In 2014, Publicis Groupe acquired then-independent agency, MACHINE, and was to merge with Publicis Worldwide South Africa to establish the newly named, Publicis Machine.
The merger would significantly beef up its ATL offering in a bid to land onto more integrated account pitch lists & widen the South African network with the two’s Jo’burg offices coming together in addition to the Cape Town’s office aquisition.
Create an industry press release in a way that:
- announces our arrival with a bang (capture attention)
- unites the 2 groups in a unique way (fast-track the settling in period)
- and shows a new, united powerhouse that was to threaten other network’s supremacy (flaunt our size)
There were few conflicts from a clients’ perspective, but we knew the established strength of MACHINE was its culture and people.
We needed to display on a strong and confident attitude to dismiss any doubt or fear during this merger among employees, transition the operational model smoothly and let the industry know we have responded and taken shape without hiccups.
Publicis, being french, have a tradition in which you kiss one another when meeting, known as “la bise”. It’s a mark of a culture’s traditional values – being welcoming, courteous and sociable.
However, a “french kiss” has different associations when first thought of in South Africa. And although very different in what it entails for our lips, it certainly breaks the ice, getting you close &
intimate comfortable with one another, while possibly making outsiders (rival agencies) a little uncomfortable.
We shot provocative but beautiful images of Publicis and MACHINE agency folk lip-locked in a warm embrace.
Every employee rose to the occasion, put the awkwardness aside, leant in and “embraced” the occasion. This showcased our confidence looking to the future, but also revealed our sheer size.
Internally, it was a chance to overcome and break down the awkwardness. Externally, we were two agencies making out to become one.
Design & Branding
Combining the agency identities in a way in which was familiar, yet new, and without disrupting the wider agency guidelines was a considered tension to be made into an opportunity which epitomized the merger.
MACHINE’s striking and vibrant colours were to mesh with Publicis’ traditional black & white, symbolisng the two coming together.
An announcement video was published online by our social channels on announcment day and attached to our official press release to be featured in business and advertising publications.
In case our announcemnt didn’t reach people’s inboxes the organic way, we bought targeted page takeovers on key business, marketing and advertising sites to share our new “bond” with South Africa’s industry elite.
Clicking on these eye-ctaching, lip-locking spaces would take the user to the article onsite to read more on the merger.
We built an interactive microsite that showed all the employees and their details for everyone to use as an index whilst getting to know the new faces around the office & show the impressive size we had become.
An added element to encourage a galvinised team, the images randomly alternated, allowing everyone to kiss & meet eachother.
MACHINE’s monthly Woza (/party and Zulu for, “Come round”) was to take on a new theme and include a few important extended invites for the launch of the Publicis Machine brand – making it a good chance to get better acquainted with one another & celebrate in fine fashion.
Beer? Sure, why not?
The old-look agency was famous for many reasons, but it’s own branded beer was something that did catch most people’s attention.
We wanted to maintain that quirk about us, so a special beer was selected that captured both MACHINE and Publicis’ spirit.
LeBeer was introduced at LeWozà and also given to clients around the launch date.
Is there a better way to pop bottles at a party, other than popping your own bottles at your own party?
Publicis Machine’s LeBeer
Client: Publicis Machine
Agency: Publicis Machine
ECD: Jake Bester
CD: Gareth McPherson
Copywriter: Giran Adams / Jake Bester
Designers: Nicole Dalton / Joshua Foster
Digital Strategy: Mick Valentine
Photography: ELFORD / DE LA FORÊT
S/O: The whole Publicis Machine team