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  • Julia Cherry


I was 19 years old when I started looking for a job in marketing. Employers still saw me as a kid, even though the rest of the world wanted me to be an adult. I interviewed for countless positions I had no interest in. I found work at a big name corporation where I felt like a small fish in a very large pond. I interned for entrepreneurs who took advantage of my lack of experience, all while having little to no interest in helping me develop my career. I thought I was doing what was expected of me; that it was all fine because at least I was developing my resume — right?

I was stuck in an in-between stage, and I wasn’t sure where I fit in, or who I was supposed to be. Honestly, I’m still in that stage, but my first year looking for jobs taught me where I didn’t fit and who I didn’t want to be. I learned I don’t fit into “boys club” businesses, whose power structures depend on seniority. I also learned that I didn’t want to play a supporting role in someone else’s success story. Ultimately, I learned that what I wanted was a job where I could learn and be supported.

After 2 summers of some bullshit, a friend told me about CRUEL. Unknowingly, this was the start of my journey in marketing.

The summer after my second year at Western University (Go Stangs), I started with CRUEL part-time as a Brand Ambassador. It was my first time being exposed to marketing in a tangible way, not just through a textbook. Although I wasn’t entirely sure about pursuing a career in the field, I took the job seriously as I knew I was definitely interested in the field. The next summer I was offered a full-time coordinator position. It was during that time that I was given the independence to fully explore my interests and develop my skills. I took every opportunity I was given to grow, not only as an employee, but as a person.

Every year, the entire team at CRUEL leaves the city for a company retreat. The annual retreat is called Development Camp, affectionately referred to as D-Camp. D-Camp is a time for us to take a break from our normal day-to-day work, where we get a chance to analyze what we’ve done and how we can be better — as a group. The 2018 edition took place at the end of my summer as a coordinator, and included the 10 members of the CRUEL core team at the time.

At the camp, I was given a chance to work on CRUEL’s recruiting program — a part of the business that we were leaning on more and more as the company grew. The program needed a considerable refresh, and as someone who found CRUEL through that channel, I was asked to share my experience. I had the opportunity to recreate the job hunting process that I so reluctantly had to go through, and I jumped at it. I thought back to my state of mind: anxious yet eager, scared yet excited. This inspired me to start developing a version of CRUEL’s recruiting program for students experiencing those same tiring emotions. Out of that one week up north in a cabin with my co-workers, Campus Collective (CC) was born. Even more exciting though, is that this platform I developed was going to live on university campuses across the country.

As the summer drew to a close, I was offered the position of Manager of Strategy & Operations — a chance to continue my work on CC, as well as work on a few other areas of the business. The opportunity was starting in January, and although I had two semesters of school left, I knew I could do extra online courses and finish a semester early if I wanted to take the position.

At that point in my life, a mere 1.5 years ago, I had a terrifying decision to make. On one hand, I had an amazing opportunity with people I liked where I was learning a lot. However, for so much of my life, I had been told to follow a safer path — take a job at a big corporation and develop my resume. Ultimately, it was my parents who encouraged me to take the position with CRUEL. My mom, who started her own business at a young age, understood the appeal of working for a startup. My dad, having recently started his own business, said “the only thing you need to ask yourself is: do you care about these people and the work they do? And if the answer is yes, you’ll figure out the rest”.

So with that encouragement, I began my full-time marketing career (aka my big girl job — semantics I suppose, but let me live). My first big project? Develop a team of students at campuses across Canada for CC 2019. When I went through the recruiting program at CRUEL, it was really just a job listing online. I realized that having only this one touchpoint made us no different from other employers, and that we had to update our recruiting strategy to better reflect the needs of students. Our program had to address the realization I had a few years prior, that companies today need to develop a more reciprocal relationship with their staff and their community. So, we determined that Campus Collective had to provide value for students and the on-campus organizations we largely depend upon

Today, most recruiting tactics depend on third-party job posting sites, targeted advertising through social media, and traditional job fairs. These tactics focus on quantity over quality, and dehumanize the recruiting process. Our program is different. CC is a touchpoint for students interested in the world of marketing, who also want to connect with CRUEL. We use a people-first strategy to develop a community of quality applicants who can continue to interact with us year-round regardless of their employment status with us. Events, merch drops, word-of-mouth, and animated shorts — we will always be different.

At first, I was a product of CRUEL’s recruiting program. Now, I’m on the other side, helping people find the same opportunity that I’ve found. Life has enough challenges; and we’ll face a lot of them throughout our careers. So, give the kids what they want — fulfilling jobs in a young, creative, and fun community.


  • Brand of the Year ADCANN and

    Canadian Cannabis Awards


    Best Marketing Campaign

    O’Cannabiz Awards


    ADC Awards 2022
    Gold for Media Innovation

    MR. SATURDAY (2022)

    Cannes Bronze Lion for Brand

    Experience and Activation

    MR. SATURDAY (2022)

    Atomic Awards, Gold for Niche Targeting, Collaboration, Engagement

    MR. SATURDAY (2022)

  • CRUEL is an independent marketing agency based in Toronto, exploring contemporary themes through art, marketing, and culture. We find deeper meaning emphasizing the power of human connection, and in doing so, embed brands in the conversation; whether digital or in-real-life, launching a new product, or creating an immersive brand experience.


    Founded in 2013 as a university lifestyle platform in Montreal, CRUEL quickly became a hub for young people to connect, driven by the surge of social media. By 2015, after hosting thousands of events and launching localized content initiatives, CRUEL transformed into a marketing agency, drawing clients keen on understanding youth culture and younger demographics. In 2016, CRUEL further demonstrated its newly formed marketing acumen by successfully launching Snapple Spiked across Canada through an authentic, grassroots driven campaign.


    CRUEL's creative capabilities flourished in 2018, winning Campaign of the Year and Brand of the Year for the launch of the 7ACRES cannabis brand in Canada. The arrival of the pandemic in 2020 tested CRUEL's adaptability as a younger agency. However, with agility and a solutions-oriented mindset, CRUEL was able to seamlessly pivot from traditional event marketing to a fully integrated offering, combining Branding, Content, and Experiential to provide increased value to clients. As people everywhere returned to real life, so did CRUEL. This was on display with the LottoMax Dream Drop campaign in 2022, winning several awards, most notably the agencies first Cannes Lion for Experience Design. 

    In 2023, CRUEL has continued to grow, being featured in Hypebeast, Highsnobiety, Vogue, Strategy Online and other publications. By delivering fully-integrated brand experiences that capitalize on contemporary trends, CRUEL is always designing new ways to connect brands to with the next generation of consumers.


    Research and Insights 
    Brand Strategy and Planning
    Brand Identity
    Art Direction
    Graphic Design
    UI and UX Design 


    Brand Storytelling
    Digital Strategy
    Content Production
    Commercial Photography
    Channel Planning
    Community Management
    Digital Platform Development
    Emerging Tech Integrations
    3D Motion Design


    Activation Development
    Installations and Pop-Ups 
    Event Strategy and Production
    Interactive Product Sampling
    Logistics Management
    Staff Recruitment/Training  
    Retail Environments


    Strategic Partnerships 
    Negotiation and Contracting
    Sponsorship Framework 
    Property Representation 
    Sponsor Activation
    Valuation and Measuremen

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