Isobar Buys Word of Mouth Shop Ammo Marketing

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Aegis Group PLC's Isobar digital network bought Ammo Marketing, a 7-year-old word of mouth marketing agency, marking its third acquisition in the United States in 15 months.


Ammo serves clients like Cadbury Schweppes, Remy-Cointreau, Brown-Forman, Miller Brewing and Volvo. Levi Strauss & Co. veterans Julian Aldridge, Kerry Lange and Andrew Strickman founded the agency.


"It's the concept of the tipping point," said Sarah Fay, president of Isobar U.S. "There is more credibility to messages that pass from person to person versus company to person. And Ammo gets messages right down onto the street in very real ways. And it's a great pairing with our digital service offerings, which are also focused on viral message delivery."


Isobar in December 2004 bought iProspect, followed by Molecular in May. The network is extending into different digital service areas and geographies. Isobar's domestic network includes Freestyle Interactive, Carat Fusion, Molecular and search shop iProspect. Aldridge now is president of Ammo and Freestyle, overseeing Freestyle accounts like Electronic Arts, Dolby and Logitech. Strickman and Lange remain Ammo managing directors.


The Isobar purchase comes within a month of Dutch information giant VNU's BuzzMetrics agreeing to buy a 50.1 percent interest in Intelliseek and merge the two brands, thus putting word of mouth marketing further on the map as an important element of understanding consumer behavior. The new company, called Nielsen BuzzMetrics and based in New York, will measure and understand word of mouth behavior and influence.


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