Cover image for Let's get Frank : Canada's mad man of advertising / Robin Brunet.
Let's get Frank : Canada's mad man of advertising / Robin Brunet.
Title Variants:
Let us get Frank
Publication Information:
Madeira Park, British Columbia : Douglas & McIntyre, 2018.

Physical Description:
224 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 24 cm
Personal Subject:


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
659.1092 PAL BRU Book Adult General Collection

On Order



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.

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

This biography of ad industry legend Frank Palmer from journalist Brunet (Red Robinson: The Last Deejay) is rambling, repetitive, and barely readable. However, with so little written about the competitive Canadian advertising field, the book has value for its depiction of how Palmer helped his industry move beyond being merely a satellite of giant American agencies. The constant references to Palmer's reliably unamusing and mean-spirited pranks (in one, he quietly entered a colleague's bathroom while the man was taking a shower and "carefully emptied a glass of red wine between {{his}} legs") quickly become as tiresome as experiencing them firsthand must have been. The man couldn't keep a partner for very long, and his behavior was likely the deal-breaker. Still, he accomplished a great deal, developing Palmer Jarvis from the ground up and making it one of the most successful and creatively acclaimed Canadian advertising agencies for many years. Unfortunately, Brunet's depiction of Palmer as a womanizing adolescent trickster driven by ego, and his emphasis on the cutthroat aspects of the industry, far overshadow the real contributions Palmer made. (Aug.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.