South Korean ad company Chiel Worldwide just signed a deal to acquire The Barbarian Group, the Boston-based digital shop best known for its work on
Subservient Chicken and Esquire‘s augmented reality issue, and (ahem) its appearance on Fast Company‘s 2009 Most Innovative Companies list.
Benjamin Palmer, TBG’s CEO, told AdWeek that the time was right for
a sale, and that Cheil is an ideal, if unlikely partner. “It’s hard to grow beyond 70 people incrementally,” he explained. “Cheil is excited about us and our creative approach.
They have an international infrastructure, but they’re just
starting to do things like the deal we did with them.”
As part of the deal, TBG will move its headquarters to its New York Office
and current agency heads Palmer, COO Rick Webb and Chief
Experience Officer (huh?) Keith Butters will remain in charge.
“This is still The Barbarian Group, we’re still called The Barbarian
Group, and we are still committed to making things awesome,” said Webb in a statement. “This is the next evolutionary step in our adventure towards making things awesome.”
Sounds awesome! But, to be fair, the Mad Men expressed a similar sentiment after Britain’s Putnam, Powell, and Loeb acquired Sterling Cooper. And we all know how that turned out.