By Chris Powell

McCain Foods Canada has named IPG Mediabrands unit UM its media agency of record following a competitive review. The assignment was previously with AOR Media Management.

UM president Shelley Smit said the network’s digital expertise was a key factor in the win. “Our digital capabilities definitely stood out,” she said. “We’ve certainly upped our game in this respect with the addition of Matt Ramella as vice-president, digital just over a year ago.”

Ramella joined UM in August 2013 from Syncapse, where he was VP, strategy and intelligence. Prior to joining Syncapse, he spent spent four years with longtime UM client Labatt Breweries of Canada in various media and marketing roles.

The McCain business is the latest in a series of wins for UM, which has also added Boston Pizza, Travelocity, Indigo, Hershey and Heinz to its client roster over the past 10 months.

“We love having such an iconic packaged foods company as part of our client list,” said Smit, who succeeded Peter Mears as UM Canada president in September 2012. “It fits in perfectly with our ‘brand love’ clients, such as Coca-Cola, Hershey, Chrysler, Sony and Labatt.”

The agency’s staff size has grown by more than 15% since the beginning of the year as it has absorbed new business, said Smit. “Office space is getting tight, but it’s a great problem to have.”

According to the most recent report from Paris-based media agency research firm RECMA, UM was the eighth largest media services company in Canada last year, with total activity of $463 million and an approximate market share of 5.4%.