Accenture throws down gauntlet to ad holding companies as it buys creative superstar Droga5

We’ve been waiting for the big one from Accenture and here it is: Accenture Interactive is buying Droga5, the pioneering creative agency founded by David Droga, currently part-owned by Hollywood outfit WME.

Accenture Interactive CEO Brian Whipple (left below with Droga) says: “The future of brand building is not just about creating great ideas; it’s about creating great experiences. We’re excited to work with David Droga and his team of brand strategists and creative minds to further our ambition to improve the full human experience with brands.

“As we celebrate the 10-year anniversary of Accenture Interactive, joining forces with Droga5 will be a game-changing milestone for us and the industry as we continue to assemble the right mix of capabilities for the modern-day marketer.”

D5 creative chairman Droga says: “Since day one, we have worked hard to push our industry forward and, hopefully, make a positive impact for all. The world of advertising is changing, and we are excited for this incredible opportunity with a company that will add more dimension to our best ideas and help push us beyond our existing ambitions. The proposition we can bring to market with Accenture Interactive will transform the industry.”

D5 is a major force in the US and its London outpost has recently gained some traction. But it has lacked the firepower to become a true global network. Accenture has that in spades (by some measures Accenture Interactive is already the world’s biggest agency with $8.5bn revenue) and it adds D5 to a list of highly regarded creative agencies including Karmarama in the UK, Rothco in Ireland and The Monkeys in Australia.

Accenture was linked with a possible bid for MDC Partners (home of Anomaly and 72and Sunny) among others but has chosen to follow its strategy of cherry-picking individual shops of which D5 is comfortably the biggest. Other consultancy rivals are also expanding into the agency space, most notably Deloitte Digital, and Accenture is clearly trying to keep its nose in front by buying one of the biggest global creative names.

Droga will remain in his role as creative chairman of Droga5, Sarah Thompson will continue as global CEO and Bill Scott will remain as UK CEO, working alongside the rest of the agency’s management team.

The established ad holding companies – WPP, Omnicom, Publicis, Interpublic and Havas – which have, publicly at least, sought to downplay the impact of the consultants on adland had better think again.

Next on the menu will surely be a big media agency.

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About Stephen Foster

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Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.