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Assembly is the main media agency within what is now Stagwell. It was originally formed in 2014 from the merger of RJ Palmer and TargetCast, two independents that had been acquired separately by the former MDC Partners during 2012. The combined unit also absorbed the media operations of Doner and other MDC-owned agencies. In addition to traditional, direct and digital media planning and buying, Assembly offers branded entertainment development as well as corporate barter through specialist unitTrade X Partners. Following its creation, former Carat leader Martin Cass was appointed as CEO of the enlarged business. Former Vizeum leader Steve Feuling joined in 2018 as president. Assembly has so far provided little threat in pitches to the more established international networks, but it has scored a few high profile wins in recent months. As a result, it was selected as Ad Age's Media Agency of the Year in 2018, and was named among the leaders in the Forrester Wave survey of smaller US media agencies in 2019. AdAge estimated revenues of $98m for MDC Partners Media in 2019. That year, Assembly was combined with MDC-owned data agency Gale. Michael Bassik succeeded Martin Cass as CEO but himself departed in 2020. Following the merger of MDC Partners into Stagwell, Assembly was itself merged with the latter's digital media agency ForwardPMX. Forward's James Townsend is CEO of the enlarged business. RJ Palmer's founder Bob Palmer was actually born Robert J Prignano but changed his name, he said, for professional reasons because it was easier to pronounce. He worked in the media departments of several traditional agencies in and around New York during the 1970s before setting up on his own in 1979, establishing RJ Palmer Media Services as arguably the country's first independent media specialist. TargetCast was set up in 2002 by business partners Steve Farella and Audrey Siegel. Farella had previously been media director of Ammirati & Puris, and founding CEO of MPG USA (now Havas Media) in 1999.
Capsule checked 30th April 2021
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Adbrands Update 16th Sep 2021: Stagwell merged its existing digital media arm ForwardPMX into MDC Partners' Assembly to create a significantly larger entity that will continue to trade under the Assembly name. The expanded business claims a team of some 1,500 people spread across 30 offices in 20 countries. ForwardPMX leader James Townsend becomes CEO of the merged business, with Valerie Davis as North America president.
Adbrands Weekly Update 17th Dec 2015: MDC Partners expanded the reach of its US media business Assembly with the acquisition of Unique Influence, a social media agency in Austin, Texas. According to MDC, one major factor in the deal was Unique Influence's relationship with ad automation software developer Nanigans. "It's a technical area and gives us overnight astrong presence in mobile and social mobile," said MDC Media Partners CEO Martin Cass.
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