Wieden+Kennedy establishes a Canadian presence to service Ford

Wieden+Kennedy, one of the world’s most respected and successful agency networks, has established a Canadian operation to service the Ford Canada business it won last year as part of a global mandate.

A spokesperson for the agency confirmed on Tuesday that while the agency is setting up a four or five-person operation in Canada, with staff working remotely, it is “not opening a full-service office in Toronto.” The Canadian team will be supported by five people working out of W+K’s New York office. Aside from New York and its Portland head office, W+K has eight other offices around the world.

They did not provide further information about who is leading the agency’s operations here, but said that the network is currently in the midst of hiring talent “around the globe” after winning the global Ford assignment in October. At that time, Ford said it was “streamlining its global marketing business under one creative agency to drive brand consistency globally and provide greater operational efficiencies.”

The agency’s first Canadian employees include Justin Seegobin, who spent four years with Ford’s previous agency partner BBDO Canada as VP group account director before leaving in January. In his LinkedIn profile, he describes himself as “the first Canadian to work for Wieden+Kennedy in Canada.”

“I feel like after 18 years I made it to the big leagues,” said Seegobin in a post announcing his arrival at W+K earlier this year.

Seegobin’s history with Ford dates back to 2007, and includes stints with the automaker’s longtime creative agency Young & Rubicam Toronto, and then later with Global Team Blue (GTB), the bespoke agency created by WPP to work primarily on the Ford account.

W+K’s first official work out of Canada, a spot promoting the Mustang Mach-E called “Electric Has Gone Animal,” debuted last month. Another spot promoting the F-150 Lightning appeared last week.

Stephen Pace, previously a strategist at Cossette, has also joined the agency as a brand strategist, while Jalen Simms joins as a producer after spending the previous six years in a series of roles with Momentum Worldwide, most recently as an experiential producer.

W+K had been working with Ford as an “innovation partner,” with a mandate to oversee specific projects, when Ford moved its account to BBDO from WPP in 2018.

BBDO Canada created some notably innovative work for Ford in recent years, including 2021’s “Ford Smoothie” promoting its sustainable practices, and last year’s seven-minute short film “Mushroom,” promoting its EV lineup.

Launched by the late Dan Wieden and David Kennedy in 1982, W+K is best known for its more than 40-year association with Nike, for which it has created countless high-profile campaigns. The agency has won more than 450 Lions at the Cannes Lions since its inception.

Chris Powell