Cossette

The shop's consumer-centric revamp gets kicked into high gear.
Louis Duschene, EVP, General Manager; Melanie Dunn, president and CEO; and Daniel Shearer, EVP, General Manager are leading Cossette’s consumer-centric charge.

Louis Duschene, EVP, General Manager; Melanie Dunn, president and CEO; and Daniel Shearer, EVP, General Manager are leading Cossette’s consumer-centric charge.

YOU CAN THANK CONSUMERS for Cossette’s organizational shift and its recent string of successes, which saw the cross-Canada shop nab gold at strategy’s 2016 Agency of the Year and crack Warc’s Top 30. That’s not to mention a bevy of trophies including a Yellow Pencil, some Lions, CASSIES and Clios for the shop, which has offices in Montreal, Quebec City, Toronto, Halifax, Winnipeg and Vancouver.

At the heart of these successes is the Vision 7 agency’s revamp of its internal processes to become “consumer centric,” says president and CEO Melanie Dunn. While the transformation has been a long-time percolating, it really kicked into high gear with a bevy of new talent that boarded the agency in the last few years.

Beyond an infusion of fresh faces into the managing seats, including Dunn, EVPs and general managers Daniel Shearer and Louis Duchesne and creative heavy-weights Carlos Moreno and Peter Ignazi as new CCOs in 2015, it also brought aboard new heads of strategy with Jason Chaney as CSO (also in 2015) and Rosie Gentile as SVP, leading the shop’s one-to-one strategy practice in 2017.

To help consumers connect with Cheerios again, Cossette and General Mills did the unthinkable: They pulled Buzz the bee from the box to help people realize the impact of a declining bee population.
To help consumers connect with Cheerios again, Cossette and General Mills did the unthinkable: They pulled Buzz the bee from the box to help people realize the impact of a declining bee population.

To help consumers connect with Cheerios again, Cossette and General Mills did the unthinkable: They pulled Buzz the bee from the box to help people realize the impact of a declining bee population.

Other changes include the addition of a start-up incubation program originally launched in Montreal and spread through the rest of the network. Cossette has bolstered its data and analytics offering, to help clients delve deeper into insights that can create better, more tailored consumer interactions. It has invested more into R&D so it can be at the leading edge of the tech space, and has also added more 360-capabilities to its in-house production team (such as photo and video shooting, post production) to help facilitate faster content turn-around for clients.

Dunn points to recent work for SickKids as a prime example of what the shop can achieve when it puts the consumer at the heart of everything.

The new platform, “SickKids VS.” is designed around a content-led customer journey, says Shearer. The hospital asked Cossette to create a new brand platform with the goal helping raise $1.3 billion. But, the traditional donor base was aging and had stagnated in its contributions. The shop decided to target a younger male-skewing millennial audience to revive donations. But, with so many things competing for their attention it would be easy to get lost in the crowd.

To change the mentality from “help us” to “join us,” the shop treated SickKids like any other mass brand – creating a new evocative brand platform that helped the hospital net nearly $60 million in a three month window.
To change the mentality from “help us” to “join us,” the shop treated SickKids like any other mass brand – creating a new evocative brand platform that helped the hospital net nearly $60 million in a three month window.

To change the mentality from “help us” to “join us,” the shop treated SickKids like any other mass brand – creating a new evocative brand platform that helped the hospital net nearly $60 million in a three month window.

“We started to think of the competition not as other charities, but rather as other performance brands” says Shearer. “So how would we market if we were competing against the Nikes of the world? That changed our entire outlook on the brand platform.”

The “VS.” platform is a highly emotive, yet tonally powerful campaign that put the kids (and later the moms) in the fighting seats. Communication ran on multiple platforms, and the deeper donors got into the customer journey, the more tailored the content became, he says. And it worked: with more than $57 million in donations, the hospital saw its greatest ever contribution period after its November launch.

One of the biggest shifts at the network has been to create multidisciplinary “super teams” to help clients in a more bespoke manner, says Shearer. The agency cherry picks talent from across the seven Cossette offices and even the broader Vision 7 network (including Citizen Relations and The Camps Collective) to work on projects. The shop began experimenting with this approach in 2016 with McDonald’s, which brought together talent from across the network.

Who knew a simple question could be so effective? By asking if bacon fundamentally changes a Big Mac, Cossette and McDonald’s saw 700 million impressions, while social mentions increased 188%.

Who knew a simple question could be so effective? By asking if bacon fundamentally changes a Big Mac, Cossette and McDonald’s saw 700 million impressions, while social mentions increased 188%.

Shearer points to the recent McDonald’s campaign for the addition of bacon to the iconic Big Mac as a prime example of the output from this team. The creative stemmed from the insight that as one of the most recognizable brands in the world, the burger itself was a passion point for many, spawning multiple discussions online around the purity and essence of the Big Mac, which inspired the idea of asking whether adding bacon changed the nature of the product.

The campaign rolled out across multiple platforms, including TV, out-of-home and YouTube, where it broke a record with more than 32 million interactions with the masthead ad in a single day. Overall the campaign generated 700 million impressions.

And Cossette has seen so much success with that super team approach, it’s rolled it out to other brands.“I think we’re really starting to crack the code to create these bespoke multi-disciplinary teams that are custom fit for clients,” he says. “Yes, we’re a big agency, but what that really means is we have access to these incredible benches of competencies. It’s a huge network of talent we can draw from.”

As Quebec’s SAQ moved away from mass marketing towards a more targeted approach, a new campaign promoted the new mobile experience, resulting in 1.2 million sign ups for the new platform.

As Quebec’s SAQ moved away from mass marketing towards a more targeted approach, a new campaign promoted the new mobile experience, resulting in 1.2 million sign ups for the new platform.

CONTACT

Daniel Shearer

EVP general manager

416 306-6649