Most-read of 2021: Brands

The restructurings, executive appointments and new agency assignments that got the industry's attention this year.

Coca-Cola’s Canadian VP of marketing to leave amid global restructuring

When Coca-Cola reported its Q4 financials in February, it also provided an update on its plans to centralize its operations in the U.S., which included moving its senior marketing roles to Atlanta.

That meant Michael Samoszewski, VP of marketing in Canada, would be leaving the company after nearly two decades.

The broader restructuring was based around “the center,” which provides strategy, governance and scale for global initiatives from Atlanta. Meanwhile, the company’s operating units were restructured to eliminate duplication of resources, cut costs and scaling new products more quickly. Global marketing category leadership teams have been primarily focused on innovation, marketing efficiency and effectiveness.

Those cost reduction plans were also supported by Coca-Cola’s global agency review, which concluded in November after 11 months. WPP was awarded the bulk of the duties, to be served through a new unit called OpenX, though roughly one third of its work was earmarked for an “open source” model in which 10 to 20 agencies in six to eight specialty categories can pitch.

Holt Renfrew goes agency-side for new marketing head

Wes Wolch made the client-side jump after nearly four years with Cossette Media in January, leaving his role as the agency’s chief strategy officer to become Holt Renfrew’s new SVP of marketing. He took over marketing duties from Rochelle Ezekiel, who had departed the luxury retailer the previous summer.

Back at Cossette Media, VP of analytics and insight Kristin Wozniak was elevated to a new SVP of analytics, insight and strategy role following Wolch’s departure.

Kruger picks Broken Heart Love Affair as new agency

One of the longest client-agency relationships in the country came to an end in the spring, when Kruger moved creative duties for its full brand portfolio to Broken Heart Love Affair after 20 years with John St.

There was no formal RFP process for the work – Broken Heart Love Affair had first worked with Kruger on a masterbrand campaign the previous year, the success of which led to the decision to consolidate its brand work with the agency as well.

BHLA’s work since then has included a repositioning for SpongeTowels and a new campaign for Scotties.

George Weston to sell Weston Foods

George Weston Ltd., the parent company of Loblaw, spent much of the year looking to get out of the bread business by selling its Weston Foods subsidiary.

In the year prior to the sale, Weston Foods revenue dipped by 4%, while Loblaw and Choice Properties (the company’s real estate arm that primarily manages properties anchored by Loblaw stores) continued to grow – leading the company to focus its efforts on the grocery and real estate business.

The sale ended up being split in two: the fresh and frozen business – including the Wonder, Ace Bakery, Country Harvest, D’Italiano, Casa Mendosa, Dave’s Killer Bread and Gadoua brands – was sold to FGF Brands in October, with the ambient bakery business going to Hearthside Food Solutions the following month.

McCann Canada to lead creative for SkiptheDishes

SkipTheDishes’s parent company, Just Eat, picked McCann Worldgroup as its global creative AOR in April, part of an effort to find a global creative agency partner that could work across its business.

That meant McCann Canada assumed duties for the brand in Canada. That brought an end to a relationship with Arrivals + Departures, whose ads for the meal delivery service featuring Jon Hamm had been highly visible in recent years and got prime placement in big-draw sports and entertainment broadcasts.

McCann’s work since then maintains Skip’s presence during sports broadcasts, including a new platform created to take full advantage of its NHL sponsorship.