Omnicom Acquires Rodgers/Townsend

CHICAGO Omnicom Group said it has acquired St. Louis agency Rodgers/Townsend.

“With the kind of accounts that we have, to really perform at the next level, we need greater resources. That’s a combination of literal resources and human resources,” said Tim Rodgers, CEO of the agency. “Being a part of Omnicom will help us draw the talent we need to St. Louis, which is hard because there’s not a lot of big agencies here.”

Omnicom became familiar with the shop through projects it shared with various holding company agencies, most notably a 2005 campaign for AT&T with GSD&M in Austin, Texas. Last year, Rodgers/Townsend helped relaunch the AT&T brand after SBC Corp. acquired the company for $16 billion [Adweek Online, Dec. 29]. Rogers/Townsend has handled AT&T’s business-to-business account for nine years.

(The agency has also worked on assignments with Omnicom’s Goodby, Silverstein & Partners in San Francisco and Merkley + Partners in New York.)

Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

“Probably the most important thing to us, is they leave the agencies alone,” Rodgers said. “To me, that’s the mistake most companies make. They buy an agency and they try to change it.”

Rodgers, 52, and chief creative officer Tom Townsend, 47, will continue in their respective roles at the 100-person agency. Both men were veterans of D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles before starting their own shop in 1996. Rodgers/Townsend tallied an estimated $13 million in revenue last year.

The shop’s other clients include Energizer, The Hartford, Monsanto, the St. Louis Convention & Visitor’s Commission and the St. Louis Rams football team.

From Omnicom’s perspective, the acquisition gives the holding company a presence in St. Louis, home of Anheuser-Busch, which uses several Omnicom agencies for its marketing.

An Omnicom representative would not discuss the rationale for the acquisition, other than to say, “We make strategic acquisitions based on our clients needs.”

This is the second U.S. acquisition in a month for Omnicom, which, in early July purchased a majority stake in San Francisco-based digital shop EVB.

Omnicom’s global advertising networks are BBDO, DDB, and TBWA. Its various companies service 5,000 clients around the world.