WPP Acquires Blue State Digital

Agency Led Obama Campaign's Online Fundraising and Social Networking Effort in 2008

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LONDON (AdAge.com) -- WPP, the world's largest agency holding company, has bought Blue State Digital, the agency that led Barack Obama's online fundraising and social-networking effort in the 2008 presidential election.

The terms of the deal were not disclosed, but a statement from WPP said it has "agreed to acquire all the assets of privately held Blue State Digital." BSD, whose "Obama for America" online campaign is credited with mobilizing millions of voters for the 2008 election, is based in Washington, but also has offices in New York, Los Angeles, Boston and London.

WPP's latest acquisition, Blue State Digital, is credited with mobilizing millions of voters for the 2008 election.
WPP's latest acquisition, Blue State Digital, is credited with mobilizing millions of voters for the 2008 election.
The agency, a full-service digital shop that specializes in advocacy, membership and fundraising campaigns but also handles brand marketing, has recorded annual revenue growth of 30% or more since it was founded in 2004. It employs 130 people across its offices and made revenue of $12.8 million for the 12 months that ended in December 2009. Its clients include HBO, American Red Cross, Vogue, National Geographic, AT&T, Jewish Federations of North America, Autism Speaks and Harvard.

"Blue State Digital will bring distinctive skills to WPP Digital through its formidable presence in cause-based marketing, its comprehensive core technology set and an impressive set of clients," Mark Read, director of strategy for WPP and the CEO of WPP Digital, said in a statement.

In the U.K., Blue State Digital works with the prestigious Tate Galleries, it helped the Communication Workers Union's ongoing effort to stop the privatization of the Royal Mail, and it worked on the "Hope Not Hate" campaign against the far-right British National Party.

"We are excited to continue our growth within WPP Digital," Thomas Gensemer, managing partner of Blue State Digital, said in the statement. "We look forward to leveraging WPP's vast resources, incredible talent and deep client relationships."

WPP has separately acquired a majority stake in RMS, one of Africa's biggest customer research companies, WPP said on Wednesday. RMS, based in Lagos, Nigeria, works with clients including Cadbury, Coca-Cola and Unilever in central and western Africa.

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