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Publicis is turning to Dutch agency Boomerang to sharpen its British social edge

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By Sam Bradley | Senior Reporter

January 5, 2023 | 5 min read

The latest Dutch agency to cross the North Sea, Publicis-owned Boomerang is cementing its presence in London this year as the holding company looks beyond Britain to build up its social expertise.

St Pancras railway station

Boomerang execs are set to get familar with St Pancras over the next few months / Unsplash

Ad agency holding company Publicis Groupe is bringing in European expertise to boost its social capabilities in the UK, expanding Dutch business Boomerang.

The social agency, founded in 2009 and acquired by the French group in 2021, will “significantly bolster Publicis Groupe UK’s social capabilities” according to UK managing director Pauline Landa.

Boomerang’s British invasion – its first market outside the Netherlands – follows Creature’s acquisition by Dutch agency Candid in autumn, as well as the meteoric growth of Amsterdam-headquartered Media.Monks. The agency employs a staff of 200 in the Netherlands and boasts clients such as Heineken, ABN Amro, Spotify and Beyond Meat on its roster.

The firm already has a team of 15 staff based in London, or regularly traveling over from Amsterdam, and will initially complement Publicis’s other social-oriented businesses Taylor Herring and MSL, said Landa. Its Dutch staff will also pitch in on British accounts, she added.

Demand for social marketing services in the UK is high. “We know that the creative and media agencies across Publicis Groupe UK have seen a growing demand from clients in the UK, so we believe now is exactly the right time,” said Landa. Furthermore, the move could catapult the firm into the range of much larger businesses. “The UK is an advanced market and a hub for lots of global accounts, so it’s a good place to export Boomerang’s winning formula.”

Annette King, Publicis Groupe’s British boss, said that Boomerang’s success in its home market made it a more effective vehicle to expand its UK social offering than direct investment. “Boomerang is an agency with a track record of delivering award-winning campaigns that connect organizations and brands with audiences and culture. The Boomerang acquisition has proved to be a great success in the Netherlands and Belgium, so it’s great that we’re bringing this agency to the UK to benefit our clients.”

The firm’s success so far, according to founder Bo The, rests on a “proprietary process” that enables it to combine “data and creativity at the speed of social.”

In plain English though, the firm provides ‘dynamic creative’ – that is, it produces brand assets for use on social media. Landa explained: “Dynamic creative means we have a formula for ‘smart concepting’ and ‘smart producing’ a whole suite of brand assets at a pace other agencies can’t match. Boomerang helps brands connect with audiences in an authentic way.”

As such, it’ll form part of Publicis UK’s wider production division. Clare Donald, chief production officer at Publicis Groupe UK, said: “[Boomerang’s] experience in making content that resonates with audiences, coupled with its dynamic production expertise and ability to fine-tune creative content once it’s live, is second to none.

”Being able to utilize the skills and talents of its 200 copywriters, filmmakers, creatives, strategists, neuroscientists, influencers, sound designers and producers will significantly bolster our social content capabilities for our clients in the UK.”

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