Merger creates South Africa’s largest digital agency

Jason Xenopoulos
Jason Xenopoulos
Digital agency merger announced Cambrient, Stonewall+, Brandsh go Native.

An African advertising industry shake up looms as three of South Africa’s top players in the online marketing space join to form the continent’s largest and first truly full-service digital agency.

On 1 October, Cambrient, Stonewall+ and Brandsh will merge to launch a new digital agency called Native ( headed by newly-appointed CEO Jason Xenopoulos.

“The strategic integration of our pooled intellectual capital will see a new kind of agency emerge – one focused on digital-through-the-line,” says Xenopoulos.

“By combining the skills and resources of three of the country’s leading digital specialists, we have harnessed the opportunity to build Native into a clear and unassailable market-leader,” Xenopoulos says. “The Internet is revolutionising the advertising and marketing industry and moving a bigger percentage of media spend online. As a result the focus is shifting away from traditional agencies towards their digital counterparts and this has created a definite gap in the market.”

Native’s combined skill set brings under one roof digital marketing strategy, creative conceptualization and design, web and mobile technology, online and mobile media, social media including community management and online content development as well as research and analytics.

Native’s pooled client list will include SA Tourism, General Motors, Standard Bank, Vodacom, Distell, Nestle, SEACOM and DStv.

“Digital marketing and media offers unprecedented opportunities for marketers to track campaigns across multiple platforms using a suite of interactive tools, many of which will be developed by Native.” says Xenopolous.

When Native starts operations in October they will have offices in Cape Town and Johannesburg and a head count of more than 120 staff, positioning them as the largest digital agency in the country.

Native will be led by Xenopoulos, an influential figure in the South African media, marketing and advertising industry. Co-founder and managing director of VWV Interactive, he was also CEO of JSE-listed Metropolis* Transactive and the architect of Primedia’s entertainment strategy. A director of internationally-awarded feature films and TV commercials, he was also Y&R South Africa’s executive creative director where he oversaw the MTN account and the Pick n Pay brand re-launch. Xenopoulos’ experience covers both digital and traditional media, as well above-the-line brand advertising and filmed entertainment.”

Further details of Native’s dynamic vision and corporate identity will be revealed in the coming weeks.

The tribes which make up Native

Stonewall+ was formed in 1997 and is recognized for exceptional online design work. Supported by digital marketing strategy, the company’s offering has attracted leading brands including General Motors, Nestle and Vodacom.

Cambrient started in 2001 and has carved out a niche in the South African industry, focused on technology and building licensable software products that have the ability to develop large web platforms. Over 150 content-heavy web destinations including Moneyweb, DSTV, Pick n Pay and SA Tourism have been built using their software products.

Brandsh, the youngest of the three at just four years old, is a pioneer in the social media and mobile advertising industry and growing at a rapid rate. Brandsh’s work with clients such as Standard Bank, SEACOM and SA Tourism is bringing these entities into the new era as digital becomes an increasingly important part of marketing strategy.