Zipatoni Set To Add Chicago Office

Miller Account Fuels St. Louis Promotion Shop’s Growth Plans
CHICAGO–The Zipatoni Co. will open an office here after the New Year as part of a larger plan to expand its capabilities in disciplines including retail store design and product development.
The 12-year-old promotions shop, based in St. Louis, has experienced dramatic growth recently, with revenues doubling over the past two years to an anticipated $30 million this year, Zipatoni president Jim Holbrook said. Its total staff has also expanded from 65 to about 175 over that period.
A good chunk of that growth has come from Miller Brewing’s decision in October 1997 to consolidate its entire consumer promotions account at Zipatoni after a review of its roster shops [Adweek, Oct. 27, 1997]. At the same time, Miller consolidated its entertainment and sports marketing business at GMR Marketing in Brookfield, Wis.
Holbrook said the expansion into Chicago is part of the agency’s plan to handle three core areas: product development, including naming and packaging; “environment” work, which includes retail store design; and consumer sales promotions, Zipatoni’s longtime area of specialization.
“We want to offer a shopping mall approach, where we have specialties in, say, package design, not just an art director who’s giving it a shot,” Holbrook said.
Zipatoni plans to open the Chicago outpost Jan. 4 and expects it to be home to 20 employees by the end of 1999. The full-service office will be headed by a creative director and an account supervisor, both of whom have yet to be named.
The goal is to capture new clients and draw from a larger pool of talent to fuel the agency’s expansion, said chief operating officer Mitch Meyers.
The agency also plans to open a design shop in San Francisco to develop a West Coast client base, Holbrook said.
“We believe we can replicate what we do [in St. Louis], keep the quality up and grow organically, rather than have this big centralized place,” he said.
Zipatoni has a handful of employees in Milwaukee who work on the Miller business, but the scope of its work for the brewer will keep those operations anchored in St. Louis, Holbrook said.
The shop’s other clients include Bacardi-Martini, Eveready Battery Co.’s Energizer brand and Chicken of the Sea Tuna.