Publicis strengthens digital with capabilities merger of LBi and Digitas

MUMBAI: France-based media communications agency network Publicis Groupe will be merging the newly acquired digital agency LBi with its existing digital network Digitas. The merger is an effort towards forming a fully integrated global digital agency network, with digital marketing and technology capabilities at the core.

The new network will be named DigitasLBi and be led by LBi chief executive Luke Taylor, who has been appointed DigitasLBi global CEO. He will report directly to Publicis Groupe Digital Technology Division CEO Bob Lord. Colin Kinsella will continue in his role as Digitas North America chief executive while Ewen Sturgeon remains LBi, Europe, Middle East and Asia chief executive.

Along with sister Publicis Groupe digital brands Razorfish and Rosetta, DigitasLBi cements Publicis Groupe‘s ambitions in the area of digital for its clients and the future of the communications sector. Publicis Groupe‘s share of revenue derived from digital operations is now over 35 per cent, enhancing its ability to deliver innovative and best-in-class services to clients.

DigitasLBi will be a complete digital agency network leveraging the longstanding dominance of Digitas in the USA - where it is the largest digital agency - with LBi‘s strong position in Europe and the leading position enjoyed by both agencies in Asia Pacific. DigitasLBi will comprise 5,700 best-in-class digital and technology experts in 25 countries around the world. DigitasLBi clients include American Express, Coca-Cola, Delta, eBay, L‘Oréal, Johnson & Johnson, Mondelez P&G, Nissan, Sprint and Starbucks.

Digitas and LBi share strong grounding in digital, including data, direct, social, search and platform delivery. Pooling these skill sets, DigitasLBi‘s service offering will provide clients with unique depth and breadth of expertise across a wide range of digital disciplines, including strategy and analytics, performance marketing, service design, e-commerce, brand strategy, content development, mobile, market research, CRM, search and social media.

The new digital network‘s "end-to-end" proprietary technology suite will include LBi‘s Audience Engagement Platform as well as Digitas‘ CRM365 Intelligence Platform and award-winning BrandLIVE. The combination of these technologies and surrounding services will allow DigitasLBi to form a uniquely perceptive view of the customer and distribute creative content efficiently across earned, owned and paid media channels, driving marketing effectiveness and delivering better value to brands.

Publicis Groupe Chairman and CEO Maurice Lévy said, "Advertisers need a truly integrated and global digital network that can anticipate trends, forecast the ‘next‘, while constantly innovating in our ever-changing world. The combination of Digitas and LBi will create the world‘s leading concentration of digital skills and competencies in the world, capable of delivering solutions to all clients, everywhere. The formation of DigitasLBi is an essential landmark. It will certainly be the most competitive, attractive network in the market for both clients and talent."

A team of senior LBi, Digitas and Publicis Groupe executives will oversee the merger process under the leadership of Digitas and Razorfish International CEO Stephan Beringer, ensuring flawless delivery of the newly enhanced service offering to clients in every geography.

Lord said, "One of the key strategic tenets of the combined DigitasLBi offering is the scalable, flexible technology and product suite that will help meet the full spectrum of marketer needs from audience engagement, to sense-and-respond content development and publishing, to real-time relationship marketing. This is an exciting union between two powerful brands, with complementary strengths in product and service that will redefine the role of an agency."

Taylor said, "DigitasLBi represents for the first time that insight, content and distribution has been brought together in one agency, providing clients with a truly integrated, best-in-class, global offering."

The creation of DigitasLBi will not affect MRY, which will remain a standalone entity under the leadership of founder and Chief Executive Matt Britton. With an enhanced headcount and service offering, MRY will continue to operate as an integrated agency with a social center of gravity.

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