Peppercomm: Agency Business Report 2014

Peppercomm's organic US revenue declined 8% from 2012 to 2013.

Principals: Steve Cody, co-CEO (pictured); Ed Moed, co-CEO; Ted Birkhahn, partner and president
Ownership: Independent
Offices: New York; San Francisco; Boulder, CO; and London
Revenue: Global: $19,339,066; US:$17,637,036
Headcount: Global: 103; US: 88

Peppercomm’s organic US revenue declined 8% from 2012 to 2013, but it was up 9% when including revenue from acquisitions. The firm kicked off 2014 on a strong note with several account wins and new senior-level talent.

One of the factors that contributed to the firm’s organic revenue slump was the loss of its seven-year Whirlpool account.

The agency also lost Genworth, Tykoon, LendingTree, Michael C. Fina, and it stopped serving as AOR for TGI Fridays, but continues to support the chain on some brand marketing initiatives.

When revenue from its London office and licensing work are taken into consideration, Peppercomm came out slightly ahead in overall global revenue, year over year, says partner and president Ted Birkhahn.

Some licensing clients, for which the firm helps create revenue streams and product extensions, include Hearst Magazines, Dippin Dots, Moe’s Southwest Grill, and Crumbs Bake Shop.

Peppercomm picked up a number of new accounts in the US in 2013, including Mini USA, Earth-Kind, Vonage, Lincoln Financial Group, and b-to-b work for Sharp Electronics. So far this year, the firm has started working with Indagare, Marinius Capital, and Rahway Guest Ranch in the US.

The agency expanded its offerings and geographic footprint with two acquisitions last September. It first bought boutique firm Janine Gordon Associates and created a specialty group called JGAPeppercomm. 

The agency also acquired financial services specialist firm Walek & Associates, which led to the creation of a specialized unit called WalekPeppercomm. The acquisition added an office in Boulder, CO. No new offices are on the immediate horizon.

"Being a fully integrated firm has increased our ability to deepen existing client relationships and attract new clients looking for more than traditional PR," Cody adds.

Talent to fuel growth
Peppercomm departures in 2013 included digital director Nikki Bodnar and Brian Mieth, senior director of new business.

Rob Duda joined the firm as a director off-site at Mini USA’s headquarters in Woodcliff Lake, NJ, and, in 2014, the firm promoted partner and senior director Jacqueline Kolek to serve as MD and hired Robyn Mait Levine to serve as senior director of content strategy and development.

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