McGarryBowen Acquires AC in Mexico City

Move Is Latest in Agency's International Acquisition Spree

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Brandon Cooke, global chief marketing officer, McGarryBowen; Julio Castellanos, CEO, Dentsu Aegis Network Mexico; Gordon Bowen, founder and global chairman, McGarryBowen; Miquel Daura, managing director, AC/McGarryBowen; Sebastian Arrechedera, creative director; Juan Claverol, business and client development director, AC/McGarryBowen
Brandon Cooke, global chief marketing officer, McGarryBowen; Julio Castellanos, CEO, Dentsu Aegis Network Mexico; Gordon Bowen, founder and global chairman, McGarryBowen; Miquel Daura, managing director, AC/McGarryBowen; Sebastian Arrechedera, creative director; Juan Claverol, business and client development director, AC/McGarryBowen Credit: Rabbit House
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Dentsu Aegis' McGarryBowen has acquired yet another agency, this time in Mexico City.

AC, which was originally named Arrechedera Claverol, will now be called AC/McGarryBowen. Gordon Bowen, co-founder at McGarryBowen, said that the impetus to acquire AC was that it fits with the agency's goal of building out a global network that focuses on "creative talent hubs."

"We determined that we were going to create talent hubs around the world, where talent will migrate," he said, adding that "the agencies we've found have started in a similar way that we started. They have the same components we find important, which is to be client centric, committed to work that works and to have a strong culture, because values are important."

AC, which was founded in 2007 and has grown to 110 people, was part of the first wave of independent shops to open in Mexico City, which now has a thriving independent agency market that has grown to compete with and beat the established global networks in Mexican pitches.

Founders Sebastian Arrechedera and Juan Claverol worked together at DDB Mexico before opening AC, and were joined in 2014 by Miquel Daura, a Spaniard who was a partner and general manager of the Mexico office of Spanish agency DoubleYou. All will remain on board and will report to Julio Castellanos, CEO, Dentsu Aegis Network Mexico.

Years of experience on the Volkswagen account at DDB paid off, and VW became one of AC's biggest clients. Last year, AC was the Silver winner for Integrated Campaign of the Year at Ad Age's Small Agency Awards for "The Volkswagen of Your Life," a campaign that celebrated VW's 50 years in Mexico and played to AC's talent for branded content.

Multiple networks have apparently approached AC over the years, but to no avail. Mr. Arrechedera said that the founders were comfortable staying independent, but that McGarryBowen "felt like a family and really cared about our work."

McGarryBowen was founded in 2002 in New York and opened its second office in Chicago in 2007. It now has 12 offices. In 2012, it opened in London, through a rebranding of Dentsu, and in Shanghai. In 2014, Dentsu Aegis gave the Age Isobar office in Sao Paulo the McGarryBowen moniker. In December 2015, Dentsu Aegis Network bought Paris-based agency Same Same But Different, and rebranded it as McGarryBowen Luxury. Most recently, the agency bought Achtung in Amsterdam and renamed it McGarryBowen Amsterdam internationally, but said it would keep its original name domestically. Other international locations include Singapore and Hong Kong.

Stateside it also has offices in San Francisco, thanks in part to its Intel account, and San Antonio.

The AC deal is McGarryBowen's first in Spanish-speaking Latin America. Dentsu Aegis bought digital agency Flock in Mexico City in March to add to the Isobar network. Like AC and McGarryBowen, Flock was Isobar's first Latin American agency outside Brazil. Mr. Bowen said that though Isobar also expanded into Mexico, it was more coincidental than part of a larger Dentsu Aegis plan.

Mr. Bowen also said that the agency continues to look to potential acquisitions based on markets the shop is interested in, but declined to add detail.

Julio Castellanos, CEO, Dentsu Aegis Network Mexico, said in a statement: "We are pleased to expand our creative reach in Mexico, the second largest economy in Latin America after Brazil. Mexico is a critical market for our growing roster of global clients, and the combination of AC and McGarryBowen represent a creative powerhouse in this market like no other."

Contributing: Laurel Wentz

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