Webber Merges With Trademark In Wake Of Aussie Account Exit

TradeMark Communications of Edina, Minn., has acquired Eden Prairie’s Webber Advertising for an undisclosed amount of stock in TradeMark’s holding company, International Marketing Team.
“[Webber] has a very talented team of individuals that we can add to our team,” said TradeMark President David Maiser.
With the acquisition, TradeMark adds 10 employees and about $6 million in billings to its 14-person, $8 million agency. In January, Webber Advertising lost its million-dollar flagship account, Redmond products’ Aussie hair-care line, when the client was acquired by Bristol-Myers Squibb. Redmond products spent $15.2 million on advertising in 1997, according to Competitive Media Reporting.
The account shift prompted Webber president Charly Webber to begin exploring merger and acquisition options. At the same time, TradeMark was looking to expand its staff. The two agencies were brought together by a mutual business contact, Webber said.
“TradeMark happened to be a perfect fit,” Webber said. “We started to realize we had a lot of similarities with them.”
Webber likely will become the combined agency’s account supervisor, though he said he has no formal title. His role in day-to-day business, however, will be greatly reduced from when he was president of his own agency.
The new agency will continue TradeMark’s focus on business-to-business and outdoor media, Maiser said. The agency will look to add a hair-care product account to take advantage of Webber’s experience, he said. In addition, the increased staff will allow the agency to go after larger accounts, he added.
The combined agency, which is calling itself Webber Advertising-TradeMark Communications for the time being, will be based in Eden Prairie. It will also be part of the Houston-based IMT, a holding company that TradeMark formed with other regional agencies and a production house earlier this year [Adweek, Jan. 12].
The Webber acquisition was approved by IMT’s board, of which Maiser is a member. IMT is expected to take its stock public on the American Stock Exchange sometime this summer, he said.