Mercury Media, the Santa Monica advertising company behind the television commercials for Ronco products, Shark vacuum cleaners, Zumba Fitness and Hoveround wheelchair-styled automated vehicles, said it has acquired iMarketing, a boutique Internet ad firm.
Financial details were not disclosed.
About 30 employees of the Princeton, N.J.-based iMarketing have been absorbed by Mercury Media, said John Barnes, chief executive of Mercury. The transaction closed Dec. 31 and was officially announced this week.
The purchase was designed to give the privately held Mercury a bigger Internet footprint with iMarketing clients including Dow Jones & Co., the parent of the Wall Street Journal, eDiets, Barclays and Yahoo! The 13-year-old iMarketing firm, a survivor of the dot.com boom, last year generated more than $30 million in billings.
Mercury Media specializes in what are known as "direct response" advertisements, which includes infomercials and one- and two-minute TV commercials that frequently end with an announcer encouraging consumers to call a 1-800 telephone number to buy a product directly rather than visiting a retail store.
iMarketing specialties, including search engine marketing and strategy and analytics, will complement Mercury's already-strong television business.
"Our business is moving increasingly to a world that is a hybrid of television and online advertising," Barnes said.
Barnes stressed the continuing importance of television, calling it "the most powerful medium -- there is nothing that compares to it."
Increasingly, however, product makers are more focused on using the Internet to more effectively engage would-be shoppers. "The two parts of media that are growing are the television business and the online business," Barnes said. "That's why this acquisition is a perfect marriage for what we do."
Mercury Media, which started 23 years ago, now boasts about 160 employees in its headquarters in Santa Monica and offices in Marlboro, Mass., Philadelphia and now Princeton. Most work at the Santa Monica headquarters. The company is a leader in the direct-response advertising space.