The Dentsu Aegis Network today announced that it had acquired a majority share in Barnes, Catmur and Friends (BC&F), an agency which has over the last two decades become one of the most prominent indies in the industry.
According to a statement from Dentsu Aegis, this move has been made to establish creative capability in the local market and the agency, which currently employs 31 staff in Auckland, will become the flagship creative brand of the network.
This means that BC&F now joins the Dentsu Aegis Network, which is is made up Carat, Dentsu, Dentsu media, iProspect, Isobar, mcgarrybowen, MKTG, Posterscope and Vizeum.
While the agency will be renamed BC&F Dentsu, the founders Daniel Barnes and Paul Catmur will retain their leadership roles alongside general manager Luke Farmer.
StopPress contacted Catmur for additional commentary on the move, but he would not add anything to information contained in the official Dentsu Aegis statement.
As is often the case with mergers, it seems to have been in the works for quite some time with documents filed at the Companies Office showing that Barnes, Catmur & Friends updated its ultimate holding company particulars in October last year.
The acquisition also seems well timed for Dentsu Aegis, given the Effies Index ranks BC&F as the most effective independent agency in both New Zealand and Asia Pacific.
"I have long admired the work of the BC&F team and the addition of the agency to our group is a significant step towards achieving our strategic goals in New Zealand," says Rob Harvey, the New Zealand chief executive of the Dentsu Aegis Network.
“BC&F share many of our values, not the least of which is a dedication to innovation and collaboration to deliver results for clients. Their business is very complementary to our group from both a capability and cultural perspective. We have no desire to change the things that have made BC&F so successful in the past. Daniel, Paul, and Luke are great leaders and I look forward to working with them to achieve our ambitions for both BC&F Dentsu, and the wider Dentsu Aegis Network group in New Zealand.”
In his official statement, BC&F founding partner Barnes suggested the agency would still enjoy a level of freedom despite the acquisition.
“Dentsu have impressed us with their new approach to agency networks and their desire to let us continue with the freedom to do what we do best," Barnes said. "Joining Dentsu Aegis Network gives us access to great talent, services, tools, data and technology both locally and from the global network.”
New business win
In what has been a busy news day for BC&F, this announcement also coincided with the Jetstar's appointment of the agency to its retail business in New Zealand, which was previously run out of Australia.
BC&F originally won Jetstar's brand business in early 2014, and good work in this space has led the client to entrust the retail side of the account to the agency as well.
“Our relationship with Jetstar has really strengthened over the last six to 12 months and we’re looking forward to working more closely with the Jetstar team," Catmur says. "Being based in New Zealand we already have a better understanding of the market here and now we will look to tie the brand and retail creative together more seamlessly."
The retail portfolio will include sales and retail (or business as usual) campaigns to the New Zealand market.