Johannesburg - The world's largest and creatively most successful ad agency network, DDB Worldwide, has bought 53% control of its South African non-equity associate, DDB South Africa, from the former Jupiter Drawing Room Partners.
The price has not been disclosed, but it's the most significant investment in SA by a leading global agency network in some years. The last big agency investment in this market was that of Aegis Media three years ago. More recently, Euro RSCG opened an office in Johannesburg.
DDB, which is owned by the Omnicom group, was placed second for Cannes Agency of the Year (based on awards won) in June. One of its founders was the legendary copywriter, Bill Bernbach. The SA agency was named Agency of the Year at the AdReview Awards in April.
What was then known as Framptons International became a DDB associate in 1998. The Jupiter Drawing Room Partners acquired a 53% stake two years ago, but after Jupiter sold 49% of its own equity to WPP, an Omnicom rival, it had to sever the link.
The global network, the world's largest, is also acknowledged as probably the world's top creative agency over the last 5-10 years.
Patrick Ehringer, regional Middle East/Africa president, said the agency would serve as a regional hub. "We are counting on DDB South Africa to make its creativity resonate across the continent under the exceptional leadership of Lomas, O'Hanlon and chief creative officer Gareth Lessing."
DDB chairperson Bob Scarpelli said the management team had raised the agency's creative ranking in less than three years and "firmly established the agency within our network. It is now a major part of DDB Worldwide." Last year, DDB was ranked third among individual agencies on the AdReview creative league table.