Miles Nadal’s Toronto-based MDC Partners, owner of Crispin Porter+Bogusky and 72andSunny among others, has bought a majority stake in high-flying fashion ad agency Laird+Partners.
Laird was founded in New York by Trey Laird in 2002 and numbers Donna Karan, Tommy Hilfiger, Karl Kagerfeld and Calvin Klein among its clients. It also works for Hilton hotels, Dr Pepper and Ebay.
CEO Laird says: “They (MDC) have an entrepreneurial independent spirit that greatly mirrors our own vision. Our success in blending strong strategic brand building with high impact visual style for our clients can be significantly enhanced through this partnership with MDC. Additionally, we now have the appropriate firepower behind us to continue to deepen our capabilities beyond the luxury and fashion categories to create a formidable presence abroad.”
No doubt the size of MDC’s cheque was also a factor but Laird does seem to offer the ever-ambitious MDC another way into arguably the world’s booming market, luxury goods.
Such companies used to be decidedly niche, and their ad agencies accordingly, but the big players in the global luxury market like France’s LVMH and the UK’s Burberry (and many of those on Laird’s client list) can now look the likes of car manufacturers and packaged goods makers in the eye as the global recession seems to affect everybody but the rich and the spare cash of the countless millions who want to be like them.
MDC boss Miles Nadal, who seems intent on rivalling the big marcoms companies despite a rather strained balance sheet, says (as he would): “Their (Laird’s) creative brilliance is yet another example that MDC is truly ‘The Place Where Great Talent Lives.'”
He’s right in a way. MDC has been built by buying stakes in creative agencies while leaving the shareholders, and other management presumably, something to play for.
It’s a high wire act but, so far, he’s got away with it.