Mindshare retains Rogers duties after Theo is dissolved

The bespoke WPP agency will soon be no more after the bulk of creative duties are moved to Sid Lee.

Theo, the bespoke agency created by WPP to service creative and media for Rogers, will be dissolving following the telco’s decision to relocate the majority of its creative work to Sid Lee.

Founded in 2020 and staffed by employees drawn from WPP agencies Taxi, John St. and Mindshare, Theo was created to lead integrated media and creative work for Rogers’ various brands and business lines, including wireless, cable, TV and radio channels, consumer electronics and flanker mobile brand Fido. Talent from Ogilvy would later be brought in to work with the bespoke agency as well.

Some of that work remains with WPP agencies following the move, according to Arthur Fleischmann, country manager for WPP in Canada. That includes the Fido business, which will be retained by Taxi, and media planning and buying, which will remain with GroupM.

Efforts are being made to place Theo staff either back with their “home” agencies, or at other WPP agency brands.

Fleischmann tells strategy there was no review prior to the switch. “We assume this was a pre-existing relationship.”

In January, Simone Lumsden who was Rogers’ CMO when WPP pitched the business and created Theo left the company. Her departure was the latest in a number of executive changes to happen in the fallout of a Rogers family battle for control of the company’s board that spilled into public view late last year.

Among those changes was hiring former Videotron and Quebecor CEO Robert Dépatie as president and COO of its home and business in December. Following that, Myrianne Collin was promoted to fill the CMO position. Collin previously held the top marketing roles at Videotron during Dépatie’s tenure, a time during which the brand also worked with Sid Lee as its agency.

Strategy reached out to Sid Lee, but questions were directed to Rogers, which declined to comment.

The work Theo created for Rogers included a campaign around “stress-free” internet service, positioning its SmartStream TV service as a guide in an environment of overwhelming choice and a new platform for the company’s community impact work. On the Fido front, Theo worked on platforms that confirmed the brand’s commitment to affordable service as well as LGBTQ2S+ and BIPOC communities.

Theo had not been without its own executive changes. In September, president Joseph Ottorino left the agency, and was replaced by former BBDO COO Paul Reilly (Ottorino took over the top marketing post at Audi Canada in December). Angus Tucker, the agency’s CCO, would later leave in at the end of 2021.