Thursday, July 8, 2010

Media Decoder: MDC Again Combines Two Agencies

MDC Partners, the Toronto-based agency holding company, has made a name for itself with several spates of acquisitions. Such buying sprees are often followed by phases of digestion, absorption and consolidation, and that is what is now taking place with MDC — and, as is typically the case, not without some bumpy patches.

MDC said on Thursday that it would combine Zig, an agency based in Toronto, with Crispin Porter & Bogusky, the MDC powerhouse that has offices in Miami and Boulder, Colo. Zig will become the Toronto office of Crispin Porter & Bogusky, which will be known as Crispin Porter & Bogusky Canada — perhaps in case the agency opens an office in Moose Jaw.

However, a second office of Zig, in Chicago, is not going to be absorbed by its larger sibling and will be closed in the coming months. The office has eight employees and, according to Katie Kempner, a spokeswoman for MDC, efforts are being made “to find places where we can for them at CPB or somewhere else within MDC.”

The Chicago office is being closed, because it is “geographically redundant” with the operations of Crispin Porter & Bogusky in the United States, MDC said in a statement. In addition to its dual headquarters in this country, Crispin Porter & Bogusky has an office in Los Angeles; overseas, it has offices in London and Gothenburg, Sweden.

Zig began operations in 1999 and MDC bought a stake in the agency in 2004. Zig and Crispin Porter & Bogusky share a client, Best Buy, and the consolidation adds to the client roster of Crispin Porter & Bogusky companies like Clorox, Molson Coors, Pfizer and Unilever.

Zig has also been the agency for the Canadian operations of Ikea, and Crispin Porter & Bogusky will take over that assignment, too, but there is a bit of back story there.

Crispin Porter & Bogusky had created campaigns for the Ikea operations in the United States from early 2002 until late 2004, when Ikea and the agency parted ways. Not long before that, Crispin Porter & Bogusky lost the assignment to create Ikea campaigns in Canada to — yes, Zig.

How Ikea will feel about having Crispin Porter & Bogusky back on its agency roster remains to be seen.

The combination of the agencies is the second made by MDC this year. In March, an agency in Atlanta, Fletcher Martin, became the Atlanta office of an MDC agency based in New York, Kirshenbaum Bond Senecal & Partners.

Some similar moves made by MDC in the past have not worked. In 2005, MDC merged a New York boutique agency named Powell with a larger New York agency, Margeotes Fertitta & Partners to create Margeotes Fertitta Powell.

But less than two years later, after the merged agency lost significant accounts, it was closed. Some remaining clients were transferred to Kirshenbaum Bond and others were moved to a new agency, called We Are Gigantic, which was subsequently shut.

Other clients of Crispin Porter & Bogusky include Burger King, the Coca-Cola Company, Domino’s Pizza and Kraft.

Crispin Porter & Bogusky Canada will be run by Shelley Brown, who had been president of Zig. Andy Macaulay, chairman of Zig, is becoming chairman for Crispin Porter & Bogusky Canada, where he will serve in what is being called an advisory capacity.

And Aaron Starkman, chief creative office at Zig, is becoming executive creative director of Crispin Porter & Bogusky Canada.

The news involving the expansion of Crispin Porter & Bogusky to Canada is coming a week after a former senior leader of the agency, Alex Bogusky, who joined MDC early this year, said he would leave MDC effective immediately.

The Canadian trade publication Marketing Magazine reported on Thursday that the merger of Zig into Crispin Porter & Bogusky had been “discussed seriously” a few months ago. There had been rumors for some time that the larger agency was interested in opening a Canadian office, according to Marketing Magazine...Media Decoder

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