WPP Acquires Interactive Shop Schematic
Latest in Series of Moves by Giant Ad Companies to Snap Up Digital Agencies
NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Advertising holding company WPP Group has snapped up independent interactive agency Schematic, the latest in a series of acquisitions by industry giants seeking to expand their digital offerings.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Los Angeles-based Schematic, founded in 1999, employs about 255 people in five locations, Atlanta, Boston, New York, San Jos?, Calif., and Costa Rica. Clients include Coca-Cola, Comcast, Conde Nast, Walt Disney, NBC Universal, Nokia, Panasonic, SanDisk, Target, Time Warner and Turner.
The acquisition, which comes just months after WPP acquired online advertising company 24/7 Real media for $649 million, reflects an industry-wide voracity for all things digital. Other recent acquisitions include Publicis Groupe's acquisition of Digitas last year and Microsoft's acquisition of aQuantive this May.
"The digital experience is becoming a key part of consumers' brand and media usage," Rob Norman, CEO of WPP's Group M Interaction, said in a statement. "Increasingly, our clients will need to create original, useful and engaging content that goes beyond the development of advertising units if they are to create value for their audiences."
Schematic, which has traditionally worked for media and technology companies, prides itself on "creating branding experiences rather than shouting messages at consumers," said CEO Trevor Kaufman.
One of its most recent efforts for Conde Nast, ShopVogue.TV, allows users to buy products featured in the magazine directly on the website.
"ShopVogue is a prefect example of our work because we created a lasting business for Vogue. It's not merely a mini-site or promotion, it's a destination that readers of Vogue will come back to again and again," Mr. Kaufman said.
Other companies had offered to acquire Schematic, but Mr. Kaufman said the company decided to sell to WPP because of its commitment to leave Schematic as a "stand-alone agency,"
"Frankly, we just met more kindred souls over at WPP. A number of other companies were interested in emerging us into existing units, and that seemed like an uphill battle," he said.
Timing was right
Mr. Kaufman also the timing was right for acquisition because more marketers are embracing experience-oriented online marketing.
"Now there is really an opportunity to do that for brand. People are not just talking to us about campaigns anymore," he said.