KFC names Courage as creative agency after review

At the start of the year, creative agency Courage didn’t exist. It’s ending the year with two of the biggest account wins of 2022.

The agency, which only officially opened in May, was named creative AOR for KFC on Wednesday, just 10 weeks after it was named lead creative agency for CIBC.

Courage, which won the assignment after a four-month competitive review, will be responsible for all creative marketing communications. The account had been with John. St. since 2019.

“KFC is an iconic brand with some truly powerful brand codes, and we have very ambitious goals for it,” said KFC Canada CMO Katherine Bond-Debicki in a release. ”Courage not only shares that belief in the brand and our ambition, but through the process very clearly demonstrated that they have the strategic thinking and creative firepower to deliver on that ambition.”

Courage was launched by Dhaval Bhatt, Joel Holtby, and Niki Sahni in the spring, with backing from No Fixed Address. They were later joined by Tom Kenny as chief strategy officer to round out the senior leadership team in August, at which point the agency had just 12 people.

In the release announcing the win, Courage said it is “charged with navigating KFC’s path to reigniting the power of the brand in Canada.”

“KFC is one of those brands that creatives dream of working on,” said Bhatt, co-founder and CCO at the agency. “It’s among the most recognizable brands on the planet, has a rich history of doing some awesome work, and so many aspects of the brand are already a part of culture.”

“[O]ur teams are chomping at the bit to get going and make the most of this incredible opportunity,” he said in the release, though it’s the HR team that might be working overtime to staff up.

While Courage is sharing the CIBC account with in-housing and execution specialists Oliver, that account, combined with KFC, means it is growing quickly.

“One of the greatest things about being independent is our financial flexibility. We’re not running money back up to a big holding company, so we choose to invest the majority of our revenue right back into talent,” Bhatt told The Message in an email.

“It’s amazing what you can achieve when you have the right people in the room. We’ll be home to more than 50 people soon and will continue to scale strategically and smartly in line with client needs.”

David Brown