Sorrell’s S4 buys U.S. agencies in ‘post-Brexit’ spree, and Roku eyes Quibi content: Monday Wake-Up Call
Welcome to Ad Age’s Wake-Up Call, our daily roundup of advertising, marketing, media and digital news. If you're reading this online or in a forwarded email, here's the link to sign up for our Wake-Up Call newsletters.
Good morning and a happy new year to all our readers; welcome to the first business day of 2021. It’s looking set to be a busy news week, with the Georgia runoff elections ahead and new allegations against President Trump, but first of all, here’s some fresh news from the agency world.
Sir Martin Sorrell’s S4 Capital group announced this morning that it has acquired two U.S. agencies: integrated shop Decoded Advertising and data-driven digital agency Metric Theory. Decoded, which employs almost 200 people in New York and Los Angeles, and has clients including T-Mobile, Visa and SC Johnson, will be combined with S4's MediaMonks business. Metric Theory, which has around 130 employees across San Francisco, Denver, New York and Orange County, and clients including GoFundMe, will be combined with its MightyHive business. While financial terms were undisclosed, according to Sky News, which first broke the news on Sunday, the acquisitions are “worth more than $200 million.” S4 said they would add a projected combined gross profit of $70 million for 2020.
The move sees the former WPP chief Sorrell expanding his latest empire further, apparently spurred on by the finalization of Brexit. In a statement, S4 described the move as an “immediate post-Brexit expansion” and noted, “although unaffected by Brexit, given that much of the uncertainty has now, at last, been removed from the Brexit process, the Company will now implement even faster its strategy of creating a new age/new era advertising and marketing services model.” The company added that “further moves” would be announced shortly.
Quibi was without a doubt the biggest media flameout of 2020 (as reported in Ad Age’s End of Year Review) but it seems its content could find new life elsewhere.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the failed short-form streaming service is in “advanced talks” to sell its content catalogue to Roku, as it winds down operations. The deal would see Roku acquire rights to Quibi’s library, which includes shows such as “Most Dangerous Game,” and “Murder House Flip."
While such shows failed to take off on Quibi, for Roku, the deal would give it access to exclusive programming unavailable elsewhere, as it pushes its own ad-supported app, the Roku Channel. However, the Journal notes that the deal could still fall apart. Financial terms have not been revealed.
Throughout the holiday period, Ad Age’s Creativity has been counting down the top 30 creative brand campaigns of 2020. The final list is published today, and in the number one spot is the New York Times campaign, “Life Needs Truth.”
Created by Droga5, the spot “conveys the highs, the lows, the struggles, the heartbreak and even the mundane events of the past year in a single visual poem,” writes Creativity editor Ann-Christine Diaz. The campaign just edged ahead of runner-up Nike’s “You Can’t Stop Us” spot, which spliced together footage of different athletes as if they were moving as one.
Be an early bird: If you’re still just waking up from a post-holiday slumber, here’s something to get you in gear. The early-bird pricing deadline for the 2021 Ad Age A-List and Creativity Awards ends tomorrow (Jan 5.) and you can enter here to save $200. The final deadline is March 2.
Or be a rat: The TikTok “Ratatouille” musical, which debuted online on New Year’s Day, has already sold more than $1 million in tickets, according to The Verge. If you (or your kids) didn't catch it, it's still streaming until 7 p.m. EST tonight.
And remember your mask: Ford debuted a new ad called “Finish Strong,” which promotes mask-wearing and other safety measures, during the New Year college football games, writes Ad Age’s E.J. Schultz. It’s narrated by Ford spokesman Bryan Cranston and includes scenes of frontline workers and COVID victims. A timely reminder that, amid all the hopes for 2021, we’re still in a raging global pandemic.
That does it for today’s Wake-Up Call. Thanks for reading and we hope you are all staying safe and well.
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