Creature London bought by Dutch agency Candid

Under the deal, the Dutch shop XXS will rebrand as Creature Amsterdam to become Creature’s first international office.

From left: Candid Group founder and board president ​​Gérard Ghazarian, Dan Cullen-Shute, Ben Middleton, Stu Outhwaite-Noel and Rudiger Wanck
From left: Candid Group founder and board president ​​Gérard Ghazarian, Dan Cullen-Shute, Ben Middleton, Stu Outhwaite-Noel and Rudiger Wanck

Dutch marketing and communications platform, Candid, has bought independent ad agency Creature London.

The acquisition will mean Creature becomes Candid’s lead creative agency. Its Dutch agency XXS will rebrand as Creature Amsterdam to become Creature’s first international office since it split with its Canadian parent in 2014

In a statement, Candid said the XXS rebrand is the first stage in Creature's ambition to create a global offering.

The shop is the third UK agency to be bought by the Dutch platform in the past six months, following its deals for Windsor-based consultancy Brand Potential and digital agency Positive. 

Creature was founded in 2011 by chief executive Dan Cullen-Shute, chief creative officers Ben Middleton and Stu Outhwaite-Noel and creative strategist Ed Warren, who left the shop in 2017 to pursue opportunities in the world of entertainment.

Cullen-Shute will now become worldwide chief executive, in addition to his current role as chief executive of Creature London. He will oversee both offices, with XXS’s founder and director Piet Hein Smit and managing director Sanne Tolsma continuing in their roles at Creature Amsterdam.

Cullen-Shute said: “We’ve been doing this for a long time now, and while we’ve definitely made a few mistakes along the way, we’ve ultimately become very, very good at knowing what’s right: the opportunity to take Creature to new worlds, supported by a platform in Candid that values our independence of thought, action and approach as much as we do is incredibly exciting. 

“Add into that the fact that we get to welcome an agency of the stature and reputation of XXS into the Creature family, and you’ve got an opportunity far too good to turn down. It’s time to show the world what Creature can do.”

Meanwhile, Middleton and Outhwaite-Noel, alongside chief strategy officer Andrew Gibson and chief client officer Hanisha Kotecha will continue in their respective roles for Creature London.

Kotecha and Gibson, as well as Sian Welsh, were appointed as partners at Creature London in August 2021.

Creature has 42 staff in its London office and declared an income of £4.3m in 2021. Its clients include greeting cards business Moonpig, retailer Dunelm, fintech company Clearscore, digital-only challenger bank Atom Bank and Eve Sleep.

Candid Group’s chief executive Rudiger Wanck, said that Creature will operate as an autonomous agency within the group. 

He continued: “Our goal is to empower strong individual specialist agencies like Creature and enable them to scale and collaborate without the distraction of the layers within a traditional holding company. 

“Acquiring Creature London and adding Creature Amsterdam through XXS marks the starting point to further amplify our creative capacity and bolster the platform as a whole on a global level.”

In Campaign's 2022 School Reports, Creature received a mark of 7.

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