Henry Russell Bruce (HRB) and ME&V Advertising + Consulting today announced the signing of a definitive agreement to merge two of Iowa’s top advertising agencies, scheduled to close April 1. The merger will create a combined company of more than 50 people with offices in Cedar Falls, Cedar Rapids, Des Moines and Bettendorf.

Joining the firms brings together Jim Thebeau, CEO at HRB and Steve Erickson, president and executive creative director at HRB, with Bryan Earnest, ME&V partner and president, Jim Infelt, ME&V partner and creative director, and Mark Mathis III, ME&V partner and director of cool. Dee Vandeventer, ME&V partner and director of operations and fundraising, is selling her ownership share in ME&V and retiring from agency management. She will continue working as a fundraising adviser for the new organization.

The combined agency represents more than 200 clients across 10 states and offers branding, marketing, public relations and advertising services in health care, higher education, banking, corporate communications and nonprofit fundraising. Combined capitalized billings at close are anticipated to be $33 million.

“Business is moving toward more integrated marketing and communications,” Mr. Earnest stated in a press release. “This merger empowers us to better execute traditional and digital communications with clients who need deep expertise and expanded bandwidth to stay competitive in this cluttered marketplace. It also allows us to target prospects outside our current markets.”

The new company will not retain either of the existing names. Effective April 1, the new organization’s name is “AMPERAGE.” The branding line for the new entity is, “Move the Needle.”

The alliance will create one of the largest advertising agencies in eastern Iowa. It will also be one of the largest fundraising-consulting firms in the state, with more than $100 million raised for nonprofits during the last 15 years, including the recent Cedar Rapids Library 3.0 campaign.
“This alliance allows us to leverage skills and talent in ways that will greatly benefit our clients,” Mr. Thebeau stated in a press release. “Key strategic benefits of the merger include accelerated technology and new media integration, increased content development and deployment, and video in cross-platform applications.”
Even though a major benefit of merging is economies of scale, the new company is positioning for growth and future expansion.
“We are not planning any downsizing due to the merger. In fact, if anything, we’ll be hiring,” Mr. Earnest stated. “We are positioned for growth and we plan to merge with two more agencies in order to accelerate growth and enhance our capabilities.”

For more information, visit www.AmperageMarketing.com.

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