IBM to Buy Digital Marketing Agency Resource/Ammirati

IBM plans to buy Resource/Ammirati, a creative agency that pairs digital marketing pioneer Resource with advertising firm Ammirati.

IBM Resource/Ammirati

Demonstrating its commitment to its move into digital marketing, IBM today announced its intent to acquire Resource/Ammirati, a U.S.-based digital marketing and creative agency.

IBM will combine the companies' strategic, creative and technology talents to help customers seeking to reinvent themselves for the digital economy. The deal is projected to close in the first quarter of 2016. Financial details were not disclosed.

This is IBM's first acquisition of a digital marketing creative agency and adds to IBM's design and digital experience capabilities, which include IBM Interactive Experience (IBM iX). IBM has more than 1,000 designers working with strategists, developers and consultants to combine the power of design and technology for clients.

"We've been on the path for some years now to help our clients transform digitally," John Armstrong, North American leader for IBM Interactive Experience, who was critical in making the deal, told eWEEK. "We've been working on the design elements of digital reinvention, the analytics associated with that, and the mobility of the platforms to support that. We have 26 studios globally, and we began to look for partners and opportunities to create synergy and scale in the way that we go to market. With Resource/Ammirati we have a partner that we intend to acquire that has a 30-year history of dictating change and adapting and now participating very meaningfully in the digital economy."

Columbus, Ohio-based Resource/Ammirati will help IBM in North America and join over 10,000 IBM iX employees to support demand for its services. Resource/Ammirati's more than 300 associates across its offices in Columbus, Chicago and New York will continue to serve a diverse roster of clients spanning consumer goods, retail and financial services companies such as Birchbox, DSW, Nationwide, Nestlé, Newell Rubbermaid, North American Breweries, Shaw Industries, Sherwin Williams, Toys R Us and White Castle, among others.

"Resource/Ammirati has built its own stellar brand and reputation on a long, distinguished record of advancing leading brands in every industry,” said Paul Papas, global leader of IBM Interactive Experience, in a statement. "That portfolio of work and proven expertise is a perfect complement to the experience design capabilities of iX—where we bring clients a distinct fusion of industry insight, design thinking and end-to-end digital transformation, from the experience of the individual to the core processes of the client's enterprise.”

IBM Interactive Experience works at the intersection of business, art and technology to provide next-generation services to help organizations with digital transformation.

IBM said from strategy, creative and design to scalable digital, commerce, mobile and wearable platforms—like consumer apps for the Apple Watch—its team of specialists work side-by-side with clients including Air Canada, Boston Children's Hospital, Citi and Staples across 24 global IBM Studios to co-create innovations that drive results.

The digital marketing agency in some ways overlaps with the things IBM does in commerce and some of the mobile design and development elements, but there are unique features both to IBM and Resource/Ammirati that form the basis of IBM's decision to acquire the firm, Armstrong said. To Ammirati clients, IBM brings a depth of analytics, cognitive capability with Watson and a whole suite of commerce assets. For IBM's clients, Resource/Ammirati has a long tradition of serving the CMO, brand-building capabilities, experience design capabilities, content creation dissemination, as well as production capability in its studio in Columbus.