Isobar : advertising & marketing assignments

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Isobar is the global agency created during the 2000s by what is now Dentsu Aegis Network. Though it maintains a comparatively low profile, it is one of the world's largest digital networks, now comprising more than 85 offices spread across 45 countries. New acquisitions and openings are continuing to swell the network each year. More than 20 separate shops have joined the group in just the past four years; several retain their existing name for an initial year or two "linked by Isobar" before adopting the shared global brand. AdAge estimated global revenues of $640m in 2018, making it one of Dentsu Aegis's three biggest businesses. The agency is full service in most of its outposts, specialising in ecommerce and product/service design. It is partnered by search and social media specialist iProspect, which adds another $510m in revenues. The network was originally created in 2004 when the existing digital operations of media network Carat were split out to offer creative serves as well as media planning and buying. Parent group Aegis had already accumulated a large collection of separately branded digital agencies to flesh out its coverage, including Glue in the UK; Molecular and Freestyle and later Roundarch in the US; One Digital in Australia; WWWINS in China; AgenciaClick in Brazil and so on. However, the result of this acquisition spree was that the network consisted of a wide range of often very different units with little synergy or even willingness to work together. Aegis began restructuring the network during 2010 to form a more cohesive global network under a newly appointed central management team. Several agencies in individual countries were merged or even shuttered (including celebrated Swedish shop Farfar); others retained their own local names and branding until 2010, when the group began rolling out a uniform network identity. Separate branding was finally phased out altogether during 2013 in favour of a uniform global brand. In 2017, standalone unit Firstborn, also already owned by Dentsu Aegis, was realigned with Isobar. Like iProspect, it retain separate branding. Jean Lin is global CEO.

Capsule checked 29th May 2019

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Recent stories from Adbrands Weekly Update:

Adbrands Social Media 26th Mar 2019: "Impact". Riding high after his richly deserved Oscars win, Spike Lee lends his inestimable talents to Budweiser for this splendid film to mark the centenary of the birth of legendary baseball player Jackie Robinson. And all in time for the new season opening this week. Robinson's name may be familiar to readers outside the US, but perhaps not his achievement. He was the first ever black Major League Baseball player, breaking a long-established colour bar in the game. Despite playing only ten seasons for the Brooklyn Dodgers, he ended up as one of the sport's highest achieving athletes. Dentsu Aegis Network's Isobar worked with Lee on the campaign. This is actually the shorter version of the ad; there's also a full three minute version which pays tribute to various other members of minority groups who broke the mould in their chosen fields.

Adbrands Weekly Update 21st Jun 2018: Cannes Lions 2018. The first batch of winners were announced from Cannes Lions 2018. (See the full run-down, including all the Gold, Silver and Bronze winners at the Cannes Lions 2018 website). Digital Craft is one of five new categories this year, and the Grand Prix goes to Isobar New York for its extraordinary Aeronaut virtual reality experience, devised for the same-named single from former Smashing Pumpkins' singer Billy Corgan. The 2D version has already been released as the music video; the full VR version has been previewed to selected audiences and is being released to the public later this year.

Adbrands Weekly Update 17th Feb 2015: Dentsu Aegis Network's Isobar strengthened its Australian presence with the acquisition of local digital agency Soap Creative for an undisclosed sum. 

Adbrands Weekly Update 13th Nov 2014: Dentsu Aegis added to its digital resources with the acquisition of UK-based mobile agency Fetch for around £30m. The business was established in 2009, but has been led since 2012 by Steve Leach, former founder of Bigmouthmedia, which was acquired by LBi in 2010. Fetch already has additional offices in the US and Germany and plans to expand further under the Dentsu Aegis umbrella.

Adbrands Weekly Update 20th Mar 2014: Mark Cranmer announced his resignation as global CEO of Dentsu Aegis digital network Isobar. He is replaced as CEO by Jean Lin, previously regional president for Asia Pacific. Cranmer takes up a temporary role as chairman before leaving the network altogether in the summer.

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