Wunderman acquires Designkitchen

In the latest move designed to boost its digital offerings, Wunderman has acquired Chicago-based Designkitchen. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

With clients such as Motorola and Marriott, strong Web 2.0 capabilities and a growth rate of 300% since 2006, Designkitchen is the leading digital and interactive agency in the Chicago metro area. It joins a list of acquisitions by Wunderman over the past several years intended to build agency’s digital assets that includes deals for Blast Radius and Asian digital network Agenda.

“We are in a tremendously exciting period in the interactive space,” said Sam Landers, CEO at Designkitchen, who will continue to head up the interactive agency. “There is a huge paradigm shift taking place in how companies engage online,” making this one of the most creative times ever in marketing, he continued.

The agency will continue to operate under the Designkitchen brand and Landers will report to Rick Schreuder, Wunderman’s Chicago president.

Wunderman first approached Designkitchen about a possible deal last year, according to Landers, who will continue to head up the agency. The two companies began working together in November and Wunderman eventually gave Designkitchen the opportunity to pitch Burger King, which has been a Wunderman client for years but never on the interactive side. Designkitchen won the pitch and on July 7, Burger King launched two new Web sites developed by the agency: Club BK, a new online entrée for building a relationship with moms and kids and a sweepstakes site as part of Burger King’s sponsorship of the Jonas Brothers tour.

“Designkitchen’s expertise is in helping clients activate their brands online,” Landers said.  About a third of the company is dedicated to technology, with the company’s competitive edge being in programming on the open-source Ruby on Rails platform. “This enables Designkitchen to provide the rapid deployment of Web 2.0 capabilities to dynamically deliver content, something that is more difficult to do on traditional platforms,” Landers said.

Wunderman, a division of WPP’s network and a member of Young and Rubicam brands, brings Designkitchen access to a network of resources including search engine optimization and media buying services. Wunderman Chicago also brings extensive direct response and promotion capabilities.

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