Droga5 is a highly regarded creative agency with just two offices in the US and UK. (An outpost in New Zealand was sold back to local managers in 2012, and the original office in Australia was closed in 2015 as a result of poor performance). The agency was launched in 2006 by Dave Droga, former global chief creative officer at Publicis Worldwide. Its name comes from the label Droga's mother used to sew into his clothes as a child to identify them from those of his four older brothers. Droga5 is widely admired for its creativity, sweeping the board at the Cannes Lions festival in 2011 with no less than three Grand Prix. That feat earned it numerous Agency of the Year accolades; Adweek named it US Agency of the Year again in 2012, and a 4th time in 2014. It was Independent Agency of the Year once more at Cannes in 2015 as a result of another haul of prizes, and AdAge's Agency of the Year. Adweek named it US Agency of the Year for 2016. It was Independent Agency of the Year for 2018 at the Effie Awards and the One Show. In 2019, it was named by Adweek as Agency of the Decade. AdAge gave it the same accolade in 2020. Global revenues are around $170m, the bulk of that sum generated by the US office. Dave Droga remains global creative chairman, with Sarah Thompson as CEO. Neil Heymann was named as global chief creative officer in 2019, with Felix Richter and Tim Gordon as co-CCOs New York. For its first seven years of operation, Droga5 had remained independent, although it expanded with the help of private equity investment from financial partners. In summer 2013, the talent management giant William Morris Endeavor (now WME-IMG) acquired a 49% stake in the agency for a sum reported to be between $150m and $200m. When that group announced plans for an IPO in 2019, it put its holding in Droga5 up for sale. Accenture seized the prize for an undisclosed sum, and Droga5 became a unit of Accenture Interactive. WME's subsequent IPO prospectus revealed that Accenture acquired Droga5 for a total valuation of $475m.
Capsule checked 28th September 2018
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Adbrands Daily Update 28th Sep 2020: "More Questions, More Answers". Keen to make amends for the chaos caused when it allowed Cambridge Analytica to game its system in 2016, Facebook is rolling out a mammoth campaign to encourage safe voting in the upcoming US election, and eliminate disinformation. This spot from Droga5 does a fine job of delivering the message without being too serious or partisan; it actually makes voting look like fun, and not just everyone's social responsibility.
Adbrands Daily Update 20th Aug 2020: "Maurice & The Black Bear School". Droga5 relates the tale of another unsung African-American hero in the new campaign for Hennessy cognac. Unlike the Victorian-era cycling champion Major Taylor featured in Hennessy's 2018 campaign, Maurice Ashley is still alive and well and active in his chosen sport. Trained in New York's Black Bear club, he's the only African-American chess grandmaster, and one of only three black grandmasters in the world. Droga5 has opted to make three different cuts of the ad available, but while the five-minute version provides considerably more background, this 60-second edit is by far the most impactful.
Adbrands Daily Update 20th Aug 2020: "Life Needs Truth". Droga5's previous campaigns for the New York Times have focused - brilliantly - on the pursuit and development of major individual stories. This dazzling new campaign takes a different tack, though in the same style, to present a rounded picture of the whole newspaper and the huge variety of its editorial content from pandemic coverage and stories like 'What is America?' and 'UN Delays Climate Talks' to 'Midnight Pasta' and 'Books for Kids'. Adding rhythm and urgency is the backing track 'Requests' jazz artist Makaya McCraven. "The ambition was to tell a poem through New York Times journalism," says Droga5's group creative director Toby Treyer-Evans. "We didn't quite know how exactly we were going to do it, but we treated it more like a musical piece. We wanted people to hear the rhythmic structure and cadence of the poem. We loved the idea of using jazz because it was able to span every corner of life with highs and lows, happy or sad." Fabulous.
Adbrands Daily Update 18th Aug 2020: "Hide and Seek". Droga5's London office unveiled a set of offbeat spots this week for Setapp, a new subscription service from software developer Macpaw that offers a suite of different productivity and creative tools for Mac and iPhone users. You might already be aware of Macpaw's CleanMyMac software, but this provides the company's whole range of apps - 160 in all - for a low monthly fee. Clearly, there's a lot of cash behind this service, because three different 60-second ads from Droga5 don't come cheap. The concept - don't get distracted mid-task - is funny but it's a little bit of a stretch from what Setapp actually does. Oh well, the ads are weirdly great, so let's just enjoy them for what they are. No, Greg, now is most definitely NOT a good time.
Adbrands Daily Update 2nd Apr 2020: "Never Lost". There have been several attempts by new ads to rise to the challenge of these difficult times, but few have managed it so well as this heart-tugging film from Droga5 New York for Facebook. While it's easy for the more cynical among us to castigate Facebook over issues of privacy or for helping to spread fake news, this platform and others like it (Nextdoor springs to mind) have really come into their own amid the new realities of everyday life. Plaudits too to our very own homegrown spoken word artist Kate Tempest, whose tone poem 'People's Faces' has gained a relevance she could never have predicted when she wrote it last year.
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