Summerfield Wilmot Keene will bolster its direct marketing
capability through the absorption of the Aspen agency, which was
acquired last month by SWK’s parent, the 10 Group.
The move marks the final chapter in the recent troubled history of the
Aspen agency, which became part of the 10 Group for a cash consideration
of pounds 1.
It is also the latest stage in the 10 Group’s efforts to build SWK,
which had been suffering financial problems before its acquisition at
the end of last year.
Aspen’s ten staff and clients, including Telewest and SeaFrance, will
move into SWK’s London office at the end of this week.
They include Tim Rivett, the head of client services, who takes a
similar title in the merged agency. However, a role has not been found
for Mike Dommett, Aspen’s managing director.
Malcolm Summerfield, the chairman of SWK, said: ’Direct marketing now
accounts for about 20 per cent of our business and we have a number of
existing clients looking to put more DM business with us. We have some
basic skills but nothing like the depth of experience that the Aspen
people will bring us.’
Aspen attempted to reverse its decline earlier this year when it went
through a management buyout but could not overturn the effects of a
pounds 900,000 loss in 1998.
Summerfield added: ’It’s true that the Aspen operation has had a
difficult time but it’s not been the fault of the people joining us.
They will be a very good cultural fit.’
The merger coincides with SWK’s appointment of Peter Watson, a founding
partner of the Hill Watson agency, as creative director.
A former Grey and J. Walter Thompson staffer, he fills the role which
has been vacant since the departure of Paul Wilmot in 1997.