Droga5’s acquisition by Accenture Interactive came as a surprise to most observers, but for the creative agency’s founder it was a response to the need to join a company with extensive capabilities in order to keep up in a constantly changing environment.
There were other factors, too, David Droga acknowledged at a Cannes Lions session where he appeared with Accenture Interactive CEO Brian Whipple, including industry headwinds and the financial struggles that had come with taking on projects bigger than it could cope with.
“I didn’t build Droga5 to sell, I built Droga5 so it could become a platform for great things,” he said.
But, he added, “The industry has changed; we need to stay relevant. We need to stay on the front foot.”
One of the significant changes has been the evolution of the role of the CMO and what clients now require from their agencies.
“It used to be that CMOs were paid to build a brand, now they’re paid to build a business,” he observed.
A few years ago, for example, Droga5 created widely reported work for Newcastle Brown Ale that parodied the Super Bowl by mentioning 37 different brands in the ad.
Respected by the industry, the ad did not lead to major business results, Droga reported, because ultimately the agency had no input into the distribution and retail processes.
“My objective is: this is the way to save creativity,” he said: “to make sure it can be effective all the way through.”
In the new set-up, there is the question of who will answer briefs. Droga5 will continue to answer traditional creative retainers, though the agency will start to bring in the rest of the company’s capabilities.
Ultimately, Whipple said, “we would be responding as one company”.
Since the April acquisition, Accenture Interactive has brought in business from several major brands, including the iconic American motorcycle maker Harley Davidson and Facebook, on a global deal.
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