The acquisition, announced Monday morning, will combine 58Ninety’s digital capabilities with Due North’s “solid, rigorous, disciplined brand marketing” capabilities, said Ted Boyd, former CEO of 58Ninety and now CEO of One.
“I’m hoping this is the year digital becomes more than a bolted-on afterthought,” said Boyd. “We’re not truly in a media-agnostic world yet, where digital is at the table from the beginning.”
One’s executive team is making much of the fact that a digital agency has acquired a non-digital agency (a rarity in a world of multinationals buying smaller digital shops), saying it will inform how the business works going forward.
“With a digital marketing technology acquiring a traditional shop, it will force the discipline of making sure that digital and technology does not become compartmentalized and a department you turn to when you think it’s appropriate,” said Jill King, formerly president of Due North and now president of One. “They’re there right at the start of the conversation with clients and it opens up the realm of what is possible.”
The acquisition brings the total number of staff to about 60, with roughly 30 employees from each agency. Boyd said there will be no layoffs. The staff have yet to physically join forces but will “definitely be together in next 90 to 180 days,” he said.
King added that Dial9, a digital agency affiliate of Due North, will remain as it is for the time being. “We may integrate them eventually, but for now and for the foreseeable future, they’re going to remain separate.”
58Ninety’s clients included Durex and Coors Light. Due North’s client list included Owens Corning and Dairy Farmers of Canada. The two agencies worked together on Workopolis for about five years and Boyd “developed a personal relationship” with the senior leadership team at Due North. “This acquisition on a number of levels just felt like the right thing to do,” said Boyd.
In addition to Boyd and King, One’s senior leadership team includes Karen Howe, senior vice-president and creative director (formerly of Due North), and 58Ninety’s Niall Shaw, who becomes chief technology officer of One.
The future of Due North founder and CEO Mark Weisbarth is unclear. King said this fall he’s riding his bike down the coast of California. “He’s going to be out of the office for a while in the fall and then we’ll see what happens after he comes back from that ride. But he’s going to be with us – there are no plans for him to disappear anytime soon.”