The agencies have been working together since 2012. Aspac will become part of Dentsu’s global agency network but will continue to operate separately and retain its brand identity. Dentsu declined to disclose the percentage of investment, but a spokesperson described it as “a significant majority".
Dick van Motman, chairman and CEO of Dentsu Aegis Network Southeast Asia, said the network has seen great potential for its business in the Philippines to expand on creative talent and services.
The acquisition makes Dentsu the third largest agency in terms of revenue in the country, with a 10 percent market share/presence.
Aspac was founded in February 1975 as Aspac Communicators by Max B. Ramos Jr. His son, Miguel Ramos, took over the leadership of the agency in 1996 and remains chairman as well as now being CEO of Dentsu Aegis Network Philippines. The Aspac leadership team will remain, with Susan Dimacali as CEO, Angel Antonio as COO and Joey Ong as chief creative officer.
Speaking to Campaign Asia-Pacific, Miguel Ramos said the acquisition was a “natural progression” for the independent agency.
“While we’ve always been independent, we also see the value of strong partnership and being part of a larger network,” he added.
Ramos used a football analogy to outline agency's focus for the coming months, post-acquisition.
“Denstu has grown so much in the last few years, and we are no longer playing in League One or Two,” he added. “We’re now in the Premiere League, and that requires a different mindset, skill set and strategy to perform.”
Ramos said 2015 was spent building capabilities in digital, shopper marketing, branding and design, on top of the agency's traditional creative roots. The coming year will see the agency “bolting on” to the wider Dentsu Aegis Network and increasing collaborative processes with sister agencies such as Isobar, Vizeum and Carat.
However, much like other markets in Southeast Asia, the industry is grappling with how to best deal with media fragmentation, managing convergence and the consumer shift to digital channels.
“In the Philippines, traditional media is still important even with the rise of digital,” he added. “The challenge is finding the right convergence point between the two, it’s not just about imaging or selling but rather both at once and with the help of the wider Dentsu network, we believe we can crack that formula.”
Van Motman called the acquisition "a strategic investment to further grow our footprint in the local scene and to continue to strengthen our presence in the sixth largest advertising market in Asia Pacific".
Hiroaki Charlie Sano, executive officer of Dentsu and CEO of Dentsu branded agencies within Dentsu Aegis Network, added that Aspac will provide a broader range of services with further opportunities for development, he added. “The strong team at Aspac has already added significant value in the three years we have been working together, and I’m confident they will continue to do so,” he said.
The agency recently scored a significant business win with Ginebra San Miguel, after the major gin brand consolidated its agency roster and shifted end-to-end creative duties across all the products to Aspac.