Changes afoot in the agency landscape
In addition to the political winds of change taking place this week there have been two significant agency announcements: Dentsu Aegis Network has acquired a majority stake in FoxP2 and it’s the end of the road for Y&R South Africa, which is being merged with Native VML to create a new entity called VML South Africa.
The acquisition of FoxP2, an agency with a reputation for business-focused creativity, fills a gap in the Dentsu Aegis Network SA offering, given that creative services have represented only around 15% of Dentsu’s revenue in SA.
FoxP2 certainly fits the bill in terms of an established creative profile. It was launched in 2005, and despite not managing to land a large founding client in its first two years, it soon garnered creative accolades. In more recent years, under the leadership of MD Charl Thom and executive creative director of its Johannesburg office, Grant Jacobsen, the agency has developed into a big-brand boutique agency with clients that include FNB, Stanlib, Hyundai, Budget Insurance and Mugg & Bean.
That many of Dentsu’s achievements transcend advertising is what appealed to the FoxP2 team, according to Jacobsen. No changes are being made to FoxP2’s leadership structure, which retains a vested interest in the business.
Earlier this week Native VML, Y&R, Labstore and Native Media announced they were uniting to create a fully integrated company called VML SA, which will offer a full service offering including above the line, below the line, shopper and digital.
Y&R’s Cape Town office closed last year. The agency never recovered after losing the Pick n Pay account in 2016 – an account it had held for a remarkable 48 years. Both Graham Lang, chief operating officer of Y&R SA and Africa, and Yossi Schwartz, group chairman of Y&R Africa, left the agency in the latter half of 2017.
The newly formed VML SA will have offices in Johannesburg and Cape Town and will be led by Jarred Cinman as CEO, Di Wilson as deputy CEO and Ryan McManus as chief creative officer. Jason Xenopoulos will be taking over a global role as chief vision officer for VML globally and chief creative officer for VML Emea.
The big take-out:
Two agency announcements were made this week: Dentsu Aegis Network has acquired a majority stake in FoxP2; and Native VML, Y&R, Labstore and Native Media have merged to form VML SA.