Strategy’s Most Read of 2019: Account wins

The new business and AOR assignments that got the most attention from strategy readers this year.

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This week, strategy is counting down the most-read stories from all our areas of coverage over the past year. Today, we are looking at the account wins and new business that made waves in the industry. Check back throughout the week for more of 2019′s biggest stories and, in the meantime, read up on the top stories from Canada’s ad agencies and our Shopper Marketing Report newsletter.

Subaru picks Zulu Alpha Kilo as AOR

A review that began in November concluded in February, with Subaru picking Zulu Alpha Kilo to lead its brand strategy, creative, digital and production in Canada (Rinaldi continues to handle work for Quebec). The win marked Zulu’s return to the automotive category, having previously worked as AOR for Audi for nearly five years before declining to participate in a 2016 review that sent its work to Taxi. Zulu’s first major campaign on the account came in the fall, with a creative concept that put a spin on the term “G.O.A.T.” to pit the capabilities of the latest Outback model against an actual mountain goat. The win also facilitated some new additions to the agency’s ranks.

Subaru’s previous AOR in Canada, Red Urban, did not participate in the pitch, and was closed by holding company Omnicom after losing the client that had made up the bulk of its recent work (agency president Steve Carli has since joined Toronto independent agency Mackie Biernacki).

The&Partnership picks up Canada Post business

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As result of a win announced earlier this month, The&Partnership is now handling advertising, digital, social, direct marketing and CRM for Canada Post, but it isn’t working alone: it also set up a collaborative, dedicated team alongside Junction59 (which handles direct marketing) and Tank (which handles French-language marketing) to serve the account. It is similar to a model The&Partnership previously used with Vision7 to set up dedicated units for shared clients Telus and Toyota Canada. Part of the interest in the agency selection may have been because, in April, Canada Post’s RFP became the latest subject of an ICA boycott.

Starbucks picks Sid Lee

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While Starbucks has been in Canada for decades now – with a network of 1,200 locations – its marketing has relied heavily on U.S. adaptations. But when it selected Sid Lee as its Canadian AOR, it signaled its intention to create more Canada-specific campaigns as part of a new focus on the market.

The assignment was announced in April, but by then the agency’s work with Starbucks was already well underway, having been behind the “Morning Yes” campaign from January (pictured, above) that tried to create a new morning alarm that would wake people up in a way that would give them a more pleasant start to their day.

LCBO picks Lg2 as new AOR

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Lg2 Toronto’s AOR mandate with the LCBO was a big one, as it covered brand and advertising strategy, promotional campaigns, corporate social responsibility, branding and retail design for LCBO, as well as its Food & Drink magazine and Vintages in-store wine boutique.

The selection also marked a return to the LCBO having a single agency of record – Bensimon Byrne had previously handled brand and CSR work, with KBS on advertising for in-store promotions (both assignments had been awarded in 2016; as a crown corp, the LCBO is mandated to conduct a review every three to five years). Kerri Dawson – who was VP of marketing and customer intelligence for the LCBO until it named a new lead marketer in the fall – told strategy that the crown corp would be working with Lg2 on “fully integrated campaigns that leverage all the different channels available to communicate our message to consumers in a responsible manner.”