Does Oliver’s deal for Dare herald a new agency model?

EDC UK has sold Dare to Oliver which operates through in-house agencies at major clients including BMW, Starbucks and PepsiCo. Dare was owned by Vision 7 and, before that, Cossette during which time it was merged, disastrously, with MCBD.

Design agency Identica and integrated agency are still owned by EDC.

Dare non-executive chairman of Dare Mark Collier says “This is a hugely exciting opportunity for Dare to be part of such a progressive and fast-growing marketing services group. The Oliver model is genuinely unique and it is proving to be increasingly attractive to clients, both in the UK and internationally.

“Dare will now be able to work alongside Oliver, with access to its global agency resources, whilst remaining an independent brand.”

Oliver CEO Simon Martin says: “Dare is an innovator in the digital space, creating hugely engaging digital experiences.

“We are excited by the possibilities of bringing them into the Oliver Group and believe the synergies between the two companies innovative mindset’s will lead to an exciting future.”

Oliver now employs more than 300 people in a number of offices worldwide.

Results International managing partner Keith Hunt adds:

The industry might not have heard much about Oliver yet or really know who they are but it’s time to sit up and pay attention.

You could see their acquisition of Dare as another step in the unravelling of the once highly acquisitive Cossette/Vision 7/EDC group, however it’s much more interesting than that. Oliver has an unusual pedigree for agency land. It’s been built up by chief executive Simon Martin, whose insurance background means he’s approached the world of marketing and building an agency in quite a different way.

Oliver’s point of difference is that its own teams are co-located in client’s offices – in their own words they “provide clients with dedicated, on-site agencies that are built from the ground up that live and work right at the very heart of your organisation.”

In theory this means much better interaction for all concerned but also allows Oliver to spot further opportunities within a client’s business. The big management consultants all have a mantra that says get into your client’s office and don’t leave; knock on doors and walk the corridors until you get more business. Oliver has clearly subscribed to the same model and the opportunities that come with it.

And it seems to be working very well for them. They are one of the fastest growing and largest independents.

The fact that Dare has chosen to join forces with them is clearly an endorsement of the Oliver model and highly significant for the industry more broadly; after all Dare is a long established and highly accredited agency.

We could actually be witnessing the future agency model. Expect to hear more from Oliver in the coming months.

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