Photo of Ann Urban,
Photo of Ann Urban
Ann Urban
Faculty of Design
416-977-6000, Ext. 1931,

Area(s) of Expertise

Marketing, Advertising


For more than 25 years, Ann Urban has worked in the highest levels of Canadian Advertising.

As an Associate Creative Director at Ogilvy she helped build major multinational brands for American Express, Campbells, Duracell, Unilever, Kraft General Foods and many more.

Ann graduated from the OCAD with scholarships in both design and advertising, and quickly moved to senior positions at several major multinational agencies, including McCann and JWT.

In 1991 she formed Urban & Co., where she has built profitable brands for over a hundred blue-chip companies. Ann has been honoured by her peers with dozens of national and international awards. Her passion is creative brand building through all facets of traditional through to digital channels.

She is a full Professor at OCAD University and completed a Masters of Design in Advertising in 2012.

In 2012, Ann received one of OCAD University's greatest honours: The 2012 'Non-Tenured Faculty Teaching Award' for innovation and excellence in teaching. For over 2 decades, Ann have dedicated herself to OCAD University, where she has taught all core advertising courses at all levels of the Advertising Program. These courses cover concept development, creative and marketing research and strategy, integrated campaigns, layout, graphic design, art direction, copywriting, traditional media, new media, innovative technology, technical development, trans media narrative and convergence culture.


Executive Masters of Design in Advertising, OCAD U

AOCA Degree, Advertising

Oakwood Collegiate

Professional Experience

Urban & Co. Inc., President, Creative Director

Ogilvy, Associate Creative Director

McCann-Erickson, Senior Art Director

JWT, Art Director

McCann-Erickson, Art Director

Awards \ Grants

Humanitarian recognition:

Cystic Fibrosis Canada 2009 National Champion Award 'Hall of Fame' award, bestowed only on the occasion of exemplary contributions resulting in meaningful impact. This prestigious award recognizes outstanding humanitarian effort and was given in recognition of ongoing work, spanning many years and generating much success in cause marketing.

Teaching recognition:

2012 Non-tenured teaching award for excellence and innovation in teaching, based on anonymous student and OCAD U community nomination.

#1 overall ranking-Best Prof in Advertising at OCAD,

Industry recognition and awards:

To date, Ann has personally won dozens of national and international advertising and design awards of recognition for creative excellence, including winning every top award in Canada, as well as awards in the U.S. and internationally. The company she founded, Northwords/Urban & Co., has been acknowledged with 150+ domestic and international awards for Creativity, representing 22 different award shows and industry associations.

These awards include: 1) Archive Magazine, showcasing the Best Advertising In the World 2) Billi Award for Outdoor advertising 3) Broadcast Executive Society 4) Bessie Awards 5) CAMA - Canadian AgriMarketing Awards 6) Canadian Insurance Industry People's Choice Awards 7) Canadian Red Cross Awards 8) Cannes Film Festival 9) Clio Awards 10) Extra Newspaper Awards 11) Franchise Association Frankie Awards 12) Hollywood Radio & Television Society 13) Insurance Accounting & Systems Association of San Diego 14) London International Advertising Awards 15) Magazines Canada Awards 16) Marketing Awards 17) Mobius Awards 18) NAMA - National AgriMarketing Awards USA 19) New York International Radio Festival 20) POPAI Awards (Chicago Point of Purchase Advertising Institute) 21) Retail Comp/TV Bureau Awards 22) RSVP Awards for Direct Response advertising.

In addition to winning awards, she has also been a judge on two industry award show juries.

Academic recognition and awards:

McCann-Erickson Advertising Scholarship and internship

H.L. Rous (Advertising) Scholarship

Oakwood Collegiate Optima Cup Award (Award for all round achievement)

Oakwood Collegiate, Ontario Scholar (Scholarship)


Selected Professional Projects:

Ann has worked for hundreds of Fortune 500 companies and on many prominent campaigns.

Below are just a few:

GardensOntario: Branding and Marketing for the Governement of Ontario  (online and off line marketing)

iOGO National Dairy (marketing strategy and research)

Pitney Bowes North America marketing and advertising programs for worldwide use (online and off line marketing and communciations programs spanning a decade)

2010 Vancouver Olympics high profile marketing campaign for Hain Celestial, (one of the largest North American Health and Wellness Food companies) executed in several innovative media channels (digital, new media)

Government project re-branding the City of Carleton Place (new identity, full branding, corporate communications, website design and advertising)

Launched 'Starstruck Entertainment' retail outlets in Canadian Cineplex Theatres (new identity, full branding, retail interior design and advertising)

Sobeys Holiday Marketing Program (retail store design, advertising)

Loblaws and Whole Foods launch of Naturalife, National organics food product line (packaging, advertising, point-of-purchase materials)

Launched 'My Organic Baby' Canada's first national organic baby food line (4 dozen+ new package designs, point-of-purchase, marketing, advertising)

Launched the Staubach Company's Velocity Developments in Arizona—a Multi-national corporate real estate company that manages $13 billion in revenues. (rebranding, corporate communications and full advertising program)

Westfield Malls USA (one of the world's largest shopping center developer) working with their LA head office, created marketing programs for U.S. distribution (marketing, advertising.) Notably, one simple postcard generated over $1 Million USD.

Cystic Fibrosis Canada  (Marketing and advertising spanning a decade for which we received a lifetime contribution award in cause marketing.)

GlaxoSmithKline, USA and Canada (national multimedia programs)

Selected Publications

Selected Media/Publications:

RGD Design Educators Conference 2015
Peer reviewed paper page 133:
Paper based on on-going design and educational research

Applied Arts Magazine, OCAD U changes the ad game, March 10, 2016

The Toronto Star, contributor on the topic of buzzwords, Feb 17, 2016

Globe and Mail. OCAD students sink their teeth into Pizza Pocket ad Campaign! Aug. 6 2015 (Profiling the success of the class I co-created and co-teach)

Format Magazine article. The role of multidisciplinary creative. Sept. 22, 2015

Applied Arts Magazine. Get a job in advertising with this neat trick! (Profiling the success of the class I co-created and co-teach) July 10, 2015

National webinarCreative Ad Layouts for the Canadian Newspaper Association. This webinar which was the highest attended webinar of it's kind to date, now posted on-line as a permanent archive. Jan. 18, 2011

Globe and Mail interview: for the Globe's Persuasion section, focusing on new media in advertising. March, 2010

Professional Affiliations / Boards / Juries

OCAD U Senate Committee member (2016-2018)

Sheridan Professional Advisory Committee (Feb 2016-2019)

Co-Chair, Humber Advisory Committee (2014-2017)

Numerous OCAD Committees including Hiring, Advisory, Curriculum+Syllabus development, Internship Placement, Mentor Program, Student Award Shows, Speaker Series and others.

Service to the University includes: Admissions, Look Inside, Grad Show, Convocation