Cheil Worldwide full-service agency McKinney has its sights set on expansion with the acquisition of Los Angeles-based Operam Creative Group, a division formerly within Hollywood media and tech company Operam.
With the purchase, 50-year-old McKinney makes its way to the west coast where it will rebrand the Operam Creative Group hub into its third office, McKinney L.A., joining its Durham, North Carolina headquarters and its New York shop.
McKinney said it aims to better serve its west coast clients with the acquisition, as well as expand the agency's capabilities in social media, data-driven creative and content. With the buy, it is also targeting the L.A. market that is ripe with players in tech, pop culture and entertainment.
The deal reflects the vision of CEO Joe Maglio, who was promoted to that role from McKinney New York chief executive in October 2018.
“When I took over as CEO, I began looking at what [does] the next 50 years of McKinney look like,” Maglio told Ad Age. “We’re looking at adding new clients. We wanted to take a look at the capabilities we could add to bring value to our [current] clients.”
Maglio said McKinney L.A. will work as its other offices do: serving several of its own clients while assisting the larger network on work and pitches when necessary. Operam Creative Group works on a project basis with clients such as Amazon Studios, WeTransfer and Orion and will continue to do so as McKinney L.A. McKinney itself recently added several new clients to its roster such as Procter & Gamble, ESPN and BMW Group Financial Services.
Operam Creative Group was started by Sylvain Tron in April 2017 after he left Havas North America, where he was serving as head of content. Tron and Maglio worked together at Havas, where the latter executive was managing director of the network’s New York office before joining McKinney. Maglio said when he linked back up with Tron, who will now be managing director of McKinney L.A., he almost instantly “came to the conclusion that we’ll be working together [again].”
“I spent the past two years building this agency with production at the center from the ground up,” Tron told Ad Age.
Operam Creative Group, which is now McKinney L.A., houses 15 full-time strategists, multidisciplinary creatives, content creators, account managers and producers. Tron said his main focus has always been on creating content more efficiently, making “every budget work” and “maintaining a high level of craft”—one of many viewpoints he shares with Maglio.
Going forward, Maglio said he will continue to look at acquisition opportunities “if it strategically makes sense.” He added that McKinney L.A. may also partner with the larger Operam company, which has a media buying and planning division, on certain projects.