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Publicis Groupe expands further into South Africa


Publicis Groupe expands further into South Africa


Publicis Groupe is further cementing its footprint in South Africa, having recently announced in a press statement three acquisitions that would expand the scope of its activities in the cities of Cape Town, Johannesburg, Durban and Belleville.

The group has acquired brand agency BrandsRock – founded in 2009, BrandsRock offers marketing and brand strategy, shopper and experiential marketing to a roster of blue-chip clients such as Harley Davidson and Puma – digital marketing agency Liquorice – founded in 2005, Liquorice offers web and mobile, social media, CRM, content creation and search engine marketing services, its clients including Unilever – and integrated agency MACHINE – founded in 2012, MACHINE offers integrated communications, content marketing, loyalty and rewards, research and PR services to the likes of Red Bull and Nando’s, and has recently won the business of Jaguar. MACHINE boasts several accolades including at the Cannes Lions Festival, D&AD Awards and Clio.

Under the terms of the acquisitions, Brandsrock will merge into Saatchi & Saatchi South Africa, forming a new entity, Saatchi & Saatchi BrandsRock, its team of 45 employees to be relocated to the Saatchi & Saatchi offices in both Cape Town and Johannesburg. The new entity will be headed by John Dixon, CEO of BrandsRock, who will become CEO of both Saatchi & Saatchi BrandsRock and the Saatchi & Saatchi group in South Africa. Brandsrock founder, Mike Joubert, becomes chief strategy officer of Saatchi & Saatchi BrandsRock. “BrandsRock’s chief creative officer, Jonathan Beggs, and COO, Heidi Nelson, make up the remainder of the leadership team for the new entity,” says the statement.

Under the leadership of Anil Pillai, who will take on the role of chief executive, UK, Middle East and Africa, Liquorice will be aligned with DigitasLBi. Meanwhile, MACHINE will be rebranded as Publicis MACHINE and integrated into Publicis Worldwide, its CEO Adrian Hewlett continuing his role, and reporting to Kevin Tromp, CEO of Publicis Africa Group.

These acquisitions follow those of Prima Integrated Marketing, OwenKessel, and Lighthouse Digital, and the stake acquisition in AG Partners earlier in 2014, as part of Publicis Groupe’s expanding its scope across Africa. According to ZenithOptimedia, South Africa is the eighth fastest growing advertising market in the world between 2013 and 2016.

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