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Stagwell Invests in New Creative Shop Founded by Former David & Goliath Execs

Stagwell Invests in New Creative Shop Founded by Former David & Goliath Execs

The Stagwell Group has acquired a minority stake in new creative consultancy Wolfgang, founded by former David & Goliath executives Mike Geiger, Seema Miller and Colin Jeffrey.

Stagwell Invests in New Creative Shop Founded by Former David & Goliath Execs

Wolfgang is part Stagwell Group's Marketing Incubator, which also includes digital advocacy shop Targeted Victory. While terms of the deal were not disclosed, Stagwell has an option to acquire a majority stake in Wolfgang in the future.

Mark Penn, president and managing partner of The Stagwell Group, said the Marketing Incubator allows Stagwell to come in at a minority position with options as the startups grow, and the startups can tap into the holding company network's services.

Mr. Geiger, previously chief digital officer at David & Goliath, is serving as CEO of the new agency, with Mr. Jeffrey as chief creative officer, his former agency role. Ms. Miller is serving as chief strategy officer, her former role at David & Goliath, as well as president of Wolfgang. Mr. Geiger, Ms. Miller and Mr. Jeffery left David & Goliath last December.

Wolfgang's first client project was for Uniqlo, which the agency recently completed, said Mr. Jeffrey, who added that the shop is focusing on its brand identity right now.

"The world doesn't need another ad agency," said Ms. Miller, which is why the trio decided to launch Wolfgang as a "creative consultancy," bringing together the expertise of management consultants and creative shops.

Ms. Miller said the three executives really enjoy "the creative problem solving part of working with clients," which can include launching a campaign or working through business strategies.

"I was immeasurably impressed with the way [Wolfgang] combined strategic planning with creative," said Mr. Penn. "We continue to fill out the marketing wheel and it's important to have people onboard that are at the forefront of advertising and creative."

Wolfgang, based in Los Angeles, has about 12 staffers at the moment, including freelancers, and is looking to bring on more people later this year who have a mix of left and right brain skill sets.

Mr. Geiger said he and his two partners liked the Stagwell model because it's a new type of holding company model that doesn't have dozens of the same types of agencies, but acquires shops that complement each other.

As for additional upcoming acquisitions and investments, Mr. Penn said Stagwell is looking to build out analytics, digital media buying, healthcare marketing and "maybe some classic media buying."

In January, Stagwell acquired Nielsen's Harris brand and the Harris Poll through its Stagwell Media fund. That acquisition – the holding company's fifth since October 2015 – was expected to bring Stagwell Group's revenue up to $250 million by the end of the year. Now, with that capital, Stagwell is up to $750 million in acquisitions, according to Mr. Penn.

Last August, the company bought a majority stake in global marketing shop PMX Agency, formerly Paradysz and PM Digital, which came about seven months after acquiring a majority stake in creative digital agency Code and Theory.

By Lindsay Stein

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