San Francisco branding shop Character gets acquired by Dentsu Aegis, adds Portland office

Character, a design agency led by Ollie Ralph (l.), Rishi Shourie, Tish Evangelista, and Ben Pham, was acquired by Dentsu Aegis / Character SF

Dentsu Aegis has announced the acquisition of San Francisco-based branding and design firm Character, which also recently opened its second office in Portland. The acquisition, Dentsu said, will form the cornerstone of the agency network's branding and design practices.

Character, which was founded in 1999, used their presence in the Bay Area in an opportune time, working with both established tech megaliths Google, Facebook, and Amazon, and now smaller brands like Fitbit and Essential.

Earlier this month, the agency finally opened its second office in Portland, Oregon, helmed by new managing director Chris Bruyere, an industry veteran who most recently spent the last 6 years at Reebok (another Character client) as its head of global brand creative. Bruyere will be tasked with expanding the footprint into the Pacific Northwest. He said he’s “beyond excited to get back to the agency side,” adding that many companies “have the resource, have the people, have the product… without having a true North Star, resulting in ether schizophrenia or worse, mediocrity."

In joining Character specifically, he adds, “I’m eager to help more brands 'get it right'; to help more brands recognize who they are and what potential they have.”

Character maintained its leadership team in the acquisition and will report to Nick Brien, Dentsu Aegis' chief executive of the Americas. In a statement, Brien said: “Character is a best-in-class branding and design agency that immediately strengthens our value proposition and reinforces our brand promise of innovating the way brands are built.

He added, “As we rapidly evolve Dentsu Aegis’ business model to help clients grow their brands through experience, Character’s upstream strategic focus and compelling design creativity will ensure our brand solutions reflect the complex nature of today’s customer journeys in an omni-channel world.”

In a joint statement from co-founders Ben Pham, Rishi Shourie, Tish Evangelista, and Oliver Ralph: “After years of rapid, bootstrapped growth as we’ve taken on larger projects with bigger global companies, it became clear that we were ready for the next evolution of Character. As we looked at the landscape, Dentsu Aegis Network quickly stood out out as the best group to complement our growth plans, with a collaborative spirit of innovation that aligns with the way we work every day at Character. We’re thrilled to join the network and scale as part of this global team."

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