DDB ponders deal
Left in the cold, a rising agency looks after number one
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.