Cossette is Canada's biggest homegrown marketing services agency. Headquartered in Quebec, it dominates the country's Francophone marketing industry, and is also a major force in the English-speaking sector, as a result of its past and present work for blue-chip clients including General Motors, Coke, Nike and McDonalds. In the 2000s, the agency set out to establish a presence in the international market, especially in the UK through select acquisitions including advertising agency MCBD and digital shop Dare. That culminated in the creation of parent company Vision7 in 2010. However, the business faced a series of challenges and it was eventually put up for sale by its private equity owners, and broken up. The main Cossette agency was acquired by Chinese group BlueFocus, becoming the core of that company's presence in North America. Other units under what was then the regional umbrella company Vision7 include Canadian digital agency Camps Collective and media independent Jungle; international social media agency We Are Social, with offices in 12 countries; US design agency FuseProject and creative boutique Eleven; and US/UK PR network Citizen Relations. BlueFocus has been trying for several years to recoup some of its investment in its international assets as a result of tensions over Chinese investments in the US and elsewhere. A 2018 plan to merge Cossette and other agencies with US performance marketing platform Fluent was opposed by regulators. Under a new strategy, the Vision7 agencies would be acquired by a US shell company and would relaunch under the umbrella name Blue Impact. BlueFocus was to retain a controlling 44% holding. However that arrangement too collapsed during 2020 amid the Covid pandemic. A third plan was announced in 2021 with the buyout of all the non-Chinese agencies by private equity firms CVC and CDPQ. The business was relaunched as Plus Company. Combined net revenues for the Blue Impact businesses were $379m in 2020. Cossette's executive chairman Brett Marchand continues to lead the business. Melanie Dunn remains CEO of Cossette. Former Accenture Interactive chief Brian Whipple joined the business in 2022 as chairman.
Capsule checked 21st October 2021
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Historical profile information for Cossette / Vision7
Adbrands Update 16th Jun 2022: In its first major acquisition since relaunching as Plus Company, the former Vision 7 marketing group has acquired San Francisco-based independent Mekanism for an undisclosed sum. At the same time, Plus Company announced the appointment of former Accenture Interactive chief Brian Whipple as chairman.
Marketer Moves 21st Feb 2022: New creative leadership at Cossette. See Marketer Moves (members only).
Adbrands Daily Update 12th Aug 2021: "Steal My Fries". Everyone knows that there's nothing more annoying than even your best mate pinching food from your plate uninvited. ("Joey doesn't share food!!!") However, McDonald's Canadian agency Cossette is daring to suggest that a return to comparative normality post-lockdown might allow us to overlook even the loss of a few French fries to a good friend. Well I don't know about that, but the ad - dressed up as a musical number - is a total delight. And since the agency is Quebec's Francophone Cossette, there's even a French-language version too - "Vole mes frites"!
Adbrands Daily Update 5th May 2021: Years of uncertainty surrounding the various international agencies acquired by Chinese marketing group BlueFocus may be coming to a close. After the collapse of two earlier spin-outs, a new plan was announced this week whereby Cossette, We Are Social and the other non-Chinese agencies of Vision7 will be acquired jointly by private equity firms CVC Capital Partners and CDPQ of Quebec. No terms for the deal were disclosed.
Adbrands Daily Update 27th Aug 2019: Chinese marketing group BlueFocus announced plans to spin off its non-Chinese subsidiaries - including Canadian agency Cossette, social media network We Are Social and the Citizen Relations PR agency - into a publicly quoted US-based shell company, Legacy Acquisition. The newly created unit will adopt the name Blue Impact, and will continue to be controlled by BlueFocus via a 44% shareholding. Brett Marchand, who had headed BlueFocus's Vision7 North American division since its acquisition, is CEO of the resulting group. The spin-off solves an increasingly difficult problem for BlueFocus, given the troubled economic relationship between the US and China. An earlier attempt to establish a publicly quoted base in the US was blocked last year. BlueFocus had agreed to merge its international assets with locally quoted digital marketing specialist Fluent. However, with a trade war already building in early 2018, the transaction failed to get regulatory approval from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States and was abandoned. In addition to BlueFocus's subsidiaries in North America and Europe, Blue Impact will also absorb mainland Chinese mobile platform Madhouse and Hong Kong's Metta marketing agency.
Adbrands Social Media 20th Nov 2018: "Bring Holiday Magic Home". Canadian powerhouse Cossette recently took over from JWT as Walmart's lead agency in Canada, and their debut for the retail giant is just adorable. It could be bad news for Toys R Us, though. The focus of Walmart's ad on toys for its seasonal campaign, rather than any of the myriad other product lines it sells, is clearly an attempt to drive a nail into the coffin of rival Toys R Us, which lives on in Canada under new ownership despite the closure of its US operations.
Adbrands Weekly Update 21st Jun 2018: Cannes Lions 2018. The first batch of winners were announced from Cannes Lions 2018. (See the full run-down, including all the Gold, Silver and Bronze winners at the Cannes Lions 2018 website). There were two Grand Prix winners in Outdoor. Canadian agency Cossette was awarded multiple prizes for its brilliantly simple billboards for McDonald's, which used the curves of the instantly recognisable logo to provide directions for the nearest outlet. Comedy Central's Daily Show with Trevor Noah, from Viacom, was the other winner with a savagely satirical commentary on the current US President's Twitter addiction. Under the title of The Donald J Trump Presidential Twitter Library, the channel mounted a three-day event in which all Trump's Tweets were framed for inspection.
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