BlueGlass Buys Idealizer to Gain European Foothold

Small shops expand globally for big brands

As big brands increasingly seek out global digital services, it gets increasingly difficult for a small domestic-only shop to secure their accounts. And that's precisely why Tampa-based BlueGlass announced today that it has purchased Swiss interactive firm Idealizer—its second international acquisition in the last three months.

"It's important for us to be there," said BlueGlass CMO Chris Winfield. "Not every client is going to be OK seeing us in person once a year or explaining strategy by phone. With this purchase, we gain a more central hub in Europe than what we already have in London."

Winfield was referencing BlueGlass' most-recent pickup, Quaturo, a London-based digital agency his firm bought in November 2012. As was the case with Quaturo, Idealizer will be folded into the BlueGlass brand, pushing the company to 85 employees—up from 35 staffers two years ago. Idealizer specializes in content marketing and search, while its new parent offers numerous paid and organic digital marketing services.

BlueGlass also has offices in Peru and Australia in order to serve clients such as Disney, Time Inc., Allstate and Macy's, among others.

Brian Wieser, an analyst for Pivotal Research Group, explained that small-to-mid-sized digital shops—with BlueGlass and Project Worldwide being two recent examples—were employing a global-by-acquisition strategy in order to compete with larger agencies and holding companies.

"There's a very large and growing cohort of marketers—and I mean the Procter & Gambles of the world—that disproportionately choose to work with [global] agencies," Wieser said. "It can be because of the tools these agencies offer, or it can be due to the talent. At any rate, [upstart] agencies struggle to enter this global tier."

Winfield declined to reveal financial details of the Idealizer purchase but sounded confident it would grow his company's European presence.

"It helps us with local expertise," he said. "There are five languages that we are now fluent in that we weren't before. We don't have to rely on translation services where campaigns can accidentally get messed up because of [misunderstood nuances]."