BBDS Communications leveraged a 20-year relationship and the success of a fall campaign that targets institutional investors to best two other bidders for Ingersoll-Rand's marketing division.
The deal, terms of which were not disclosed, was finalized last week. BBDS outbid two Midwest agencies for the tool and heavy equipment manufacturer's Washington, N.J.-based marketing division, which generates more than $5 million in revenue, said Paul Dickard, Ingersoll-Rand's director of public relations and advertising. He declined to name the other contenders.
"They've been our corporate agency of record for nearly 15 years, and we wanted to maintain continuity in our message to our customers," Dickard said of the decision to sell to BBDS.
The Chicago shop has had a relationship with the company for more than 20 years and is currently the only outside agency I-R employs.
I-R's marketing division, which handles design, production and other services for the company, was about to be "eliminated" under a company-wide reorganization plan, providing BBDS with a unique opportunity to buy it, said Dick Sanderson, BBDS' president and CEO.
"It's not often an agency has the opportunity to purchase one of its clients," he said. "But our long-term relationship gives them the benefit of a seamless transition that could have cost them millions of dollars."
What helped seal the deal was the September launch of a new corporate campaign aimed at institutional investors that touted how I-R solves problems worldwide, Dickard said.
The acquisition will enhance the agency's telemarketing and Web-design services.
The division will become a new subsidiary and be renamed BBDS Communications-Washington. Gary Gillum, who was director of communications for Ingersoll-Dresser Pump Co., a $1 billion division, will be general manager. BBDS will retain all 28 employees and the facility in New Jersey.
In 1999, BBDS expanded into Milwaukee by acquiring Freckmann Marketing Group based in Cedarburg, Wis. The $1 million deal brought $8-10 million in additional billings.