Philly Ad Shops Unite

In today’s ad landscape it can be deadly to get caught between the global mega-shops and tiny niche players — and Red Tettemer has taken steps to avoid that uncomfortable middle ground and added some creative firepower in the process.

The Philadelphia independent has acquired crosstown agency Stick and Move, which has a small footprint but a solid reputation for doing innovative work.

The combined agency gets a minor name change — Red Tettemer + Partners — and welcomes Stick and Move execs Steve O’Connell and Jared Scott aboard as ecd and svp, accounts, respectively.

The former will oversee all creative output at the combined agency, while the latter works with evp, executive director and managing partner Carla Mote to oversee account management and new business activity.

O’Connell and Scott, veterans of Crispin Porter + Bogusky, formed Stick and Move five years ago.

Steve Red, president and CCO of the combined agency, said the firms had mulled a union for a few years “and we also both have aspirations to play nationally and felt we could get there faster together than apart.”

Eight employees join from Stick and Move, pushing the combined agency over the 60 staff level. Financial terms of the union were not disclosed.

Key clients joining the combined agency from Stick and Move include Dial for Men, Leatherman, Coca-Cola and Yakima.

Red Tettemer is known for its frequently quirky creative for clients like Pennsylvania Tourism and Fox Networks.

The combination of creatively-driven shops makes sense in theory and drew at least one rave: “I think it is a great move. Both are very creative shops and could be a good cultural fit,” said Judy Neer, president of pitch consultancy Pile + Co. “The combined size should give them more opportunities with larger clients.”

Chris Colbert, a long-time industry exec who helms Boston marketing firm Holland Mark — and who took part in a combination of independent regional agencies some years ago — injected this note of caution: “People who have been in charge rarely like not being in charge. But if they can work out the role thing, eschew the ego thing, hold onto the client thing, and address the one culture thing, they should be okay.”

Shown in photo: Red, O’Connell (top); Scott and Mote.