Cossette holds onto McDonald’s AOR, but W+K added to the roster

After a months-long review, Cossette is still creative agency of record for McDonald’s Canada, although the QSR has added U.S. advertising giants Wieden+Kennedy to its Canadian creative roster, with the agency planning to open an office in Canada in the next year.

“This is going to be a turning point for [the] impact of our Canadian marketing,” said chief marketing officer Alyssa Buetikofer in a release, which said W+K will “lead select campaigns.”

Asked specifically about how this represents a “turning point,” Buetikofer told The Message via email, “we have big ambitions both globally and within Canada to drive the brand and our business through creative effectiveness…. Ensuring creativity is as big a driver of our business and brand is of paramount importance.”

Cossette’s relationship with McDonald’s in Canada goes back decades, first winning the business in Quebec in the late 1970s and eventually named lead agency nationally in 2000, servicing the account across the country in English and French.

In recent years, the agency has produced a number of attention-grabbing, often award-winning work, most notably, its “Follow the Arches” outdoor campaign, which won a Grand Prix in Cannes in 2018. Recent campaigns highlighted by McDonald’s include the “Essential Pit Stop,” (a sort of sequel to “Follow the Arches), the “Chris P.” campaign. Other recent work includes “Inspired by Big Mac” (top image), and a couple of favourites of The Message—”Steal My Fries,” which made our Mighty List in 2021, and “Moving Day,” which made the List in 2020.

“As McDonald’s Canada’s AOR, we are energized and motivated to continue to deliver industry-leading, award-winning, strategic and creative work that resonates with Canadians,” said Mélanie Dunn, CEO, Cossette, in the release. “McDonald’s and Cossette inspire each other to deliver our best. That inspiration and relationship has proven itself over several decades and we look forward to continuing to evolve and grow together.”

Wieden+Kennedy meanwhile, is widely regarded as one of the top creative agencies in the world, and was named lead AOR of McDonald’s in the U.S. in 2019.

Earlier this year, The Message confirmed that while Wieden+Kennedy had hired employees in Canada to work on Ford, it was not officially opening an office here. That will change with the McDonald’s win.

“Wieden+Kennedy will have a presence in Canada to service both McDonald’s and Ford by the end of 2024,” said an agency spokesperson. Employees working on the business will be a mix of U.S.-based team members and Canadian talent.

Buetikofer said McDonald’s chose Wieden + Kennedy from its review of global agency partners for its “track record of delivering transformational creative that is connecting with brand fans in new ways and leading in culture.”

Recent work from the U.S. that McDonald’s highlighted include “Famous Orders,” “Grimace’s Birthday,” and the recent global launch of the “As Featured In” campaign.

Buetikofer has also worked closely with W+K in the past. Before being named McDonald’s CMO for Canada in March 2021, she was senior director of brand content and engagement, working out of its global head office in Chicago, working on national programs including “Famous Orders.”

“This as an incredibly exciting juncture in marketing at McDonald’s Canada, and it will be great for our talented marketing team to get the added experience of working with two strong creative agency partners,” said Buetikofer.

David Brown