Cannes Lions 2019: Don’t want to be in list of best in a shrinking industry: David Droga

Brian Whipple, CEO of Accenture Interactive, & David Droga, Founder and Creative Chairman of  Droga5, came together at the festival to talk on ‘When Worlds Collide: The Evolution of Creativity’

e4m by Neeta Nair
Updated: Jun 19, 2019 9:41 AM

They gave us the biggest headline of the advertising world a couple of months ago when Accenture Interactive, the world’s largest digital agency network, announced the acquisition of one of the world’s most award winning creative agency, Droga5. And now at Cannes Lions 2019, the two top leaders on both sides - Brian Whipple, CEO of Accenture Interactive and David Droga, Founder and Creative Chairman of  Droga5 - came together to talk on ‘When Worlds Collide: The Evolution of Creativity’. 

And they were greeted with a packed auditorium with the queue of people lining up to watch the sessions starting from two floors above. It was undoubtedly one of the most sought after sessions in the history of Cannes Lions. The two leaders spoke about how Accenture Interactive and Droga5 are bringing unparalleled brand expertise, creativity and strategic rigor to help clients reinvent their brand experience. 

Explaining why the agency agreed to be acquired, David Droga, who had once claimed, “Every man, cat and his dog has tried to buy us. I wasn’t trying to build something to sell. We love our independence. We call our own shots. We are at the mercy of our own genius or stupidity, not some boardroom we have no influence on or a stock price. And that you are a control freak and not a puppet”, had a slightly different answer to give the audiences. “I’ve always wanted to make the biggest impact, independence allowed me to feel free of compromise. But I am restless to evolve as a person. I didn’t build Droga5 to sell, I built it so that it can be a platform to do great things, I saw that with Accenture Interactive, we can stay relevant,” he said.

Talking about how agencies must change to stay relevant as brands, focus on experiences and not ads he said, “I don’t want to be the best interior decorator if the house is going to fall down. Future is in being relevant, I don’t want to be in the list of one of the best in a shrinking industry.”

Adding to that, Brian Whipple said, “Brands are not built on advertising but on exceptional experiences throughout customer touchpoints. From the M&A perspective, Accenture Interactive has been relatively active. Now there is tremendous interest in the client community in what Accenture Interactive and Droga5 can do together. There is not much distinction between creativity and technology in the end.” Accenture Interactive which was formed 10 years ago today contributes to 21.5 per cent of Accenture’s total revenues and has clients like BMW, Sisney, Melia Hotels, Carnival Cruise, Mariott and Maserati.  

Shortly after the session, exchange4media caught up with Jeannine Falcone, North American Marketing Lead for Accenture Interactive, who had a key role to play in the acquisition. Explaining the story leading to the acquisition, Falcone says: “I have worked very closely on this acquisition. I met Droga5 team about three years ago when we worked together on a pitch for a large government project. So we got to know each other then. And at the time it was just amazing, like coming together of great creativity, it was a good partnership. So, that’s when doors opened up. We were like ‘Wow, this might be something we might want to do in future’. We, at Accenture Interactive, were completely ready for that, because over the years we have been building capabilities in commerce, content, design and innovation in the area of marketing, and then specifically what they are in — brand and creativity. We were ready to make that acquisition at the time we did, because we were sort of layering on capabilities. On the other side, David Droga really believes that this is where what he built belongs because now combining that creativity with the best of Accenture Interactive, we have the scale and obviously technology and operations, and process and creativity of a different kind combined with his skills. It’s hugely powerful, and it gets him, his people, and that wonderful agency that he built a chance to work on some really cool things.”


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