Principal, Athena Brand Wisdom, Toronto
Sarah Jane Johnson is a principal at Athena Brand Wisdom, a Toronto-based market research agency specializing in all aspects of brand experience. In a past life she was an Account Planner at a number of Ad Agencies, including BMP DDB (London), Kirshenbaum & Bond (New York) and TBWA Chiat Day (Toronto). Sarah’s semiotic experience ranges from a study of the semiotics of obesity in America to the semiotic history of Ritz crackers advertising. She has lectured and presented papers at a number of universities and conferences. She was also an organizer and host of Semiofest Toronto in 2017.
“I first came across semiotics while studying Anthropology and English at McGill University, but never thought it would be a way I could make a living. When I discovered marketing semiotics I realized it was a perfect way for me to use my eternal obsession with culture and the close reading skills I developed as an English student. When I first saw Semiofest being discussed on the Semiotic Thinking Group before it was ever launched, I knew I had to be a part of it. I had been thinking of getting involved in commercial semiotics but wasn’t really sure how. That first Semiofest was the perfect launching pad. I immediately fell in love with an event that brought together a community of bright and fascinating people from all over the world. At the end of an exhilarating and exhausting two days I was full of motivation and had met brilliant thinkers from all over the world – many of whom I was able to tap when a global project fell into my lap a few months later. Since then, Semiofest has always been one of the highlights of my year: where I go to be informed, inspired and to connect and reconnect with folks who care about Semiotics as much as I do. It reminds me of what I love about Semiotics: its ability to make sense of culture – mine and others, and the infinite meaningfulness of the world around us.”