BBDO Acquires a 70-Person Creative Agency

BBDO added an ad agency to its roster: Cincinnati-based Barefoot. The creative shop will become part of BBDO’s Proximity Worldwide Network, a subsidiary that includes direct, digital, sales promotion, and event marketing.

Barefoot and BBDO became acquainted over the past several months while working for the same client. BBDO claims to have been interested in Barefoot for several years, while Barefoot sees the new parent as providing the agency with a strategic advantage.

“I think the big advantage for us is our ability to tap into the resources and organizational knowledge contained in BBDO. So many situations we face, they’ve faced somewhere in their networks,” said Doug Worple, Barefoot CEO. “We both hope we will pitch new business together.”

Worple sees additional advantages to being part of a larger agency. “We think that with the fundamental forces changing the agency landscape, we will be better suited to serve as part of a larger agency, to serve large multi-national companies,” he said.

About 60 to 65 percent of the shop’s work is digital, and Barefoot has done interactive work for clients including Dawn; Mickey’s malt liquor; Pitch in for Baseball, an organization for kids in need; and Owenemma photography studios.

Barefoot will continue to be based in Cincinnati with its 70-plus employees and work autonomously at BBDO. When appropriate, the agency will collaborative with other BBDO teams on client pitches. “Everything is pretty much business as usual from a Barefoot standpoint, there’s no reorganization or anything like that,” said Worple.

Worple remains Barefoot’s chief executive. When the acquisition was announced yesterday, immediately his e-mail signature was updated to say “Barefoot, a BBDO Company.” Barefoot partners continue to hold shares in the agency.

Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.

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