Cossette / Vision7 : advertising & marketing profile

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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 and now form the core of that company's presence in the region, still under the Vision7 banner. In 2018, that group will adopt a public listing through a merge with US performance marketing platform Fluent.

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Camp Jefferson Citizen Relations
Camp Pacific K72

Recent stories from Adbrands Weekly Update:

Adbrands Weekly Update 13th Apr 2017: Ads of the Week: "MomStrong". Wow. Cossette's latest spot for Canadian charitable foundation SickKids strikes hard like a sledgehammer. If you're a parent you'll find it emotionally wrenching, possibly even hard to watch, but it's also ultimately uplifting, and you'll definitely feel like digging into your pocket to help. Fine performances throughout make for an immensely powerful PSA.

Adbrands Weekly Update 2nd July 2015: Canadian group Vision 7, now owned by BlueFocus, completed the renaming of the two digital shops which have been operating under the Dare name. The Toronto office became Camp Jefferson a few months ago; Dare Vancouver now becomes Camp Pacific. The UK agency Dare is now entirely separate, still owned for now by private equity firm Mill Road, along with what were previously Vision 7's international operations.

Adbrands Weekly Update 18th Dec 2014: Chinese marketing group BlueFocus was confirmed as the successful bidder for Vision7 North America, the parent entity for Canada's top Francophone agency Cossette, also a major force in English-speaking advertising, and the local offices of Citizen Relations and digital agency Dare. That business was put up for sale earlier this year by private equity owner Mill Road Capital. The price tag was quoted at $210m. BlueFocus will control an 85% stake in the business, with the remaining 15% shared between senior management. The Chinese group also vowed to support the continuing expansion of Cossette into the US and the growth of its Citzen PR operations there. The deal is the biggest step yet by BlueFocus into Western markets. The sale doesn't include the European operations of Vision7, including Dare UK, Elvis and Identica. These will continue to operate independently.

Adbrands Weekly Update 20th Nov 2014: Adweek identified fast-expanding Chinese firm BlueFocus as the frontrunner to acquire Canadian agency Cossette and the other North American assets of Vision7 International. The business was officially put up for sale by private equity owner Mill Road Capital earlier this year. Still Canada's biggest Francophone agency, Quebec-based Cossette also produces local English-language advertising for heavyweights including McDonald's, GM and General Mills. The future of Vision7's international subsidiaries - which include Dare in the UK - remains uncertain. Mill Road's July statement that it was seeking a buyer mentioned only Vision7's North American assets.

Adbrands Weekly Update 10th Jul 2014: Canadian marketing group Vision7 International, parent to top Francophone agency Cossette as well as UK-based Dare, has been put up for sale by its controlling shareholder, the investment firm Mill Road Capital. According to Mill Road, Vision7's management is supportive of this decision and is involved in the search for a new owner. The official release from Mill Road says only that it is seeking strategic alternatives for Vision7's North American assets, and makes no specific mention of the operations in Europe and Asia - including Dare and digital/direct shop Elvis - which are grouped as EDC Communications.

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