Leo Burnett Inflates Digital Capabilities With Airlock Acquisition

Publicis Groupe has acquired London-based digital agency Airlock for an undisclosed sum, and will house it under its Leo Burnett Group in the U.K. to help further bolster its digital assets there.

Airlock provides a range of digital services including Web design, digital brand strategy, social media, and online advertising, for clients such as BBC, NBC Universal, and Wrangler.

Following the acquisition the agency will retain its brand and 16 staff, as well as its current leadership. Will Lebens, managing director; Charlie Martin, creative director, Joseph Denne, technical director; and Chris Mair, strategy director will report directly to Leo Burnett Group’s chief digital officer, Marc Giusti. The addition of Airlock’s staff brings the number of digital specialists within the group to more than 85, Publicis said.

The purchase represents the second digital acquisition for Leo Burnett in 2011, following the addition of social media-focused agency Holler in February. Publicis says it aims to increase the percentage of revenue accrued through digital channels to 35 percent by 2014. At present it accounts for 28 percent, it said.

According to Airlock Managing Director Lebens, the agency was approached by numerous potential buyers prior to accepting the Publicis offer. “This move gives our people access to an amazing array of clients, to deliver creativity, innovation and technology on a much larger scale,” he commented in a press release.

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