Ruder Finn announced that it has acquired Peppercomm, a leading integrated communications and marketing firm that uses the science of humor to think differently, inspire people and solve complex problems. An agent-of-change communications agency, Peppercomm combines forward-thinking new service offerings and the agility of a startup to help clients anticipate the future and build unbreakable relationships with stakeholders.
Founded in 1995 by industry veteran and CEO Steve Cody, Peppercomm has established a portfolio of blue-chip clients such as Dole Sunshine Company, MINI Cooper, Xero, and trivago, with work spanning across earned, owned and paid media, employee engagement, crisis and issues management, influencer programs, executive visibility and social and digital campaigns. Over the past 27 years, the firm has developed a number of innovative new service offerings, notably its signature Change Agent humor-led training programs. The breakthrough offering leverages the tenets of humor to bring joy and imagination back into the workplace and connect and catalyze stakeholders across the change journey. Additional propriety services include sentiment mapping tool Mindset.ai, Content I.Quity creative engine and CrisisRX crisis preparedness training.
“Peppercomm’s unique Change Agent approach creates powerful synergies with Ruder Finn’s what’s next vision,” said Kathy Bloomgarden, CEO, Ruder Finn. “Their combination of powerful emotional mindset and sentiment analytics, combined with breakthrough creative, expands on and deepens our core capabilities, while their unique understanding of how to leverage humor in business gives us a new competitive edge in our ability to break down communications barriers, stimulate thinking and drive change. Peppercomm represents a significant milestone in our ongoing strategy to fuel strong organic growth with transformative, future-focused acquisitions.”
As part of the acquisition, Peppercomm employees across New York, San Francisco and London will continue to work under the firm’s brand name and be led by Cody, who will maintain his title as CEO of Peppercomm and report to Ruder Finn CEO Bloomgarden. There will be no redundancies or layoffs as a result of this acquisition.
“We’re thrilled to become a key addition to one of the world’s largest and most respected public relations firms,” said Cody. “It was critical we join an organization that values the strategic importance of being an independent agency. At the same time, we were intent on assuring that our two companies share similar values and a greater purpose. Peppercomm now has access to unrivalled services for our clients, as well as new and expanded career opportunities for our employees. This is the perfect move at the perfect inflection point in Peppercomm’s 27-year history.”
The acquisition is the latest in a series of recent strategic moves by Ruder Finn to further build on its core leadership offerings in healthcare, technology, creative and change management. Other acquisitions include UK-based health tech firm Mantis (2021), award-winning creative & production studio Osmosis Films (2020), healthcare agency jacobstahl (2020), change management and internal communications agency SPI Group (2019), and digital marketing firm RLA Collective (2018).
The deal follows three consecutive years of strong revenue growth for Ruder Finn, with 28% growth in 2021 and growth of more than 45% since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020.
About Ruder Finn
Ruder Finn is one of the world’s largest independent global communications and creative agencies. Founded in 1948, Ruder Finn has defined and redefined PR for more than 70 years, shaping communications that help move industry-defining brands, companies, and leaders from what’s now to what’s next. Headquartered in New York, Ruder Finn provides clients with bold communications strategies based on a global perspective and localized market knowledge that redefine leadership, reimagine the marketplace, and rethink customer experiences around a shared sense of purpose. The agency is organized around four core areas of expertise: Health & Wellness, Technology & Innovation, Purpose-Driven Leadership and Commerce, each fueled by predicted analytics, breakthrough creative, and 360 digital engagement. Specialty practices include RF Relate, RFx Creative Studios, RF Internal Customer Experience (ICX) and RF TechLab. Ruder Finn has offices across 4 continents including the U.S., Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. Wholly owned agencies within Ruder Finn Group include: Ruder Finn Inc., RLA Collective, SPI Group, Osmosis Films, jacobstahl, RF Bloom and Bloom Health. For more information visit www.ruderfinn.com.
Peppercomm is an award-winning strategic, integrated communications and marketing agency headquartered in New York City with offices in San Francisco and London. The firm combines 27 award-winning years of expertise serving blue chip and breakout clients with forward-thinking new service offerings and the freshness of a start-up. This unique mix of experience and energy enables the firm to attract and empower teams with a creative edge, drive, and passion for promoting, protecting, and connecting clients in a fast-changing marketplace. Founded in 1995, Peppercomm has received numerous accolades, including Crain’s Best Places to Work in NYC 2021, PRWeek’s Best Places to Work 2020, the Agency Elite 100, PR Daily’s Top Agencies of 2022, SABRE Award (Integrated Campaign), PRSA Big Apple (2020, 2019 Winner Integrated Campaign), Platinum PR Awards (Media Relations), PRNews Digital Awards (CSR), and the Bulldog PR Awards (Media Relations), among others. For more information visit www.peppercomm.com.