This is Cheil's second agency acquisition in China, after buying digital agency OpenTide in 2009.
Led by Lau, a 28-year industry veteran, Bravo Asia is six years old and has around 50 employees. It works with a portfolio of regional and local blue-chip clients including Coca-Cola's Minute Maid, 3 mobile network, Moet Hennessy Asia Pacific and New Balance Asia Pacific. The agency offers market planning and creative services.
Bravo Asia will join Cheil Worldwide’s existing Chinese network, Cheil China and OpenTide Greater China to create the Cheil China Group, which in total will have 15 offices. Lau will lead the group as president and CEO, Cheil China Group.
“I’m delighted Aaron Lau will lead the Cheil China Group to create a local network that offers our clients an elevated level of creativity and wins domestic accounts," said Nack-Hoi Kim, president and CEO of Cheil Worldwide. "The industry has seen staggering growth in Greater China, the world’s third largest advertising market and soon to be the second, and it’s a crucial Cheil expands its local footprint there.”
Samsung is Cheil's largest client. The agency's portfolio also includes Orion Confectionery, Amorepacific (a Korean chemical and cosmetics company), Hankook Tyre and China Mobile Beijing.
Lau told Campaign Asia-Pacific that the acquisition is a positive move for Bravo. Clients have been asking for integrated communications, which Bravo, although strong on strategy and planning, has had to outsource for execution due to limited manpower, he said.
Bravo Asia is the latest in a string of acquisitions Cheil Worldwide has made to enhance local operations in key markets, including a US agency McKinney two weeks ago.
Back in 2008 the network scooped up Beattie McGuinness Bungay (BMB), a leading independent advertising agency based in London. Then in 2009, Cheil acquired top digital agencies OpenTide Greater China and The Barbarian Group in the US.
"With the acquisition of McKinney and Bravo, Cheil Worldwide will be able to actively target the two biggest markets in the East and West, reaching another level of success," Kim said.