Accenture buys CreativeDrive to expand output of content for brands

Dive Brief:

  • Accenture bought CreativeDrive, a startup that leverages a network of on-premise studios and a tech platform to help brands automate the production of video, photography, CGI and augmented reality content, per an announcement. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.
  • Estée Lauder, Michael Kors and Walmart are among the brands that have worked with CreativeDrive on the production of digital content. CreativeDrive’s CD Suite system automates the content creation lifecycle while connecting brands, markets, retailers and suppliers.
  • CreativeDrive has about 700 employees and more than 400,000 square feet of studio space to create content at scale. The company’s headquarters are in New York, and it has offices throughout the U.S., Australia, Brazil, China, Costa Rica, Singapore, South Africa and the U.K.

Dive Insight:

Accenture’s acquisition of CreativeDrive is the latest move by the consulting giant to expand its marketing services and win over a client base that’s historically looked to specialty shops for these needs. While the firm’s Accenture Interactive arm has been on a dealmaking spree in recent years, the coronavirus pandemic has further sped up a shift toward digital media consumption and online shopping, as well as the digital content that typically supports the online shopping journey.

With the shuttering of regular studio production, marketers are relying more on technology and automation to maintain a regular output. The quick and flexible production of digital content is similarly desirable, while budgetary pressures stemming from the health crisis mean cost-effectiveness has received a premium. 

CreativeDrive’s global capabilities could help Accenture’s clientele scale up their digital content strategies while developing a less fragmented approach in content creation among campaigns in a variety of markets. The acquisition comes as many brands are developing in-house studios to handle services that traditionally were outsourced. The pandemic’s negative effect on the economy has made in-housing of higher priority for marketers seeking to cut costs and boost the efficiency of their marketing spending.

Accenture has been aggressive in acquiring smaller companies to build global scale for its digital marketing services arm. The company in April acquired Yesler for its account-based marketing, customer advocacy, sales enablement and marketing automation services, and, in January, bought a minority interest in Ideoclick, which was best known for cloud-based software and services to help businesses sell on Amazon.

Accenture Interactive last year was among the top 10 acquirers in advertising and marketing industry, with $1.46 billion in deals, including the takeover of star creative agency Droga5, its largest acquisition to date.

It’s too early to tell whether the Accenture’s purchase of CreativeDrive signals a rebound in deal-making amid the disruptions of the pandemic on business activity and valuations. First quarter deal activity fell to the lowest levels since 2013, with expectations that the second half of this year could bring a rebound. 

Accenture’s revenue slipped 1% year-over-year to $11 billion in the most recently completed quarter amid the negative economic effects of the pandemic, per a quarterly announcement.

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