Acceleration acquires experiential marketing firms MKG and Pink Sparrow

Former PMK-BNC CEO Michael Nyman launched Acceleration last year.

Michael Nyman
Michael Nyman

LOS ANGELES: Acceleration Community of Companies has acquired two experiential marketing agencies, MKG and Pink Sparrow.

Maneesh Goyal, who founded MKG and Pink Sparrow, will step down effective immediately and serve as an adviser to Acceleration. Michael Nyman, chairman and CEO of Acceleration, declined to disclose financial information around the deal. Both MKG and Pink Sparrow will retain their brands.

Tracy Bussan will continue as MKG president, a role she’s held since 2015, according to her LinkedIn profile. Bussan has been with the agency for almost seven years.

Anthony Santiago will remain at Pink Sparrow as MD. He’s been in that role since 2017 and has worked at the agency since 2013.

Nyman said he founded Acceleration in 2018 to create a holding company that will serve as an alternative to the market status quo, built for "the present and future." He left PMK-BNC last year after serving as its chairman and CEO.

"We’re looking for companies that are similar in age, stage and culture, [who] feel good about what they do and are interested in sticking to their specialties while being surrounded by complementary businesses," Nyman said.

Instead of housing generalized, legacy agencies, which have myriad client conflicts, Acceleration wants specialized agencies.

This idea of specialization will decrease the potential for in-fighting and competition for budget, Nyman said. It will encourage its agencies to collaborate and eliminate the need to "correct for legacy issues," Nyman explained.

Older agencies have to grow into new areas in order to "survive," Nyman added. And "the further away these business get from the core offering that put them on the map, the less expertise they possess."

This new model was created in response to three factors: what clients want, the current models available already, and the evolution of consumerism. Nyman doesn’t believe in the idea of "mass consumerism." Brands may go to market with a "halo message," but they can’t communicate the same way to every consumer across every channel.

"By focusing on the message and delivery, we have a better chance to succeed," he said.

While experiential marketing is the focus of this transaction, the company will build out capabilities in marketing, media and comms with a complementary advisory service, Nyman said.

"The goal is to build a 360 offering of specialized agencies," he added.

MKG is a creative shop with offices in New York and Los Angeles. Its clients include Delta Air Lines, Audi, JPMorgan Chase, L’Oréal, Heineken and Google, according to Goyal’s LinkedIn.

Pink Sparrow, meanwhile, brands itself as an agency that builds experiential environments, such as pop-ups and mobile tours. It works with clients in fashion, retail, music and event industries and has offices in Brooklyn, New York and Los Angeles.

"We think brand experience is interesting because it connects to other areas such as comms, influencers or talent," Nyman said. "There’s a lot of options out there."

In this acquisition, Acceleration was represented by head of acquisitions David Kingsdale and Ron Camhi of law firm Michelman & Robinson. Goyal was represented by investment bank JEGI and law firm Lowenstein Sandler.

Nyman led the acquisition along with Goyal, who founded MKG in 2003 and Pink Sparrow in 2013.

Acceleration built out its leadership team in late 2018, adding Kingsdale as head of acquisitions, Scott Floyd as head of collaboration and Robert Ogden as CFO. Ogden left Acceleration in April.

In January 2019, the company also poached Monica Chun from PMK-BNC, who was appointed president after Nyman and co-CEO Chris Robichaud left the firm. An Acceleration spokesperson confirmed the date of hire. Chun is now chief client officer and president of advisory at Acceleration.

Robichaud founded his own business, 93-North, upon exiting PMK-BNC. 93-North helps build companies by leveraging emerging technology, such as AI, blockchain, self-driving cars, electric cars, and video games and virtual worlds, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Editor's note: This story was updated on November 8 to clarify that Ogden departed Acceleration in April.

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