Omnicom Group Makes Equity Investment in Critical Mass

Omnicom Group Inc. acquired a 50 percent equity interest in Critical Mass, an Internet marketing services company headquartered in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, with offices in Chicago and Stockholm, Sweden.

Financial specifics were not disclosed.

Critical Mass will become an integral component of a newly-formed electronic customer relationship management company, Rapp Digital, which was launched by Omnicom marketing subsidiary Rapp Collins Worldwide.

Interactive marketing executive J.G. Sandom was named president of Rapp Digital.

“The acceptance of the Web as a global communications and transactional medium has taken direct marketing to a new level,” said John Wren, President and CEO of Omnicom Group Inc.

“The future of customer relationship management will be driven by the Internet protocol. The formation of Rapp Digital under J.G. Sandom establishes Rapp Digital as a major force in e-CRM.”

Rapp Collins and Critical Mass have partnered for more than two years on a variety of Web development and Internet marketing programs for Mercedes-Benz USA, Procter & Gamble and reflect.com.

Founded by Ted Hellerd in 1995, Critical Mass has annualized revenue of more than $20 million and a staff of 150. Its clients include Denny’s Restaurants, Smirnoff Vodka, NovAtel Inc., Telus Marketing Services and Forenings-Sparbanken, one of Sweden’s largest financial institutions.

Rapp Collins Worldwide clients include Hyatt Hotels, Dell Computer, Pfizer, Mercedes-Benz USA, Mead Johnson Nutritionals, Sony Computer Entertainment America, the U.S. Navy, Adobe Systems, Berlitz and others.

Omnicom Group Inc. consists of advertising agency networks BBDO Worldwide, DDB Worldwide and TBWA Worldwide. The group also includes Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, Diversified Agency Services (DAS), and Communicade, a division of wholly owned and significant minority investment interests in several interactive and new media companies.

Ominicom said that Sandom, 42, is largely credited with taking OgilvyInteractive North America from a loss in 1997 when he joined as director of interactive to more than $60 million in revenues and over $120 million in I-Media planning and buying in months.

During that time, the agency went from 12 freelancers to more than 250 specialists in interactive.

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