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JWT acquires majority stake in The Hardy Boys

11 June, 2014


A leading independent brand building and activation agency in South Africa

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA — WPP announced today that its wholly-owned operating company, JWT, the world’s best known marketing communications brand, has acquired a majority stake in The Hardy Boys, one of the leading independent brand building and activation agencies in South Africa.

The deal not only extends JWT’s footprint into Durban, one of the most important economic hubs in South Africa, but also adds fully integrated activation capabilities to the JWT Group in South Africa and beyond.

Established in 1994 by CEO/Founder Dale Tomlinson, The Hardy Boys is a multi-disciplinary agency based in Durban, South Africa, with a complete suite of offerings for highly effective, through-the-line campaigns. Winners of two Diageo Marketing Brilliance Awards for their work in Africa, and a Global Best Innovation Agency Award for the launch of Diageo’s Snapp brand in Kenya and Nigeria, the local team brings strong insight and strategic thinking to their inspiring campaigns. The Hardy Boys believe in being channel agnostic, tailoring ideas for the rich cultural and communication diversity of the fast-developing markets in Africa. The effectiveness of their work has been recognized by a strong list of both international and regional clients including Unilever, Diageo, RCL Foods and SA Home Loans to name but a few.

“JWT celebrates its 150th anniversary this year, and the company has always been an early mover, whether in emerging markets or leveraging emerging technologies and disciplines” noted Chris von Selle, chief operating officer, JWT Africa. He continued, “Boosting our capabilities in the important fast-developing African markets will help our clients to leverage the opportunity Africa offers. The Hardy Boys’ innovative outlook and passion for driving effective solutions compliments JWT’s pioneering spirit.”

Milestones for JWT in Africa include establishing an office in Alexandria, Egypt in 1927 and in Port Elizabeth, South Africa the following year.

Commenting on the acquisition, Dale Tomlison said “JWT is an excellent cultural fit for The Hardy Boys. We are both passionate about marrying consumer insight with great strategic thinking to produce world-class ideas. As part of the JWT Network we will have the opportunity to develop our business across Africa and give our talent the exciting opportunity to tap into the extensive knowledge and global expertise JWT represents.”

About JWT
JWT is the world’s best-known marketing communications brand that has been inventing pioneering ideas for the past 150 years. Headquartered in New York, JWT is a true global network with more than 200 offices in over 90 countries, employing nearly 10,000 marketing professionals. JWT consistently ranks among the top agency networks in the world and continues a dominant presence in the industry by staying on the leading edge—from producing the first-ever TV commercial in 1939 to developing award-winning branded content today. For more information, please visit and follow us @JWT_Worldwide.

JWT Middle East and Africa is one of the leading communication agencies in the MEA region with 27 offices in 24 markets. JWT MEA is structured to deliver communication based business solutions across all channels needed to deliver the marketing plan driven by a matrix that combines the strength of its competencies and the know how of its practices. For more information, please visit us and follow us @jwtmea

Philippa Clayre - Head of Corporate Communication, JWT MEA

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