Experiential players Brand Spanking and Fluxx this week announced a merger, which will see the new entity trade under the Brand Spanking banner from the Eden Terrace office.
Fluxx founder Mark Pickering will join Vivian Bryant and Jeremy Hunt as a shareholder and director of the newly formed company.
“We collaborated on the formation of EMANZ (the Experiential Marketing Association) and have worked closely on the CAANZ PRESEC over the years so there has always been a collegial relationship between Vivian, Jeremy and myself,” says Pickering.
This move follows on from Uno Loco’s recent acquisition of Soiree, and Pickering believes more consolidation is likely in the experiential market over the next year.
“There have been lots of new players coming in: one, two or three-man bands,” says Pickering. “We now have around 20 players in the market.”
Pickering believes that as the market continues to mature more of these experiential companies will have to bring their businesses together in order to give clients what they want in a changing media landscape.
Whereas previously clients were happy to have an experiential activation developed discretely, Pickering says that over the last eight years (the lifespan of Fluxx) he has seen clients increasingly demand integrated campaigns that stretch across multiple channels.
“If they’re spending $100,000 on a campaign, they want it to go further,” he says.
Pickering says this need has led to many of the big agencies investing in experiential to ensure that they have the capabilities to deliver what clients want.
“You now have OMD with Fuse, Colenso with Pulse, Spark PHD with Spark Activate and DDB with Mango,” he says.
To be able to compete with this, he says that the independent agencies specialising in experiential have had to change the way they do business.
He points to Spur’s recent announcement of ramping up its content creation capabilities as another example of the industry maturing.
“Clients want their campaigns amplified, and we have to create the content that can do that,” he says.
He also says that bringing these services under a single umbrella creates the potential of cost-savings for clients, which again will make the independent experiential players more competitive.
Consolidation isn’t unusual in the industry at the moment, with a flurry of mergers and acquisitions in the outdoor and ad tech industries last year. And if the first few weeks of 2016 are anything to go by, then we will no doubt be seeing a few more changes in the experiential scene over the next few months.