Two weeks ago the Omnicom Group acquired Bangalore-based digital shop 22feet Communications (press release). The 130-person agency is in the process of merging with Tribal Worldwide India, a part of DDB Mudra. Founders Vineet Gupta, Brijesh Jacob and Deepak Nair will continue to lead the new agency. The company's solid roster of clients is likely a key reason Omnicom was interested in the purchase. Founded in 2009, the agency has clients including homegrown watch brand Titan, Red Bull, Kingfisher, Café Coffee Day, Royal Enfield, Lenovo and Myntra.
What did you see in 22 Feet that made you want to acquire it?
Patrick Rona: Quite honestly, our business is very personal. I was tremendously impressed with the three main partners. From the first time we met, I was just impressed with the way they think about the business, their approach, the passion, the work and the culture. So it started there. I’ve had a lot of exposure to digital agencies, but to be frank, the work I saw at 22feet is amongst the best. It felt like it would fit into the Tribal world. Finally, the agency culture matched perfectly. They are passionate about the work and clients and don’t do work for the sake of doing work.
Vineet Gupta: We would do anything to add value to our clients. The discussions were all around ideology. We were looking for an ideological partner. For us that means innovation and technology, and they are absolutely in line with what we do.
What is 22feet’s expertise?
Gupta: We’ve been focusing on digital marketing. Not just the advertising side, but the business in general. Even if you look at our work, yes we do a lot campaigns and communications, but we’re also involved in things like customer service and demand generation. Technology allows you to do that.
Rona: I met a number of clients at the CMO and marketing director level. These senior clients are not just complementary of the work, they are now demanding a lot more service and want greater access to this great team.
How are the two agencies going to work together?
Rona: For a long time, we’ve been looking at India and we’ve had some success. It’s obviously a vital market for all of our clients. Indian clients are looking to go out of India and are looking at partners. From the first moment I met the partners at 22feet, I knew they would become a key centre of excellence both in APAC and globally. We’re now making sure they get plugged into the leadership team and are looking at ways to add value to clients. Both the agencies have similar philosophies and hence not much integration needs to be done. I have no intention of changing how they work.
How do you plan to use 22feet’s expertise across APAC?
Rona: 22feet is a vital and valuable brand in India. We don’t intend to leverage it across APAC. Having said that, our offices will work closely to deliver work outside India. However, it has to be the right brief and opportunity. 22feet is representative of where we want to take the Tribal brand, and I am incredibly excited about both at a company and personal level.