Crossing Borders

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Local agency expanding into U.S. market


A full service ad agency in Newfoundland is about to announce that it is expanding into the U.S., with the acquisition of an established advertising and PR firm in New England.

I have it from a reliable source that the clients of this agency across Atlantic Canada are receiving calls right now, advising them of the acquisition.

The agency being acquired is not large, but the acquisition is significant given the current economic uncertainty and the fact that some local agencies are struggling.

I will have more on this in a little while. I am waiting for confirmation, directly from the agency itself.

UPDATE, Wednesday evening at 11:30 pm:

I have confirmed that the agency making the acquisition is m5, which is based in St. Johns with offices all over Atlantic Canada. The company being acquired is bGG Advertising, a marketing and public relations firm in Manchester, New Hampshire. The company has nine employees, which is not large, but it is a foothold nonetheless in the American market.

m5 is Atlantic-based with offices in St. John's, Halifax and Moncton, said Karen McCarthy, Senior Vice President of Communications with m5 Public Relations, in an email to me. Our company is 30 years old. We're making the plunge into the US market with the purchase of a firm in Manchester, New Hampshire. We'll officially be in the northeastern US. Its a great move for us. We've done tourism, telecommunications and gaming industry work there for a while, so this helps us shore up things for our clients and creates a unique tie to Canada for a long-standing firm in Manchester. We're really excited. For our clients, it will enhance our on-the-ground knowledge of the marketplace. We're learning that the more we do work outside Atlantic Canada people really like the thinking of Atlantic Canadians. We've been working for groups in Calgary, Aberdeen, Brampton, New York, Montreal, Bangor and so on. After a while you get to assess what it is people really like about our approach. Now we'll be able to share that in a bigger way in the US.

Here is the full text of the media release from m5, which is being issued Thursday morning:

M5 marketing communications makes international move (January 7, 2010) St. Johns, NL, Canada--Atlantic-based marketing communications agency, m5, has expanded its footprint into the northeastern US with the acquisition of bGG Advertising in New Hampshire, said President Gary Wadden today. bGG is a marketing and public relations firm, operating for the past 20 years in Manchester offering strategic planning, media, public relations, interactive and website development, social media and graphic design services. The firms clients are long-term and span many sectors from banking and broadcasting to construction and retail. The move into the US uniquely positions m5 and its group of companies. This was a very strategic decision on our part, said Wadden, to cement the inherent tie between Atlantic Canada and the Northeastern US. Wadden said m5 has been operating in the New England marketplace for many years in the entertainment/gaming, tourism and telecommunications industry. Bringing bGGs local talent on board as part of the m5 team gives our group an enhanced understanding of the marketplace and ability to grow our marketing communications business in a more focused manner, said Wadden. The move into Canadas largest trading partner market builds on m5s 30 years of experience in Canada and abroad, said Craig Tucker, m5s Senior Vice-President of Marketing and Corporate Services. M5 has grown over time to become not only one of Atlantic Canadas largest, full-service marketing agencies, but to provide top-notch work beyond its east coast borders in many markets, including Scotland; Alberta; Ontario; Quebec; Maine; and New York. Tucker said the connection to the US marketplace is critical as m5 continues its growth agenda. Being situated in the largest city in northern New England has many advantages, not the least of which is the pro-business climate and close proximity to one of the largest business centers along the eastern seaboard [Boston], said Tucker. Susan Walsh, bGG Advertising Senior Vice President, said what has turned out to be turbulent economic times for colleagues in her industry recently has proved beneficial for bGG. Weve carefully managed our business through a period of unrest and are now in a better position than we ever were before. By joining the m5 team, we are able to tap into a huge network of professionals which will ultimately better serve our clients. bGG will continue to operate under its current name with existing staff. The change will be virtually seamless for clients. Today m5, with the addition of bGG, has more than 160 people. It has built its reputation on good insight, very hard work and results for its clients. For information on the group, see The Bedford Granite Group, Inc. (d/b/a bGG Advertising), is a full-service advertising agency offering strategic marketing, public relations and event planning, social media marketing, interactive services, graphic design, and media planning and placement. The agency is a member of the Market Power Agency Network and the Second Wind Network. For more information, please visit The acquisition of bGG is effective immediately.

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