Dentsu Aegis Network yesterday announced the acquisition of a majority stake in the Grant Group, the largest independent creative agency and the pioneer of advertising in Sri Lanka.
The acquisition will see the formation of Dentsu Grant as the primary full-service agency, while Grant Media will join Dentsu Aegis’ global media network brand, Carat.
The other companies within the Group will operate as Dentsu Aegis Network (DAN) and will align with their global counterparts within the network. The key alignments already on the cards include the group’s outdoor branding company - RN Media joining Posterscope, its digital arm Magnetic Digital aligning with iProspect while catalyst agency Response Marketing will align with Dentsu creative agencies.
The announcement comes on the eve of the Grant Group’s 59th anniversary and sets a new milestone in the history of Sri Lankan advertising as it is one of the largest agency groups to enter the market in nearly two decades.
The Grant Group Chairperson Neela Marikkar said, “Given our long heritage in this market continuously staying ahead of the game, Dentsu Aegis Network’s cultural fit and best-in-class operating model are the right facets of a multinational partner to take our group and most importantly our clients and staff into a very dynamic future.
More importantly, given the growth in the market and the push towards digital, we need a strongly aligned and committed multinational partner with digital at its heart as brands grapple with the challenges of a changing media landscape. We are very excited to be able to tap on the network’s resources and work with the 38,000 great people at Dentsu Aegis Network. We are beginning a new chapter in the wonderful story of the Grant Group.”
Neela will steer the Sri Lankan leadership team as Chairperson and Managing Director of Dentsu Aegis Network Grant Group. She will work with Dentsu Aegis Network South Asia Chairman and CEO Ashish Bhasin.
Bhasin said, “The acquisition of the Grant Group is a key step in the Dentsu Aegis Network South Asia strategy and will launch our business in a market with significant potential. Through the Grant Group, we have a unique opportunity to enter the market with a bang and will be amongst the largest integrated groups in the country.
“Grant is a well-established family-owned business with solid heritage and legacy and Neela is a highly recognized personality in the corporate sector for her deep insight in the marketing communications arena and also for her work across women’s empowerment, conservation and sustainability. The group’s long-standing relationships with their key clients, some over 50 years, also show that they have successfully built an incredibly strong network and trust from the clients,” Ashish added.
Established in 1958 by Deshabandu Reggie Candappa – fondly known as the godfather of advertising in Sri Lanka, the Grant Group was the country’s first-ever international advertising agency.
Today, the Grant Group is an award-winning agency with 150 people spread across seven entities under two main groups: Grant Advertising – which comprises Grant Advertising and Grant Media, and Grant Agencies, which is made up of Response Marketing a second internationally-renowned creative agency, RN Media, a pioneering OOH agency, Grant Public Relations, a leader in reputation management, Juice Productions, content creation studios and Magnetic, a growing digital business.
The group represents a prestigious list of over 60 local and international clients including some of Sri Lanka’s largest advertisers – Ceylon Biscuits, Sampath Bank, Dialog Axiata, Fonterra and Sri Lanka Tea Board.
The Grant Group has received various accolades at local and global industry events, from Agency of the Year awards, to Response Marketing as the most effective independent agency for telecommunications globally at the Effie awards.
Dentsu Aegis Network APAC CEO Nick Waters said, “With social and economic stability in the country, Sri Lanka is set to reap the peace dividend. Significant foreign investment is already flowing into the country and with strong historical ties to Japan, there is a natural opportunity for the Dentsu Aegis Network clients to grow. Grant represents a unique opportunity as a top-quality advertising and communications group to get into a strong position in a fast-growing market.”