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Deloitte snaps up San Francisco agency, Heat, to expand digital practice


By Doug Zanger, Americas Editor

March 1, 2016 | 2 min read

San Francisco-based creative agency Heat has been acquired by Deloitte for its growing Deloitte Digital practice.

The deal is the 11th agency Deloitte has snapped up since starting the practice in 2012. Last year, Deloitte Digital had revenues of $1.2bn.

Heat is a highly-awarded shop, garnering eight Cannes Lions in 2015 alone — counting Electronic Arts, Hotwire, Dolby and Netgear among their client roster. Additionally, Heat is the only agency on San Francisco’s “Best Places to Work” and is one of the Effie organization's top 10 "Most Effective Independent Agencies" in North America.

“After an amazing 2015 we had a big decision to make – stay the course or shoot for bigger, more immediate creative opportunities. We picked the latter,” said Steve Stone, chairman hand executive creative director, Heat. “Joining forces with Deloitte gives us a ton of opportunities. It allows us to showcase our work on a bigger stage, provides us with greater resources, and gives us access to client relationships that will allow our creatives to do the best work of their careers. Others have approached us over the years, but nothing felt right to us. We’re really fired up for this. Deloitte understands the importance of our brand and culture and will help us protect it as we grow together.”

The move is in line with consultancies, like Deloitte, buying creative agencies to bolster their presence with senior marketing leaders, especially CMOs. According to Suzanne Vranica of The Wall Street Journal, PriceWaterhouseCoopers LLP is in the process of buying European and Asian digital firms to bolster its PwC Digital practice while IBM, to shore up its IBM Interactive Experience, has purchased three firms this month alone. The competition for marketing revenue is serving notice to traditional holding companies that the model is continuing to change.

As for the Heat move, Andy Main, principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP, and Deloitte Digital’s chief executive noted, “Adding Heat’s extraordinary and award-winning creative capabilities is the perfect complement to our market-leading and long-established digital business.”

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