The agency also saw its business grow consistently. Droga5’s 2016 revenue jumped 62 percent from 2015, after at least a 31 percent revenue growth every year since its founding. It only saw a decline for the first time in 2018, after its most difficult year that also saw the surprising departure of its long-time Chief Creative Officer Ted Royer under murky circumstances. (Now that Droga5 is part of Accenture Interactive, it no longer releases revenue figures.)
“We were an upstart in New York City that rocked the boat from day one,” Droga says. That’s been evident not just in the shop’s work, but its business moves. In 2013, Droga5 entered a industry-defying partnership with WME that gave the Hollywood giant a 49 percent stake in the agency. Then last year came one of the decade’s biggest advertising headlines, when Droga5 was acquired by Accenture Interactive.
“We’re ballsy enough to do deals that could bolster the industry or blow it up,” Droga says. The big question then was whether the agency’s gutsy spirit would flame out under the weight of its massive new owner.
But the ideas continued to thrive with campaigns like HBO’s “For the Throne,” which included a scavenger hunt that sent the show’s fans searching for Iron Thrones around the globe. The New York Times campaign emerged as the big hit of Cannes 2019.
“They can tell a story in an attention-grabbing way, but they also want to make sure there’s a strategic underpinning to what we’re doing," says New York Times Chief Marketing Officer David Rubin, who credits Droga5's work for having a big impact on its business. By the time the agency debuted its latest Oscars ad for the Times this year, the paper had announced a record 5 million subscriptions, having added 1 million net digital subscriptions in 2019.
Last year also saw a glimpse of what’s now possible with the backing of Droga5’s new parent. “We now have the opportunity to paint on whatever canvas we want to help shape and grow clients’ business,” says Global Strategy Officer Jonny Bauer. The shop’s work for Harley-Davidson leveraged its creative know-how with Accenture Interactive’s technological and data muscle and included a brand overhaul and introspective films that focus on the spiritually uplifting experience of the ride.