. He was responsible for repositioning and evolving the company from a promotion house into a fully integrated marketing communications agency. This repositioning attracted several major clients including Adidas, Benjamin Moore, Toshiba and GE. Revenues grew significantly and the agency was eventually sold. The sale was the impetus Bill needed to rekindle his entrepreneurial spirit and, in 1999, he started Groundzero in his parent’s garage in Palo Alto (okay, that last part may not be totally true). Today, he is the managing partner and lead strategic planner.

Bill Keenan

Bill Keenan

Creative Director
Bill Keenan is an award-winning copywriter, filmmaker and creative director who brings a diverse range of life experience, creative talent, energy, and nice slacks to Groundzero’s clients. A former Second City Touring Company performer, he started his career at retail powerhouse Saffer Advertising. There, he first created the “It was a rainy day in Pizzaville” radio campaign—possibly the longest running in Canada—which he still writes today. After stints at major national agencies, Bill met Bill Roberts at Promanad Communications and they’ve worked together ever since. At Promanad, he created many successful campaigns for clients like GE, Ontario Lottery, Sleeman Brewery, Adidas, Ontario Ministry of Tourism, and Toshiba. Later, when Roberts formed Groundzero, Bill joined to assume responsibility for all creative, working with clients like Master Lock, Visit Britain, Benjamin Moore, AOL, CI Investments and Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. During all this, Bill also managed to squeeze in time to write, produce and direct a feature film called Eating Buccaneers satirizing the advertising industry, which was nominated for five Canadian Comedy Awards.

Colin McCallum

Colin McCallum

Account Lead
Colin McCallum is a brand strategist with 16 years of experience who brings to his work a passion for understanding consumer behaviour. He claims to have a self-granted degree in psychology after spending a year in Costa Rica reading the classics of Western civilization. He is an actual graduate of the Ivey School of Business HBA program. He started his career in advertising at MacLaren McCann, where he received classic packaged goods training, working on Motrin, Imodium and Lactaid—of course, he already had extensive experience with these brands based on his diet in Costa Rica. Later, Colin started his own creative boutique called Megaphone. Over the course of five years he worked on a wide range of clients, including dot-com start-ups, Herzing College, National Life and General Motors. He then joined forces with Groundzero as an Account Director on Benjamin Moore, Visit Britain, Moen, Bridgepoint Health and SickKids. After leaving for a two-year stint at Bos Advertising, Colin returned to Groundzero as the Account Lead.

Paula Roberts

Paula Roberts

CEO, Halo Brand Leadership
Paula Roberts is an award-winning not-for-profit marketer and advertising agency professional with over 25 years experience. She spent six years as Executive Vice-President, Marketing and Development at Plan International Canada where she led the introduction of the successful Because I am a Girl brand marketing campaign and oversaw the $100MM+ public fundraising portfolio including major gifts, corporate fundraising and a donor base of over 200K recurring monthly donors. Prior to Plan, Paula was Vice-President at SickKids Foundation where she introduced the heralded Believe brand marketing campaign that supported the doubling of funds raised over her four-year tenure to $98MM+ while simultaneously having direct oversight for the $24MM Annual Giving Portfolio. Both campaigns received multiple Cassie Awards for advertising effectiveness. Before that, Paula distinguished herself agency-side with leadership roles at TBWA\Chiat\Day as Managing Director, Roche Macaulay as General Manager, and Promanad Communications as Vice-President, Client Services.

Fabrizio Tenaglia

Fabrizio Tenaglia

Media Director
Fab is an accomplished media expert and soccer fanatic with 25 years of experience. After a stint client-side at Hudson’s Bay, Fab moved agency-side to BBDO—working on KFC, Hostess Frito Lay, Pepsi, and Pizza Hut—before landing at Promanad where he first met Bill Roberts, Paula Roberts and Bill Keenan. Among his clients were adidas, Benjamin Moore Paints, Thrifty Car Rental, Toshiba, and Stroh Breweries. Starting in 2000, Fab spent the next 15 years in media sales at CBC Sports, Bell Media and Shaw Media. He managed national team budgets in excess of $100 million in annual billings for a variety of clients including BMO, Coca-Cola, Federal Government of Canada, Ford, Molson, Netflix, Procter & Gamble, Tim Horton’s, and Walmart. At Shaw, Fab added not-for-profit experience that included the Heart and Stroke Foundation, Sick Kids Hospital and Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. Fab still carries the dream of someday fielding a Groundzero/HALO soccer team.


HALO provides leadership to brands at the intersection of doing good and delivering results. It’s Groundzero’s sister company and specializes in helping organizations take the high road to develop compelling brand strategies and marketing plans that create unstoppable public engagement and support fundraising campaigns that resonate with donors, empowering them to achieve a higher purpose.

For marketers who understand that an increasing number of today’s consumers look beyond a brand’s value proposition to see what it truly stands for, HALO makes corporate citizenship a strategic marketing asset, a unique point of difference, and a meaningful rallying point to unite and inspire everyone involved with the organization.



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