This story was updated at 6:55 p.m. on March 17, 2014
Rogers and Publicis are renewing their vows.
After seven years together, Rogers has decided to stay with Publicis following a three-month agency review that started out with an RFP to 10 shops in mid-November.
In fact, the relationship has been expanded. Publicis will now oversee all brand communications for Rogers including digital, above the line, strategic planning and retail marketing in both English and French. The agency was only notified of the win today, with staff told late Monday afternoon. Rogers Fido brand remains with DentsuBos and Wurstlingroup holds onto Chatr, while Proximity will retain the Rogers’ direct business.
Shelagh Stoneham, senior vice-president, general manager of brands and marketing communications for Rogers Communications, said the decision to stay with Publicis represents a “reset” with the agency bringing new talents and expertise to the table than in the past.
“We entered into a relationship with Publicis over seven years ago. A lot has changed over that time period,” said Stoneham.
“A big part of it was digital,” she said. When the two got together in 2005, digital was really in its infancy, with spending in low single digits where today it’s close to 40% for some lines of business.
Rogers also wanted one shop for both languages as well as proven retail and shopper marketing expertise. Publicis’ decision to open Publicis Shopper last year was an important factor in the decision, said Stoneham, adding that strategic planning has also been added to the Publicis mandate.
“We felt it was important to have a consolidated view… to have one national agency,” said Stoneham. “We really couldn’t do that without going to market, without seeing a full, current view of what was available.”
While the RFP went out to 10 agencies, only seven took part. Of those, JWT, Y&R and BBDO all made the shortlist with Publicis. Each of those four made presentations in early February.
“All the agencies were really impressive in their own way,” she said. “When Publicis made their final presentation, they just stood out… They were in their finest hour.”
Duncan Bruce, president and chief creative officer of Publicis Canada, called Rogers “part of our DNA and we had to prove that we are part of the Rogers DNA and that was what really helped clinch it for us.
“I think with Guy Laurence coming in [as CEO in December]… it was the right time to go to the market,” Bruce said. “For us, I guess the biggest challenge was to show and demonstrate that we could be an agency to help them reset. To be fresh and to be unshackled to what we might have done before.”
Knowing that Rogers was highly interested in the agency’s digital expertise, Publicis decided to walk the digital talk in their final presentation. “We presented a paperless presentation. There weren’t any heavy-duty books, it was all electronic and on iPad. It was the first time we have done that and I think it was an important step for us,” he said, adding that the presentation was personally unique for another reason.
The pitch was also Duncan Bruce’s first without Andrew Bruce who was promoted to president & CEO of Publicis Worldwide, North America in December.
“For me it was the first time in 15 years I have presented without my brother. It felt like I was presenting without my right arm,” he said.
UPDATE: The original version of this story inaccurately reported that Publicis had won the Rogers’ affiliated brands including Chatr and Fido. This was incorrect. Marketing regrets the error.
Disclosure: Rogers own Marketing magazine and MarketingMag.ca