160over90, the 185-person, Center City-based branding and marketing firm that resurrected the 50-year-old Eagles-fans-throwing-snowballs-at-Santa Claus meme on social media last year, has been purchased by New York-based Endeavor Global Marketing.
Endeavor and 160over90 wouldn’t comment on the price, but a person familiar with the terms confirmed the $200 million figure reported by the Wall Street Journal. The sale comes less than two years after founders Shannon Price Slusher and Darryl Cilli sold the firm to Searchlight Capital Partners in Toronto for $175 million.
160over90 chief executive John Campanella says he and his team will continue to run the business, reporting to Endeavor marketing chief Ed Horne. Slusher and Cilli will continue to work with the Eagles and other big clients like UCLA, Ferrari, Under Armour, Bimbo, and Thomas Jefferson University, Campanella added.
What did they do, for example, for the Eagles? “We’re storytellers,” Campanella told me. “It’s our job to help make the Eagles feel intrinsic to Philadelphia,” even in years when they don’t win the Super Bowl. “New York is an entertainment town, D.C. is a political town, but Philly is a sports town. Wake people up in the middle of the night, they can sing the Eagles fight song. The team has built that over years. So, we help create a level of connectivity and engagement with the fans that goes far beyond the field or what happens on a weekend. You can’t promise how the team will perform. You can promise a level of commitment to do the work to get it right. And to highlight the things that make [the Eagles] special.”
Which is how Eagles fans’ once-infamous 1968 snowball shellacking of Santa Claus was resurrected as a string of what Campanella calls “great snackable pieces of social media” onto Instagram and YouTube accounts and the website FlyEaglesFly.com this year. “Snowballs and Santa Claus,” he said. “We launched content reminding people. We have Santa Claus at a diner, with a talking snowball, going over that moment from 50 years ago.”
Eagles team staff went for it? “We had to talk them into why this was the right thing to do. It’s all about storytelling and feeling a genuine connection to the brand.”
160over90’s former owner Searchlight followed through on its pledge to expand the firm, which then employed 150. Most of 160over90’s employees (the name represents high blood pressure) are based at its 510 Walnut St. headquarters with others in Newport Beach, Calif.; Columbus, Ohio; and Gainesville, Fla.
Horne said 160over90 “will further strengthen [Endeavor’s] ability to deliver strategic narratives that place brands at the center of culture.”
Endeavor employs more than 500, for clients including the brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev, General Electric Corp., Marriott hotels, Microsoft, Visa credit cards, and the YMCA.