Clarke, Jackson Combine Public Relations Groups

BOSTON-Clarke & Co., the public relations affiliate of advertising agency Clarke Goward, next month will absorb the clients and most of the staff of Jackson & Co., a 21-year-old publicity shop.

The consolidated practice will operate as Clarke & Co. and employ 42 staffers, including all 10 from Jackson & Co.

Terms of the deal between the privately owned companies were not disclosed.

Sally Jackson, sole owner of Jackson & Co., will take the title of executive vice president and head up consumer accounts. “My first priority was to my employees and clients,” she said.

Jackson will be paid an undisclosed amount for her stake in Jackson & Co.; her employment arrangement with Clarke & Co. is open-ended, she said. Giving up some control also was not a problem, she said. “I love serving my clients. I was never crazy about running a company.”

Brian Delaney, who continues as president of Clarke & Co., said the merger “offers an expanded depth of expertise to all our clients.”

Each of the agencies had been courted by various communications companies; retaining local ownership was paramount to both, said Terry Clarke, chairman of Clarke & Co.

The agencies have similar corporate philosophies in the areas of client service and employee retention, which made the merger relatively easy, Jackson said.

Formed in 1977, Clarke & Co. is best known for its business-to-business acumen, working for clients such as IBM, McDonald’s, BASF, Polaroid Corp. and Bauch & Lomb. The agency is especially well-versed in crisis communications. Jackson & Co. specializes in consumer clients such as Boston Beer Co.—Jackson is viewed as having helped the Samuel Adams brand gain national recognition— and H.P. Hood. There was one potential client conflict, with Samuel Adams, posed by Clarke’s work for Miller Beer. Clarke was willing to give up the Miller business, Jackson said.

The physical move will take place April 2, with Jackson’s staff moving into Clarke & Co. offices in Boston’s Back Bay. Bachrach