When The Monkeys announced last week it had found a buyer – and a consultancy group, of all things – it shocked just about everyone. Well, not the agency that looks set to inherit its “biggest independent” crown, The Works.
According to The Works’ founder and creative partner, Damian Pincus, The Monkeys sidling-up with Accenture was a shrewd move, and a harbinger to Australia’s new media landscape.
Pincus, who laughs off suggestions The Works have inherited The Monkeys’ “biggest independent” crown, believes creative agencies and consultancy businesses marrying-up works because they complement one another.
“I don’t think it [The Monkeys selling] was a surprise at all,” Pincus told B&T. “It’s a good move and the industry needs a shake-up in terms of who’s buying who.
“These consultancies need growth, they want end-to-end solutions, and creative agencies are part of that… so these deals make a lot of sense.
“There’s an exchange of DNA,” he said, “They [the consultancies] want a bit of us [creative agencies] and we want a bit of them. Advertising agencies get consumers more than anybody else, and consultancy agencies aren’t as good at that bit as we are.
“Creative agencies want to get closer to the C-suite and the consultancy businesses want to get closer to the consumer. There’s this cultural swap of DNA between the two and that’s exciting.
“It’s an unproven formula but it’s definitely an interesting one,” he added.
Pincus revealed The Works had also been approached with offers of a buy-out; however, he was quick to add the deal was neither suitable nor did he disclose who the cashed-up suitor was.
He believed independent agencies being bought by a consultancy was ultimately a better idea than being absorbed into “one of the big networks and then slowly disappearing into the ‘mother ship’”.
Ultimately, Pincus said, it was the client that would be the winner out of the merger between the two.
Pincus said: “Don’t see this as ‘winners’ and ‘losers’, see it as a huge benefit to clients. Ultimately, that’s how agencies derive their incomes and it’s in everyone’s best interest if we can help build their businesses.
“Clients just want everything to be simpler. And if you’ve got less people doing more then that’s a good thing. Clients want the marketing and communications world to change, to look at new models, to look at new ways of working, and this is part of that change.
“These consultancy businesses work on very senior levels, on very big projects, if you’re an agency you want to be part of that, you want to be in with that senior level, you want the attention of the people who are spending the marketing dollars,” he said while conceding that most creative agencies don’t have “people on staff who think at that level”.
Pincus also believed The Monkeys sale was a testament to the health of Australian independents and it would – or it should – encourage people to “go it alone” knowing these big consultancy companies were eyeing and buying the ones who were successful.
“In the case of The Monkeys, the brand name is super important to Accenture, they want to buy sexy, creative businesses. While at WPP, they’re merging all their existing agencies together, there’s no value in those independents that they bought,” Pincus concluded.