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    Howatson+Co acquires Akkomplice: ‘It was a natural fit’

    Kenny Hill has sold his Melbourne-based creative agency Akkomplice to Chris Howatson‘s three-year-old indie, Howatson+Co, 10 years after Hill left his post as managing director at M&C Saatchi Melbourne to launch the agency.

    The Akkomplice team has already joined Howatson+Co in Melbourne, bringing with them a client roster including Sorbent, Slater & Gordon, and Totally Workwear. The commercial details of the sale have not been revealed.

    “I have admired Kenny as an agency leader, and his unwavering commitment to his clients,” Howatson, CEO and founder of Howatson+Company, said.

    “We’ve supported each other over recent years and when the opportunity came to merge our businesses and welcome Kenny and his team, it was a natural fit.”

    Since its inception in 2014, Akkomplice has also worked with Kellogg’s, Darrell Lea, Mercedes-Benz, Sirena, Pringles, Choice Hotels, and Wesfarmers.

    “10 years ago I saw a shift in what the market wanted and set up Akkomplice to meet these evolving needs. The response was terrific, with ambitious clients gravitating to our collaborative and agile approach to creativity,” Hill said.

    “Now, 10 years on, with even greater seismic shifts afoot, the time is right to find a partner with complementary skills and values to continue to outpace the pack – and for that you really can’t look further than what Chris and his team are doing.”

    Andrew Drougas joined Howatson+Company Melbourne as managing director in September.

    While Akkomplice joins Drougas’ team in Melbourne, the agency in Sydney is preparing to upgrade to a bigger office space, after outgrowing the premises on Surry Hills’ Commonwealth Street.

    Howatson has previously made his ambitions clear: he wants to stay medium-sized to preserve the creative product, he doesn’t want to grow beyond a headcount of 200, and his name on the door acts as a stamp of accountability.

    “I’ve been really clear that we’re not doing this independent model to one day sell and say, ‘See you, bye’. I think so many indies, that’s their end game, is to get to a size, get to a level of margin, that they can then go to a holding company [and] sell,” he said late last year.

    “The end game is not to get big and sell. The end game is to stay medium, and maintain a consistent creative standard for a long time.

    “I think agencies don’t scale. They just don’t. They can, if you then accept a lessening of the product.”

    Howatson+Co’s award-winning work includes Exhibit A-i for Maurice Blackburn, Rejected Ales for Matilda Bay, and Touch, the motion picture without pictures for blind and low vision audiences which has since been taught in film schools and entered the festival circuit. It is Canne’s reigning Independent Agency of the Year – Good.

    Top image: Kenny Hill outside of the Melbourne Howatson+Company offices

    The post Howatson+Co acquires Akkomplice: ‘It was a natural fit’ appeared first on Mediaweek.

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