RALEIGH—French/West/Vaughan has acquired a majority interest in Distill, one of Raleigh’s hottest creative shops over the past half decade. As a result of the deal, a new advertising agency will be formed under the FWV Distilled name that will be a sister agency and affiliate of the French/West/Vaughan public relations firm. Terms of the deal between the two firms were not disclosed.
Adam Cohen, founder of Distill, will run the day-to-day operations of FWV Distilled as executive creative director and partner, working closely with FWV president and CEO Rick French. Cohen is an award-winning writer, art director and illustrator who began his agency career in Raleigh in the early 90s before moving to San Francisco in 1995, where he was a senior copywriter for Ketchum Advertising and freelanced for a number of leading San Francisco agencies before launching Distill upon his return to Raleigh in 2001.
“Adam is exactly the kind of creative force I have been looking to align FWV with for some time,” says French. Over the past three years, FWV and Distill have combined to capture nearly three dozen local American Advertising Federation ADDY awards.
FWV Distilled will be positioned as an advertising boutique housed in its own space within FWV’s headquarters in downtown Raleigh. The new agency will employ eight people, plus several full-time contractors, but is expected to grow quickly as the firms realize synergies between their respective client lists. Talks between the two began several months ago when the two firms began working together on some joint projects.
“Distill has been looking to expand beyond its predominantly creative focus and FWV was looking to build upon the legacy of its strong advertising portfolio, so the conversation between Rick and myself evolved naturally into how we could accomplish both goals. With this deal, we’ve done exactly that,” says Cohen.