11.26.2018 08:45 AM

Would you pay the Montreal ad agency Cossette $500,000 for a logo?

The government of Canada did.

For the half-million bucks, they got the logo and a name and some letterhead, apparently. For – and this is the part that should make you want to throw up – an agency whose mandate is to fight poverty.

Both of my brothers are graphic artists.  My Mom is an artist.  (I’ve done art-for-pay, too.)  All of us can tell you that forking over that much money for a logo is an actual, honest-to-God scandal.

So I said on Twitter.

That elicited this response from Joseph Uranowski:

Fair point. Of course they deserve to get paid. But I didn’t believe that Mr. Uranowski – who was a senior advisor to Kathleen Wynne – was actually getting my point. So I tried again.

Mr. Uranowski doubled down:

Anyway. At that point, I opined that my graphic design brother would fire anyone who spent that much on a logo. And then I gave up. A person in poverty would know how to spend that $500,000 better, I thought. And I didn’t understand how Mr. Uranowski – reportedly a smart guy – didn’t understand that.

And then I remembered this: $650,000 for the Cannabis Store logo, courtesy of Ms. Wynne’s government. Oh, and the $700,000 a month her Wizard reportedly received in contracts, all of which will shortly be the subject of a forensic audit.

Am I missing something? Is a logo really worth half-a-million dollars?

Or, is it, you know, a fucking disgrace?

I still think it is.


  1. Pipes says:

    If they are a registered Canadian charity-Revenue Canada’s Charity Division may be interested.

  2. Phyllis Burge says:

    I agree entirely it IS a “fucking disgrace” half-a-mil for a logo indeed ! I look forward immensely to the forensic audit you mentioned but please explain Wynnes Wizard, I am fascinated

    • Matt says:

      Wynne’s Wizard is David Herle. He has a company called The Gandalf Group, hence WK nicknamed him the Wizard.

      He ran the Ontario Liberal election campain in 2018 that saw the Liberals drop to 7 seats. The OLP was paying him $700,000 a month. The normal campain manager gets about one third of that. He was also awarded several sole sourced contracts by the Wynne Liberals worth millions over the years.

      I think he was also involved in the recent Liberal loss in New Brunswick.

      Seems the only power this Wizard has is making Liberal governments disappear.

      I hope Trudeau hires him in 2019.

      • Gord says:

        Trudeau may be a bit of a lightweight but he has shown that he knows how to surround himself with capable people (Telford, Butts et al) and avoid internal party strife. Hiring Herle would go against both of those things.

  3. Derek Pearce says:

    I asked the hubby (who is a graphic designer and editor) about this and he said a few things-

    1. even if they developed a whole “brand identity” and not just a logo for this org, $500,000 is still pretty excessive.

    2. advertising agencies aren’t the best place to go for a new logo as they tend to be too trendy (not thinking long term), rush to get work done for a client and don’t take the time to refine and refine a design the way a pure graphic designer would.

    3. This is my observation- what would Montreal do without federal gov’t contracts to prop up that economy? Ottawa may be in Ontario but Montreal is lucky it’s so much closer to the capitol than Toronto, so much $ is shovelled it’s way.

  4. Derek Pearce says:

    Oh and I forgot the other thing he said lol : “why does that logo look like chromosomes? Is that really what they were going for?”

  5. doconnor says:

    Before the sponsorship scandal was in full swing I remember reading that it was just a small part of a decades old system where advertising agencies would give the Conservative and Liberal parties discounts in exchange for generous government contracts when each party was in power.

  6. James Curran says:

    Is that a greater than/less than logo???

  7. the salamander horde says:

    .. we still wanna see the RFQ.. I’ve been involved in many many pitches.. X amount of dollars .. from 1/2 million on down. Scope of Work defined blah blan woof woof.. We won some, lost many.. the classic was Ontario Science Centre using our concept and awarding the project to another vendor.. and the truly bitter end was.. the project was never done – cancelled.

    To answer your question.. NO .. no and No .. For a half million I could produce 7 to 10 very excellent fifteen minute docus for National Film Board, complete with original concepts, principal photography, wardrobe, talent, sound, music tracks, crew, location permits, logo, graphics, animation, titles, french subtitled versioning or looped versions… Or, I could do the same for 10 high end medical education videos, 2 languages.. with the same scope of work, various prodjction & post production crews etc etc.. and I have done so

  8. Steve T says:

    “Deserve to get paid…” is the typical non-specific cop out of those who are paid too much (or those who paid someone too much), and really have nothing else to say.

    Notice how there was no defense of the actual amount? Just a generic rebuttal that suggests you were implying the job should have been done for free. That canned response would have been used whether the payment had been $50,000 or $500,000 or $5 million, for the same job.

    • Fred from BC says:

      As you say, a total cop-out.

      He would have been better off to not respond at all, but some people just can’t help themselves and will respond anyway, even when the result is inevitably embarrassment. If it can’t be defended, don’t try.

  9. Gord says:

    I never understand how so-called “creatives” manage to get paid what to me are ridiculous sums of money for what seems like very little actual work.

  10. Walter says:

    I thing not asked.

    How much did this agency donate to the Liberal Party.?

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