Vancouver Ad Agency DDB Wins Nordstrom and BCAA

DDB Canada’s Lance Saunders

The agency that Frank Palmer built had a hell of week with big-name client wins

On Wednesday, Nordstrom Canada—the Seattle-based high-end retailer coming to Vancouver in early 2015—announced that DDB Canda won its business after a formal review that had two other (unnamed) agencies in the running. The Vancouver office will handle Nordstrom’s digital and social media, PR, shopper marketing and overall Canadian advertising with support from the agency’s Toronto offices.

Noting that “we’re new to Canada and… have a lot to learn before we open our first stores,” Nordstrom Canada president Karen McKibbin added that she’s looking forward to having DDB “create meaningful relationships with Canadian customers.”

She’s going to need all the help she can get as incumbents are steeling themselves for the arrival of another American retail competitor. Holt Renfrew already unveiled a discount division called HR2 to take on Nordstrom’s anticipated Rack discounter, and Canadian giant HBC bought Saks Fifth Avenue with plans to expand it to Canada.

Just a day after winning Nordstrom, DDB’s Vancouver office announced its selection as agency of record for The British Columbia Automobile Association (BCAA). The agency says it will be responsible for the BCAA brand and its lines of products and services. DDB will also help with BCAA’s intensifying drive for new membership, the launch of new products and more digital engagement with the association’s approximately 800,000 members in the province.

“When you truly look after your members and customers, like the way BCAA does, they can become strong brand advocates, harnessing the power of word of mouth, digital and social tools to spread positive messages,” said Lance Saunders, DDB’s executive vice president managing director in a release. “For an agency, this is a dream foundation to build from.”

By the sounds of it, the fight for the account was a bloody one. Grant Stockwell, director of brand marketing at BCAA, said there were a handful of notable local agencies in the hunt for his business. Incumbent Rethink Communications bowed out because of a conflict with client Mr. Lube. “We had a very strong showing from all the agencies. It was a very difficult decision,” Stockwell said.