Kinetic launches Canadian outpost

Kevin McDonald and Riina Clydesdale are heading up the WPP out-of-home-focused shop.
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Kinetic Worldwide, a WPP agency focused primarily on OOH and print investment, has touched down in Canada.

Heading the operation is CEO Kevin McDonald, who formerly served as president of Novus Canada.

When McDonald left Novus in December, he looked to start his own agency, formally known as AgencyX Incorporated, continuing his focus on the OOH and print industries. Following its incorporation, McDonald partnered with WPP’s GroupM to formally bring Kinetic to Canada, thus putting the supporting power of the GroupM and WPP networks behind the agency. “When you have an agency that focuses on print and out-of-home specifically, there’s a lot of benefit from an agency group,” he tells MiC. “It adds more horsepower to the existing team. The amount of time and money we’ve been able to spend helps drive better ROI on both platforms.”

Once he settled in, McDonald says one of his first moves was to hire his former Novus colleague Riina Clydesdale as president of the agency. Combined, he says, he and Clydesdale post significant experience both on the agency world and on the vendor side. “Before Novus, I ran sales for Quebecor Media, and Riina was at Pattison. We know what works, we know what can and can’t be done.”

Kinetic’s main focus that it uses to differentiate itself in the marketplace will be data; it has invested into a wide array of third-party data on both static and digital OOH, with a heavy focus on finding the right tools and tech to optimize planning. McDonald says the agency is currently working on a partnership to create a new proprietary tool, to be unveiled in the coming weeks.

With that in mind, McDonald plans to focus on hiring a significant number of data scientists and analysts as he moves the office from its current headcount of eight to its year-end goal of 20. “You’re always going to have account managers and people managing business, but we have to invest a lot into data to become as granular and targeted as we can.”

Kinetic is a global entity, currently in 16 countries. With a large focus on data, McDonald says it’s introducing its Canadian offering by sharing various insights from around its global offices, creative executions from other markets. “There’s been a lot of good work done here in Canada, but when you can now take a look at what’s getting done worldwide and share best practices, you can do much more.”

GroupM Canada CEO Stuart Garvie tells MiC the OOH industry “is really exciting to be in right now. We’re starting to see more digitization, more data, and I think it requires some focus.” With few agencies in Canada specifically focusing on OOH and the industry at a pivotal moment in terms of digital transformation, he says, it made for an ideal time to launch.

Kinetic is currently working with Canadian clients, although Garvie and McDonald could not reveal specific brands.