More NewsNew York Firm Inhabits Planet Interactive

New York Firm Inhabits Planet Interactive

Interactive ad agency Jack Morton Worldwide acquires a 7-year-old Boston digital design company known for, among other things, creating the Museum of Dirt.

Planet Interactive, a 7-year-old Boston company that develops Web sites, CD-ROMs and multimedia installations, has been acquired by Jack Morton Worldwide, a New York interactive advertising agency that’s part of The Interpublic Group of Companies Inc.

Financial terms were not announced.

All 30 Planet Interactive employees will remain in Boston.

Interpublic also is the majority owner of Boston ad agencies Hill Holliday Connors Cosmopulos and Mullen, as well as Weber Public Relations Worldwide of Cambridge.

Jack Morton said the deal would expand its ability to design digital media for its corporate clients.

Josh McCall, president and chief operating officer of Jack Morton, said, “We’ve experienced an exponential increase in client demand for digital media solutions in our New York, Boston and Washington, D.C., markets. By adding Planet Interactive, we can meet this demand.”

A 1,200-employee company with more than 30 offices around the world, Jack Morton designs digital media as part of broader corporate branding campaigns. It will use Planet Interactive to help integrate corporate messages into live meetings and events, digital media, video and learning programs.

Planet Interactive has created Web sites, CD-ROMs, kiosks and multimedia installations for retail, corporate and museum clients, including Lotus, Gillette, Rational Software, Ernst & Young and the Smithsonian Institution.

The privately held Boston company was founded in 1993 by partners Joan DeCollibus, Glenn Johanson and David Willoughby.

It is known in part for founding the Museum of Dirt, a Web-based collection of more than 400 dirt samples, including specimens from New Year’s Eve celebrations in Times Square, Normandy’s Omaha Beach and director John Waters’ back yard. Among other awards, it won the 1996 best general entertainment site from the Massachusetts Interactive Media Council.

DeCollibus said, “By leveraging Jack Morton’s resources and relationships, we can work together to create an outstanding East Coast digital media center that will benefit clients of both companies.”

The acquisition is Jack Morton’s third in a year, following the February buy of environmental design firm Production Design Group and the April takeover of the communications group of Caribiner International.

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