EMA Acquires Clarke Advertising & Public Relations

In a move that expands the reach of one of the east coast’s largest independent agencies into Florida, Eric Mower and Associates (EMA) and Sarasota, Fla.-based Clarke Advertising & Public Relations, one of the top advertising and public relations agencies in the state, have joined forces.

EMA’s acquisition of Clarke creates an agency with combined 2007 billings in excess of $170 million and more than 200 full-time employees in seven offices in Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and Albany, N.Y.; Charlotte, N.C.; Atlanta, Ga.; and Sarasota, Fla.

“This combination means we can offer an even greater geographic proximity for our clients as well as more scope and depth of talent. We have been focused for some time on extending our footprint in the southeast and along the east coast, so adding a significant presence in Florida is an exciting realization of our growth strategy,” said Eric Mower, chairman and chief executive officer of EMA. “Clarke Advertising has an excellent reputation for insight-based communications strategies, earning it respect as one of the top public relations and advertising agencies in the state. In addition, Clarke’s expertise in targeting Baby Boomers and the Young at Heart™ is critically important to many of our clients.”

Bill Pierson, chief executive officer and principal, and Patricia Courtois, chief operating officer and principal, will continue to lead the Sarasota office and become partners in the EMA organization.

“We see significant immediate benefits from this merger for both our clients and employees,” said Courtois. “Clients will have access to enhanced services, including interactive services, market research and direct marketing. And, our staff will have access to an integrated team of professionals across EMA’s six other offices.”

“EMA and Clarke are a perfect fit for each other,” said Bill Pierson. “Each organization brings great strengths resulting in a combined organization that will be tough to match.”

Courtois, brings 20-plus years of public relations and client service experience to EMA. Courtois has led media relations, special events, community relations and corporate philanthropy for companies and brands including Beatrice Foods, Sara Lee, Tropicana, Sweet ‘N Low, Butter Buds, Sugar in the Raw and Mary Kay. Since joining Clarke Advertising in 1999, she has headed up public relations, client service, and overall agency operations. In January 2005, Courtois partnered with agency president Bill Pierson to purchase the agency from founder Tim Clarke. Under that partnership, Courtois and Pierson have grown Clarke into one of the most recognized and respected agencies in the state of Florida, with clients including ClosetMaid, Emerson Tool, the Cincinnati Reds, Florida Prepaid College Board and the Florida West Coast Symphony.

Since starting in the ad agency business 20 years ago on the McDonald’s account at DDB Needham Worldwide, Bill Pierson has used his exceptional skill at managing client relationships and budgets, along with his strategic insights to earn account management assignments for MCI, Coca-Cola and Giant Bicycles. In July 2001, Pierson teamed up with Clarke Advertising with the plan to run and buy the agency. He currently serves as Governor of the Florida Council of the American Association of Advertising Agencies (AAAA). Pierson is also a member of the board of governors of the Colorado Golf Association.

Eric Mower is active in advertising industry affairs and contributes to a number of professional, public and community service organizations. Currently president of the 90-nation International Network of Independent Advertising Agencies (IN), he also serves as director of the Government Relations Committee for the American Association of Advertising Agencies (AAAA) and is a member of its national board of directors. Mower is a trustee for Syracuse University and serves on the Advisory Council of the University’s renowned Newhouse School of Public Communications. He also represents the AAAA’s on the National Advertising Review Council (NARC) – the widely acclaimed advertising industry self-regulatory organization.

Mower is a member of the Board of Directors of the Business Council of New York State. He currently serves as chairman of the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor Commission, appointed to that post in 2002 by US Secretary of the Interior, Gale Norton.

Founded in 1987, Clarke Advertising & Public Relations is the agency that gives clients the confidence to believe in the power of great ideas. Experts on the psychographics of “Young at Heart™” consumers and the science of marketing to “young people in aging bodies,” Clarke is the largest agency in southwest Florida and has annual billings of over $20 million.

Eric Mower and Associates is a marketing communications agency with specialized expertise in public relations and public affairs, consumer advertising, brand promotion and business-to-business marketing. With offices in Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and Albany, N.Y., as well as Charlotte, N.C., Atlanta, Ga. and now Sarasota, Fla., EMA serves clients throughout the United States and Canada.

Since 1968, EMA has grown to service a roster of regional and national clients, including Bojangles’ Restaurant Group, Fed-Ex, Fisher-Price, Inc., Ford Dealers of Western New York, George Little Management, Georgia-Pacific, Kodak, Motorola, Pass & Seymour Legrand, Nucor Steel and Shurtape Technologies.

EMA is a member of the American Association of Advertising Agencies (AAAA); IN, a worldwide network of 92 leading independent advertising agencies; and IPREX, a worldwide partnership of independent public relations firms.

Visit www.mower.com for more information.

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