The Mars Agency continued its strategic global expansion this month with the acquisition of The In Group, New Zealand’s leading brand activation agency.
The In Group gives The Mars Agency its first in-market operation in New Zealand and strengthens the regional presence it originally gained through the 2022 acquisition of XPO Brands, Australia’s foremost retail activation agency and a growing commerce marketing powerhouse.
Together, The In Group and XPO firmly establish Mars as one of ANZ’s leading experiential partners for brands and retailers. But they also provide the foothold needed to bring its full complement of industry-leading commerce marketing capabilities to the region
“We’re aligning ourselves with best-in-class organizations around the world to provide marketing excellence wherever our clients need it,” said Rob Rivenburgh, Global CEO of The Mars Agency. “The talent, passion and relentless focus on results that have made The In Group New Zealand’s leading brand experience agency are the foundation we need to bring our bring our full suite of services to the region.”
Gaining access to the formidable resources of a global commerce marketing agency will allow The In Group to strengthen its brand activation services even further while also becoming a full-service agency with client offerings that ultimately will span shopper marketing, retail media, ecommerce and analytics.
“With the resources and expertise of The Mars Agency supporting us, we’ll be able to drive even greater success for our clients in numerous ways as we grow our business internally,” said Chris Coffey, The In Group’s Founder and Managing Director. “I’m beyond excited to start this next chapter in our history.”
Coffey launched The In Group 16 years ago after recognizing the need for more effective, results-driven product sampling and brand activation in the CPG and healthcare marketplaces while serving in high-level marketing and management roles at GSK (now Haleon), Microsoft and Grey Worldwide.
Since then, The In Group has established itself as New Zealand’s leading agency for creating and executing brand experiences that delight consumers and drive results for brands. The list of top clients includes Woolworths, Nestlé and Clorox.
The acquisition is part of The Mars Agency’s ongoing international expansion, which began in 2010 with the opening of a London office. This aggressive growth plan is enabling the agency to support its roster of blue-chip clients in a truly global fashion while gaining new clients in each region. Mars now offers full-service capabilities across numerous world markets.
The Mars Agency first entered the ANZ market in spring 2022 by acquiring Australia-based retail activation specialist XPO Brands. Since then, XPO has quickly expanded its capabilities beyond traditional shopper and experiential marketing to include retail media, ecommerce and marketing analytics. The In Group will now follow that same successful formula for growth.
“The In Group gives us the first-class ‘boots on the ground’ we’ve always wanted to enhance our experiential work in New Zealand and across ANZ,” said Sally Tobin, Managing Director of The Mars Agency ANZ. “They’ll now also be a great partner in helping us become the region’s one-stop source for connected commerce.
Founded by Tobin in 2013, the legacy XPO Brands has become an award-winning leader in shopper and experiential marketing by continuously pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in connecting brands with consumers. Since aligning with The Mars Agency, the company has rapidly extended its passion and expertise across the full connected commerce landscape.
About The Mars Agency
The Mars Agency is an award-winning, independently owned, global Commerce Marketing practice. With talent around the world, they connect people, technology and intelligence to make their clients’ businesses better today than they were yesterday. Mars’ industry-leading MarTech platform, Marilyn®, helps marketers understand the total business impact of their Commerce Marketing, enabling them to make better decisions, create connected experiences and drive stronger results.
Sarah Jo Sautter