It was eight years ago Rick Kuluz, managing director of Boost Promotions (formerly Crippz Promotions) bought the agency, and in that time, he’s watched the promotion marketing industry move from a product-driven one to an ideas and solution-driven one. Now, with the acquisition of apparel and gift business Mr Vintage and its reputation for producing quirky products, he’s hoping to give the agency’s creativity a boost.
“It helps to differentiate ourselves from other promo companies out there,” Kuluz says, adding that it’s not just about branded pens and logos on uniforms and mugs—it wants to create custom promotional merchandise.
“We’re not just here to run off a thousand branded pens – we’re interested in lasting strategic partnerships.”
Kuluz says businesses like being associated with well-known brands and he expects clients will leverage Boost Promotion for Mr Vintage offerings that can bring something different to products, rather than just having another generic branded product.
At the same time, Mr Vintage will be able to leverage Boost Promotion's clients as the corporate product space is one its founder, Rob Ewan, has been wanting to do for a while.
“Becoming part of a bigger company like Boost means our team can be spliced into the infrastructure of the company and both our brands can deliver an enhanced experience. We’re combining muscle power and size with a can-do Kiwi brand to engineer something unique to the market,” Ewan says.
Despite the coming together of capabilities, Kuluz says there shouldn’t be any noticeable changes to the Mr Vintage business as he doesn’t want to affect the look and feel of a brand that’s earned a massive following since Ewan started printing t-shirts and selling them on TradeMe 12 years ago. Since then, it’s grown into a website with retail stores as well as spreading across the ditch to Australia.
“I’m very conscious of maintaining all the things Mr Vintage stands for and we’re very protective of that brand and we really wish to enhance that and just grow it,” Kuluz says.
By bringing Mr Vintage's screen-printing capabilities in-house, Kuluz says it will be able to do short runs and quick turnarounds for clients, as well as produce mock up samples. However, he does say it still intends to outsource most screen-printing work.
The acquisition follows a massive change to the agency itself, with a rebrand from Crippz Promotions to Boost Promotions and a relaunched website in May. Kuluz says the original name came from the agency’s founder 30 years ago and it was time for something new.
Trying something new has been Kuluz's way with the agency since buying it eight years ago as he's brought six other promo companies into the fold—Mr Vintage being the seventh addition.
He says the promotional marketing industry is fractured with a population of numerous small players and very few large players. Moving out of the chemical manufacturing industry to try something new, he saw an opportunity to make an agency with critical mass.
“I’m not an ex-promo guy that’s built around himself, I came into the business from the outside and hopefully looked at it objectively and said ‘why can’t we build this?’”
Today, he says that acquisition and investment have given Boost Promotions scale, with offices in Auckland and Wellington with a total of 22 staff.
“We have created scale predominately by acquisition and have invested heavily in new systems, technology, quality and staff. Our people are specialists in their various roles, which allows them to apply their skills to their respective areas of expertise,” he says.