DDB pon­ders deal

Left in the cold, a ris­ing agency looks af­ter num­ber one

Finweek English Edition - - Advertising & Marketing -

IT SEEMS AL­MOST CER­TAIN that DDB World­wide, the world’s largest con­sol­i­dated agency net­work, will ac­quire a stake in DDB South Africa, the Cin­derella of the Jupiter Draw­ing Room/WPP deal. That would bring an­other ma­jor global agency di­rectly into the SA mar­ket.

Though ex­ec­u­tives in SA are un­der a con­fi­den­tial­ity re­stric­tion it doesn’t take a rocket sci­en­tist to fig­ure that out, es­pe­cially as the lo­cal agency has be­come a prized prop­erty since winning a Cannes Grand Prix for its En­er­gizer cam­paign last year. The Wall Street Jour­nal also caused a flut­ter by spec­u­lat­ing that DDB World­wide will ac­quire a ma­jor­ity of the SA eq­uity.

The SA agency was es­tab­lished by Mike Framp­ton – as Framp­tons In­ter­na­tional – back in the early Nineties. It sub­se­quently ac­quired as­so­ciate sta­tus with DDB, al­low­ing it to use the name, but the SA agency re­mained 100% lo­cally owned.

The Jupiter Draw­ing Room ac­quired a stake in the agency two years ago when it was looking for a global part­ner in or­der to pitch (suc­cess­fully) for the SA Air­ways ac­count. But now that WPP (a fierce ri­val of Om­ni­com, the DDB hold­ing com­pany) has a 49% stake in Jupiter, the DDB link has been sev­ered.

Stakes in DDB SA are held by the cur­rent SA man­age­ment of Glen Lo­mas (CEO) and Em­met O’Han­lon (MD), un­der whose lead­er­ship the agency has grown from seven peo­ple to 55 in five years. Last year its in­come grew by R20m due to it winning the McDon­ald’s ac­count and han­dling much of the MTN Group’s work, in­clud­ing its FIFA-re­lated busi­ness. And it ranked third among in­di­vid­ual agen­cies on last year’s creative league ta­ble.

Lo­mas is full of praise for the com­mit­ment of his creative team, which has con­tin­ued its winning streak by tak­ing two Ads of the Month in Jan­uary. “This year could be our best ever for new busi­ness. Only to­day we picked up a new ac­count – WIZZIT Bank. The time is now right for us to go it alone – with the sup­port of the world’s largest net­work. The DDB cul­ture and its com­mit­ment to cre­ativ­ity are un­sur­passed in the agency world.”

Though Framp­ton is no longer in­volved with the com­pany he still holds 19% of the lo­cal eq­uity. If a deal is done he’ll be a ma­jor ben­e­fi­ciary of the grow­ing sta­tus of the agency. Mean­while, he’s set up a new agency of his own called Frida Com­mu­ni­ca­tions.

What kids get up to – En­er­gizer cam­paign.

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