1. Kicking off with context, elaborate on Publicis Machine’s success as a digitally-led integrated communication agency.
Hewlett and Gilder: Our agency was born digital and entered the industry in 2004 as The Habari Group, with founder Adrian Hewlett at the helm. He was awarded for the Greatest Individual Contribution to Digital Media and Marketing in the 2010 Bookmark Awards. In 2012, several boutique agencies were combined to form MACHINE, which went on to win the AdReview ‘Breakthrough Agency of the Year’ in 2013, and just two years later the agency moved upstream to become Publicis Machine, now one of South Africa’s leading integrated digitally focused agencies. Unlike other traditional agencies who have now incorporated digital (some, like Ogilvy, successfully and others not so well), we started out with a digital focus and Publicis Machine is now a fully integrated strategic communications agency, with a digital heartbeat.
A case in point is Drugstore – a digital-driven tech innovation accelerator that puts technology startups in partnership with the agency to deliver innovative solutions to its biggest clients. It illustrates the kind of initiative we have put in place to ensure our true integration, not only from a communication’s perspective but also from an innovation perspective. It came about as the need to help our clients innovate became more important. It’s also about understanding the increasing role that smaller businesses are going to be playing in the future of large business – and indeed how those large businesses can avoid being “Ubered”. Drugstore is about finding the best way to marry innovation and enterprise, and Publicis Machine is the orchestrator of this process. Drugstore is a global Publicis initiative and South Africa is the fourth country to implement the concept. The other global Drugstore’s are based in London, Sydney and Zurich.
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