ZGM and Calder Bateman merge

Two Alberta agencies become one in efforts to provide a deeper service offering for clients in the province.

Alberta agencies ZGM Modern Marketing and Calder Bateman are becoming a single company under the ZGM banner.

Dan King, president and partner at ZGM, says discussions about a merger have been going on for roughly six months. He says a motivating factor in bringing the two agencies together was improving ZGM’s depth of services.

“We’ve been competing against Calder Bateman since day one, and when you compete against someone, you learn their strengths,” says King, pointing specifically to Calder Bateman’s strength in social content, PR and public affairs. “They have real depth in areas where we didn’t have capabilities and they’ve filled some holes for us that we’ve been looking at.”

In an email to strategy, Calder Bateman co-founder, partner and senior strategist Frank Calder cited ZGM’s track record in attracting new clients, its campaign work and reputation as a positive workplace as being factors in wanting to join forces.

“Calder Bateman’s creative has received a good deal of recognition in recent years, with various Clios and other such awards, and that is a tradition we and our staff are confident will continue with ZGM,” he said.

Calder Bateman was founded by Calder and Margaret Bateman in Edmonton in 1990. ZGM was founded in Calgary in 1999, later opening an office of its own in Edmonton, which will be absorbing the Calder Bateman team. The combined agency will have a headcount of 80, with King estimating staff to be about 35 in Calgary and 45 in Edmonton.

The agencies will gradually integrate over the next three months to ensure a smooth transition for clients. There are no conflicts expected with the merger, and the two agencies shared some clients, including Alberta Gaming and Liquor, the City of Edmonton and Government of Alberta.

“To join forces with Calder, we’re hoping this combined entity can keep a lot of work that might have otherwise left Alberta within the province’s borders,” King says.

King also doesn’t expect there to be any layoffs as a result of the merger and wants both teams to continue running as they have been, adding that the leadership team will examine areas where there “might be duplication so we can see what we can do about that.”