No Frills


john st.


"The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" (June 7, 2021) / 2021 Marketing Awards - Bronze / 2021 Advertising & Design Club of Canada: The Michael O'Reilly Award: Best Copywriting (Digital) / 2021 Advertising & Design Club of Canada: Bronze (Branded Content) / Ad Age / Muse By Clio / Trendhunter (7.8) / Curiocity / Breakfast Television Toronto / Entertainment Tonight (Canada) / Narcity / BlogTO

No Frills is a downmarket grocery store chain in Canada, like Aldi's in the States. I realized that the brand had borrowed its design aesthetic from the world of hip-hop albums and music videos but hadn't actually released any music. Obviously, that had to change. 

So I wrote, recorded, played, sang, produced, mixed, and mastered 11 demos about the thrills of #hauling. It was my last project before I left my agency and I didn't know if it would ever see the light of day. But it did! A year and a half later! Patience, grasshopper. 

The album is now in rotation on the overhead speakers at all No Frills locations across Canada. 

I've included the other campaign assets (video, cover art, the final tracks, etc.) that were created after I left, just for context. 

case study



For the superfans out there, here's the demo version I did in my apartment about a year and a half before the final version came out. "Franchisees Are Haulers Too" ended up on the final album as "Call Us By Our Names."




Two years after I delivered the demos to my boss, and almost a year after the album came out, this happened. No one knows why.

The good people of Canada were part amused and part offended that Jimmy Fallon mistook No Frills for an actual band. 

The brand released a "clapback" single, taking umbrage with Jimmy's skepticism around the portability of bananas, and milked the feud for everything it was worth. Which sadly wasn't much, because Jimmy hasn't responded. 




ECD: Cher Campbell

ACD: Caroline Friesen, Robbie Percy

Design: Hannah Lee