Publicis Groupe Acquires Creative Shop OwenKessel

Publicis Groupe is expanding its African presence with the acquisition of South African creative agency OwenKessel. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Founded in 2008 by Felix Kessel and Vaughan Owen, the agency offers a full-service package of creative advertising and communications services, including consulting, creative, online marketing, social media and branded content.

Clients include Amstel Lager, Tanqueray Gin, satellite TV network DStv, Zodiac Pool Care, Aspen Pharmacare and the Diageo Reserve Brands portfolio across sub-Saharan Africa. 

The agency will be merged with the Publicis Groupe Africa network. CEO Felix Kessel will continue his current role in the new entity and report to Kevin Tromp, CEO of Sub-Saharan Africa for Publicis Worldwide.



The 80-plus staff will continue to be based in Johannesburg and Cape Town. 

This acquisition is just the latest deal for an Africa-based agency, as Publicis continues to expand its footprint on the continent. The agency also acquired Lighthouse Digital in February, AML in January 2014 and Synergize in December 2013.

“South Africa is a key market with a large potential for growth,” said Arthur Sadoun, CEO, Publicis Worldwide. “We have embarked on a very exciting journey in South Africa to bring the best capabilities and talents to our clients. With OwenKessel, we are adding great creative firepower that will ultimately benefit our local and international clients,” he added.

South Africa is projected to be the eighth-fastest-growing advertising market in the world between 2013 and 2016, according to ZenithOptimedia. 

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