HA-LO Looking Beyond Upshot

Lou Weisbach isn’t finished yet.
The chief executive officer of Niles, Ill.-based HA-LO Industries said last week’s purchase of promotional marketing agency Upshot here isn’t the final piece of the puzzle. He said HA-LO intends to acquire a brand identity agency this year and is looking at adding other marketing services.
Upshot chief executive officer John Kelley said his $35 million agency had been courted by several global agency networks in the past year. “And I have the frequent flyer mileage to prove it,” he said. But HA-LO–a distributor of advertising specialty items, with annual sales over $400 million–“had all the benefits other partners offered, but not the ceiling,” Kelley said. “Lou wants Upshot to grow as much as it can, in any and every [marketing] discipline.”
Upshot has expanded beyond traditional promotional media into broadcast work for clients such as Sony and Wrangler and will continue to expand those capabilities, Kelley said. The financial muscle provided by HA-LO will also allow the shop to open offices in other cities, and possibly other countries, he said.
Upshot will continue to operate autonomously as the “lead agency for promotional marketing” under HA-LO’s ownership, Weisbach said. He left open the possibility of acquiring other promotions agencies, but said “that will be John’s call.”