Dentsu Aegis closing full service agency Huckleberry following Medibank Private loss

Screen Shot 2015-06-28 at 7.01.14 pmDentsu Aegis is closing its “creative led” media agency Huckleberry just 18 months after the agency was rebranded, Mumbrella can reveal.

The decision comes after a major strategic review and comes just days after Huckleberry lost its biggest client Medibank Private to sister agency Carat. Mumbrella understands staff at the agency were told about the decision on Thursday evening.

In a statement to Mumbrella the company said: “The Dentsu Aegis Network has conducted a strategic review of Huckleberry agency.  As a result of this review and with discussions with clients and staff underway, it is expected that Huckleberry agency will discontinue its operations in 2015.”

Huckleberry rebranded from MPG in November 2013 after a licensing deal with Havas Media expired, merging it with staff from digital agency Rodeo. It has been led since 2010 by managing director Melissa Roberts. Huckleberry had been shortlisted for the Emerging Agency of the Year category at the Mumbrella Awards this year.

Its major clients include Simplot, Baker’s Delight and 7-Eleven. Many of these clients, such as Simplot, already have existing relationships with other agencies within the Dentsu Aegis group and it is understood Dentsu Aegis has begun a period of consultation with them about the decision in the hope of shifting them to one of their other media agencies Vizeum, Mitchells or Carat.

Dentsu Aegis has said it will look to reassign most of the 50 staff at Huckleberry within the other 25 agencies in the holding group.

The full service proposition struggled to gain traction with major clients and earlier this year Huckleberry lost ME Bank to Initiative and then last week lost the $20m Medibank Private account, with Dentsu Aegis having to run a rearguard action to retain the account with the final shootout coming down to sister agency Carat against rival UM.

The shake up is one of a number of major changes at Dentsu Aegis this year with the agency buying creative agency BWM to create BWM Dentsu.

Mumbrella understands that part of the Dentsu Aegis strategic review recommended a streamlining of the group’s creative agency proposition with the new BWM Dentsu brand to pushed forward under the new changes.

The holding group has also bought one of the nation’s top digital agencies Soap Creative rebranding the agency as Soap – Linked by Isobar. 

Nic Christensen 


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.