Christie Acquires Arsenal Media

Arsenal Media_DSE 2013 Awards

Christie has acquired Arsenal Media, its longtime agency of record for digital and experiential media.

The Montreal agency will continue to stay in that city, keep its staff, and market under the Arsenal brand. The group will be overseen by Sean James, who runs the managed services side of Christie’s business, while Arsenal founder Denys Lavigne will stay on with a new title.

Arsenal has been joined at the hip with Christie for at least the last six years, so this is not all that surprising. Arsenal did just about all the creative work pre and post launch for Christie’s Microtiles product and has also been heavily involved with marketing and sales on high profile projects involving that tech.

Arsenal has a printing background and used that to project manage and produce two books/apps for Christie on the display blocks and projection mapping (I wrote both).

I am just stumbling out of bed in Taipei and speaking in a coupla hours, so zero time to react. But I can say I’ve known Denys has been weighing some options to be acquired for a couple of years now, and even sat in on one meeting (not Christie) where that was explored. I know he went fairly well along the path with another firm in the past year.

This is great in several ways. Lavigne’s hard work and passion pays off for him and his family. He can drink even better wine (he’s a wine hound). And he can now afford to buy Arsenal FC, from which the company’s name was inspired. Ok, maybe he didn’t make enough on the deal to do that.

This would be a deal he didn’t have to do, to pay the bills. It’s a deal I’d easily assume is much more about the opportunity to do work that’s harder to win when you are 20 people working in an old warehouse building in Montreal.

It’s a great fit, as no one is going into this blind and wondering what it will be like to work together and whether the chemistry will be right. It allows Arsenal to really market its capabilities globally. While Denys has invested more in marketing at trade shows and other efforts than just about any creative firm in this space (how many agencies have you seen with booths at DSE or Infocomm), Arsenal didn’t have anywhere near the marketing budget of Christie.

Arsenal is consistently among the top handful of agencies focused on digital and experiential media on big display canvases and has for years now cleaned up at DSE’s annual creative and project awards. Christie now ensures they go to market with great talk and the ability to walk into meetings able to really say they know how to do content right.

Very happy for the many folks I know in Montreal, as well as people I’ve worked with it Christie. While James is in LA, much of Christie’s activity comes out of its main office in Kitchener-Waterloo, in Canada.

Here’s what the release says:

Christie®, the global leader in visual displays and audio technologies, announced today that it has acquired Montreal-based Arsenal Media Inc., a digital signage agency specializing in experiential installations, interactive content and strategic digital signage installations.

Arsenal Media will become Christie Creative Media Services, operating within Christie’s Global Professional Services group. Sean James, vice president, Global Professional Services, who will oversee this operation, said, “We are committed to better serving our customers with end-to-end digital and experiential installation solutions. Arsenal Media’s expertise in creating award-winning content, supported by a common thread strategy from concept to implementation, will allow Christie to broaden its digital signage capabilities. This acquisition is very timely, given industry participants are increasingly gravitating towards providers with comprehensive offerings.”

Arsenal Media boasts an enviable track record in delivering high impact digital signage and experiential installations that include collaborations with clients such as Viacom, Caterpillar, Nielsen, Cineplex, Morguard, Freeman XP, Chicago Mercantile Exchange, Gemological Institute of America, TAD Associates and the Montreal Convention Center. Past collaborations between Christie and Arsenal Media have included the Miami Dolphins’ BuzzWall™, Sun Life Financial’s branded gesture-based display at the Dolby Theatre, and Christie’s award-winning 24K and 8K lobbies in Cypress, California and Kitchener, Ontario.

As part of the acquisition, Arsenal Media’s co-founder, Denys Lavigne, will join Christie as the senior director, Experience Strategy and Creative Services within Global Professional Services. Speaking about the synergies being created, he said: “We have cultivated an excellent relationship with Christie over the past six years, and this blending of expertise makes for a natural progression for both groups. We share a common passion for exceeding customers’ expectations and, as part of the Christie family, we feel we now have all of the tools to continue delivering next-generation digital signage experiences for our clients.”

The only impact to Arsenal Media’s existing client base is they now gain access to a broader scope of services and expertise. Founded in 1999, Arsenal Media is a creative agency specialized in the development of experiential digital signage projects and innovative interactive installations. Arsenal Media’s comprehensive understanding of the digital signage media blends solid creative and technical skills that help clients define, create and deploy best-of-class digital experiences.Some of Arsenal’s recent projects can be seen on Christie’s YouTube channel.

Kathryn Cress, Christie’s vice president, Global and Corporate Marketing, commented that the acquisition supplements Christie’s existing relationships with digital media partners, who will find in Christie’s Creative Media Services team an additional resource. “I’m confident that Christie’s rental staging, projection mapping and other solution partners will increase their offerings and business when they take advantage of the new, expanded and improved Christie Global Professional Services” said Cress.

To date, Christie’s digital signage products and solutions have included indoor and outdoor HD LCD flat panels, LED-based MicroTiles® with proven DLP® technology, Christie Spyder image processors, the multi-touch Christie Interactivity Kit and the Christie JumpStart content management system for large-format displays. Complementing these proven products and solutions are services offered by Christie’s Global Professional Services division. Christie can drive projects through to completion from consultation to design and installation by experienced field application engineers. Christie’s Network Operations Center (NOC) provides peace of mind by keeping systems running 24/7 with monitoring and maintenance of digital signage installations.

Projects completed by Christie Global Professional Services have included installations for The Walt Disney Company, Barneys New York, and LVMH Moët Hennessy’s Fresh® retail stores. Christie is committed to creating the world’s best shared experiences through a wide range of visual display and communications options for retail, architectural, digital out of home and corporate environments. Backed by decades of industry experience, award-winning technology and solutions that capture attention, communicate information and deliver experiences, Christie is a one-stop shop for customers, partners, dealers and integrators.

Arsenal Media was advised by Wildon-LJJ Inc. in completing this acquisition.