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Iris Marketing

Connecting creative and media sits at the heart of Iris’ acquisition of Atom42


By Jennifer Faull, Deputy Editor

November 28, 2017 | 4 min read

Creative agency Iris has acquired digital marketing firm Atom42 for an undisclosed sum in a move that it hopes will deliver what its clients have long been asking for: a better link between creative and media distribution.


Iris acquired digital marketing firm Atom42

The London-based agency, founded in 2007 by Andrew Atalla, counts, Huffington Post and Three among its clients. Atalla said the sale to Cheil-owned Iris was driven by the simple fact that clients are no longer happy with the lack of integration between “the agencies doing the brand work and those doing the nuts and bolts work of how to drive conversion.”

“As a digital marketing agency focused on acquisition we’re at the top of the marketing funnel. But it’s always been apparent that there’s been a lack of integration and connection between the agencies doing more interesting brand work,” said Atalla.

“They’ve always felt like separate worlds with different languages. If they worked well together, having that awareness of what a business needs to do on the ground could bring a lot of value [to brand building].”

Iris said bringing Atom42 into the fold strenghthens its capabilities in search marketing, conversion and digital content distribution, and will provide “a seamless solution for clients demanding a more transparent and integrated approach to campaign ecosystems and a better understanding of how to drive sales in a challenging digital landscape”.

“There’s the theory of being able to be agile and adapt creative proposition to drive a certain behaviour but the reality of that can be quite different once you start speaking to a media agency that’s not set up, or simply doesn’t want to, work in that particular way,” said Iris co-founder Adam Wright.

“As a creative agency, we’ve been asking why it can’t work. And clients are asking the same thing.”

Iris’ roster of clients has grown significantly over the last few months, welcoming the global digital account for KFC as well as the first pan-European account for Starbucks.

Before merging, the two agencies shared a client in Solarplicity, a renewable energy brand which has been running a campaign to help tackle fuel poverty.

That client is effectively a blueprint for how it could work for its combined roster as well as Iris’ consultancy practice, Concise.

Concise can track and understand the effectiveness of the brand marketing coming from Iris, which is then used to inform the acquisition activity Atom42 will develop.

“In a more old school model you might have some money in one hand and some vanity metrics coming off the back of the brand work. We’re now able to work with the client across one unified entity and look at the piece as a whole,” added Atalla.

Cementing Atom42's integration into the agency, Iris today (28 November) announced it had rebranded globally and is pushing a new "streamlined, multi-specialist network" offering for its clients.

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