The Mars Agency broadens its Australasian operations, acquiring The In Group

The Mars Agency has become an undeniable leader in experiential marketing across the ANZ region through the acquisition of The In Group, New Zealand’s foremost brand activation agency.

Coupled with the spring 2022 acquisition of Australia-based XPO Brands, the deal solidifies The Mars Agency’s status as an ideal partner for both local-market and regional brand activation. It also provides the strong foundation the agency needs to bring their full complement of best-in-class connected commerce capabilities to New Zealand.

“The In Group is well known for their relentless focus on results, their precise execution, and most of all for the passion they bring to everything they do,” said Sally Tobin, Managing Director of The Mars Agency ANZ. “They are the perfect partner for building brand experiences that will resonate with shoppers at the local level while driving client success throughout the region.”

In less than two years, The Mars Agency has rapidly expanded their commerce marketing capabilities in Australia beyond shopper and experiential to encompass retail media, ecommerce, and analytics. By partnering with The In Group, it can now apply that successful formula for growth in New Zealand as well.

“With the resources and expertise of The Mars Agency supporting us, we’ll be able to drive even greater success for our clients in numerous ways as we grow our business internally,” said Chris Coffey, The In Group’s Founder and Managing Director, who will continue leading local activity in her current role. “I’m beyond excited to start this next chapter in our history.”

Coffey launched The In Group 16 years ago after recognising the need for more effective, results-driven product sampling and brand activation in the CPG and healthcare marketplaces while serving in high-level marketing and management roles at GSK (now Haleon), Microsoft and Grey Worldwide.

Since then, The In Group has established themselves as New Zealand’s leading agency for creating and executing brand experiences that delight consumers and drive results for brands. The list of top clients includes Woolworths, Nestlé, and Clorox.

The acquisition continues U.S.-based The Mars Agency’s ongoing international expansion, which began in 2010 with the opening of a London office. This aggressive global growth is enabling the agency to support their roster of blue-chip clients in a truly global fashion while gaining new clients in each region. Mars now offers full-service capabilities across numerous world markets.

“We’re aligning ourselves with best-in-class organisations around the world to provide marketing excellence wherever our clients need it,” said Rob Rivenburgh, Global CEO of The Mars Agency. “The  talent, passion and relentless focus on results that has made The In Group New Zealand’s leading brand experience agency is exactly the foundation we need to launch our full suite of services in the region.”  

Founded by Tobin in 2013, XPO Brands has become an award-winning leader in shopper and experiential marketing by continuously pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in connecting brands with consumers. Since joining The Mars Agency, XPO has rapidly extended that passion and expertise into all areas of connected commerce, and recently  strengthened its offering in eCommerce, appointing Gavin McColl as eCommerce Director.

About The Mars Agency

The Mars Agency is an award-winning, independently owned, global Commerce Marketing practice. With talent around the world, they connect people, technology, and intelligence to make their clients’ businesses better today than they were yesterday. Established in 2022 through the acquisition of regional shopper and brand activation leaders XPO Brands, The Mars Agency Australia now boasts capabilities across the full connected commerce landscape.

About The In Group

Since 2008, The In Group has created opportunities for consumers to experience and trial retail brands in unique, engaging ways that deliver industry-leading results for clients, from in-store demonstrations to mass product sampling, to experiential activations and more. The company has earned a reputation for their innovative solutions, seamless execution, and passionate interaction with both consumers and clients.