KWT Global Acquires Toronto's Holmes PR

Expands presence in Canada

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Go Fund Me Wants to Be Your Go-To

Q&A with CMO Raquel Rozas

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Indigo’s “Farm to Fork” Impact

Messaging that resonates across the supply chain

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We are a global brand strategy agency that employs an interdisciplinary, design-thinking approach to marketing and communications. We synthesize the most impactful elements of PR, influencer engagement, social and digital media, and content marketing to help our clients identify and demonstrate their best ‘selves.’



The IRONMAN brand – home to the world’s toughest single-day endurance events – strongly resonates with those who have crossed the finish line at one of its iconic global races. The drive to compete and the grit needed to prepare for such a grueling physical and mental test are unparalleled. But as the brand sought to expand its footprint amidst an increasingly crowded endurance landscape, it was challenged to empower a broader field of participants to take the plunge.


Indigo is a new kind of agriculture whose mission is to harness nature to help farmers sustainably feed the planet. By focusing on microbes that naturally occur in plants, Indigo helps farmers enhance yield in cotton, wheat, corn, soybeans and rice. Indigo’s technology and model are based on the premise that if we are to provide sufficient healthy food for everyone on the planet, farmers must first be profitable, agriculture must conserve natural resources, and agriculture needs to meet the needs of consumers.

Invictus Games

In the summer of 2017, KWT Global helped transform empathy into empowerment for Canada’s military community through our work with the Invictus Games –- the international multi-day, adaptive multi-sport event created by Prince Harry, in which wounded, injured or sick military personnel and their associated veterans compete against their military peers from around the world.

Orangetheory Fitness

Increased heart rates, heavy breathing and beads of sweat are sweeping the nation, and KWT Global would like to take a bit of the credit. In 2015, KWT Global began working with Orangetheory Fitness – one of the hottest, and fastest-growing boutique studio style gyms around, that combines workouts with wearable technology (to track heart rates).


Hisense, China’s largest television brand for over 13 years and the world’s third largest television manufacturer, set its eyes on the U.S. market in 2010, however retailers and consumers initially dismissed the brand as just another Chinese fast-follower with basement prices and questionable quality.

American Express Global Business Travel

American Express Global Business Travel (GBT), the largest corporate travel management company in the world, was approaching its 100-year anniversary. While it was an incredibly important milestone for the company, GBT was only interested in the recognition if it created an opportunity to showcase the entire business travel industry.


frog, a global design and strategy firm, regularly engages in social impact work, applying human-centered design to help resolve global issues. In 2015, frog partnered with children’s humanitarian organization UNICEF, and connected technology company ARM, to launch the Wearables for Good Challenge. The incubator–style design contest aimed to uncover innovations in wearable design and technology that serve a greater purpose. Together with UNICEF and ARM, frog designers helped finalists hone their designs to create scalable, wearable solutions that benefit children around the world in need.


PURE Insurance, a property & casualty insurer of high net worth individuals, launched in 2007 and rapidly expanded into 49 states over the course of the next eight years. Following this growth, PURE needed to validate its unique and highly advantageous reciprocal exchange model for prospective members (policyholders), insurance brokers, wealth managers and the broader personal finance community, by putting its purpose-driven corporate culture, member-centric approach, innovative coverages and exceptional talent on center stage.


Zicam®, a leading provider of over-the-counter homeopathic cold shortening, allergy relief and allopathic nasal congestion products, was battling negative perceptions from a voluntary recall of its cold remedy nasal products in 2009. Building on the successful relaunch of its nasal cold remedy spray in the 2014/2015 cold season, Zicam relaunched its most unique cold shortening form, nasal swabs, during the 2015/2016 cold season. With these new nasal products in distribution, Zicam was ready to re-enter the marketplace with a refreshed brand narrative and execute a buzz-worthy campaign to drive positive coverage and purchase consideration in the crowded cold remedy aisle.

Pantone Color of the Year

The Pantone Color Institute was established by Pantone in 1986 to forecast future color direction and study how color influences human emotion, most notably through its annual Color of the Year program. After 16 years, the PANTONE Color of the Year had emerged as a fun pop culture announcement, with media, consumers and the design industry looking for a splash of color to set a tone for the new year — but coverage often failed to connect the selection to the true intelligence offered by the global color authority or articulate Pantone’s business model. The 2016 unveiling marked a momentous occasion: for the first time, Pantone selected two colors for its Color of the Year: Serenity and Rose Quartz.

American Express

American Express partnered with retailers Birchbox, Bonobos and Rent the Runway to present Online’s Day Off. This two-day event included a thought-leadership panel as well as a live shopping event. The goal of the event was to showcase innovative ways that e-commerce leaders are converting their online success into brick-and-mortar opportunities.


KWT Global Acquires Toronto’s Holmes PR

KWT Global, an MDC Partners Inc. agency formerly known as Kwittken, has acquired Toronto-based communications agency Holmes PR.
September 4, 2018
TORONTO, Sept. 4, 2018 -- KWT Global, an MDC Partners Inc. agency formerly known as Kwittken, announced today that it has acquired Toronto-based communications agency Holmes PR. The acquisition takes place immediately, and will expand KWT Global's presence in the Canadian market. In September 1988, Katherine Holmes launched Holmes PR and brings to KWT Global a wealth of experience and relationships. One of the country's premier lifestyle boutique agencies, Holmes PR has many long standing clients including the Art Gallery of Ontario, Aga Khan Museum, AMC Network, Canada's Walk of Fame, Canadian National Exhibition, Cirque du Soleil, The Tenors, Harbourfront Centre, iHeartRadio MMVAs, O'Cannabiz and Grow Up Cannabis Conferences and Expos (Toronto, Vancouver) Scouts Canada,Shaftsbury Films, Sirius XM, Toronto International Boat Show among others. "For 30 years, Holmes PR has been a source of great inspiration and pride, thanks in large part to the diverse clients we've had the pleasure to work with, and the tremendously talented staff who have contributed to our growth and success throughout the years," said Katherine Holmes, President. "I'm now looking forward to combining our depth of knowledge and resources with the KWT Global team and all that it has to offer. I'm confident that the evident synergies between the two companies will create a dynamic force within our industry." Holmes will join KWT Global to lead and support the Toronto office along with nine staff. "KWT has been looking for the right partner to expand our Canadian offering, and we have found it with Holmes PR," says Betsy Cooper, Managing Director, KWT Global.  "They have built an excellent reputation in the arts, culture and entertainment industries, with strong Canadian brands, and we believe this is a great complement to our current experience. We are very happy to have them join us as we continue to grow in Canada." KWT Global entered the Canadian marketplace in 2014, starting with one client — American Express Global Business Travel. The office currently boasts more than a dozen active clients and has won a multitude of awards, including CPRS ACE Awards, IABC OVATION Awards, a Notable Award, and a shortlist mention at the SABRE Awards. On August 1, Kwittken, an MDC Partners Inc. agency, announced its name change to KWT Global. The name change reflects the company's exciting evolution as an integrated agency and marks a deliberate shift towards being known as a global brand strategy agency. About KWT Global

KWT Global is a global brand strategy agency that employs an interdisciplinary, design-thinking approach to marketing and communications. We synthesize the most impactful elements of PR, influencer engagement, social and digital media, and content marketing to help our clients identify and demonstrate their best 'selves.' Headquartered in New York City with offices in London and Toronto, we are a multi-specialist agency serving clients across dozens of industry sectors, including American Express, Amway, Ricoh, Vanguard, Laurel Road, CGI, IRONMAN™, Orangetheory Fitness, Leesa Sleep, frog design, Deloitte, Dataminr, Hisense, Pantone, Park Place Technologies, Quartz and PURE Insurance. KWT Global, formerly known as Kwittken, has been a part of the MDC Partners network since 2010. For more information, visit For more information, please contact: Gage Knox, KWT Global 647.537.7017

Doing Well by Doing Good with eBay’s Dan Tarman

Aaron Kwittken's conversation with Dan Tarman, chief communications officer of eBay and chair of the eBay Foundation.
August 21, 2018
KWT Global Chairman & CEO Aaron Kwittken authors a recurring column for the Forbes CMO Network. This article was originally published on June 19, 2018. A growing number of today’s leading brands are quickly recognizing the power of purpose. As part of a brand’s identity, the desire and ability to serve a greater good is permeating across all sectors and audiences. I recently spoke with Dan Tarman, chief communications officer of eBay and chair of the eBay Foundation to learn about how the pioneering e-commerce brand continues to differentiate itself through brand purpose, since its inception more than two decades ago. Aaron Kwittken: With a law degree and a background primarily in financial services, what about eBay attracted you to the brand? Dan Tarman: eBay is an iconic Internet brand, which was a huge point of appeal. Joining the brand at a time of such transformation and change was a great opportunity. I started as we were separating with PayPal and back then the charge was clear: transform the business and reenergize the brand. This opportunity, coupled with the fact that eBay was a pioneer in e-commerce was quite compelling. Even more compelling was the fact that the company was founded on purpose, with a capital ‘p.’ It was founded as a platform to democratize commerce through technology. After 27 years of work, this is the first time in my career where I can say I work for a company that does well by doing good. There is complete alignment between purpose, values, business strategy and brand. Our challenge is how do we cut through with our brand and with messaging to demonstrate a modernized, sharply differentiated eBay. Kwittken: Upon joining eBay, how did you build the new communications function? What did you do first? Tarman: One of our largest goals involves modernizing the eBay brand. As a 23-year-old company and original pioneer, we are mindful that there are legacy perceptions of our brand that aren’t consistent with our current state our business and platform. We have significantly transformed our platform to be an AI-driven, technology-centric global shopping and commerce platform at scale. We’ve created a place for 170 million people to shop via a highly personalized, AI-driven experience. Perceptions of the brand aren’t fully consistent with our current reality. Kwittken: Where does purpose fall in relation to everything you do? Tarman: Not every company, in every sector, can authentically identify purpose as an organizing principle for their business. It’s a privilege to work for a company where that is the case. It’s also an opportunity and a challenge to ensure that we are energizing at scale across our entire community of employees, shoppers, sellers and those within our ecosystem. It’s something we believe in and it has been one of the greatest opportunities as a communicator and marketer. My team consists of 125 people across the globe, and a large part of what we do is develop and execute communication strategies focused on the modernization of the brand and activating our purpose at scale. Those are two of our primary pillars. Kwittken: I understand eBay for Charity’s goal is to raise $1 billion by 2020 through eBay listings. Can you share more about that program? Tarman: Our eBay for charity platform is a platform within eBay through which we're able to help more than 50,000 not-for-profits in the U.S., UK, Canada, and Germany raise money for their respective organizations through sales on eBay. We achieve this through charity auctions and by designating a portion of proceeds from a particular sale to an organization. After September 11, 2001, we created eBay for charity to raise money for the victims and their families. Hundreds of people mobilized and raised about $25 million for the cause. Afterwards, we built the eBay for charity platform, which has now reached scale, raising about $810 million for 25,000 various not-for-profits. By 2022, our goal is to raise a total of $1 billion dollars, which we're well on track to surpass. We’ve also partnered with other organizations such as the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund and San Francisco’s Glide Memorial Church. For this organization, we’ve raised more than $20 million for some of the most marginalized members in San-Francisco, many of whom are homeless or facing substance abuse issues. These efforts demonstrate the true power of this global marketplace, which can be activated for purpose. Kwittken: How does eBay use its brand purpose to empower others? Tarman: Purpose is central to our business and authentic to who we are, but we also use it to empower and enable small and medium-sized business. As retail struggles in the face of tectonic shifts in how and where people spend money, eBay continues to serve as a platform that enables and empowers small businesses to scale their own businesses. We don't compete with businesses that come onto our platform. We don’t have a first party marketplace nor do we have algorithms that automatically change prices to compete against sellers on our platform. Instead, we try to optimize velocity and economic success for our sellers. We work very closely with our seller community to create the right alignment between running a business at scale and making sure that we're doing so ways that are as helpful as possible. Kwittken: How do you work with the seller community as it relates to the eBay foundation? Tarman: The eBay foundation is the charitable and philanthropic body that makes different investments in organizations around the world focused on inclusive entrepreneurship. That's the primary mission of the foundation. It is completely separate from our business and commercial interests, with the activities of the foundation having almost no overlap with eBay sellers. For example, we have an ongoing partnership with Kiva to provide micro loans to micro entrepreneurs around the world. We’ve given $25 credits to every eBay employee to select Kiva entrepreneurs to invest in. For micro entrepreneurs, $25 is meaningful. We’ve also crowdsourced where groups of employees have gathered 100 people together, with each giving $25 and then we’re able to help fund an entrepreneur at greater scale. Additionally, we help raise money on behalf of sellers. For example, the Blind Center for Nevada employs 20 to 30 people, all of whom are blind. They refurbish iPhones and sell them on eBay. They’ve sold tens of thousands of refurbished iPhones on eBay since joining our platform. In doing so, they provide livelihoods for the employees who work at their organization. That is a great example of a seller whose entire business model is based on purpose. Kwittken: Can you share more about the Retail Revival work eBay is currently conducting? Tarman: In Akron, Ohio, we’re bringing the power of our platform to communities that haven’t benefited from the technology revolution as much other coastal cities. Here, we’re helping struggling retailers and the small business community by teaching them how to plug into eBay to scale their businesses. Since March, we’ve enrolled more than 100 small businesses and retailers in the community and have seen many of those businesses double their sales and revenue. Next month, we are announcing our second U.S. Retail Revival city and our intent is to have upwards of 10 eBay Retail Revival cities over the next two years. This will enable us to reach thousands of small and medium-sized businesses by reaching out our arms and asking how we can help. This program represents eBay at its best. As we modernize the brand, we are making it clear that we are purpose-driven and there's a place for purpose in this world, particularly among millennials and younger consumers where cynicism is on the rise, given the external environment we’re living in. Companies that are authentically purpose-driven, live their purpose and stay true to their values, have an opportunity to win in the marketplace. Kwittken: How are you measuring the impact of these efforts? Tarman: We live and breathe data through the billions and billions of transactions that have taken place throughout our history. With Retail Revival, data is constantly solicited regarding sales, run rates, where we’re having issues, etc. We’re constantly tracking sales and have clear internal goals of what our one-year run rates should be and how we declare success for the program. It’s only successful if it is generating revenue for those businesses. On a macro level, we’ve researched to see how many jobs we’re helping to create via the eBay economy, given the approximately six million sellers using the eBay platform in the U.S alone. A seller is defined as anyone from a consumer seller who might sell on a part-time basis to professional, small to medium-sized business who sell upwards of millions of dollars of merchandise per year on eBay. We conducted a fairly robust and rigorous body of research over the past few months, which revealed businesses who are selling on eBay employ 690,000 people in the U.S. On a global basis that translates into $90 billion in sales through eBay in 2018, making us one of the largest retailers in the world.