Digital agencies We! Interactive and KalaystM call quits on merger

Digital agency We! Interactive has pulled the plug on its merger with KalaystM. Named KLWTT, the entity was formed in August 2019 and positioned as a “modern, dynamic, customer focused and data-and technology-driven” agency. Not long after, the newly merged KLWTT partnered with independent marketing cloud platform Acoustic Marketing Cloud as it looked to integrate both martech and digital marketing in its offering.

However, both agencies have since opted for a mutual split. In an exclusive statement to Marketing, We! Interactive CEO Matthew Lim said the parting of the two entities came as there was a “cultural misfit” to the mindset and operation of the business model. Lim could not comment on further queries by Marketing. Jos Birken, CEO of KatalystM and then KLWTT too said there are considerable cultural differences between a digital agency such as We!, and a martech-driven agency such as KLWTT / KatalystM.

"I'm sorry to say that when we went into this, we strongly underestimated these cultural differences," he added. According to Birken, as the agencies both are early in the merging process, clients will be split between marketing automation clients, and digital marketing clients to the respective agencies. 

Meanwhile, the original We! team that also entered the merged KLWTT unit have returned to the agency along with the management. Unfortunately, given the current climate, the agency has had to let go 80% of its staff whilst the management have been omitted from payroll. Currently, We! is operating with eight staff across three markets – Singapore, Thailand and Myanmar. Among the list of clients it has worked with include SAP, Pepsi, Nike, Lay's, Fitness First and Singapore Airlines.

Most recently, the agency bagged social media duties for PepsiCo’s Tropicana, covering the Malaysia market. The pitch was called for at the start of the year, and sees We! start work from April to end of 2020. The agency entered the pitch as KLWTT, but however following the split, Marketing understands that We! interactive was assigned the account due to the ongoing working relationship with PepsiCo. We! Interactive have been working with PepsiCo for digital duties since 2012 covering the Singapore market.