Rethink Created Fake Covers for Its Book So Other Agencies Can Learn Some Secrets on the Sly

By Doug Zanger 

It’s one thing to be inspired by a competing agency, it’s quite another to learn about the inevitably-named “secret sauce” of why one shop seems to be more successful than others. Of course, reading a competitor’s book (aside from “Hey Whipple, Squeeze This” or “Ogilvy on Advertising) may result in a few askance glances from the leadership.

Canada-based indie Rethink may have come up with an ingenious solution to this problem: customized book covers of other agencies to hide their own book, “Rethink the Business of Creativity,” divulging some of the things that have made it successful. Think of it as the advertising version of putting a fake “Catcher in the Rye” cover over that Archie comic book you read in middle school.

We’re not sure if this is the agency’s way of making a point, but the available fake covers are available on Shopify for people who work at Dentsu, Havas, Innocean, Publicis, Wunderman Thompson, JWT, Grey, McCann, Cossette (Canadian rivalry!), Ogilvy, FCB, TBWA, Sid Lee (ANOTHER Canadian rivalry!), Leo Burnett and DDB.


Note that there’s no W+K or other indie agencies on this list, and it makes sense since Rethink leans in quite heavily on their status and has a habit of tweaking the noses of holding companies.

It’s very charitable that Rethink is offering up some of their trade secrets—55 in all—in their book. Considering that the agency does some pretty nifty work and has racked up tons of awards over the years, it certainly can’t hurt to give it a look. And now it can be done without the boss giving the side-eye.

Unless, of course, they walk up and ask about that book from Havas, you’re reading. Then, you might have a little explaining to do.