MSQ adds to growing group offer with Brave Spark acquisition

MSQ, one of the UK’s fastest-growing marketing groups, has acquired the award-winning creative production studio Brave Spark.

The deal sees Brave Spark bring its best-in-class video and digital production, design and creative technology to the group, supporting MSQ’s individual agency offers while continuing to offer standalone production capabilities to clients. This latest acquisition will help MSQ’s ambitions to create a new future-facing company embracing content, technology, data, and creativity – which meets client needs in an always-on environment.

Brave Spark, which counts Hiscox, Arlo, Hitachi and Trivento amongst its clients, will be based in MSQ’s London office, a new state-of-the-art Covent Garden HQ that the group moved into in June.

MSQ will also look to expand the Brave Spark offer globally. The group officially launched an MSQ multi-disciplinary offer in North America earlier this year, and also has international hubs in Shanghai and Singapore. 

MSQ and Brave Spark are no strangers – the businesses agreed a strategic partnership in May 2020, embedding Brave Spark producer resource in MSQ and naming the agency as default video content provider across the group.

As part of the deal, MSQ and Brave Spark will combine its expertise to develop a best-in-class dynamic content offer, built around a fusion of data, in-house programmatic media and high-quality, high-volume content.

The newly combined team will also continue to develop the group’s suite of innovative proprietary tools, such as ADA, a dynamic creative engine that MSQ launched last year to make insight-driven personalisation of creative content a possibility for clients of all investment levels.

Morgan Cox, who joined MSQ as Head of Dynamic Content and Production, will work closely with the business’ co-founders Rob Drake and Robin Shek and Chief Technology Officer Luke Cunningham on their global growth and technology plans. The team will also work closely with Kate Howe, MSQ’s Executive Director, to help bring content and production further into MSQ’s overall group proposition.

Peter Reid, the Chief Executive of MSQ, says: “I’ve got to know the Brave Spark team over a number of years now – the quality of the work they produce is always second to none and I cannot be more pleased to have them join the MSQ family. The disruption of daily lives across the world has changed audience relationships with media and brands, therefore marketers are increasingly asking for teams that can make the best possible decisions about content production and investments to deliver the most impactful consumer experience. This acquisition will unlock new areas of creativity and efficiency to do just that.

“Brave Spark’s culture and values align perfectly with ours and they have the ambition and ability to grow quickly too. This is also something we believe we can help them achieve as part of a global, joined-up, agile marketing group.”

Drake and Shek founded Brave Spark in 2010 with a mission to tell unexpected stories in unexpected ways. The company has 20 full-time employees handling end-to-end production, post-production, animation and creative technology expertise in house, plus a large roster of award-winning directors and a wide network of crew across the world.

Award-winning campaigns have included the Xero ‘The Mechanic, ‘Skip the Bull’ for Hiscox and the Zalando ‘Greenhouse’ created for Copenhagen Fashion Week.

Drake says: “We’re really excited to bring Brave Spark into the MSQ group. It’s clear that MSQ is growing at speed and their ambition and entrepreneurial spirit echoes the approach we’ve taken to build Brave Spark. We’ve always worked together in clear and collaborative ways and that joined-up thinking makes the work better – which means this deal will help take Brave Spark to even greater heights and realise the biggest ambitions of our clients.”

Shek says: “We started Brave Spark to help our clients tell bold, powerful stories that connect with customers on a more emotional level. This is exactly what MSQ does on a day-to-day basis, so being part of the group is only going to allow us to make those emotional connections even stronger. It’s the perfect fit for us and we can’t wait to get started.”

The Brave Spark deal is the third major acquisition made by MSQ in the past 12 months. In September 2020 the group completed the purchase of Be Heard Group, bringing research & insights agency Freemavens, web & digital product development agency MMT Digital and media agency agenda21 (now part of Walk-In Media) into the MSQ fold.

Then, in March this year, MSQ acquired the digital agency MBA, merging it with existing customer acquisition and engagement agency Stack to create MBAstack.