FCB Chicago has taken a leap forward in building its business offering with the acquisition of premier environmental design firm Chute Gerdeman. The Columbus, Ohio-based firm will now align with FCB/RED, its award-winning retail and shopper marketing division, to deliver full omnichannel retail marketing and connected physical branded experiences.
The acquisition is a significant one. FCB/RED offers its clients expertise in retail marketing, branded content and experiences, activation, and digital. It has often worked with third-party teams to provide full-store environmental design scale and build out. Chute Gerdeman, with a core competency in the retail and restaurant categories, fills this space in FCB/RED’s offerings and brings a proven track record of retail design innovation for well-known brands around the world over its 28-year history.
The newly expanded retail shopper division will be led by Tina Manikas, president of FCB/RED, and is poised to become a dominant player in the industry while also enhancing the overall offering FCB provides to existing and potential clients.
“We’re thrilled to have the Chute Gerdeman team come together with our retail shopper division,” says Manikas. “As a recognized industry leader, they bring a unique offering and distinguished track record of creating branded environments that, when paired with our capabilities, will allow us to deliver seamless experiences that keep the shopper at the heart of everything we do.”
FCB/RED and Chute Gerdeman first teamed up in 2016 and began to work together on several new business opportunities. The ongoing partnership made the business move a natural one that would ultimately bolster each team’s capabilities.
“Creating Chute Gerdeman and growing the company has been my life’s work,” says Denny Gerdeman, chairman of Chute Gerdeman. “The people here have been essential to its success and I owe it to them to ensure a path forward. FCB/RED acquiring Chute Gerdeman creates a way to do just that. This is an opportunity for our team to expand their already vast retail and restaurant knowledge all while exposing them to new methods of strategy and design.”
Although the FCB/RED and Chute Gerdeman teams will now come together more seamlessly on retail shopper initiatives, Chute Gerdeman will retain its name and Columbus office, as well as its full complement of strategic, creative, and implementation teams.
Since its founding in 1989 by Elle Chute and Denny Gerdeman, Chute Gerdeman has risen to become a global leader in retail environmental design, creating customer experiences for hundreds of the world’s most recognizable brands. Their work has secured more than 175 awards to date, earning its place as a leading design firm within the industry.
“This partnership will allow for more opportunities to effectively and proactively engage and solve the challenges of retail today,” adds Brian Shafley, CEO, Chute Gerdeman. “Chute Gerdeman’s proven ability to deliver best-in-class physical experiences connecting with shoppers corresponds perfectly with FCB/RED’s shopper marketing and insights expertise.”
The acquisition also highlights the evolution of today’s retail industry and the value in offering an end-to-end retail solution for companies with a brick-and-mortar presence. As brick-and-mortar retail continues to merge with online experiences, customers are still visiting physical locations on their path to purchase, often finalizing their retail transactions in store as opposed to online.
“Over the past several years, we’ve seen significant growth of our business,” says Michael Fassnacht, president and CEO, FCB Chicago. “We’re confident the alignment between Chute Gerdeman and FCB/RED will not only continue that momentum, but also provide a comprehensive solution for clients searching for retail shopper offerings, while also benefitting the FCB network. We look forward to the great work and partnership.”