Three reasons Bensimon Byrne and Mattamy are together again

The agency eyes more U.S. biz and a big opp in the real estate development space.

Who says you can’t go home again?

About 17 years after then-Bensimon Byrne general manager Bruce Payne amicably left the agency, taking client Mattamy Homes with him, both Payne and Mattamy are returning.

Much has changed in the intervening years, and Mattamy, now one of the largest home builders in Canada, has bigger needs, including a focus on social, digital and PR, services that Bensimon, along with its subsidiaries Narrative and OneMethod Digital + Design, can offer.

Conversations about the deal started late last year, says Jack Bensimon, president of Bensimon Byrne, with Payne wondering if he should try to build out services for Mattamy, his agency Payne + Associates’ lone client, internally, or if it was a good time “to talk about coming home.”

Payne’s shop, along with its staff of about 10 people, is being purchased and fully absorbed into Bensimon Byrne, and will set up in the latter’s Wellington Street offices and continue to manage the account.

Bensimon says there are three good reasons for the reunion.

1. Brand-building opportunities: Real estate development companies have traditionally worked with specialist agencies, Bensimon says, but he believes there’s a bigger opportunity for them to do more to build those brands.

“They have a conscious focus on their brand, which is a little bit different to wanting to be the number one home builder,” he says. “There is a marketing-communications component to that, not just a construction component, and that is something that excites us because it means that what we do for them is extremely important to their success.”

2. U.S. expansion opportunities: Bensimon says getting back Mattamy, which will be in the “top-third” of the agency’s clients in terms of size, continues its focus on getting clients who are showing potential in the U.S., including Constellation Brands, which it works with on both sides of the border, and Vancouver-based Nature’s Path, which has 70% of its business in the U.S.. Mattamy has constructed more than 60,000 homes in Canada and the U.S. and recently purchased 9,600 acres of land in southwest Florida. While the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation says in its most recent quarterly forecast it does not expect significant new home construction growth in Canada this year, Mattamy is focusing its growth south of the border.

“We’re excited because we are growing geographically, and without opening an office in the States, more and more of our new business and new revenue is coming from work we do for companies looking to reach consumers in the United States,” Byrne says. “Mattamy is going to fit nicely in that growth trajectory.”

3. Karma – Payne was one of the first five employees of Bensimon Byrne and the lead on the Mattamy account. He left and took the business and a few staff with him, with the blessing of the shop in 1997. To have both return as the agency celebrates its 20th year just feels right, Bensimon says.

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