On May 9, content management software firm Marqui Solutions Inc. acquired the assets of the independently owned Bryant, Fulton & Shee (BF&S), long known as TBWA\Vancouver through a brand licensing agreement with the Omnicom-owned network. That agreement ended on March 22, and the agency subsequently took the interim name Trees and Rocks.
Joining Station X are about 10 former BF&S staffers, including former partner Jim Southcott as chief strategy officer, Laura McBride as client services director and Julian Davis as production manager. Marqui’s existing marketing services staff will also join Station X.
New hire Brent Wheeler, a past creative director with TBWA\Vancouver, comes on board as CD. Former TBWA\Vancouver president Andrea Southcott will represent the agency on a part-time basis in an “ambassadorial role” after taking some time off, Marqui president and CEO Lance Neale says.
Neale is a former vice-president of Transcontinental Media who, along with financial partners Terry Holland and Paul Cosulich, acquired a water management software company, WaterTrax, in 2001 and Marqui, a developer of web marketing automation software, seven years later. Together, the group is known as WaterMarq Technologies.
“As I got more involved with the client base with Marqui, I started to realize these marketers didn’t just need software. They needed somebody to help them figure out the web as a marketing platform,” Neale says. “And so we, over the past few years, have been expanding the marketing services component of our business. When the TBWA\Vancouver opportunity came to us, it was a natural extension.
“We felt the core offering that combines the science and the creativity of marketing in combination with the technology is conducive to the requirement of the market today. So it’s not about being an agent to place advertising, either on a digital platform or in a traditional sense. It’s more about a pretty sophisticated problem around how do you market effectively in today’s environment.”
Under the terms of the deal, Marqui does not take on of any of BF&S’s debt, which stood at $5.4 million in February. The agency’s creditors – mostly media companies – agreed to a plan whereby they will receive close to $4 million, with the first payment expected in June.
Station X will not offer media buying services, at least for now, Neale says.
He would not say which of the former TBWA\Vancouver’s accounts will be coming over to Station X, explaining that the company is in active discussions with several clients.
The name Station X comes from a World War II intelligence hub also known as Bletchley Park, where everyone from linguists to mathematicians worked together to break Nazi codes and come up with the world’s first computer.
This story was updated on May 13 at 09:20