With Its First Acquisition Since 2008, BBDO Expands Its Focus to Fashion and Luxury

Acquires majority stake in Wednesday Agency Group

Headshot of Patrick Coffee

BBDO Worldwide made its first foray into the world of high fashion this week by acquiring a majority stake in Wednesday Agency Group.

The New York- and London-based company's client roster includes such well-heeled names as Tory Burch, H&M, Theory and Net-a-Porter, and British GQ recently called founders Jens Grede and Erik Torstensson "two of the most influential men in fashion." Founded in London in 2003, Wednesday opened a New York office in 2011 and currently employs more than 100 staffers working on integrated campaigns, branding, design and content strategy.

This is an especially notable development because BBDO's last acquisition was in 2008, when the network purchased Cincinatti's Barefoot Advertising, whose primary selling point was its relationship with Procter & Gamble.

Wednesday will function as a stand-alone unit within the BBDO Network, thereby gaining access to its considerable services around the world.

BBDO president and CEO Andrew Robertson told Adweek, "Wednesday will operate as an independent agency but will be able to draw upon resources—especially data, analytics and media buying and planning—provided by BBDO and Omnicom as warranted. In addition, we will accelerate geographic expansion by lowering the barriers for entry by piggybacking the infrastructure BBDO already has in place."

In other words, BBDO wants to expand its fashion capabilities—but why the sudden interest in that industry? Robertson said, "Fashion is a significant sector of advertising in total. It's also one that is going through a period of dramatic change. And with change comes opportunity."

The changes he mentioned are similar to those that have affected the rest of the marketing world in recent years: Top fashion brands are relying less on flashy, big-budget print ads and turning more toward campaigns with digital, experiential and social-media elements. The ultimate goal for the brands is to reach consumers who may not be carrying around the latest print issue of Vogue.

"I have been an admirer of this group for several years," Robertson said of the network's newest member, adding, "[Fashion advertising] requires very specific expertise, capabilities and connections, and Wednesday Agency Group has all three—in spades. It will complement our existing offer beautifully."

Grede and Torstensson will continue to lead Wednesday Agency Group along with CEO Glenn Jones and president Ian Schatzberg.

@PatrickCoffee patrick.coffee@adweek.com Patrick Coffee is a senior editor for Adweek.