NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Interpublic Group of Cos.' Campbell-Mithun, Minneapolis, announced it will absorb the 50-person local office of digital agency MRM.
Campbell-Mithun CEO Steve Wehrenberg said the decision to merge was driven neither by a recent string of account losses, nor by parent Interpublic, but by his desire to enhance his agency's digital offering. He added that his agency had achieved a comfort level with MRM from working on shared accounts over the years.
Changes in the digital landscape combined with clients' increasing willingness to shift marketing dollars into digital made this the right time to pull the trigger on the deal, Mr. Wehrenberg said.
Campbell-Mithun was dealt a series of blows earlier this summer when three top accounts, Burger King kids advertising, media duties for Dish Network, and creative duties for Alberto-Culver -- relationships ranging between seven and 12 years long -- all departed the agency, leading to a 10% cut in staff. Those accounts left for varying reasons, but none because of a lack of digital capabilities, Mr. Wehrenberg said.
Still, the union with MRM could help make Campbell-Mithun more competitive in pitches, especially helpful in the Minneapolis ad market, which currently is seeing a bit of a resurgence with agencies such as Fallon, Colle McVoy, Mono and Olson increasingly attracting new business.
Reuben Hendell, MRM Worldwide CEO, in a statement said: "Merging MRM, Minneapolis, with Campbell-Mithun provides our IPG sister agency with a stronger digital offering. ... MRM Worldwide will both be able to support an integrated offering for the [McCann] Worldgroup's Minneapolis-based clients and create more focused growth on its other North American offices in New York, San Francisco, Detroit, Princeton and Toronto, Canada."
All told, the merged operation will have nearly 275 employees. Campbell-Mithun and MRM are located on different floors in the same building, so a transition shouldn't take long. The 50 or so MRM staffers will start working collaboratively with Campbell-Mithun's 220 employees and the entire process should be complete by October.
Asked whether there could be any other alignments with Interpublic agencies or acquisitions ahead, Mr. Wehrenberg said nothing is planned in the near term, but "if we were going to make another move in the mid- to longer term, one area would be public relations," noting that Campbell Mithun has always partnered well with the Minneapolis office of Weber Shandwick.