Port ad agency swims with bigger fish

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BY DYKE HENDRICKSON STAFF WRITER | Monday, September 29, 2014

safe_imageNEWBURYPORT — Local companies don’t always pitch local enterprises.

Mechanica, a branding and advertising agency with offices overlooking the Merrimack River, serves national and international clients like NPR, PBS, PTC, Akamai, Kronos and Saucony.

Its client list appears devoid of nearby businesses but that doesn’t mean that executives don’t enjoy the local ambiance. Indeed, the city company settled here in part for its charm.

“Newburyport is a great community and clients love to come here,” said Ted Nelson, a co-founder and CEO. “If their offices are in a major city in the East or perhaps in the Midwest, they say its’s a great break for them to be near the river and the ocean.

“Every team to come here talks about the energy and creativity of this community.”

Mechanica is a 10-year-old firm that puts an emphasis on versatility. It offers advertising, design, contact strategy, social media and more.

Founders say the company name came from “breaking from a lot of the conventions of how things have been done since the Mad Men days, and constructing a new model around the mechanics of how to best create strong brands in today’s fast moving, digital age.”

Its literature says it is “focused on solving problems and creating opportunities for restless marketers.”

Marketing authorities say one of the challenges of modern branding is using all avenues available.

This would include traditional paths like TV, print and radio, and new, thoughtful focus on online tools such as web pages, Facebook Twitter, blast emails and digital advertising.

“It’s a fast changing world,” said Nelson, whose background includes leadership positions at Mullen Advertising on the North Shore and Chiat/Day on the East and West coasts. “But all of the tools are still useful. Nothing is really replacing anything. TV didn’t replace radio; online won’t replace print.

“But there are a lot more ways to reach customers, and we work with each client on strategies that take advantage of all opportunities.”

One of the company’s recent “wins” was the landing of Saucony, a leading manufacturer of high performance running footwear and apparel.

Saucony had been a client but left the fold several years ago.

The Minnesota company recent contacted the Newburyport firm, and a partnership was rekindled.

“Our ‘second run’ with Mechanica couldn’t come at a more important time,” said Richie Woodworth, president of Saucony, in a statement. “In the past, we created a ‘Find Your Strong’ creative platform.

“As we think about our second stage of growth, and confront the challenges of a category that has slowed for the first time since 2008, we couldn’t imagine a partner better suited to help us break through this category inertia to discover how high is up.”

Nelson, always one to taut the local environment, says that Saucony exectuvies were pleased that many former account reps are still at Mechanica.

“We retain our employees,” said Nelson, who is a strategy leader as well as CEO. “If you work in New York or Boston media companies, you move. A company can turn over in a few years.

“Our employees love Newburyport. They want to stay. The Saucony team was pleased to hear that the same people who worked on their account are here. Our people know the history; they don’t have to start from the beginning.”

Libby Delana, a co-founder and key member of the creative team, said,  “I enjoy the sense of community in Newburyport, I have been active with the Custom House Maritime Museum, the Jeanne Geiger Crisis Center and other groups.

“Of course, everyone in our office travels. We can meet partners anywhere, and they often come here. It’s easy enough to get back and forth from Logan.”

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