Dentsu Aegis Network brings dentsu X to Canada

Dentsu Aegis Network has rebranded its Dentsu Media operations in Canada as dentsu X, the latest step in a global rollout of the brand first introduced in Asia in 2017 followed by markets in Europe and Africa.

Dentsu X has also promoted Genevieve Guay to president of its Canadian operations, comprised of 50 people across offices in Toronto and Montreal. Guay has spent nearly 15 years with Dentsu Aegis Network in increasingly senior roles, most recently as managing director of Dentsu Media and 360i.

“We want to reinvent the way brands are built, and dentsu X is one of the brands that will convey that vision,” Guay told The Message. 

Genevieve Guay

Dentsu X Canada has added approximately 20 employees since the start of the year, supporting what Guay describes as a “very significant shift” from its former approach. “It’s adding people to support the agency’s planning philosophy,” she said. “We’ve been really successful at getting the right expertise that sometimes goes beyond media to help our clients change their business.”

Guay said that the starting point for media planning at dentsu X is shifting from an emphasis on attitudinal and demographic data, to consumer motivation. It’s an approach characterized as “experience beyond exposure,” by dentsu X’s global president Mitsuyuki Nakamura, who has publicly stated that he hopes the company is not defined as a media agency within five years.

“We’re starting from a different point, where we try to understand consumer motivation and what brings them to a category,” said Guay. “[We’re] finding the intersection between their motivation and needs, as opposed to the traditional profile, which is often based on digital signals and data, and often end up being more demographics than anything else.”

Dentsu X relies on a collection of proprietary tools and data partnerships with clients to develop its media plans, said Guay. She said that the full rollout of its suite of products will take place over the coming year.

Dentsu X currently has 37 offices in 34 markets across Asia, Russia, France, Italy and Australia. It forms the basis of Dentsu Aegis Network’s media offering along with Carat and Vizeum.

“It’s an exciting time for the Dentsu Aegis Network in Canada as we continue to expand with the addition of dentsu X, delivering an even more robust and integrated product solution to our clients,” said Annette Warring, chair and CEO of Dentsu Aegis Network Canada, in a release.

According to a January report from RECMA, dentsu X netted an estimated US$316 million in new in 2018, winning global accounts including the Jaguar Land Rover business.

Its success stood in stark contrast to the overall Dentsu Aegis Network, which lost a total of US$820 million in business, mostly attributable to Carat’s loss of key accounts including Mondelez, Adidas and Macy’s, said RECMA.

Chris Powell