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Starcom MediaVest Group merges with Lighthouse, appoints CEO

Starcom MediaVest South Africa has announced that its parent company Publicis Groupe has acquired South Africa’s leading digital consultancy, Lighthouse Digital. In addition, the Group has appointed Aaron van Schaik as its CEO. The company will be rebranded as SMG Lighthouse.


Aaron will report to Iain Jacob, SMG’s President, Dynamic Markets. “This news follows a number of recent acquisitions announced by Publicis Groupe in Africa and fortifies our position as the continent’s leading digital marketing operation,” says Ian.


“We are in growth mode in South Africa and recognise its importance as a market and a hub for the entire continent. With the acquisition of Lighthouse Digital, SMG in South Africa will be a wholly integrated agency with digital at its core. In this way, we’re far ahead of the market and poised to offer our clients innovative and future-forward work, ahead of our competitors. I welcome Aaron to SMG, and look forward to working with him closely.”


Aaron adds: “Starcom MediaVest Group has a solid reputation in Africa and around the world, and it’s a pleasure to be joining the SMG family. Aligning with SMG gives us global scale and the ability to offer our clients a holistic service complete with tools and solutions they won’t get anywhere else.”


Lighthouse Digital was founded in 2009 by Steven Waidelich and Aaron as a specialist digital media agency which went on to work with a host of blue chip clients including Microsoft, SABMiller, Mastercard, General Motors, South African Tourism, Cathay Pacific, Investec, HTC, First National Bank and Vodacom. To date, Lighthouse has experience running campaigns in over 14 countries throughout Sub-Saharan Africa. Since 2009, Lighthouse has grown to become the largest digital media agency in Africa with the biggest team of digital media experts in SA - employing 30 people across its offices in Johannesburg and Cape Town.


The agency has garnered a number of awards including Bookmarks Award for Best Media Campaign 2013 and Assegai Best Mobile Media Campaign, 2012. Lighthouse is an established leader in technology, was the first agency in Africa to provide clients with a proprietary real-time reporting dashboard and the leader in programmatic media buying in South Africa. Lighthouse founded SA’s first independent agency trading desk in 2011, is a leader in the use of advanced social analytics tool and also in the use of automated bid management tools for paid search.


The SMG office in South Africa is growing with recently acquired clients like Mondelez and Etisalat and S-Mobile in Africa joining a robust client roster.

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