There’s a gripe (even fear) in adland about staid consultancy businesses increasingly wanting to play in the media/creative space. but, like it or not, it’s the way of the future according to Mark Green, CEO of The Monkeys, who shocked just about everyone yesterday when he announced the sale of Australia’s biggest independent agency to the global professional services firm Accenture.
Despite the naysayers, Green (pictured above) says its the modern-day demands of brands, CMOs and customers that will drive agencies into the arms of consultancy firms who, in turn, offer the tech prowess, business marketing skills and, most enticingly, the global reach.
Speaking to B&T after yesterday’s hand grenade announcement, Green – who started The Monkeys 11 years ago with co-founders Justin Drape and Scott Nowell – said the Accenture move was simply the next evolution in the agency’s life.
Green admits that there were other conversations with other unnamed suitors, however, Accenture approached The Monkeys in late 2016 and the deal – for an undisclosed sum – was put in place over the past seven weeks.
“I think it’s very big news for both the brands and it’s an opportunity and that’s why we did it,” Green said, adding that The Monkeys also had a reputation for a bit of shock and risk-taking.
“After almost 11 years we were looking at different ways to keep growing and learning new things and this presented a really good opportunity to do just that.
“The whole industry is undergoing so much change because that’s because what clients want is changing so rapidly. So, from that standpoint, it didn’t feel odd to us.
“It really was a strategic opportunity to where we wanted the business to go. It felt like a good synergy, a good cultural fit, and the opportunity to create work on a global stage and that’s what we wanted in this point of time in our evolution. Accenture are a global business with a global culture,” Green added.
In terms of global consultancy groups sidling up to traditional advertising agencies, Green said it was borne of a changing landscape where clients wanted a stronger connection between their strategy and their communication and “that’s where the industry is heading”.
Green adds that even when The Monkeys started almost 11 years ago, the industry had moved on from just doing creative and was becoming a “combination of advertising, technology and entertainment”. And now, “Eleven years later we are where we are and it feels to us very progressive and future facing,” he said.
Nor does Green predict this is the end of the humble Aussie independent. Good agencies, he said, who find their niche will always have a future, adding that Accenture’s acquisition of The Monkeys was, arguably, testament to the quality of the local independent players.
Accenture’s Interactive managing director, Michael Buckley, added that the merger will create an entirely new business model in the marketplace.
“By acquiring the Monkeys our strategy is part creative and part consultancy and part technology,” Buckley said. “And for our clients it says ‘Wow, you’ve also got this incredibly edgy and rewarded creative agency’ and with those ideas, with what we do best, is bring those ideas to life. And if we can make that customer experience seamless across all channels it means that we’re doing the right job.
“The three major benefits for The Monkeys will be more staff. There’s now the opportunity to grow locally and globally and Accenture’s clients could not be hungrier for that experience across all channels.
“And the really good thing about this is 1 + 1 = 10! This is the rocket the Monkeys need put behind it and that’s why it’s so exciting,” Buckley said.