MDC creates new Doner network with Union, Veritas, 6Degrees and KWT

MDC Partners is bringing together a handful of independent agency brands in a new 700-person Doner network.

The change is intended to help deliver more integrated service options for clients, said CEO Mark Penn in a release. “This network will deliver unparalleled storytelling, brand building and performance to the North American marketplace.”

The Canadian agencies involved include:

  • Creative agency Union;
  • Influencer marketing and PR offering Veritas (with Meat&Produce);
  • Shopper marketing agency 6Degrees Integrated Communications; and
  • Brand strategy and digital PR agency KWT Global.

Aside from the ad agency Doner, which has offices in Detroit, L.A. and near Stamford Connecticut, the other U.S.-based agency brands are Yamamoto, a brand and advertising agency based in Minneapolis and Chicago, and lifestyle PR agency HL Group.

Doner CEO David DeMuth will serve as network chair, with Veritas/Meat&Produce CEO Krista Webster (pictured in photo with DeMuth) and Yamamoto CEO Kathy McCuskey as vice-chairs. CEOs Troy Yung (6Degrees), Lynn Tesoro (HL Group), Aaron Kwittken (KWT Global), and Sub Nijjar (Union) will continue to lead their respective firms.

Bringing component agencies closer together is a response to today’s client needs, said Webster. “Modern marketing these days is all about the fusion of below the line and above the line, diverse sensibilities from different agencies, and being able to bring different thinking to the table more quickly,” she said. “There’s incredible talent at all of these agencies and the idea that we can actually share that talent for clients is just a win-win.”

She said the new Doner network has been working on three different integrated projects for clients. “We’ve already been collaborating as a network of agencies, this is making it more formal.”

MDC said the new Doner could present local agencies with the chance to expand significantly by working on clients across the network.

“This is all about evolving the agency model,” said DeMuth in the release. “In a world where more entrepreneurial entities compete with well-established holding companies, a fresh, collaborative take on how firms can adapt today—while better serving their clients—has more to offer than looking in the rear-view mirror.”

The change comes as Penn looks to “streamline back-office operations” across MDC, though Webster said that is not the driving reason behind the move.

“The goal is not to cut, the goal is to grow,” she said. Doner will be looking for efficiencies as well, and back office would be the most likely area to accomplish that. But she said more efficiency could come from shared technology, for example. “Enhancing that even more so, will only make us go to to market more quickly. So it’s actually looking at other data and research, other tech that can actually enable us to be even smarter than we already are, that’s where I see more efficiency.”

David Brown