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In a sweet deal that has seen it double its digital capability overnight, TBWA\Durban acquired SUGAR The Agency (SUGAR), a smaller operation in KwaZulu-Natal’s capital city that has positioned itself as a significant player in the digital space over the past six years.

Sean Donovan, TBWA\Durban managing director, says acquiring SUGAR was aimed at increasing TBWA\Durban’s digital capacity, allowing it to become more media agnostic. “We have been building our digital capability organically over the past few years. By getting the SUGAR team on board, we were able to increase our digital team twofold from about 12 to 25 people.”

“The SUGAR team has a complementary skills set to our own, boosting our ability to be an agile agency that is quick to adapt to clients’ needs. In addition, upping our digital team provides us with a robust platform from which to roll-out our data analytics capability more rapidly,” he says.

Warren Haviside, former partner and executive creative director of SUGAR and now head of the TBWA\Durban digital team, says SUGAR was originally established in 2010 as a through-the-line agency to offer clients fresh ideas and quick turnaround times. “Our size meant we were agile enough to stake our claim in the digital space when digital campaigns became more sought-after.”

The entire SUGAR team and its portfolio of clients such as Jägermeister SA, Jägermeister Pan-Africa, Corona Beer, AFGRI, Bidvest Insurance, Ignite Charcoal, Stella Artois, Calgro Developments, Xpanda Security and R&B Timbers, amongst others, has moved to TBWA\Durban’s offices.

Donovan says there is a good cultural fit between both teams. “The culture the SUGAR team has brought to TBWA aligns with the culture we have been trying to drive in the agency, which is to build a more integrated, collaborative and nimble approach to what we do.”

Haviside, who worked at TBWA between 2005 and 2007 before working in London and later starting SUGAR, concurs: “When we were investigating possible partners to grow our business to the next level, TBWA had an appetite for our offering and it seemed like a good culture fit”.

“In addition, the agency’s vision resonates with us, as does its objective of making sure clients are always ahead of the curve in a rapidly changing communications landscape. This is something our team of great, young minds can deliver. They are highly adept at managing their communities and have deep insight into all the necessary digital platforms.”

“A strong digital offering locally in Durban is part of our drive, vision and success in creating a world class creative agency out of Africa.”

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