Havas buys majority stake in Camp + King to expand digital creative network

Dive Brief:

  • Havas Group bought a majority interest in Camp + King, a creative agency with a specialty in digital, social and content development. Havas Group will add Camp + King to its North American holdings that include Arnold and Batter, according to an announcement. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.
  • Camp + King, which generates half its revenue from digital and social work, plans to adopt the “Havas Village” model that brings together creative and media teams. Its current roster of clients includes Energizer, Re/Max, Papa John’s, Jackson Hewitt and prAna.
  • The deal is part of Havas Group’s global strategic strategy to build a creative network for modern platforms, and brings Camp + King’s expertise in animation, digital design, video production and editorial to the table through its in-house content lab.

Dive Insight:

Havas Group’s majority acquisition in Camp + King reflects the growing importance of digital and social media marketing expertise, a trend that has accelerated during the pandemic. The deal also comes as the broader marketing industry faces the prospect of consolidating amid a pullback in spending on creative and media services during the health crisis.

Havas has been a minority investor in Camp + King since the boutique firm’s launch in 2011. Camp + King was started by Jamie King, former president of Euro RSCG, which is now Havas Chicago, and Roger Camp. King will remain chief executive of the agency, while Camp will stay as chief creative officer, overseeing 60 employees in its Chicago and San Francisco offices. Camp + King plans to expand its Chicago office and adopt the “Havas Village” model that brings together creative and media teams to provide client services.

Marketing mergers and acquisitions appeared to slow down in the early days of the pandemic, but now seem to be picking up slightly. The Havas deal follows other recent buys in the industry that point to how marketing and advertising service providers may be positioning themselves for a new reality when digital and virtual strategies are more important. Last month, Accenture bought CreativeDrive, a startup with a network of on-premise studios and tech platform to help brands automate the production of video, photography, CGI and augmented reality content. Before that, brand tech startup You & Mr Jones bought influencer marketing agency Collectively to expand services for brands seeking to work with social influencers.

The industry may see additional consolidation as major ad holding companies grapple with declining revenue. Havas Group’s biggest rivals such as Interpublic, Omnicom and Publicis reported double-digit declines in revenue in Q2 as marketers slashed spending in the pandemic’s early days. A clearer picture of any recovery will emerge when the companies report results for the current quarter. The advertising industry is expected to shed jobs as agencies cope with revenue pressures, and realign their expertise to meet demand in growing areas like digital video, streaming media, podcasts and social media. U.S. ad agencies will shed 52,000 jobs in the next few years as the pandemic triggers sudden shifts in the marketing industry, Forrester Research predicted this year.

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