UK-based Aegis Media, "the world's fastest growing marketing communications group", bought Mitchell Communication Group in June last year for AU$363 million. And Carat and Mitchell have now officially been brought together in New Zealand, with around 70 staff from a variety of businesses now beavering away in a new Parnell office.
The move has doubled the size of Carat to make it the number five media agency in New Zealand by billings and, with digital agency Catch! Media, PR agency Haystac, brand experience agency Synergy and promotional marketers Apollo now all in house and adding to the likes of Isobar, Vizeum and iProspect, Aegis Media Pacific’s chief executive Luke Littlefield, who is currently in Auckland, says this move makes it one of the most diverse marketing communications groups in New Zealand.
He says the changes give it "significant brand definition" and, not surprisingly, he is confident it will lead to major growth in this market.
"It's a growth story," he says. "We'll aggressively chase growth. We believe we should grow. We believe the market should grow. And we believe clients should should spend more."
Before two became one, Carat and Mitchells were each at around number nine or ten on the ladder, according to Aegis Media New Zealand’s managing director of media, Robert Harvey, who was appointed as the leader of Carat at the end of last year and took over from Carat's Ryf Quail (who's now at ZenithOptimedia) and Mitchell's Philip O'Neill (who's set to announce a new senior role soon).
With the addition of the Mitchell's clients, it now holds key accounts like ASB, Cadbury/Kraft, 2degrees, adidas and Supercheap Auto. Aegis also recently won the General Motors account globally and, at $3 billion, it is one of the world's biggest ever account wins.
Mergers of this scale are always messy and difficult. And Harvey says plenty of work has been done behind-the-scenes bringing the Mitchells clients into the fold before this public announcement was made. But with all the ducks in a row and everything now under one roof, some of those logistic difficulties will presumably have been dealt with.
“This is fantastic news for both staff and clients of the agency,” says Harvey. “Clients will benefit from the local strength of our team and from the global resources that will be available to them under the Carat network, as well as closer integration between our online and offline specialists."
The Mitchell & Partners brand will remain as an extension of its presence in the Australian market.