Leading creative advertising and marketing agency Ardmore has acquired award-winning eCommerce consultancy and digital marketing specialist Built For Growth Digital (BFG Digital).
Based at the Catalyst innovation hub in Belfast with 20 staff, BFG Digital was founded in 2000 as Export Technologies and has grown to become one of Northern Ireland’s top digital marketing agencies, representing more than 50 high-profile clients and brands in the UK and Ireland companies including Ann’s Cottage, Camping World, Newbridge Silverware and DV8 Fashion.
Since its inception, BFG Digital has helped its clients generate over £1.5 billion in online sales.
Based in Holywood, County Down with a team of more than 60 staff, Ardmore is a global industry leader in behaviour change, tourism and transport, food, fashion and FMCG, and a Campaign UK Top 30 regional agency, representing a range of premier clients including Network Rail, Stena Line, Lidl, Dale Farm, Phoenix Natural Gas, Power NI, Translink, Progressive Building Society, Destination British Columbia and National Trust.
The partnership means the two companies can better capitalise on the fast-growing demand for high performance eCommerce solutions which rapidly accelerated throughout the pandemic as more businesses embraced online channels to reach their customers remotely.
The deal also sees the two companies partner with a world class eCommerce platform provided by Catalyst-based IRP Commerce. This partnership creates the capacity to support global growth ambitions for merchant clients – Ardmore is already a longstanding partner and shareholder in Worldwide Partners Inc. (WPI), a global network of more than 70 independent agencies in over 40 countries.
Ardmore managing director, Mark Irwin, said:
“BFG Digital has powered its way to growth for over two decades, driving international sales success for clients hungry for rocket-fuelled online growth, greater profits and retained customer loyalty.
Combining our marketing communications expertise and the eCommerce know-how and experience provided by BFG Digital delivers a truly exceptional platform to create and grow high performance eCommerce businesses.
This acquisition forms part of Ardmore’s strategy to further invest and develop in our world class digital service offering and we’re hugely excited by the possibilities this important development brings.”
BFG Digital is run by co-heads of consultancy and services Leanne Blair and Andrew McComb.
“We’re thrilled to partner with one of the UK and Ireland’s most successful and established agencies on a shared mission to accelerate growth and drive opportunity for clients in a fast-moving marketplace with unlimited potential, providing strategic solutions that drives sales and impact,” Leanne said.
“This ground-breaking acquisition, which is a first-of-its-kind industry development in Northern Ireland, means that we can combine our skills to become the leading agency to provide industry-leading services and expertise in brand building, advertising and eCommerce.”
Welcoming the acquisition, IRP Commerce chief commercial officer Philip Macartney said,
“IRP is delighted that agency partner BFG Digital has been acquired by Ardmore Advertising. Ardmore is a global, award-winning, results-focused, marketing communications industry leader. This is a decisive step forward for the whole IRP ecosystem and the agency model.”
Last year, Ardmore won a major global award for its campaign ‘There’s always hope’ for Network Rail at the Creativepool 2021 awards, coming top for the sought-after People’s Choice award in its annual showcase of the creative industry’s best projects, professionals, leaders and companies.
Network Rail, which runs 20,000 miles of track in Britain commissioned the campaign to help with its continuing efforts to reduce suicides across the rail network.
Ardmore has also been included in The Drum’s list of the UK’s Top 100 independent agencies and last month (March), Ardmore moved up to number 22 in the Campaign Top 30 list of best regional agencies in the UK, the only Northern Ireland-based agency to have secured a place.