DVC Worldwide (US)


Until 2006, DVC Worldwide was a leading sales promotion and marketing communications group, operating mainly in the US. Its British field marketing and advertising subsidiaries were sold in 2004. Two years later, the group's US operations were acquired by larger rival Aspen Marketing Services (which was itself later acquired by Epsilon). In 2005, DVC had been ranked by Advertising Age as the #41 ad organisation worldwide, with revenues of $100m.

Prior to its acquisition, DVC offered a full range of marketing services, but tended to specialize in sales promotion. The company's rise to prominence was swift and sure. It was named Agency of the Decade in 1999 by US trade bible Promo Magazine, and then Agency of the Year in 2003. It also won the Promotion Marketing Association's Super Reggie Award that year for a promotion for Georgia-Pacific's Brawny paper towels. DVC HealthCare was a separate standalone unit, operating out of three of the group's US offices. The group was based in Morristown, New Jersey, but maintained five other offices including New York and Chicago. 

DVC was originally founded in 1985 by Peter Dugan and George Valva (the D and V of Dugan Valva & Company). Dugan's background was in business advertising; Valva was an experienced marketer with a strong track record at Unilever, Colgate-Palmolive and Gold Seal. The company developed well, starting with a clientele of packaged goods manufacturers, and moving to New Jersey in 1992. That year the agency won business from AT&T, providing the impetus to considerable additional growth. In 1994, digital agency DVC Interactive was spun out of the main agency. In 1998 a separate healthcare marketing agency was spun out of the main business as DVC ActiveCare. 

Meanwhile, in 2000, following the sale of his Lighthouse Global Network marketing group to Cordiant, entrepreneur Terence Graunke and his partner Paul Yovovich formed investment group Lake Capital. In November that year, Lake Capital assembled a consortium of investors who acquired DVC, and introduced around $125m in additional cash to fund further purchases.

The following Spring the group established a UK operation, acquiring Bray Leino. That same year, New York marketer Media Designs and Aspen Field Marketing, then the UK's largest independent field marketing agency, also joined the portfolio. The latter changed its name to DVC Sales to avoid confusion with DVC's US rival Aspen Marketing Services. However the contribution from the UK remained small and three years later in 2004, both businesses were sold separately to their management teams. (DVC Sales subsequently rebranded as Reach; Bray Leino is now part of The Mission group). 

Following a restructuring of senior management in early 2005, and doubts regarding the future marketing requirements of clients AT&T and Gillette, both then being acquired, there were reports in the US trade press that Lake Capital was considering the sale of DVC. A deal was finalised in summer 2006, with the acquisition of DVC by Aspen. Mike Zeman was the outgoing chairman of DVC.

Last full revision 30th April 2017


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