Rogers moves creative and media business to bespoke WPP agency

Rogers Communications has moved its massive creative and media assignment to WPP, which has created a new dedicated unit called Theo to service the account.

Rogers did not respond to requests for comment Tuesday night, but multiple industry sources confirmed the account shift. (*Story updated below with quotes released Wednesday.)

The Message has been told that the business will be handled by a new bespoke agency, with creative managed by Taxi and John St., and GroupM’s Mindshare handling the media portion of the business.

The move ends an 11-year association with Omnicom, which held the media business since 2009—first with OMD and, since mid-2018, with a dedicated unit called Red Magnet.

It ends an even longer relationship with Publicis, which first picked up the creative business in 2005, although much of the creative work in recent years has been split between BBDO and DDB.

John St., Taxi and Mindshare did not respond to requests for comment, but other industry sources said the move appears to have come without a formal review.

The new model sounds similar to that of The Greenhouse, a bespoke agency created for Telus that combines The&Partnership and Cossette.

Simone Lumsden, who was hired as CMO at Rogers last summer, was a top marketer at Telus when The Greenhouse was created.


*Rogers confirmed the changes in a press release issued Wednesday:

“We wanted a single partner who could bring integrated customer journeys to life with powerful and strategic communications in all channels for our consumer and Rogers for Business brands,” said Simone Lumsden, senior vice-president and chief marketing officer, Rogers Communications. “Now more than ever, the products and services we offer are so important to Canadians. We’re excited to partner with WPP as we continue to deepen our relationship with Canadians by telling relevant stories about how our products keep them connected to what matters most and how we are supporting our communities.”

“We’re looking forward to building on the success we’ve had with Fido, chatr and the Rogers Infinite launch—bringing all Rogers consumer and Rogers for Business brands together,” said Taxi CEO Rob Guenette. “What’s particularly exciting and different about Theo is that we’re bringing media back into the tent.”  

 “Media and creative have been separated for way too long,” said Devon MacDonald, CEO of Mindshare Canada. “By combining our teams into a single force for Rogers, we’ll be able to create more interesting, relevant, and engaging work.”

David Brown