New York digital shop Deep Focus was acquired by Engine USA, the newly created stateside division of U.K. agency conglomerate Engine Group.
Deep Focus prides itself on being an early adopter of new platforms. It was the first, or among the first, to execute immersive client campaigns on properties like Foursquare, Gaia Online, FarmVille, and MySpace. Its emphasis is on fueling interactivity and earned media, rather than more traditional reach and frequency metrics.
The eight-year-old agency's most active current client is Microsoft, for which it built a high-profile integration with FarmVille. However, its primary focus has been on entertainment giants like HBO, Sony Pictures Television, and AMC, for which it created last year's ubiquitous "Mad Men Yourself" and this year's reprise.
Engine USA's model among agency holding companies is somewhat unique in that it aims to operate companies without overlapping services. That in turn limits competition among in-house agencies and better serves clients, said Deep Focus CEO Ian Shafer (pictured).
"The Engine structure is something new, something created in this decade, which is nice," he said. "It's something that's collaborative across not just disciplines but media."
Deep Focus was represented by The Jordan, Edmiston Group, Inc. in the transction; the value and terms were not disclosed.
The acquisition comes a week after Engine announced a $100 million investment by an affiliate H.I.G. Capital, a private investment firm.
In a statement, Engine USA CEO Martin Puris suggested the Deep Focus buy is the first in a series of acquisitions and partnerships in the U.S.
"Deep Focus is the first and in some ways the most critical step in a journey that will, over time, bring together a number of exceptional partners representing all the disciplines necessary to market effectively in the new world," he said.
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March 19, 2014