L.A. Indie Agency Supermoon Merges with Mistress

By Patrick Coffee 

Two independent Santa Monica agencies recently became one as brand strategy/media-focused Supermoon merged with nearby creative shop Mistress.

The organizations are still in the early stages of the integration process, said Supermoon founder and CEO Amir Haque, who added that the Supermoon team has already moved into the Mistress office.

According to the principals involved in the merger, the duo saw their respective offerings as a natural match.

“As we continue to build and future-proof our agency, we strongly believe that you can’t have media and performance-driven metric strategies separated,” said Mistress founding partner and strategist Christian Jacobsen. “We have always excelled at brand strategy in the creative space, [with a particular focus on] digital and social media over the past couple of years.”

He added, “It’s important that we continue to add [skill sets], but we did not have the depth on the media/analytics side.”

That’s where Supermoon comes in. Haque cited a “very obvious synergy” between the two companies, which began casually discussing a potential partnership approximately two months ago. “We’re both award-winning, Santa Monica-based agencies that have been growing,” he said, noting that the two companies had initially planned to make their merger public later this summer and that some leadership roles have yet to be determined.

The idea is to combine Supermoon’s media capabilities with Mistress’s creative chops and its in-house production studio in the interest of creating a fuller, better-rounded offering for clients.

“We look at the marketing world, and everything continues to become more scrutinized in terms of media—especially for a lot of the digitally-based businesses we’re working with,” said Jacobsen. “Supermoon have been experts in that space, so it made logical sense.”

Mistress executive creative director and founding partner Damien Eley described the move as “two sides of the spectrum coming together,” with Jacobsen adding, “One of the key things we noticed is that we had never pitched against each other and probably wouldn’t.”

A majority of Supermoon’s staff are now officially with Mistress, with one notable exception being the former agency’s creative lead David DeRoma. The Deutsch and CP+B veteran, who was Supermoon’s partner and executive creative director for approximately two years, has left to go freelance—as have an unspecified number of his team members. Haque described the decision as an amicable parting of ways that came about because Mistress already has three executive creative directors.

Mistress, which was once included in Adweek’s 40 Strangest Agency Names and displayed a penchant for S&M-themed parties, has worked with a variety of clients including IMAX, Discover Los Angeles (the city’s official tourism organization), NOS Energy Drink, Finlandia Vodka, VH1 and gaming giant Ubisoft, maker of the Assassin’s Creed series.

Supermoon is the most recent incarnation of Haque’s agency endeavors over the past 14 years. It was formerly known as Tiny Rebellion and started going by its current name in 2015 as part of a reboot. The shop has worked with Ancestry.com and Jessica Alba’s Honest company in addition to similarly-minded food and beverage brands like Bolthouse Farms and Campbell’s Fresh line.

Recent account wins include Snap Kitchen, a healthy food chain launched by former Taco Bell marketer Tressie Lieberman, in addition to TripAdvisor and the startups AutoGravity and ipsy.

Haque told AgencySpy this week that all of his agency’s clients have been alerted about the change and that they look forward to working with the new entity, which will retain the Mistress name.

He also noted that this has been a learning experience for both parties, neither of which had ever been involved in the world of M&As. “We’re all learning about that now,” Haque said.

On that note, the agencies have not yet revealed any financial details of the merger. More news to come from Santa Monica.