Ardmore acquires Belfast e-commerce specialist BFG Digital

CREATIVE advertising and marketing agency Ardmore in Holywood has acquired award-winning e-commerce consultancy and digital marketing specialist Built For Growth (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 the north’s top digital marketing agencies, representing more than 50 high-profile clients and brands in the UK and Ireland including Ann’s Cottage, Camping World, Newbridge Silverware and DV8 Fashion.

Since its inception, BFG Digital has helped its clients generate more than £1.5 billion in online sales.

With a team of more than 60 staff, Ardmore is a global industry leader in behavior change, tourism and transport, food, fashion and FMCG, and a Campaign UK Top 30 regional agency, representing a range of 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 e-commerce platform provided by Catalyst-based IRP Commerce, creating the capacity to support global growth ambitions for merchant clients.

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 e-commerce know-how and experience provided by BFG Digital delivers a truly exceptional platform to create and grow high performance e-commerce 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.

Leanne said: “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.

“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 e -commerce.”

IRP Commerce chief commercial officer Philip Macartney said: “We’re delighted that agency partner BFG Digital has been acquired by Ardmore Advertising, a global, award-winning, results-focused, marketing communications industry leader. This is a determining 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.

Ardmore has also been included in The Drum’s list of the UK’s Top 100 independent agencies and the 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.


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