Publicis to relaunch Razorfish in Canada

Led by Alister Adams, the digital marketing transformation agency will fill a critical gap in the network's existing service offering.


Publicis Groupe is bringing its digital agency Razorfish back to Canada to handle the marketing work that falls outside the focus of its other digital offerings.

Razorfish focuses on digital marketing transformation, filling a gap in Publicis’ existing array of services, according to Alister Adams, who will lead the agency in addition to his existing responsibilities as GM and chief digital officer for Publicis in Toronto.

“We do not currently have an offering that is solely focused on digital marketing transformation. That is the missing piece of the puzzle that Razorfish now completes,” explains Adams. “The role of Razorfish is not to compete with any of our existing offerings, but rather to complement and support all of them.”

Razorfish last operated in Canada as SapientRazorfish, an entity created in 2016 when Publicis merged the network with SapientNitro. It was later merged with Sapient Consulting to form Publicis.Sapient in 2019, part of the holding company’s efforts to consolidate and simplify its offering. As part of a further strategy to move upstream with clients, the merged entity focused primarily on digital business transformation, but Adams says that left the network without a brand focused solely on digital transformation on the marketing front.

That category became an important one to fill as marketing budgets and timelines are being cut while business and consumer expectations rise and “associated volume of deliverables across an ever-growing list of digital touchpoints continue to grow,” Adams says. Last January, Publicis Groupe relaunched the Razorfish brand in the U.S., citing a similar need for a digital marketing transformation agency.

Since then, the pandemic has accelerated both the consumer and media shift to digital.

“Razorfish is a digital-first agency that is all about solving these challenges and driving meaningful business results,” Adams says. “All these factors – combined with the successful relaunch of the brand in the U.S. early last year – made it the right time to bring Razorfish back [in Canada].”

To staff the Razorfish relaunch, the network will transition “existing team members with the needed skill sets from within Publicis Groupe Canada” and make an unspecified number of new hires, Adams says.