Omnicom combines DDB, Juniper Park, and Bolt to create TBWA\Group Canada

Omnicom has announced a major realignment of its Canadian operations, with Juniper Park\TBWA, DDB Canada and Bolt Productions uniting into a single organizational structure, though all three agencies will retain their branding.

The new TBWA\Group Canada will be led by CEO Eve Rémillard-Larose (pictured), who joined DDB Canada as CEO in August. Longtime Juniper Park CEO Jill Nykoliation is leaving the agency she co-founded 16 years ago, remaining in an “advisory role” to Rémillard-Larose until March.

“With Jill confirming her decision to step away from the agency she co-founded and built into the creative force it is today, the timing felt right to make the bold decision to organize ourselves this way,” said Rémillard-Larose in an email to The Message.

According to a release announcing the changes, Nykoliation recommended Rémillard-Larose for the role. “[S]he shares our deep passion and ambition for delivering disruptive creative solutions for our clients,” said Nykoliation. “I’m both proud and excited for Eve to take the leadership reigns of the Group.”

Juniper Park\TBWA’s chief creative officer Jenny Glover is also leaving the agency in March, with executive creative director Neil Walker-Wells leading the creative department until a new CCO is appointed. However, Rémillard-Larose said there are no other changes to existing leadership teams, with David Toto remaining as president at Juniper Park\TBWA.

Rémillard-Larose also reiterated the intention to keep each of the brands, though sub-brands like TrackDDB will now report to Omnicom Precision Marketing Group, and Anderson Health & Wellness will report into Omnicom Health Group.

“[T]he respective agencies will maintain their current branding in the Canadian market, and we’ll not be retiring any of the brands,” she said. “DDB Canada has a deep history and strong agency culture that will continue to thrive under the bold progressive reorganizational structure coming into place.”

Asked specifically about the impact on staffing levels, including for back-office functions like HR and finance, Rémillard-Larose said the structure of TBWA\Group Canada will be “determined by the needs of our clients.”

“The decision to organize ourselves this way will strengthen our potential to offer integrated solutions that drive growth for our clients, our people, and our operations,” she said. “An example of this… is bolstering our internal production capabilities, including print, digital and audio/visual capabilities.”

“By centralizing the leadership of three strong agencies under Eve, we will continue to build on the respective agencies’ strong foundations to deliver a wider breadth of capability and scale for our clients,” said TBWA\Worldwide CEO Troy Ruhanen in a release. “I’m excited by what this means for the agency.”

Nykoliation has been considered one of Canada’s top agency leaders since launching Juniper Park with three other former partners of Grip Ltd. in 2007. Juniper Park joined the TBWA network in 2015, and she became CEO of Juniper Park\TBWA.

In the release, Ruhanen lauded Nykoliation’s “dedication and passion” for the industry. “Her ability to welcome and embrace change to drive growth has resulted in Juniper Park\TBWA being recognized as a powerhouse agency in Canada.”

Ruhanen also commented on Glover’s departure: “We are sorry to see Jenny go,” he said. “Jenny is an incredible creative leader and mentor to her peers.  She leaves with our support having had seven great years at the collective.”

There has been industry speculation that both agencies had been struggling of late: Juniper Park\TBWA lost long-time client CIBC, and Rémillard-Larose became the DDB’s third CEO in two years when she joined last summer, and the DDB name was retired in Vancouver last spring.

But Omnicom said both agencies have “continued to prosper” in recent months with DDB adding Grand & Toy, Italian Trade Commission, Westland Insurance, and Juniper Park picking up CBC, Sports Interaction, Henkel Sunlight, EQAO, Johnson & Johnson.


Chris Powell