McCann-Erickson overhaul

In a bold effort to inject new life into its employee ranks and agency culture, McCann-Erickson Advertising of Canada has changed its name and implemented a major structural reorganization.On Jan. 21, the Toronto agency - which is part of McCann-Erickson Worldwide,...

In a bold effort to inject new life into its employee ranks and agency culture, McCann-Erickson Advertising of Canada has changed its name and implemented a major structural reorganization.

On Jan. 21, the Toronto agency – which is part of McCann-Erickson Worldwide, which in turn is owned by Interpublic Group of New York – renamed itself McCann Toronto.

Like most large Canadian agencies in an era when major advertisers are continuously reducing their ad budgets, McCann finds itself struggling to maintain, much less increase, its overall billing level.

McCann President Craig Simpson says the new name reflects a desire by management to reposition McCann from an orientation as a service office in a large agency system to that of an entrepreneurial shop with a focus on creativity and a drive to land local clients.

To underscore his seriousness, Simpson has reorganized the agency from a traditional structure comprising three main functions, creative, client services and media, into a set of five closely linked staff groupings, or ‘creative hothouses.’

Three of the hothouses will handle creative, one will be responsible for media and the fifth will be responsible for production.

Each of the creative hothouses will be staffed by employees responsible for the agency’s three main functions: creative, media and client services.

Jacques Duval, area manager of McCann-Erickson Canada and executive vice-president of McCann-Erickson North America, says the new structure is intended to make it clear that, although only about 15% of the agency’s staff actually creates ads, ‘creativity is everyone’s responsibility.’

In addition, Duval says the new structure will force all employees working on an account to ‘consider the client to be their client,’ rather than passing the buck to a co-worker in another department.

Duval says that by renaming the agency, he hopes to instill in its employees a new sense of ‘control and autonomy’ over their work – something that hitherto had been lacking.

While McCann Toronto has become the agency’s name in day-to-day business, the long-form version remains intact for official purposes.

In other news at McCann, Tom Beckett has been promoted from chief financial officer to chief operating officer.

And Lori Senecal has been promoted from account director on Coca-Cola to vice-president, group account director. PA