July 2018

Datawords, a global digital marketing Group and leader in e-Multicultural technologies, announces the acquisition of Brussels-based video content agency 87seconds.

As a result, the fast-growing scaleup company becomes part of a larger network of digital agencies within the Datawords Group. This will strengthen the video agency’s road to international expansion and global content campaigns.

Driving growth and international expansion

Having doubled its annual revenue and opened 6 new offices in 5 countries over the past few years, 87seconds has demonstrated a strong growth trajectory. Together with Datawords, the creative agency will be able to continue growing at the same pace as the last couple of years. "The timing was perfect for us to partner with a global Group, to support and continue our growth, to further develop our qualitative productions and digital services, and to pursue our international and global expansion. Datawords is therefore the perfect partner, with a solid track record, sharing the same vision on the future of content creation,” says Thibaut Dehem, the Founder of 87seconds.

Created in 2000, Datawords combines the understanding of local cultures and technological expertise needed to implement the international strategies of major global brands on any digital platform. “We are building an integrated global Group dedicated to the international deployment of content and multicultural technologies,” says Alexandre Crazover, Co-founder of Datawords. 87seconds is the third company to join the Datawords Group, after the digital agencies Vanksen in January 2018 and Digiprod in 2014.

The recently acquired digital agency, Vanksen, offers strong collaboration opportunities with transversal expertise in content creation and online campaign intelligence. “Being part of this Group will allow us to benefit from a very large skill set such as social media, SEO, social data, e-reputation, strategic consulting, video, and many others, without falling in the pitfalls of becoming a vertical and siloed agency. We keep our focus and expertise on video content creation to subsequently connect this to larger campaign objectives. It is our absolute will to develop these large campaigns around our creative video concepts.” explains Thibaut Dehem.

Same brand, same management

87seconds will continue operating under its own name and brand. The whole management - Thibaut Dehem, Philip Swinnen, Violaine Mouchet (country manager France) and Maarten van der Weijden (country manager Netherlands) – will stay on board and will continue to drive growth within their respective markets and potential new markets. While the current strategy to open autonomous agencies across Europe remains, it will also benefit from the global presence of Datawords to reach out to new markets. The 500 current Datawords employees are spread out over its main hubs: Paris, Luxembourg, Hong Kong, Seoul, Tokyo, New York, Milan and Barcelona.

We are delighted to welcome the 87seconds teams to the Datawords Group. It adds on to the expertise we’ve built previously with the acquisition of the video agency Digiprod in 2014. We were impressed by 87seconds‘ rapid and healthy growth and ability to scale up with offices abroad. This will help us strengthen the development of the Group internationally.” says Alexandre Crazover, Co-Founder of Datawords. The acquisition also strengthens Datawords‘ operations on both the Dutch and Belgian markets.

The spark was there from the beginning with the management of Datawords, there are not many Groups where the founders are still managing the company with such an entrepreneurial mindset. We’re all very excited and realize the many opportunities this will bring to 87seconds to become a global and leading video content agency,” says Thibaut Dehem.

Content creation for global brands

87seconds’ video content will thus be available in 60 languages and in just as many cultural specificities. There is a constant demand from brands to deploy global campaigns while respecting local sensibilities. “Thanks to Datawords’ multicultural expertise, we can now suggest a holistic vision and deploy global campaigns for our clients, especially when it comes to the United States and Asia. That is a strong differentiator.” says Philip Swinnen, managing director of 87seconds.

The shift from large and traditional advertising campaigns to more fragmented but targeted content has encouraged advertisers to work with niche players like video content agencies. Datawords’ global clients have shown a strong interest for this very specific content creation. “Some of our biggest clients include Michelin, Audi, L’Oréal, SEB, Clarins, Montblanc, and we have noticed their growing demand for video content creation, all over the globe,” Alexandre Crazover explains. As video content becomes a cornerstone of any online content strategy, 87seconds should integrate deeply with Datawords‘ omnichannel and multilingual services.

The new Group has a consolidated revenue of over $70m. It is aiming at building a new model of agency that is based on strong digital global tech expertise, a focus on performance with e-Multicultural technologies as solutions for international deployment. Datawords is still on the lookout for other acquisitions with the support of its financial partners Cathay Capital, Bpifrance and Keensight.“Cathay Capital, along with Keensight Capital & Bpifrance, is very pleased to support Datawords‘ Management in the company‘s new growth phase. Datawords demonstrates once again its capacity to attract new talents and to acquire new capabilities offering a unique independent platform to accelerate the internationalization of digital content businesses. Datawords will continue to look for new acquisitions to both complete its digital production and creation offering and reinforce or expand its geographical footprint, particularly in North America, Europe and China“ said Edouard Moinet, managing partner of Cathay Capital.