Droga5 sold to Accenture despite David Droga saying previously that he was ‘not interested in selling’

Droga has shifted his stance on selling

Iconic creative agency Droga5 has been sold to consultancy firm Accenture, despite founder David Droga telling Mumbrella previously that he was “not interested in selling”.

The agency will still be led by the man it was named after back in 2006 and will retain the name Droga5, but will fall under the Accenture Interactive umbrella. Figures on the size of the deal have not been revealed.

Droga will remain in his role as creative chairman, heading up a team of 500 staff at offices in New York and London. Sarah Thompson will also continue as global chief executive officer.

In 2017, Mumbrella asked Droga directly if he would ever sell. “I’m not interested in selling,” he said at the time.

“Every man, cat and his dog has tried to buy us. I wasn’t trying to build something to sell. We love our independence. We call our own shots. We are at the mercy of our own genius or stupidity, not some boardroom we have no influence on or a stock price.

“That’s powerful and motivating. It ensures we make decisions based on our ethos and not an annual report. Hopefully, people see that in our work. It is no coincidence that independent agencies do better work.”

Going further, he added: “I’m not saying every independent is great and every multinational is terrible. When I worked at other companies before Droga5, no matter how high I got in the food chain I always felt puppet strings above me. You know mate, I’m a control freak. I like my own thing.”

However, Droga’s stance has shifted dramatically. This was perhaps due to the mounting pressures from all sides faced by ad agencies, including the threat from consultancy firms looking to take their client accounts and their revenue.

Announcing the move today, Droga said: “This is the start of an exciting new chapter in Droga5’s history. Accenture Interactive is one of the most disruptive forces in the industry, and we have always been a safe space for audacious ideas.

“I’m confident they are the best partner to grow our business and provide greater opportunities for our clients and our people. Why live off past glories when you can get busy trying to create new ones?”

“Since day one, we have worked hard to push our industry forward and, hopefully, make a positive impact for all. The world of advertising is changing, and we are excited for this incredible opportunity with a company that will add more dimension to our best ideas and push us beyond our existing ambitions.

“The proposition we can bring to market with Accenture Interactive will transform the industry.”

Meanwhile, interim Accenture CEO David Rowland said: “We are delighted to bring Droga5’s highly differentiated capabilities to help Accenture Interactive transform experiences for our clients’ customers and continue to be a catalyst for disruption across the industry.”

And Accenture Interactive global CEO Brian Whipple added: “In our quest to create the best experiences on the planet, we recognised the need to further raise the bar on our brand creative.

“Droga5 occupies the top echelon of brand agencies and is a great fit for us due to its world-class creativity, strategic rigour and brand experience capabilities. We’re beyond excited about the possibilities of what we can achieve together.”

Droga5’s client list includes Amazon, Tourism Australia, Under Armour and The New York Times among others. Now based in New York, Droga has previously worked as a creative in Singapore and London as well as in his native Australia, where he first made his name.

Droga5’s publicly stated revenue in 2016 was US$170 million and exceeded US$200 million in 2017. Analysts say the firm has grown by at least 20% every year since its formation in 2006.

Also growing, Accenture Interactive’s revenue jumped 30% last year to US$8.5 billion; with the business accounting for around a fifth of Accenture’s total incomings.

Accenture Interactive’s acquisition of Droga5 is the biggest deal since it was formed in 2009. It has previously purchased design firm Fjord, e-commerce specialist Acquity Group and other creative shops such as Karmarama and The Monkeys – not to mention buy ups in the programmatic and experiential segments.

During the 2017 interview, Droga was asked what ‘creativity’ meant to him. “It’s about being lateral and original,” he replied. “It’s like a jigsaw puzzle and that’s why I love it so much. Creative allows you to bend the rules of logic. It’s an icebreaker. An emotional beacon.

“All I can say is thank goodness for creatives. Logistics and practical people make the world go around, but creative people make the world worth living in. You can’t engineer greatness or find efficiencies to get to greatness. You can’t undermine or undercut to get to greatness.”


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