Rancourt reunites with Robinson at Doug & Serge

February 08, 2010  |  Jeromy Lloyd  |  Comments

Those who have phoned Toronto’s Doug Agency have probably heard its quirky on-hold music: familiar tunes sung with every word replaced by "Doug." That song will need to change now that Serge Rancourt, former president of Publicis Canada, has joined the agency as a partner.

While the agency will retain its positioning mantra–"Great creative builds brands faster"–as of today it will go by the name Doug & Serge.

"We went with our first names because this business is all about relationships," said agency founder and chief creative officer Doug Robinson. "We want to be the Ben & Jerry of the industry."

Robinson and Rancourt worked together at Young & Rubicam in the ’80s and early ’90s where they contributed to the "Who’s Bob" Doritos campaign, among others. Their business partnership ended when Rancourt moved to Europe to manage that part of the agency’s Ford account. He then joined Publicis in 1999.

Robinson worked at Ammirati Puris from 1993 to 2001 before launching Doug Agency in 2002, but the two have remained friends.

Rancourt announced his departure from Publicis last January.

"I knew I didn’t want to go back to a big agency because I’ve been there and done that," Rancourt said. "I also knew I didn’t want to go to an international [agency network]. I want to leave a legacy. This is my last chapter. I’ll do this and after that I’ve done what I want to do.

"I’m very entrepreneurial. [At Publicis] we were very entrepreneurial in the beginning. At the end it became like a big [network] agency, and that’s the natural process of growing. Here I’ve found something I really like. Our names are on the door."

Rancourt is now an equal partner at the eight-year-old agency, and will oversee business development as chief operational officer. He sees his role not only as maintaining good relationships with the shop’s existing clients, but to drive an ambitious growth program.

Within the next five years, he wants to grow the agency from its current level of 28 staff and 17 clients to approximately 150 staff working on national clients in key sectors such as automotive.

"At Publics we went from 50 to 450," Rancourt said. "If you’re going to have a goal, life is too short to think small."

"At Ammirati we started [with] three guys," Robinson added. "We both come from very entrepreneurial backgrounds. We know what it’s like at every stage of growth… At the 150 level, with the right people, you can really compete in North America and the world."

"But we don’t want to get big to get bad… 150 is a great number because you still pretty much know everybody and the culture is intact," said Rancourt.

Doug recently redesigned Dr. Bernstein Diet and Health Clinics‘ web properties. Other clients include the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Worldwide Short Film Festival, Clover Leaf and NorthWest financial services provider.

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