Apple Adds Omnicom's Critical Mass to Digital Agency Roster

Joins AKQA, Huge, Other Independents On Crowded List Of Shops

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Apple iPhone 6s
Apple iPhone 6s Credit: Courtesy Apple

Apple is set to add Critical Mass to its roster, according to people familiar with the matter.

For Critical Mass parent Omnicom Group, the move aligns another one of its agencies with Apple. TBWA/Chiat/Day and OMD are longtime Apple shops. It also comes on the heels of Critical Mass' recent acquisition of Zocalo Group, a social agency that had been part of sibling agency Ketchum.

The holding company last year increased its stake in Critical Mass, a more than 700-person agency that specializes in digital design and marketing. At the time, Critical Mass CEO Dianne Wilkins told Ad Age that the goal will be to expand the shop by "geography, services and capabilities." Unlike Omnicom's other digital agencies, which are part of larger creative agency networks -- Organic lives within BBDO and Tribal is part of DDB, for example -- Critical Mass has operated independently.

Apple tends to like independent shops, or agencies that operate independently within a holding company.

Among the roster shops that fit the bill are recent addition Work & Co., WPP's AKQA, Publicis Groupe's Level Studios -- a shop originally created for Apple within the Razorfish Global network -- and Huge, which created a conflict shop for Apple called Elephant. Huge and AKQA joined the roster in 2014, along with smaller independents Area 17 and Kettle.

Work & Co., like Critical Mass, is newer to the roster, according to people familiar with the matter. For the two-year-old independent shop, the win is likely in line with its recent appointment of Casey Sheehan, who was the account lead on Apple at Huge. Global Creative Director Jon Jackson also left Huge to join Work & Co., which is made up of Huge defectors, at the same time.

It's unclear what the Critical Mass appointment means for the current roster of shops.

Critical Mass and Work & Co. didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.

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