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Biography & Autobiography Business

Let's Get Frank

Canada's Mad Man of Advertising

by (author) Robin Brunet

Douglas & McIntyre
Initial publish date
Feb 2018
Business, General, Advertising & Promotion
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Feb 2018
    List Price

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Frank Palmer is a legend in the Canadian advertising world. He not only developed Palmer Jarvis, one of the country’s most acclaimed marketing communications agencies (and then became chairman and CEO of DDB Canada after selling Palmer Jarvis to the multinational ad giant), he is also credited with changing the face of Canadian advertising.

“He’s the only Western Canadian ad man who went to Toronto and wound up owning the town,” says former employee and now friendly rival Chris Staples.

Fellow ad man Bob Bryant elaborates, “What Frank also did that no other agency owner was able to do was become a star. No one else personified a company the way he did. He became the iconic brand of his own business.”

Palmer has earned a reputation for obtaining clients at any cost. He has clawed his way to prominence with wit, an uncanny knowledge of what constitutes effective advertising, and a business acumen nothing short of encyclopedic. Having started out as the boy last chosen for the baseball team by his peers, he set his sights on living his life in the role of the chooser—not the one waiting to be chosen.

Palmer is a fascinating study in contrasts. Though he always took his role as an employer seriously, at times his private life was a mess. And while his bald head and thick neck give him the look of someone you wouldn’t want to encounter on a dark street, he’s a notorious trickster—be it by placing an octopus under a colleague’s pillow or lacing a friend’s coffee cup with dental anaesthesia. At the same time, Palmer is almost as well known for his philanthropic work as for his business acuity and practical jokes.

In this lively biography, Robin Brunet captures the exhilarating experience of being in the presence of such a charismatic and driven man. Brunet’s wealth of interviews with the man himself and those who know him best get to the root of what it means to be Frank Palmer.

About the author

Robin Brunet has been a full-time writer, editor and journalist since 1982. He has been published in over one hundred magazines across Canada and the USincluding BCBusiness MagazineThe Hollywood Reporter and Award Magazine. He is the author of the bestselling Red Robinson: The Last Deejay (Harbour Publishing, 2016). He lives in Langley, BC.

Robin Brunet's profile page

Editorial Reviews

Let's put Frank's considerable accomplishments aside for a moment. He is the last of the great, outrageous characters in the crazy world of advertising. He is brash, he is hilarious and you will remember him long after you have devoured the last page.

Terry O'Reilly, host of CBC Radio's Under the Influence

Some ex-managers and partners would probably agree that working with Frank is like camping with a grizzly—you know him and he knows you—but you are always very aware of your unique circumstances. Frank has shown an amazing carnal instinct of survival in this most difficult and mercurial of all businesses.

George Jarvis, co-founder of Palmer Jarvis Communications (now DDB)

Frank Palmer is a legend in Canadian advertising. He's smart, intuitive, creative and funny. [Brunet's] new book will be read by future generations of entrepreneurs and budding admen as a field guide in how to build and nourish a successful company—even when the odds are stacked against them.

Dr. Angus Reid, Canadian pollster and founder of the Angus Reid Institute

Frank has transformed advertising in Canada—[he has been] the catalyst and inspiration for great work, people and causes. Let's Get Frank provides fascinating insight on both the man and the advertising industry from the late '60s to the present day, together with textbook instructions for anyone looking to use a fart machine in business.

Bob Stamnes, president and CEO of Elevator Strategy

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