SEATTLE and NEW YORK: Tech PR giant Waggener Edstrom has acquired consumer-focused marketing communications firm Maloney & Fox in an effort to strengthen the agency's consumer PR reach. Financial terms were not disclosed.
While Maloney & Fox will remain a wholly owned subsidiary, Seattle-based WagEd has brought in Rich Kerlin as an SVP to help oversee the agency's own consumer practice, and will act as the chief collaborator between the two firms. Kerlin was MD of the sports, automotive, and brand marketing unit in Hill & Knowlton's LA office.
New York-based Maloney & Fox is well-known for often using a "viral" or "guerrilla" approach to consumer marketing. The two firms have worked together for nearly a decade, starting with Microsoft's Windows 95 launch, and more recently on the MSN internet service. Microsoft is WagEd's largest client.
"For the past few years, our clients have asked for this kind of work," said WagEd's CEO and president Melissa Waggener Zorkin, speaking about consumer PR.
As technology companies mature, many are looking for a broader array of PR services, including corporate branding and consumer marketing. WagEd will now be able to provide more consumer PR services to existing clients, as well as ideally attract more consumer technology companies. And in the long-term, these developments could lead to WagEd working with non-technology consumer clients, Waggener Zorkin said.
"This is a good compliment and partnership, as there is no plan to dissolve us into WagEd. They respect us and want us to maintain our culture," said Brian Maloney, cofounder of Maloney & Fox.