Bertram Capital and CreativeDrive Acquire California’s PIA Agency

By Patrick Coffee 

CreativeDrive, a production company or “global content provider,” has agreed to acquire Carlsbad-based “motion content agency” PIA. PALAZZO served as financial advisor on the deal. Specifics have not been disclosed.

The former organization is part of private equity firm Bertram Capital’s portfolio, along with other, widely varied businesses across the healthcare, ecommerce and auto industries.

Moving forward, PIA will help anchor and expand CreativeDrive’s “crowdsourced freelance management system.” In short, it is a platform that looks to bypass the agency model altogether by connecting clients to its network of “25,000 video creators and journalists in 180 countries.” Perhaps you’ve heard of this approach.


“PIA’s premier, award-winning storytelling combined with their creative and strategic oversight of our designated video freelancers will provide clients with all manner of video content needs—from short-form and real time, to long-form and culturally relevant—all with cinematic quality and leading finishing,” said Myles Peacock, the former Omnicom production executive who joined CreativeDrive in 2017.

Here’s the kicker: PIA will help CreativeDrive “address the process challenges many clients face when working with freelancers, whether it be having the appropriate staff with the time to write compelling and comprehensive briefs, or managing how those briefs are ultimately interpreted by the freelancers.”

So they will perform most of the duties that would normally fall to a “traditional” agency “with ownership and accountability of the story and final creative.”

Agency CEO Cheryl Pia and president, CCO Cliff Pia will retain their roles while accepting new responsibilities; the former will head up the recently launched Women’s Leadership Council while the latter will lead creative for the larger CreativeDrive organization.

As an example of PIA’s recent work, here’s a video created to honor MLK Day “in reaction to the escalation of racially driven acts of violence.”

PIA’s clients have included P&G, PepsiCo, HP, Disney and Microsoft, among others.