Zig Enters U.S. via Acquisition

CHICAGO MDC Partners’ Zig is expanding into the United States via the purchase of independent Hadrian’s Wall here, the agencies confirmed.

Hadrian’s Wall will be renamed Zig and its principals, Steve Carli and Kevin Lynch, will take partnership positions leading the Chicago office.

Said Zig president Andy Macaulay, “Both agencies have amazing staffs. I’m confident that it will be a seamless transition.”

Macaulay and creatives Elspeth Lynn and Lorraine Tao founded Toronto-based Zig in 1999. The agency, creatively focused and espousing a media-neutral philosophy, has a client roster that includes Best Buy, Ikea, Molson, Unilever and Virgin Mobile. It employs about 80 staffers overall, adding eight from Hadrian in Chicago.

Zig parent MDC, a Canadian holding company, also owns U.S. agencies such as Crispin Porter + Bogusky in Miami and New York shops Cliff Freeman and Partners and Margeotes Fertitta Powell.

Lynch and Carli formed Hadrian’s Wall in 2001. Its clients include the Chicago Reader, Harvard Business School Publishing, the Illinois Department of Public Health and MagneCote paint.

Lynch will now serve as partner and copywriter, while Carli will be managing partner and account planner.

The Chicago office will adopt Zig’s project management structure (as opposed to traditional account groups), which assigns “idea teams” to clients. Each team includes a strategic planner, writer, art director and project manager.

Financial terms of the union were not disclosed.

Other creatively driven shops to launch viable U.S. offices in recent years include London’s Mother and Amsterdam, Netherlands-based StrawberryFrog, both of which established outposts in New York. It is relatively rare, however, at least of late, for a shop to enter the U.S. through a merger or acquisition.