Merger sees three key digital agencies combine for scale
Three important digital and mobile agencies are merging to create what they hope will be a major new player in the South African advertising world. Cambrient, Stonewall+ and Brandsh will merge under the leadership of new CEO Jason Xenopoulos to create what they term a “full service digital agency” called Native.
Brandsh is a specialist in the mobile and social media field, Stonewall+ is one of the oldest and most respected digital agencies in the country and Cambrient is known for its content management solution (positioned as a marketing rather than CMS platform). The new combined agency will employ over 120 staff members and work with clients ranging from General Motors and Standard Bank to Seacom and DStv. No retrenchments are expected.
Xenopoulos (@JasonXenopoulos) says digital agencies have had to see strategy and brand leadership driven by traditional ad agencies while they were looked upon as little more than production houses.
Internationally, however, the trend has been increasingly for strategy to be lead by a digital perspective. According to Xenopoulos, the scale and skill sets that come with the merger will allow Native to take up that strategic role in partnership with brands and traditional agencies.
Xenopoulos says previously specialist backgrounds did not allow digital agencies to fully participate in brand custodianship and that a full service offering will remove a major hurdle in getting digital represented at a strategic business and brand development level.
According to Xenopoulos, the commonality of culture, positive chemistry between the different management teams and limited overlap in skills and strengths facilitated the creation of Native. The shareholders of the existing businesses, plus Xenopoulos, will be the shareholders in the combined company.
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