The Agency A List: Bleublancrouge

Ready for a global spotlight
The Daruma is a Japanese tradition symbolizing perseverance and good luck for the mission ahead. This artifact, first introduced to BBR by its Toyota client, has come to represent the agency’s mission-driven mentality. BBR believes that to create work that truly changes the course of things for its clients, they must approach their mandates as missions. Because missions have a beginning and an end, they are solution-oriented and their success can be measured.

The Daruma is a Japanese tradition symbolizing perseverance and good luck for the mission ahead. This artifact, first introduced to BBR by its Toyota client, has come to represent the agency’s mission-driven mentality. BBR believes that to create work that truly changes the course of things for its clients, they must approach their mandates as missions. Because missions have a beginning and an end, they are solution-oriented and their success can be measured.

After 35 years as one of Montreal’s top agencies, Bleublancrouge (BBR) has attracted the attention of national and global clients at an unprecedented pace. Within the last 12 months, the agency, with its sister companies from the Humanise collective, won the national AOR account for Desjardins, one of Canada’s largest financial services brands (which recently acquired State Farm Insurance), and now works with brand teams across the world including eBay Canada, Sotheby’s and numerous hospitality brands at Marriott International.

“Decades of experience and innovation, done quietly and with little fanfare, has led to this moment where the agency has come into its own,” says Wahn Yoon, president of the agency’s Toronto office.

To reaffirm the relationship SICO has with Quebecers, BBR created over 150 distinct, colourful nods to Quebec culture, then presented the homages in every nook and cranny of the province. Using both digital and traditional placement, each colourful reference was located in a strategic place chosen for its local relevance.

To reaffirm the relationship SICO has with Quebecers, BBR created over 150 distinct, colourful nods to Quebec culture, then presented the homages in every nook and cranny of the province, strategically chosen for relevance.

At its core, BBR helps clients with what it calls transformational advertising, which CEO Sébastien Fauré describes as work that makes a lasting difference versus work that just wins a contest. “We believe that work should be based on mission, not just deliverables. Outcomes, not just outputs,” he says.

In the past year and in Canada alone, BBR has produced standout work for SICO, which tapped into cultural icons beloved by Quebecers, it rebranded Bio-K, and helped achieve the turnaround of COLD-FX by positioning the brand as an essential companion to a successful “You Season”.

Years of research and development led to BBR’s suite of specialized services designed to deliver results beyond the typical agency offering. They credit the sudden and welcome attention to the years spent building best-in-breed disciplines within the agency since 2004, when Fauré took the helm as senior partner/CEO, as well as the addition of the Toronto office in 2016.This was followed in 2017 by the launch and subsequent growth of Humanise, a collective of seven independent companies each specializing in a different area of marketing or business consulting.

In addition, its Brand Language division offers trans- creation services that adapt global brands into local markets through careful examination of linguistics and culture.

In terms of optimization and media strategy, the agency’s data consultancy service Glassroom enables clients to move beyond the old school “spray and pray” into a pure ROI-driven, highly optimized approach to marketing. Yoon is quick to note that BBR and Glassroom are committed to total transparency. “We are intensely co-creative with clients, and show them all the data.” 

This ethos of transparency and a mission-based approach runs across all the companies at Humanise, such as Montreal-based Alice & Smith, whose gaming studio creates some of the world’s most popular alternate reality games (ARG), and works with global clients such as Sotheby’s International 

Realty to “gamify” everything from marketing to recruitment and employee engagement.

One of the most unique offerings within the Humanise collective is L’Institut Idée, a master-planning think tank in Toronto that helps clients transform how they think about their business and find their purpose.

Recent work for Sheraton worldwide, part of an assignment that included nine other Marriott brands, shows what can come from this process. One in 10 premium hotel rooms around the world belong to Sheraton, but over time the venerable brand had lost a sense of what it stood for. Using its proprietary Structural Mapping Process, BBR and L’Institut Idée mapped the brand’s true DNA and then worked closely with Sheraton’s global brand team to develop a vital new positioning, focusing on Sheraton being “the world’s public square”.

“Sheraton has big public spaces where they can bring people from all walks of life together,” says Yoon. “The new brand idea is to be inclusive, not exclusive. We’ve changed the course of things for this huge global brand.”

Fauré says this work demonstrates that the agency has reached a new level that he believes is rare for its size. “We’re more agile and passionate, we can operate on a global scale, and we’re able to attract the best talent in the industry. We’re incredibly proud of that.”

CONTACT

Sebastien Faure

CEO

info@bleublancrouge.ca