Olson gets PR boost with Dig acquisition

MINNEAPOLIS: Marketing agency Olson acquired Chicago-based PR agency Dig Communications.

MINNEAPOLIS: Marketing agency Olson acquired Chicago-based PR agency Dig Communications, effective immediately, as it aims to position itself as a full-service marketing firm. Olson president and CEO Kevin DiLorenzo expects that PR will account for nearly 20% of Olson's revenue. Historically, the PR department at Olson had generated 5-7% of the agency's overall revenue, he said.

Neither Olson nor Dig would disclose the terms of the deal, but Dig founder Peter Marino said the agency was on track to achieve $7.5 million in revenue and 14% annual growth, independent of Olson, for 2010.

Alan Newbold, who joined Olson in November as VP and director of PR, reports to Dig founder Peter Marino who serves as president of the combined Dig and Olson PR practices. At the close of an integration phase, the group will ultimately be called Olson PR.

Dig's current clients include MillerCoors, Mars' Wrigley Jr. Company, Southwest Airlines, Harley-Davidson, and PepsiCo's Quaker. Olson's existing PR clients include General Mills, Country Inns & Suites By Carlson, and PepsiCo brands Izze Sparkling Juice and Naked Juice.

DiLorenzo said Olson approached Dig before discovering the “synergies between the PepsiCo brands."

He added that Steve Peckham, Olson's SVP and director of holistic services – he came from Edelman Chicago – suggested the firm consider Dig in its ongoing plan to acquire a PR firm. DiLorenzo also began his career in PR and has worked at both Fallon and Carmichael Lynch Spong.

He cited Dig's Hispanic marketing, corporate responsibility, and sustainability experience as appealing attributes that set the firm apart from others. Also, its social media expertise will boost the capabilities that exist within Olson's four-person department.

"So much has been written about about the consolidation of digital and advertising agencies," he said. "We believe that the more relevant and interesting convergence is traditional advertising and PR."

Marino added, "We have the opportunity to accelerate growth and ambition to create a next-generation agency."

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