Relief for StrawberryFrog, the maverick but financially-challenged New York advertising micro-network, is nigh.
SF founder Scott Goodson has realised his 30 per cent investment in Sao Paolo agency StrawberryFrogPeralta, which he set up with Brazilian creative whizzkid Alexandre Peralta in 2007.
The way Peralta (pictured) tells AdAge the story, break-up was all his idea. SF NY has never had operational control over Peralta’s outfit, but it does boast a string of enviable global clients, such as Emirates and Pepsi, that were expected to spread their love to Brazil via the association.
No dice, says Peralta. All his clients, even Pepsi, were won locally. “The fact that 100 per cent of our clients belong to us made us rethink the partnership.”
That may be true, but the fact is Brazilian hotshops are not above playing fast and loose with their international allies. Thanks to growth rates of 30 per cent or more a year, they can more or less set their cap at who they like – once out of contract. In Peralta’s case, this currently seems to involve flirtation with MDC-owned Crispin Porter+Bogusky. Certainly he was coy on the subject when pressed by AdAge.
Just before Christmas, I highlighted a similar situation at Neogama BBH. Founder Alexandre Neogama was giving his UK partners a hard-time, even threatening to defect to a rival network. In the event, this seems to have been a bluff aimed at leveraging his existing position, although we cannot yet be certain of that.
For Goodson (left), parting with Peralta must be a mixed blessing. On the one hand, he can congratulate himself on a shrewd financial investment. SFP is profitable, enjoys an estimated $8-9m revenue and, according to Peralta, is expected to grow by 50 per cent this year. On the other, when is he likely to come across an opportunity such as that again?