Lifelounge to be DDB’s ‘secret weapon’ to help brands get greater foothold in youth markets

LifeloungeDDB Group Melbourne has completed its acquisition of youth-focussed agency Lifelounge in an effort to boosts its youth and millennial skill set.

Mumbrella revealed the acquisition in March with Lifelounge co-founder Dion Appel taking over the MD role for DDB Melbourne from Lorenzo Bresciani, who departed to launch his own specialist brand consultancy.

Appel told Mumbrella Lifelounge would become the “secret weapon” for DDB, taking the lead on youth marketing challenges for clients including Telstra, Westpac and Devondale.

“There’s going to be opportunities where brands really have challenges with the youth market, they’re going to want it to be Lifelounge led,” he said. “And then we’re looking at brands who we’re working with and who are doing great work with DDB but want to establish a greater foothold with the young market and grow their audiences.”

Appel said the majority of Lifelounge staff had moved across through the merger with a handful opting to leaver the business, but would not be drawn on specific numbers. The agency’s client list, which includes TAC, VicRoads, ARIA Charts and Today Network, has also come across to the DDB Group following the acquisition.



“We’ve had a good amount of staff come across as part of the deal. Obviously we were a smaller, independent smaller agency so it didn’t really fit everybody’s mode. The clients that came across and the staff that were working on those clients did come across,” Appel told Mumbrella.

Lifelounge Agency will retain its branding with Appel retaining his leadership over it in addition to the MD duties for DDB Melbourne.

“Without fail, the whole purpose of this deal was to have continuity of the Lifelounge brand. It is a segment specialist, we have been doing youth for 14 years and our credentials within youth are second to none in this country,” Appel said.

“My mandate is DDB Melbourne and obviously I have to do everything to continue this wonderful agency and Lifelounge as a segement specialist is very much a part of that strategy.

“I couldn’t let go of my baby,” he added.

On the relationship between the two agencies Appel said: “The Lifelounge and DDB relationship is not a new one. I’ve had a relationship with the group for a decade, but more-so for the last couple of years were we’ve been working as a specialist agency with our segment focus on the youth and young adults, helping the DDB group with brands like Telstra and Westpac with youth segment strategies and ideas on how to build an ongoing relationship with them.

“We already had a great relationship with the agency. DDB was looking for some good growth and we were looking for some scale so we went from going out to getting married.”



On if the group is looking to add further specialist agencies he said: “It hasn’t been discussed to my knowledge. We’re always open to it, if there’s good businesses out there why wouldn’t we work with them like we did with Lifelounge without taking an ownership in them. For us it’s not about trying to reposition old as new.”

In a statement DDB Group Australia CEO Andrew Little said: “Dion is a brilliant modern mind in addition to an outstanding business leader and passionate entrepreneur. He has been at the forefront of creative communications within one of the toughest market sectors – youth and millennial – harnessing insights, data, media and technology to impressive effect.

“This is the perfect combination in terms of our skill set and the requirements of our clients today and we have no doubt that the partnership of Darren Spiller, Dave Brown and Dion Appel will prove a formidable and dynamic force.”

The appointment of Appel, and the acquisition of Lifelounge, followed a restructure within DDB Melbourne which saw RAPP managing director Dave Brown moving across to the creative agency to join Darren Spiller as joint-partners in leading the agency.

Miranda Ward


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