Lincolnshire digital marketing firm bought in £20m-plus deal

Zazzle Media founder and MD Simon Penson.

Zazzle Media founder and MD Simon Penson.

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A Lincolnshire digital marketing agency founded by a former Boston man is celebrating after joining one of the world’s largest advertising companies.

Zazzle Media, alongside its Leeds and London-based sister agency Stickyeyes, has been acquired by Interpublic Group in a deal worth more than £20m.

Zazzle Media founder and MD Simon Penson.

Zazzle Media founder and MD Simon Penson.

The firms have joined the New York-based Interpublic Group’s IPG Mediabrands arm to become – in the words of Zazzle Media founder and managing director Simon Penson – ‘its European hub for search engine optimisation and digital content’.

Zazzle Media, based in Market Deeping, merged with Stickyeyes in 2015 to create one of the largest independent digital agencies in the UK.

Speaking about the acquisition, Mr Penson, a former Boston Grammar School, said: “Together with Stickyeyes we have created one of Europe’s very best independent agencies and we are pleased to say that didn’t go unnoticed.

“Joining such an exciting network as IPG is the final part of the jigsaw as it gives us all the opportunity to work with some of the biggest brands in the world while still maintaining the ability to help successful local businesses expand fast.”

Zazzle Media offices.

Zazzle Media offices.

The deal is expected to accelerate growth for the business and planning is already underway to begin a search for new digital talent in the area.

“Recruitment is high on the agenda now,” continued Mr Penson. “We want to ensure we have the very best talent across our Peterborough, Leeds and London offices to help us deliver amazing work for our clients as we grow. That hunt starts now!”

The agency’s existing clients are also expected to profit from the deal, enjoying access to a massively expanded technology and expertise pool from day one.

Craig Lister, managing director search and social of IPG Mediabrands, EMEA, said: “Digital leadership is strategically imperative for us. This acquisition is evidence of that and adds further momentum. Today, over two thirds of our UK staff are now full-time digital experts”

Zazzle Media offices.

Zazzle Media offices.

He continued: “Without doubt, this move enhances opportunities for both existing and new clients. The combined knowledge of Stickyeyes, Zazzle Media, Reprise (our existing search practice), Ansible (full service mobile) and Cadreon (our programmatic practice) offering a complementary skill set and will deliver the scale and expertise to fulfil the toughest client briefs in the most creative and relevant ways imaginable.”

Craig Chalmers, CEO of Stickyeyes Group, said: “It was obvious when we first met, that IPG Mediabrands’ and our ambitions were aligned. Their expertise in media buying, programmatic and data will combine seamlessly with our audience-focused digital engagement approach to create something that we believe is truly unique in the market.

“This is an incredibly exciting time for everybody involved. There are huge opportunities for not only everyone within the Stickyeyes Group, but clients throughout the IPG Mediabrands group. We are joining forces with an incredibly forward-thinking agency group and are looking forward to bringing our talents and expertise to an already world-class and global team.”

Stickyeyes Group were advised by GP Bullhound.