by Herman Manson (@marklives) TBWA\South Africa has merged agencies Grid Worldwide and Openco after buying out remaining the minority shareholders in the latter. The combined agency will operate under the Grid Worldwide brand and have a team of around 70 people. This merger won’t result in any job losses, either.

The agency falls under the management control of current joint Grid CEOs, Adam Byars and David Cohen, and managing director Masego Motsogi. Melissa Daniels, previously Openco MD, will assume a TBWA\SA group role driving key innovation initiatives across its companies.

Full-service journey

According to Sean Donovan, TBWA\SA GCEO, this is a matter of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. Grid Worldwide, once better known as a brand design agency, has been journeying towards full-service capabilities; Openco was known as a media-agnostic ATL agency but had been building capacity in BTL, retail and communications work. The two had often collaborated in the past and also often worked on the same clients. Openco thus emerged as the key to propelling Grid forward on its road to full-service capacity and to fully unlocking its potential.

While Grid used to take on a lot of project-based work, the combined agency will include project and retainer work. It will also have greater scale, allowing it to compete for bigger clients and thus opening up the market. As Donovan notes, it’s easier to scale a 70-person agency to a 100-person agency than to do that from 40 people (the size of Grid before the merger) but he promises that it will maintain its mobile, flexible and creative culture.

The combined agency’s biggest clients include Qatar’s tourism agency, Hollard, FNB, MTN and BMW.


Herman Manson 2017Herman Manson (@marklives) is the founder and editor of

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