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Meet The Gang At McCabe Promotional Advertising

McCabe Promotional Advertising

Jamie McCabe (center), president of Toronto-based McCabe Promotional Advertising (asi/264901), always wants his distributor firm to stand out – to both clients and employees. So he and his partners (Michelle Merrifield, left, and Colin Rous, right) set out a few years ago to renovate McCabe’s office. They installed a first-class bar, an open-concept with bright red walls and chalkboard panels, and flat-screen TVs streaming old cartoons. McCabe also bought a vintage VW bus and enlisted his dog Marigold’s help in creating a video that positions the company more as an ad agency than a typical promotional products distributor.

At the same time, McCabe and his partners began putting programs in place, like ax-throwing competitions, Warrior Runs and meditation sessions, to get employees out of their comfort zones. “We’re a much more collaborative group now,” said Scott Cruickshank, who works on McCabe’s program business. “People are used to working outside of their comfort zones, and that helps us be more creative for clients.”

McCabe also launched regular sales contests for its employees. A recent one had a lumberjack theme and included three teams: The Ginger Beard Men, the Ax Kickers (who won) and the Timber Beasts. The winning team got cash and bragging rights. And now, any sales rep who hits the million-dollar mark in a single year gets a custom-designed kilt and a super-bowl-like diamond ring.

All of these changes appear to have served McCabe well. The company works with large clients like Microsoft, VW and the Army, and clients routinely come in for a beer “just to tell us their story,” McCabe said. “There’s no doubt that people remember us.”