St. Louis Shop Extends Expansion Mode Overseas

CHICAGO-Bruce Kupper, managing partner of Kupper Parker Communications, said the agency had little choice but to expand overseas if it wanted to remain competitive.
“We didn’t want to be useless in the world, and we don’t want to get sold,” Kupper said.
The St. Louis agency, which has been on an aggressive acquisition path domestically, is set to gain a foothold overseas, buying a 30 percent stake The Communications in Business Group Ltd. The deal, due to close Jan. 31, would make KPC the largest shareholder in the London company, which would take on the KPC moniker.
CIB claims billings of $40 million, and also has offices in Milan, Italy, and Dusseldorf, Germany.
Kupper said businesses’ growing global needs made it necessary to consider expanding outside the U.S.
“A lot of our clients are asking for international representation,” he said, specifically citing the telecommunications, high-tech and travel and leisure categories. Among the clients the shop can now service in Europe is AT&T Broadband. “We don’t always speak the same language, but the things we do to sign people up for cable [in the U.S.] can be duplicated,” Kupper said.
Almost four years ago, KPC set out on what Kupper termed a “supra-regional” agency concept of buying shops in small and midsized markets. Through acquisitions, KPC now has operations in Kansas City, Mo. (Rosenfield-Lane); New Orleans (Fitzgerald Advertising); Louisville, Ky. (FSM Marketing); Nashville, Tenn. (the Art Studio); and Memphis, Tenn. (Performance Media).
Continued expansion is planned at home and abroad, Kupper said, with Asia the next target for a KPC operation.
The immediate task, though, will be to solidify the partnership with CIB, he said. One of the latter’s specialities is travel and leisure, with clients including Bermuda Tourisma, Quantas Airways and Utah’s state tourism account. KPC also has clients in the category, such as Meridian Hotels. “They’re already excited about things we can do with tour operators represented by CIB [in Europe],” Kupper said.
Based on an introduction Kupper said he made, CIB has picked up marketing for St. Louis-based Enterprise Leasing, which operates in 140 European markets.