Draftfcb Acquires Blue Barracuda

Draftfcb announced today it has acquired Blue Barracuda in London, which provides full-service digital strategies across all aspects of digital communications for such clients as Pizza Hut, Getty Images, Roche Pharmaceuticals, and Nectar, among others. Draftfcb London works with such clients as Beiersdorf, Boeing, Bausch + Lomb, Coca-Cola, General Motors, Kraft, SC Johnson, Taco Bell and The Post Office.

The acquisition will fortify Draftfcb’s offering in a key strategic hub worldwide and drive even faster growth.

Blue Barracuda and its staff of 60+ people are being merged into Draftfcb’s London agency, effective immediately. The newly fortified agency will operate under the Draftfcb London name, adding as a descriptor: “Fuelled by Blue Barracuda.” It will employ more than 180 people, increasing Draftfcb’s staff in the UK by 50 percent. It will also serve as the digital hub and resource for Draftfcb’s European network of agencies.

The agency’s capabilities will include advertising, CRM, retail, and the complete range of digital services, from digital strategies and campaign planning to full-service execution and online media buying and planning. The agency will also be using Blue Barracuda’s offshore production hub in Tallinn, Estonia, to provide faster, more cost-efficient production services.

“In the five years since Draftfcb was created, we have been focused on building our fully integrated model, which means one P&L, no silos, a single unified management team worldwide, and an equal emphasis on creativity and accountability. Rather than infighting over budgets, our employees are able to put our clients and their brands at the centre of all we do. Now we are committed to further enhancing our capabilities,” said Laurence Boschetto, Worldwide CEO and President of Draftfcb.

“Blue Barracuda is a perfect match for Draftfcb, both culturally and in terms of its capabilities and the expertise it provides. Its talented staff shares our fundamental belief that our clients and their customers’ needs have to be central regardless of the channel,” added Boschetto. “This combination represents a new type of integrated agency in the UK that ultimately will provide innovative, media-agnostic solutions for a digital world.”

Draftfcb London’s current management of Kate Howe, President, Mark Young, COO & CFO, Sharon Jiggins, Managing Director, Mark Fiddes, Executive Creative Director, and Simon Calvert, Global Chief Planning Officer, will be joined by the Blue Barracuda management team of Martin Talks as the new President of Digital (formerly CEO), Marcus Exall as Digital Director, Draftfcb London (formerly Client Services Director), Nick Berry as Planning Director, Digital (formerly Planning Director), and Adrian Nicholls as Client Services Director (formerly Managing Director). Each will be a member of the agency’s new leadership team.

“The union links Draftfcb’s existing integrated offering and ability to understand customer behaviour and needs with Blue Barracuda’s proven track record in delivering rapidly scalable digital strategies and communications,” said Draftfcb London President Kate Howe. “We are confident our joined entity will match the pace of change and provide the level of real-time interaction and understanding needed by brands today.”

“In joining Draftfcb, Blue Barracuda brings a unique approach to an ever-changing world. Our focus is not so much on perfect, artistic creations but on fluid, agile experiences that work wherever and whenever. Brands must accept being in an operational model where they are in a perpetual ‘beta’ state to maximize the opportunities that rapid change presents. Speed is the new certainty to ensure that communications meet objectives and deliver outstanding commercial results,” said Martin Talks, Draftfcb London’s new President, Digital.

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