With MuteSix Acquisition, iProspect Buys Into Direct-To-Consumer

Dentsu-owned performance agency iProspect said Wednesday it has acquired independent performance agency MuteSix.

Terms of the deal, first reported by The Wall Street Journal, were not disclosed.

MuteSix does creative production and performance marketing for direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands, including Theragun, Burst Oral Care and Grunt Style, and enterprise clients such as Petco and Shell. The agency is based in LA with roughly 120 employees.

MuteSix will operate as a separate brand because it doesn’t expect much overlap between clients, iProspect US CEO Jeremy Cornfeldt told AdExchanger. While iProspect is set up to work with large enterprises, MuteSix caters to small and midsize brands that are growing quickly but aren’t large enough yet to work with iProspect, which employs more than 800 people in the United States.

“We will let MuteSix continue executing against a formula that’s really worked for them,” Cornfeldt said. “Making sure that we don’t try and put a square peg in a round hole is paramount.”

Acquiring MuteSix extends iProspect’s client base to the fast-growing DTC category, where brands are spending aggressively online and quickly expanding into offline channels but rarely work with large agencies. While iProspect will be opportunistic about picking up clients that have outgrown MuteSix, it still sees a lot of opportunity in smaller DTC brands.

“If they tap out on digital and need to start expanding, they can immediately plug into iProspect and the larger [Dentsu Aegis] Network,” Cornfeldt said. “Some brands don’t have to have tremendous market share to scale into other channels.”

MuteSix also brings an opportunity for knowledge sharing with iProspect. MuteSix has a production studio and digital buying expertise, and it uses creative to drive performance for DTC brands on social – a skill set iProspect wants to cultivate. MuteSix can also bring DTC savvy to iProspect’s enterprise clients while leveraging iProspect’s platforms and technology to scale.

“Enterprise brands want to understand what the disruptor brands are doing to gain market share,” said MuteSix CEO Steve Weiss. “And DTC brands want to understand what enterprise brands are doing from a brick-and-mortar perspective.”

The acquisition of MuteSix was driven by a strategy put in place by Tim Andree, Dentsu Aegis Network’s executive chairman and CEO, to diversify clients within different agencies, Cornfeldt said.

The network launched the Amazon consultancy Sellwin in April. In March, it bought digital agency DEG, which has expertise in Adobe and Salesforce, and tucked it under Isobar. And in January it bought design and experience firm Filter and folded it into Merkle. Dentsu also aligned out-of-home agency Posterscope and entertainment company The Story Lab under Carat and moved mobile agency Fetch closer to iProspect.

“We need to look at how we continue to diversify our client base,” Cornfeldt said.

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