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M&C Saatchi acquires Scarecrow

It’s official. After months of rumours and speculation, it is confirmed that one of India’s fastest-growing independent advertising agencies, Scarecrow Communications, has been acquired by the international network, M&C Saatchi. 

Scarecrow will retain its own identity, but has been rechristened Scarecrow M&C Saatchi. It will operate with full creative freedom, exactly the way it used to. However, as expected, there will be an integration with the global financial processes and compliance practices. 

The 8-year-old Scarecrow was part of the new wave of independent agencies in India that bloomed about 10 years ago, but was able to achieve profitability and scale in a relatively short period on the strength of its campaigns for Quikr, &pictures, Religare, Baby&Me (Nestle), FunFoods (Dr.Oetker), Kohinoor (McCormick), Haier, DBS, Edelweiss, Danone B’lue, Wagh Bakri, Rasna, Living Foodz, Vivel and Fiama Di Wills (ITC), Only Vimal, DNA, Rupa, Spykar, Hungama and more. 

Today, it has an extensive roster of brands on AOR (agency on record) across categories, including Viacom 18, Capital First, Emami, Future Generali, Zee Learn, Alcon Novartis, SebaMed (USV Pharma), Lactalis, Radio City, VTP, Mahindra, Business Standard, arthimpact, AnchorPanasonic, Reliance Capital and more. 

M&C Saatchi was founded in 1995 and has since grown to be the world’s largest independent advertising network. Powered by its philosophy – Brutal Simplicity of Thought – it comprises of 27 agencies in the Americas, Europe, Africa, Middle East and Australasia and 8 specialist companies, which include cutting-edge firms like M&C Saatchi Sport &Entertainment, M&C Saatchi Mobile and the fast-growing customer engagement agency, LIDA.

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In a video address, Founder, Lord Maurice Saatchi, said, “When I look at Scarecrow’s story over the last 8 years and what has been achieved, of course, it reminds me of the story of M&C Saatchi itself. It’s a story of hard work, determination and dedication. What they have achieved is truly remarkable. They are the embodiment of the founding Saatchi philosophy that nothing is impossible. And an individual acting alone or almost single-handed can make, what seems highly improbable, in fact happen. This is why, to welcome Scarecrow to the federation of like-minded, like-thinking entrepreneurs, that isthe M&C Saatchi network, is a most important occasion for the company and for me. I’m sure Scarecrow M&C Saatchi will develop into the jewel in our crown and this is a historic start for a great new partnership.”

In a statement, Worldwide CEO, Moray MacLennan, said, “Our strategy is simple, find top talent in key markets and give it the freedom, responsibility and backing to flourish. Brutal Simplicity of Thought and an entrepreneurial spirit have been the key to M&C Saatchi outperforming the market. They are what clients both want and need.” 

He further said, “It was relatively easy to identify India as a key market, it was more challenging to find the right talent. In Scarecrow, we have found this and wish them all the best.” 

Richard Morewood, CEO, M&C Saatchi, Asia, added here, “We’re delighted to welcome Scarecrow as partners into the M&C Saatchi Asia group. Manish, Raghu, Arunava and the whole team will add fantastic strategic and creative strength in India and across the whole region.” 

In a joint statement, the 3 founders of Scarecrow – Raghu Bhat, Manish Bhatt and Arunava Sengupta – said, “We are very happy with this partnership. It’s no secret that in the past few years we have had many suitors. But after meeting Moray MacLennan, David Kershaw and Jeremy Sinclair in London, we were clear that M&C Saatchi is the perfect partner for Scarecrow. Why? Because they have entrepreneurship in their blood. The culture of M&C Saatchi, that sprung from the personalities of the brothers themselves – irreverence, low tolerance for jargon, challenging the established order and the history of many larger-than-life campaigns – are qualities we identify with.” 

Continuing further, they added, “Also, they have fantastic capabilities in sport, entertainment and mobile – which are personal interest areas. And yes, they are great people. We are confident that Scarecrow and its employees will gain from this move, in terms of training, opportunities and exposure to new areas.”

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