Interpublic Group has acquired Brazilian digital agency Cubocc in an effort to bolster the New York-based holding company’s social and mobile expertise in Latin America. Financial terms were not disclosed. But as is the case with most acquisitions, the sharing and leveraging of each party’s intellectual and technological assets will be key to the deal’s success.
Roberto Martini, CEO of Cubocc, which will remain a standalone brand, said that his Sao Paulo-based company looks forward to using the campaign tools and consumer data it will obtain from IPG’s roster of agencies. That likely includes Brazil-based assets for McCann-Erickson, Lowe, Draftcb, FutureBrand, Orion Trading, and MRM Worldwide. He suggested the shared information would help his agency better target campaigns not only in Brazil, but other Latin American countries as well.
“In some ways, we are already integrated with some of their tools…and using them for [data] and our channel planning,” Martini said. “For a small company like us to have this kind of information is very good and makes us stronger.”
According to IPG spokesperson Tom Cunningham, Cubocc may help IPG brands that do not have a strong Brazilian presence – such as Deutsch, R/GA, and The Martin Agency – with possible digital efforts in the country. Martini said they’ll be able to tap his six-year-old agency’s know-how when it comes to social media and SMS-based mobile marketing.
Brazilian consumer habits via digital channels that differ from U.S./European usage, he said, include a preference for Twitter and Google social site Orkut over Facebook. Martini also mentioned SMS being wildly popular while Internet browsing on smartphones lags dramatically compared to other countries.
Specifically citing Cubocc’s ongoing “augmented reality” campaign for Doritos (see video below), he said, “We are known here in Brazil for creating huge social media campaigns.”
Cubocc employs just 150 but has shown it can handle major clients like Doritos and Unilever. It was IPG’s first agency buy since purchasing a stake in Brooklyn, NY-based digital firm Huge in July 2008, which was transacted before the economy began to tank two months later.
With a seemingly stabilized financial climate, the deal may mark a return to major U.S. agencies attempting to stake claims in foreign markets that have growing digital audiences. For instance, according to recent research by Canadian social media metrics firm Sysomos, Brazil now ranks second to the U.S. among all nations for Twitter users. After a 2008 that saw a lot of movement in the Brazilian marketplace, 2009 was a comparative dead period for big agency expansions.
You can follow Christopher Heine on Twitter at @ChrisClickZ.