Growth is the word at Pipitone advertising agency
Pipitone Group's unasssuming, three-story headquarters nestled in a Pittsburgh neighborhood had been an appliance store, a grocery store, then a video store before Scott Pipitone renovated it for his advertising agency in 1999.
Now, the Observatory Hill office houses the former Vance Wright Adams ad agency that Pipitone Group acquired in mid-July. The deal added 11 employees to Pipitone's 30, and bolstered Pipitone's position as one of the largest ad agencies in Western Pennsylvania, especially in the area of online marketing, or digital media.
“The merger was about adding fire power and more bench strength,” said Pipitone from inside the building's sleek, modern interior.
Pipitone is especially strong in digital media, while Vance Wright Adams adds depth to design, packaging and direct-mail capabilities. Plus, the two had only one common client (PPG Industries Inc.), so the merger represented a net positive for business volume, he said.
The agency's client base is “very diversified” in manufacturing, higher education, banking and finance, health care and nonprofits, Pipitone said. No single client represents more than 10 percent of revenue, which was about $5.3 million last year, he said.
“I suspect the merger will be good for both firms,” said Rob Deaner, president of the Pittsburgh Advertising Federation and founding partner of Market Street Sound, an audio production company, Downtown.
Deaner said the combined depth of design and digital media capabilities means Pipitone can work within “budgets constrained by clients and the economy” because they don't need to involve third parties for production.
Aside from PPG, clients include H.J. Heinz Co., Giant Eagle, Grove City College, Highmark Foundation and the Northside Leadership Conference.
Pipitone's digital media employees do Web page development, mobile app design and website analytics, which enable clients to discern who is visiting their website and for what reason.
For example, Pipitone's Web analytics helped PPG increase sales of flat glass by monitoring visitors' activity on the manufacturer's website and scoring the activity in terms of readiness to make a purchase.
“We alert the client's sales force when a (prospect) scores high, and they are ripe for a sale,” Pipitone said. “People don't want to be called until they are ready to buy.”
The ad agency, which designed PPG's flat-glass website in 2006, has kept the paint, glass and specialty products manufacturer “on the leading edge” in terms of web tools and content, said Robert Struble, manager of brand and communication strategy at PPG's Flat Glass unit in Harmar.
“In commercial construction, nothing happens until the architect has a sample in his hands,” Struble said. “Very quickly, we know that works.”
In early July, Pipitone and client PPG received the 2013 Excellence in Advertising Award from McGraw-Hill Construction Media and Architectural Record magazine for the agency's online promotion of PPG paint and glass products.
Axiall Water Treatment Products, Monroeville, became a Pipitone client in 1994 with the agency providing label designs, said Frank Schiffman, senior marketing manager at Axiall, which manufactures water-treatment systems for residential, commercial and industrial markets.
“Now, they do everything from brochures to website development, package design and strategic planning — a whole menu of services,” Schiffman said.
Such capabilities are a long way from Pipitone's tool kit when he founded the agency in the living room of his apartment in the North Side in 1992 while working as a graphics designer for a local company.
Today, with more growth in his plan, Pipitone is focused on his next acquisition: a three-story building next door, which he hopes to renovate for more space to expand.
Thomas Olson is a Trib Total Media staff writer. He can be reached at 412-320-7854 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- New York Fed chief defends supervision of banks before Senate panel
- Pennsylvania unemployment rate drops to six-year low
- Highmark and UPMC feud over canceled physician contracts
- Westmoreland County’s Excela Health rethinks patient debts
- Hospital system rethinks debts
- Los Angeles Auto Show builds reputation for high-performance luxury debuts
- Health care, gas drilling industries await Gov.-elect Wolf’s footprint
- Generic drug price spikes draw Senate inquiry
- Federal Reserve to review its oversight of big banks
- Takata evasive to panel on safety
- Falling gasoline prices ease inflation pressure