Julia Irvine 17 Aug 2017 01:45pm

Deloitte buys Swedish creative ad agency Acne

Deloitte has strengthened its creative services arm with its purchase of European award-winning digital agency Acne

And it has appointed industry heavyweight Andy Sandoz to head up creative services for Deloitte Digital, the firm’s creative digital consultancy, in the UK.

Earlier this week Deloitte North West Europe – which encompasses the UK, Switzerland, Belgium, the Netherlands and the Nordic countries – acquired all the shares of Acne’s business and its subsidiaries.

Set up in 1996, the consultancy offers creative, strategic, digital, film and photography services for clients which over the years have included IKEA, Telenor, Max, H&M, Chanel and Spotify. Its work has won numerous awards around the world.

In April this year it hit the headlines after Balenciaga brought out a blue bag that looked remarkably similar to the IKEA FRAKTA carrier bag but with a price tag of $2,145.

Acne’s “glorious” response – giving customers some “tips” on how to know that their $0.99 FRAKTA blue bag is the real deal – was picked up by the world press, from Vogue and Creative Review through to Fortune and the Guardian.

Acne’s executive chairman, Victor Press, and chief executive David Olsson, will continue to head up the 80-strong team who are based in London, Paris and Berlin as well as in the Stockholm headquarters.

As part of the deal, Deloitte is to invest heavily in the business and double the size of the Acne team. Of the 80 new employees, 40 will be based in the UK.

This is not Deloitte’s first acquisition of a creative agency. In May 2015 Deloitte acquired digital agency Mobiento to act as its digital hub in Sweden. That was followed nine months later by the acquisition of advertising agency Heat in the US. Then just two months ago, Deloitte UK announced it had acquired Market Gravity, the proposition design consultancy.

Deloitte regards the Acne acquisition as an important move since it will enable the firm to offer a full range of digital and creative services.

Paul Thompson, head of Deloitte Digital for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, says that clients are increasingly looking for a partner with multidisciplinary skills.

“We aim to deliver our clients’ ambitions, whether that be launching a new strategy, product of service.

“By combining Deloitte’s deep data and technological expertise with Acne’s exceptional creative experience, together we will help build brands for the digital age.”

Meanwhile, Andy Sandoz has been brought in as a partner and chief creative officer to lead Deloitte Digital's creative services in the UK.

He was previously executive creative director at Havas London, the strategic media and marketing agency which three years ago took over Work Club, the digital solutions business he co-founded in 2007.

In 2016 he became president of D&AD, the not-for profit group which promotes excellence in design and advertising.

As UK head of Deloitte Digital Sam Roddick explains, “Creative design is an essential part of imagining and delivering the new customer experiences and business models that are needed to respond to digital disruption. As the creative side of our business continues to expand to meet demand, it was important that we appoint someone in the UK to help lead the team.

“I speak for everyone at Deloitte Digital, Market Gravity and Acne when I say that we’re thrilled that Andy has decided to join the firm. We were impressed by his enthusiasm to solve business problems and achieve the best possible outcome for clients and customers alike.”