The Biggest Agency You’ve Never Heard Of Just Got Bigger

Aspen Marketing Services, the nation’s largest marketing services firm, has been sold for “at least $345 million,” according to The New York Times.

The acquisition by the Epsilon unit of Alliance Data Systems underlines the growing role of marketing services in selling consumer products. Aspen’s specialties include direct marketing, digital marketing and the analytics that advertisers use to look for — and try to keep — customers. Epsilon offers consulting, loyalty marketing, Web design and search engine optimization.

The $863 million of revenue for the two companies would have ranked the combined operation ninth on the Ad Age list last year, leapfrogging No. 10, MDC Partners, at $698 million.

According to DMNews, Aspen’s clients include Sears Holdings Corp., ConAgra Foods, Ford Motor Co., McDonald’s, Motorola, AT&T and Discover Bank.

Alliance opted to merge the units under the Aspen brand because of its “significant brand equity,” said Shelley Whiddon, director of external communications at Alliance. It could also have something to do with the fact that Epsilon was recently in the news after hackers stole reams of names and email addresses from the company.

About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative direction at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.