Leeds-based Gratterpalm acquires London agency Underwired

The £11m-turnover ad agency snaps up multi-channel consultancy to provide clients with full-service communications

Gratterpalm, a Leeds based independent creative communications agency has announced the acquisition of leading eCRM and multi-channel consultancy specialist Underwired.

The move will result in combined fee income of £12m and a headcount of 170, as well as a client base of leading names across the service sector – including Asda, Halfords, ESPN and Marks & Spencer.

The companies plan to combine creative marketing solutions with multi-channel strategy, which is something Gratterpalm’s clients have pushed for to remain competitive.

Specialising in in-store creative, digital, mobile and shopper marketing, Gratterpalm was purchased by Gordon Bethell and Gareth Healey in 2002 as part of an MBO and share ownership.

Since then it has grown to an £11m turnover business and employs 165 with plans to become the UK’s leading multi-channel agency.

Managing partner of Gratterpalm, Gordon Bethell said: “With Underwired, we have found a great team with industry leading skills and expertise in an area that is key for all of our clients.

“Connecting all of our shopper marketing and campaign strengths with customer data and strategic planning means our clients can continue to stay ahead of their competitors. The ability for us to deliver across the whole customer journey, in every channel, is of critical importance.” 

Founded in 1996, Underwired is specialises in retail, travel and leisure, media, FMCG, automotive and telecoms sectors, establishing itself as a leading CRM firm. The company claim its clients’ revenue typically increases by 20% in the first three months.

Underwired’s co-founder, Felix Velarde commented: “Multi-channel thinking is a pressing reality for all of our clients. Brands and retailers need continuity, coherence and consistency throughout all stages of the customer lifecycle.

“This deal gives clients a highly competitive combination of multichannel strategy with outstanding in-store, digital, mobile and advertising… we are delighted to be working together to build a stand-out agency proposition.”

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