Dentsu America Gains Youthful Edge with Attik Acquisition

In a bid to increase its American presence and digital capabilities, Dentsu America has acquired Attik, a creative agency known for its edgy, youth-targeted ad campaigns for clients like Toyota Scion and Boost Mobile.

The Japan-based Dentsu is considered the fifth largest holding company in the world, and has a significant presence in Japan and Europe, but is currently trying to consolidate its U.S. operations, according to Tim Andree, CEO of Dentsu America. With the addition of Attik, Dentsu is looking to capitalize on the agency’s digital and youth marketing expertise which it had been lacking previously. Andree assumed his post approximately 18 months ago and has been managing the firm’s restructuring to expand domestic offerings.

“We still have some weaknesses in our digital area and that attracted me to Attik,” said Andree. “There’s more to Attik than just digital capabilities, but in the marketplace I don’t think any agency is going to well serve clients without a certain amount of alternative digital media capabilities. Every agency is trying to augment their capabilities in that area and we’re no different.”

Attik will retain its name and San Francisco headquarters, while its offices in Los Angeles and New York will be consolidated into Dentsu America’s offices in those cities. The Leeds, England-based Attik U.K. office will operate as a wholly owned subsidiary of Dentsu Holdings USA, Dentsu’s North American holding company.

Through the acquisition, Attik will be able to rely on greater resources and an established brand name to bring in bigger projects, without stepping on the toes of similar divisions in the new parent company, said Ric Peralta, president of Attik.

“Dentsu is one of the biggest networks in the world except for in the area that we play in. That’s why we want to be part of their thing,” Peralta said. “They’ve been here for many years. We’re not adding capabilities that they don’t already enjoy, but it allows us to offer something new to their existing client roster as well as prospective clients they are pursuing.”

For its part, Attik had been conducting a two-year search for a partner company that would allow the agency to woo larger accounts, according to Peralta who said the 20-man creative team often had potential clients that would not “pull the trigger” on projects.

“We were too big for the small clients we like to play with and too small for the big clients we like to play with. We were stuck in this murky middle. It became clear to us that we were losing projects not because of the ability of the creative we were doing, but our ability to roll it out globally,” he said.

Attik and Dentsu shared Scion as a client, helping smooth the way for the deal, said Andree. Dentsu’s clients in America include Cannon, Toyota Motor North America, HarperCollins, Sage Software, Bandai Toys, Newton Vineyard and others.

As part of its new position Attik intends to grow its staff by 10 percent per year going forward. Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

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