OgilvyOne acquires the Lacek Group, adds loyalty market speciality

22 Aug 2000

OgilvyOne Worldwide, the leading direct and interactive marketing network in the world and a unit of Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide, announced that it has acquired The Lacek Group, a Minneapolis based relationship marketing agency that specializes in loyalty marketing, from EDS.

OgilvyOne has aggressively expanded its offerings to provide enhanced relationship marketing capabilities and customer relationship marketing (CRM) capabilities. 'here is nothing more important to our clients today than customer loyalty,'noted Carla Hendra, President of Ogilvy One North America. 'We acquired The Lacek Group to improve our clients' ability to grow customer relationships and we find the quality of their thinking to be an exceptional asset; one which has already proven valuable in our work together for several clients, including Jaguar as one component of their overall CRM strategy.'

Peter Brennan, co-founder of Lacek and who will be acting as advisor for the agency for a time following the transaction, stated, 'We searched for a worldwide marketing partner to complement our services, provide global reach, and insure our continued growth. OgilvyOne is unquestionably that agency. We have worked together well on the transition throughout the past months, and I'm convinced we have the right fit.'

Brennan will hand over Lacek's day-to-day operations to Bill Baker, a member of the agency's executive team for the past four years. Baker has been named General Manager of The Lacek Group, reporting to Michelle Bottomley, Chief Relationship Marketing Officer of OgilvyOne North America and Managing Director of The Lacek Group. Baker will be assisted by Dan Knudsen, Client Services Director and Mark Weninger, Chief Creative Officer.

'OgilvyOne has reinforced its commitment to building customer loyalty across the online and offline worlds. The Lacek Group offers the best loyalty marketing experience available in the market place today. This experience, combined with Ogilvy’s advertising, direct marketing and interactive expertise provides an unparalleled 360 degree brand management system,' noted Bottomley.

The Lacek Group has won numerous awards for its work, including its role in developing and launching the Starwood Preferred Guest Program, for Starwood Hotels & Resorts. The program was named the best loyalty program in the hotel category in 2000 by USA Today and by Inside Flyer Magazine, and won a total of five Freddie Awards. With 120 employees and offices in Minneapolis, Seoul and Singapore, The Lacek Group develops programs, which help marketers engage customers to come back more often, using its proprietary customer management software. All employees will be offered employment with OgilvyOne.

'We are all excited and privileged to become part of OgilvyOne Worldwide. Joining the Ogilvy organization provides us with world-class brand building and interactive strengths to draw from. I'm extremely positive about the opportunities this will afford our employees and our clients,' said Baker.

OgilvyOne Worldwide is the most experienced direct, interactive and relationship marketing network in the world with 3,000 people and expected billings for 2000 of $2.7 billion. OgilvyOne is an integrated subsidiary of Ogilvy & Mather (http://www.ogilvy.com), a subsidiary of WPP Group plc (NASDAQ: WPPGY), and the world's ninth largest agency network, with 1999 billings totaling over $11 billion. It is a communications and marketing company specializing in advertising, direct marketing, interactive with public relations, sales promotion, and related services available from 483 offices in 106 countries.