Isobar Puts Money Into Word of Mouth

Aegis Group’s Isobar digital unit has added another set of capabilities to its arsenal, acquiring word-of-mouth marketing agency Ammo Marketing for an undisclosed sum.

Though San Francisco-based Ammo has used interactive marketing in its campaigns, the company is best known for recruiting “influencers” to buzz about its clients’ products.

“We’re finding that a lot of our programs work with many other media, online and offline. And increasingly, we’re seeing mobile being the link between online and offline,” Ammo senior partner and CEO Julian Aldridge, who will become president of both Ammo and Freestyle Interactive, told ClickZ. “The cell phone is really a powerful tool for 13- to 24-year olds to spread word-of-mouth.”

Before joining Ammo, Aldridge worked for four years at Red Sky Interactive, running the agency for his last two years there. Ammo’s other partners, Kerry Lange and Andrew Strickman, along with its seven other employees, are expected to continue working at the agency.

Though Aldridge will oversee both Ammo and Freestyle, the two units will continue to operate separately and keep their own brand names. They will look for opportunities to work together, however. The agencies already share a client in Electronic Arts, and they have recently begun work on joint projects for POLA and Cadbury Schweppes.

For Isobar, the acquisition appears to be an acknowledgement of the power of word-of-mouth marketing.

“We believe, as do the principals of Ammo, that word-of-mouth marketing will become a fundamental part of mainstream marketing,” said Sarah Fay, president of Isobar U.S.

Ammo is just the latest addition to Isobar’s network in the U.S. The company acquired Web development shop Molecular last year, after having purchased SEM agency iProspect in late 2004. It also owns Carat Fusion, which handles both interactive and direct marketing.

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