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Accenture Buying Ad Agency Droga5 To ‘Drive Big Ideas’ For Customers

‘We really are trying to inspire our clients to think bigger and we need Droga to help us drive big ideas within that context, for these experiences,’ Glen Hartman, head of Accenture Interactive – North America, tells CRN.

The merger of Accenture Interactive and Droga5 blends the creative capabilities of one of the country’s top ad agencies with the technical expertise of a top solution provider with the goal of re-imagining the customer experience across every industry, said Glen Hartman, head of Accenture Interactive – North America.

“Accenture Interactive is about one thing: helping our client create and deliver the best experiences on the planet,” Hartman told CRN. “When we talk about experience, we don’t mean it like UX, a web site, or mobile app. We mean the full customer experience: marketing, advertising, branding, could be sales, could be customers service, anyway that brand engages with a customer. When we have that, we really are trying to inspire our clients to think bigger and we need Droga to help us drive big ideas within that context, for these experiences.”

Droga5 was founded by David Droga in 2006. The acclaimed creative agency -- with more than 500 employees in New York and London – won praise for its “industry-challenging work,” according to a statement. Clients include Amazon Prime Video, Tourism Australia, The New York Times, IHOP and a Game of Thrones’ Super Bowl ad. According to the statement, Droga5 was named agency of the year 20 times by Adweek, Advertising Age, Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, and the North American Effie’s, among others. Droga5 said it also partners with brands such as Chase, Prudential, Kraft, Hershey, Hennessy and Under Armour.

“This is the start of an exciting new chapter in Droga5’s history,” Droga said in a statement. “Accenture Interactive is one of the most disruptive forces in the industry, and we have always been a safe space for audacious ideas. I’m confident they are the best partner to grow our business and provide greater opportunities for our clients and our people. Why live off past glories when you can get busy trying to create new ones?”

According to the statement, Droga will keep his job as creative chairman of Droga5, Sarah Thompson will continue as global CEO of Droga5 and Bill Scott will remain as U.K. CEO of the company, working alongside the rest of the agency’s management team.

The deal announced yesterday is expected to close within a month, pending regulatory approval. While the terms were not disclosed, Accenture Interactive said it is the largest deal for that unit since it was launched in 2009.

Accenture stock traded higher yesterday by 1 percent, up $1.82 to $177.19. Accenture has said it plans to spend $1.5 billion on M&A activity this year. In its most recent earnings call, it said about a billion of that remained.

Speaking from Droga5’s offices in New York, Hartman delivered a town hall address to employees, who he said were thrilled at the news.

“It’s electric here,” he said. “We actually have a nice history of partnering with Droga in the past, on some client things and our cultures were already very compatible. So the coming together of our teams is a great way to see that vision come to life. We just had a whole meeting with all the team at the Droga offices here and everyone was just sitting on stairs and running around. We were interrupted by people spontaneously clapping and laughing. Its been great. “

Accenture Interactive has a robust stable of creative talent in offices around the world, having acquired creative agencies in the UK, Ireland, and Asia-Pacific region in recent years, but Hartman said it lacked a deep bench of talent in the states.

“We really didn’t have the best of the best as part of our team in the US,” he said. “This is what our move was with Droga. It’s not just my opinion. If you look around at the awards, at the recognition, ask anyone in the market and they would say Droga that is the best and that’s why we deliberately went after them, to not only get the best capability, but also have the credibility with their long history of excellence.”

For Accenture Interactive clients, Hartman said they will now have access to an unrivaled team of experts who can create and execute an unbroken vision from concept to customer experience. He said whether its in an emergency room, a dressing room, in finance, or medical research clients are looking for ideas that will “empathize with their end customers.”

“We think of a brand as a set of promises. The way those promises are kept are through the experience,” Hartman said. “When we are dealing with companies that are focused on what their brand means and how that can evolve, you need someone like Droga5 to help understand that language, understand what they mean from a brand perspective, and have it fit in and connect with the rest of the things that can enable that experience, like technology and data and insights and even more traditional things like business consulting, operating models, organizational design. All of those things are interdependent.”

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