Bensimon Byrne has added a mad scientist aspect to its capabilities with the acquisition of Toronto digital design agency OneMethod.
Established in March 2001, OneMethod has cultivated a reputation for producing “original and unexpected” work for clients including Nokia, Intuit, Sony and Quiznos. While the 25-person agency produces standard digital work such as websites and mobile apps, it also boasts an in-house “incubator” that develops non-traditional marketing – or experimental – solutions.
While founder and chief creative officer Amin Todai said about 70% of OneMethod’s business comes from outside Canada, the agency received considerable media attention last year for a Toronto-based venture called La Carnita – a pop-up restaurant and “social media experiment” combining tacos and art that will open a bricks and mortar location in the next couple of months.
Bensimon Byrne president Jack Bensimon told Marketing that the OneMethod acquisition dovetails with the continuing evolution of marketing from a traditionally mass media-based discipline to one in which digital often plays a lead role.
“Five years ago, every project would have a mass media component of some sort, and a lot would have a digital extension,” he said. “Now it feels like every single project is digital and sometimes there’s a mass media component.”
Bensimon said the next step for his agency is to continue to apply existing best practices in digital, while simultaneously developing some best practices of its own. Bensimon Byrne will continue to deliver on what’s now, he said, while OneMethod will focus on what’s next.
“Many clients want to know that their agencies have an eye on both ends of that spectrum,” said Bensimon.
Todai said he has turned down several overtures from agencies over the years, but his longstanding friendship with Bensimon Byrne’s chief financial officer, Colleen Peddie, ultimately paved the way for the deal.
Discussions about a possible deal started in earnest last summer, said Todai, who joins Bensimon Byrne as a partner and will serve as managing director of OneMethod.
“They’re just very good business people,” he said. “I like the fact that they’re very straightforward and they’re running a very successful agency. I liked what they were doing with their business and Jack’s vision for the future. The more we chatted, the more I thought this would be a great fit.”
Bensimon said the deal allows existing Bensimon Byrne clients to indulge in marketing experimentation with an agency that understands their core business and strategic objectives.
“They know that they need to experiment in places where there’s no fear of failure,” said Bensimon. “They can take modest portions of their budget and say ‘Let’s try something.’
“What gets them excited is that through us, they can do it with a level of strategic continuity, so it’s not like they’re going to have to go off and re-brief another firm that’s totally unrelated to their AOR and say ‘try to understand the brand.’ We can ensure that whatever experimentation we’re able to do around the margins is still coherent.”
OneMethod will remain in its current Toronto office, but will collaborate with Bensimon Byrne whenever it benefits clients, said Bensimon. Bensimon Bryne’s breadth of experience and offering will also make OneMethod attractive to prospective clients, said Todai.