DraftWorldwide adds Fuel to its marketing machine

DraftWorldwide Canada is shacking up with Fuel Advertising in a move that will put the newly merged agency into the top 10 of Canada's largest agencies, according to company revenue projections....

DraftWorldwide Canada is shacking up with Fuel Advertising in a move that will put the newly merged agency into the top 10 of Canada’s largest agencies, according to company revenue projections.

DraftWorldwide, which has offices in Montreal and Toronto and also owns Toronto-based promotional agency Segal Communications, acquired Fuel last September, but the two shops continued to work independently.

However, the agencies quickly realized it made sense to get hitched, says Norm Lehman, general manager of integrated services and the former president of Draft before the merger. ‘Our areas of relative strength interlocked,’ he says. ‘We have a high expertise in direct marketing and they have expertise in digital prepress and retail advertising.’

The merger has been in the works since November. Richard Fisher, previously the president of Fuel, has been named president of the merged entity, which will keep the name DraftWorldwide.

Lehman says the two agencies will become more efficient as one entity and more attractive to prospective clients.

‘When you operate as two different companies there are barriers, like being in two different places and having different names on the door,’ he says. ‘Coming together is advantageous because those barriers disappear.’

Fuel’s clients, heavy on the retail side, include The Bay, Home Outfitters and Ontario Tourism, while Draft, known primarily for its direct marketing expertise, boasts a roster that includes Royal Bank Action Direct, Audi of America and Canadian Agra Foods.

The merger enables the two partners to approach their respective clients with new skill sets.

‘We will be talking to The Bay about direct marketing and databases,’ he says. ‘We see an opportunity for cross-pollination, as well as new business.’

The merged agency, which will settle at Fuel’s expanded office space at the corner of Yonge Street and Eglinton Avenue in Toronto, will be about 130-people strong.

‘It’s something that every company, if they experience true growth and a measure of success, will face. The challenge is, how do we grow?’ says Cyndy Carruthers, executive vice-president of corporate development and director of client services. ‘It’s a global world and we have to be able to represent a global offering.’

For Fuel, the benefits of marriage became evident when the two shops began collaborating on the Compaq Canada account several months ago, says Carruthers. ‘It’s a business where the art of direct response is put to its fullest, so that’s where Draft’s expertise came into play.’

As an added bonus, reports Carruthers, the merger was a smooth one: the two agencies didn’t have any client conflicts, nor did the amalgamation result in any service redundancies or a reduction in staff.