Australian agency Cummins & Partners lands in Canada

by Michela Galante , AdForum

Cummins & Partners, the fastest growing advertising and marketing agency in Australia, has opened up shop in Toronto. The agency has quickly become one of the most renowned advertising outfits down under, and now it’s looking to shake things up in the Canadian market.

Growing a global presence is Cummins & Partners’ ultimate goal. It recently launched in the U.S., opening an office in New York City, and seeing an opportunity for further growth, it’s now out to conquer the Canadian market. However, for agency founder and Global CEO Sean Cummins, the move to Toronto is just as nostalgic as it is strategic. It’s a homecoming for Cummins, who was born and lived in Toronto until moving to Australia with his family at the age of 10. Living in the land down under, he’d go on to build a very successful career as a creative luminary in the Australian advertising industry, selling his first agency to Sapient in 2009, launching Virgin Airlines in Australia with Sir Richard Branson, opening Cummins & Partners in Melbourne in 2011, and gaining global renown for creating innovative and impactful work like the much lauded and multi-awarded “The Best Job in the World” campaign for Tourism Australia. He’s also the first creative ever to win Australian Marketer of the Year.

“Canada has a very talented creative pool, the market is very similar to Australia’s, plus it’s a country to which I still feel very much connected,” said Cummins. “I’m excited for the agency I launched to make an impact in the country where I was born. It feels like I’m coming home.”

Cummins & Partners is a creative agency that builds enduring brand platforms that inspire action. It also very much believes in challenging the status quo, in running to the fire not away from it. At the helm of Cummins & Partners Canada are Toronto partners Dave Carey, former Partner-Client Service at Union Creative and Senior Vice President Client Services at Lowe Roche, and Andrew Shortt, formerly a founding partner at HQvB. They will guide the growth of the Canadian arm of the agency and ensure it lives up to the Cummins & Partners legacy of disruption.

“Cummins & Partners Canada will occupy a pretty unique space in the Canadian market,” said Carey, President and Partner. “It’s a global agency that’s still independently owned. There aren’t a lot of other agencies in Canada that can make that claim.”

“The opportunity to introduce one of the best agencies in the world to Canada was just too good to pass up,” added Shortt, ECD and Partner. “Cummins & Partners has quickly built an international reputation for innovation and creativity, and Sean himself is an inspiration. This is going to be an incredible journey.”

Cummins & Partners is a future-facing outfit. It believes that, these days, technology is a given and true innovation starts with people. In that spirit, Cummins & Partners believes in strong female leadership and redressing the gender bias in advertising. That’s because it’s good business, something that’s supported by ample statistics.

“I laughed when we got together for this photo and we were all blokes,” said Cummins. “But we are very pro-women and we are about to announce our female partners shortly. Having women as owners and partners has been key to our success worldwide.”

Cummins & Partners Canada is no exception to that ideal. It has a firm mandate to hire women in senior positions. In that regard, there will be more staffing announcements in the coming weeks.

Another key differentiator for Cummins & Partners is that it’s brought media and creative back under one roof. That’s something it pioneered back in Australia with many other agencies following suit. In this increasingly multi-channel world it makes less and less sense to put artificial barriers between media and creative. That’s a discipline that Cummins & Partners will be bringing and living at its Canadian office too.

Cummins & Partners Canada is currently open for business with eleven staff members and a roster of five clients, including a global financial company, Heidi Klum Intimates, Perrier-Jouët and VDKA6100. The first work from the agency will launch at the end of April. Its office in located at 211 Yonge Street in Toronto.