McCann's Momentum Ups Shopper-Marketing Expertise With Acquisition

Deal Is Bid to Ensure Stake in Booming Shopper Sector

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With growth in the shopper-marketing space booming, McCann Worldgroup's Momentum unit has inked a deal to buy ChaseDesign, a 50-year-old shopper-design consultancy with more than 100 employees.

Chris Weil
Chris Weil

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but according to Momentum 's CEO and Chairman Chris Weil, it's one of the biggest deals in the promo shop's history. Momentum has had 33 acquisitions since 1997. "There's a lot of people that say they're in the shopper space that are in the business of driving people to stores," he said. "It's the last part that 's really been intriguing me, that experience in-store to drive preference...and that 's what these guys do so well."

Mr. Weil noted that the deal with ChaseDesign, which will bring Momentum capabilities in product innovation, package design and in-store experiences, was about 18 months in the making. From a shopper-marketing perspective, "This will be the primary resource for Worldgroup overall on a global basis, and inside of IPG there are some [companies] who do this but on a limited scale or part-time basis, so it's a primary acquisition for IPG in this space too."

Momentum noted that the deal is a bid to ensure they're capitalizing on the growth in the shopper sector, pointing to a recent study by the Grocery Manufacturers Association that pegs shopper marketing across the retail sector as a $50 billion to $60 billion category, and is expected to expand its growth at an annual rate of 15%.

Among the biggest clients for Momentum , which has operations in about 50 countries, are American Express, Coca-Cola, Kraft, Microsoft, William Grant & Sons, and Subway. ChaseDesign also does some work for Kraft, but has few if any other shared clients. The shopper firm's largest client is P&G, which it has handled for about a decade, and other clients include Black & Decker, and Energizer. Mr. Weil said there are no conflicts.

Based in upstate New York, ChaseDesign was family owned until recently, when it sold a piece of the business to private equity. Momentum has now purchased 100% of ChaseDesign, which also has offices in St. Louis, Cincinnati and Bentonville.

For ChaseDesign, it's an ability to grow outside the U.S., where they don't have operations yet. ChaseDesign and its sub-brand 10Red will continue to operate as autonomous brands with their own sets of clients, under the leadership and management of President Marty Cregg and Executive Vice President Peter Lynch. At first, they'll focus on U.S. growth, but then will move on to Europe, China and South America.

"Our clients have long considered us an innovation leader and a proven partner in their pursuit of expanded shopper opportunities," said Mr. Cregg in a statement. "Our package, product and retail design resources will continue to provide clients with business building solutions, now on a global stage."

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