Dentsu One is the new name, adopted in February 2021, for what was previously Grip, a highly regarded creative-led agency in Canada, offering a range of services from traditional advertising to digital marketing. The business was originally launched in 2001 at the instigation of local brewer Labatt, whose chief marketer Mike Robitaille jumped ship to run the company, bringing together a team of top creative directors from other agencies, all of whom were made equal joint partners in the agency. The name was selected as a homage to the famed Toronto design agency formed at the end of the 19th century, where most of so-called "Group of Seven" of Canadian painters, such as JEH Macdonald and Frank Johnston first met. Labatt - now AB InBev Canada - remained a major client for several years. Robitaille moved on in 2007 (to launch what became Isaac Reputation Group, later bought by Deloitte), but several of Grip's other founding partners stayed put. Another ex-Labatt marketer, Harvey Carroll, was president from 2008 to 2013, but left that summer at which point the agency reverted to joint leadership by the remaining partners. They agreed to surrender their independence in 2016 to become a standalone unit of Dentsu Aegis Network, becoming that group's main creative agency in Canada alongside Isobar, iProspect, Carat and Vizeum. Though the bulk of its business is generated within Canada, Grip was appointed in early 2019 as the lead agency across North America for US online travel agency Priceline.com. In 2021, as part of the global restructuring of Dentsu's widely spread agency portfolio, the Grip name was dropped in favour of Dentsu One, and the agency relocated to Dentsu's main campus in Toronto from its original offices. All of Grip's founding partners have now left the business. Stephanie Gordon is managing director with David Chiavegato as head of creative.
Capsule checked 3rd April 2020
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Adbrands Weekly Update 10th Mar 2016: Ads Of The Week: "New Kid". Better get those tissues ready for this lovely and heart-warming spot for KFC Canada from local shop Grip. We've noted before that KFC's UK advertising is perhaps a touch more sophisticated than a fried chicken chain merits; now Canada joins the club too, as a new kid on the block struggles to adapt to his change of neighbourhood. It's like Pixar's Inside Out without all the internal stuff, but keeping the same emotional drama. Sniff!
Adbrands Weekly Update 7th Jan 2016: Canadian agency Grip, one of the country's most admired independents, accepted an offer to be acquired by Dentsu Aegis Network. The agency will retain its name and separate branding, and will continue to be run by its existing management team. "What attracted us to Dentsu Aegis Network was the ability to scale our capabilities across a broader network in order to expand and enhance our offering to existing clients, and attract new prospects both here in Canada and globally," said managing partner Bob Shanks.
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