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Publicis Groupe Forms New ‘Mega Region’


We can’t say that the term “mega region” is embedded in our lexicon, but that’s what they’re calling Publicis North America, the new entity that combines Publicis USA and Publicis Canada to create the largest Publicis Groupe region outside of the holding company’s hub in France.

Eleven-year Publicis vet and Publicis USA boss Susan Gianinno has now assumed the role of chairman of the newly expanded region, focusing on global/regional clients and “priority global initiatives” while working in tandem with recently appointed Publicis Worldwide CEO, Arthur Sadoun. Along with her new chairman role, Gianinno will also be heading to Harvard next for a one-year fellowship. Meanwhile, Andrew Bruce, who has spent the last 15 years at Publicis Canada, where he most recently served as president/CEO, will now take on the CEO post of the newly formed Publicis North America.

Regarding the new moves, Publicis Groupe chief Maurice Levy says in a statement, “This is a wonderful and very prestigious appointment for Susan and for us. I am personally very proud of her and expect that she will bring even more to our people and clients during, and after, this experience. I am sure that under this new team leadership, Susan and Andrew, this new mega region will generate great work for our clients and formidable growth.”


Saatchi Health, Wellness to Operate Under One Name, Add Heartbeat Ideas to the Fold


Well, here’s the “interesting news” that we briefly alluded to last week in our post regarding Ned Russell‘s move up the Publicis Healthcare ladder. First off, 15-year-old, bi-coastal, healthcare-focused digital agency Heartbeat Ideas, which boasts 90 staffers and works with notable pharma clients including Novartis, Pfizer and Sanofi, has aligned with the Saatchi & Saatchi healthcare roster. Now, New York-based Saatchi & Saatchi Health and Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness will operate as one entity under the latter name while Heartbeat will now carry the somewhat long-winded name  of “Heartbeat Ideas, a member of Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness” and “Heartbeat West, a member of Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness.” The combined agencies will still be housed under the Publicis Healthcare Communications Group umbrella.

As far as leadership goes, Heartbeat founder/CEO Bill Drummy will remain at the helm at Heartbeat while joining the leadership team at Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness that also co-managing directors Kathy Delaney (who also retains her role as global CCO at PHCG) and JD Cassidy. In a statement, Drummy says, “For fifteen years, we’ve been on a mission to bring a more effective, digitally-forward approach to healthcare marketing.  By becoming a member of Publicis Groupe and Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness, we now have the opportunity to be a critical ingredient in an entirely new agency formulation for healthcare clients, one that is thoughtfully designed to turn the new realities of the rapidly changing healthcare marketplace to our clients’ advantage.”

On another note, while folks on the Spy line have mentioned  staffing adjustments at S&S Health/Wellness a few times over the past week, we’ve been told otherwise by the PHCG camp. We’ll keep you posted if we hear of any more developments. Update: Sources in the know tell us that there are “some people” who have left the organization, but not because of downsizing and Saatchi Saatchi Wellness is currently hiring.

Publicis Officially Acquires Beehive


Well, at least one-half of our post from last week has panned out as Publicis Groupe has officially announced the acquisition of Mumbai-based integrated agency, Beehive Communications. The new entity will be rebranded as, you guessed it, Publicis Beehive and will continue to operate under the director of Beehive founder/CEO Sanjit Shastri, who along with the rest of the leadership team will report to Nakul Chopra, CEO/South Asia for Publicis Worldwide.  In a statement, Publicis Groupe COO Jean-Yves Naouri says, “We are making significant strides toward achieving our goals in India. By adding Beehive to the Publicis network, we will be able to capitalise on a great pool of talent and market potential, as well as strengthen the unparalleled services we provide to our clients.”

The ten-year-old Beehive, which also has a presence in Delhi and Bangalore, houses over 130 employees and is focused on media, digital, reputation management, research and brand activation. Among the 50 or so clients that Beehive currently works with are General Motors, Korea Tourism and Malaysia Tourism. As for fellow Mumbai-based agency Law & Kenneth, which we heard is also being eyed by Publicis Groupe, there’s no word yet on any acquisition moves, but we’ll keep you posted.

Saatchi Wellness MD Russell Moves Up to EVP Post at PHCG

nedrussellWe received a couple of interesting tidbits on the Spy line over the weekend regarding Publicis Healthcare Communications Group, specifically its Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness and Saatchi Health Communications units, which serve as consumer and professional agency, respectively. What we can confirm for now is that Ned Russell, who’s spent the last four-and-a-half years as group managing director of Saatchi Wellness and helped manage Saatchi Health along the way, has moved up to the role of EVP, global development & Publicis Sanofi Lab.

In his new role, Russell will work out of the Publicis Healthcare New York office and serve as the chief liaison and mediator between Publicis Groupe agencies and French pharma giant Sanofi, which we’ve been told is one of the former’s largest clients. Russell, who will begin with a focus in the U.S for the drug maker, will report to Laurence Meyer, the global head of Sanofi at Publicis Groupe in Paris. Prior to Saatchi Wellness, the newly minted EVP spent a few years in a similar role at Arnold and held a worldwide account director position at DDB early on.

As for the Saatchi Health and Wellness divisions, we’ve been hearing a few murmurs but have been told that there will be an “interesting announcement next week” regarding these agencies. Well, guess we’ll have to stay tuned.

Here’s Legacy’s Take on Ex-PKT CEO Koval’s Arrival

robin-koval_mediumWell, while Publicis Kaplan Thaler appears to be keeping quiet on CEO Robin Koval‘s departure, the folks at Legacy, her new employer, were kind enough to send over their official announce of her joining the anti-smoking nonprofit org behind initiatives such at truth and EX. Koval joins Legacy as president/CEO and will replace Cheryl G. Healton, DrPH at the 14-year-old operation.

In a statement, the new chief exec says, “As a marketing leader, I have been a long-time admirer of Legacy and the behavior changing impact of the truth campaign. To be given the opportunity to evolve Legacy’s counter-marketing efforts for a new generation of youth in an environment of ever-increasing communication complexity is an honor and the opportunity of a lifetime. I see this as a natural and very purpose-driven extension of my many years working for healthcare brands and cause-related programs.”

Prior to joining Legacy, Koval, who’s also penned a handful of best-selling books, spent 16 years in all at what is now Publicis Kaplan Thaler. The exec served as president of Kaplan Thaler Group prior to the merger in summer 2012, which resulted in her being promoted to CEO of the new entity.

Alexandre Mars Out at Publicis?

alexandremars1Well, after hearing rumblings about Alexandre Mars and Publicis parting ways, we made some calls to the holding company, which revealed that the exec is not even in the agency’s global directory at this point. So, one can deduce that the exec, who’s spent the last six years as head of mobile at the holding company as well as CEO of its mobile marketing unit, Phonevalley, is no longer on the roster. Calls to Phonevalley itself were immediately answered by an automated message saying “your call cannot be completed as dialed” so what to make of all this? Is it even in existence at this point? Who knows, but in 2001, Mars founded Phonevalley, which was eventually bought up by Publicis Groupe in 2007 and expanded globally to China, India and Singapore a year later. We’ll let you know if we find out more.

We Hear: Is Publicis Making Further Inroads into India?


In a quick shout-out to the motherland, a few sources have been telling us this week that Publicis Groupe is on the verge of announcing the acquisition of majority stakes in Beehive Communications and Law & Kenneth, which are both headquartered in Mumbai but have offices throughout India. Both Beehive and L&W have been operating for a decade give or take and are full-service agencies. From what we’ve been told by tipsters, this is part of Publicis Groupe’s “aggressive investment plan” in India. Perhaps they’re on to something.

Late last year, the holding company acquired digital agency iStrat and brand marketing consultancy MarketGate. Then this past April, Publicis bought up acquired ecommerce technology services provider Neev and launched Razorfish in India, creating a new entity called Neev Razorfish in the process. Are Beehive and L&W next? Well, we’ve been told an announcement could come at any time this week. We’ve put in inquiries to all parties (there is that time difference thing, you know) and are awaiting word. We’ll keep you posted.

Ad Guys Just Talking, Part II: Does the Omnicom-Publicis Merger Make Sense?

And so, the conversation continues between PSFK CEO Piers Fawkes, MEC’s Scott Schwartz and Huge creative director Ross Maupin, who follow up yesterday’s chat about the importance of Advertising Week by discussing the elephant in the room that is the Omnicom/Publicis Groupe merger. Is it good or bad for the industry? Does it make sense? Well, let’s let the lads weigh in. Note: The overall conversation between our participants actually lasted well over 30 minutes, but seeing as it’s all short attention span theater nowadays, we’re offering up quick soundbites for now. Who knows, maybe we’ll have extended versions to come as they had plenty to say, but for now, on with the show.


Publicis Kaplan Thaler, CSO Holden Part Ways

Sources familiar with the matter confirm that Jeremy Holden, who’s served as chief strategy officer for the East region at Publicis Kaplan Thaler for nearly two years, is leaving to start his own consultancy business in North Carolina (which he’s done prior to PKT), where he lives. During his time at PKT, Holden worked out of the Raleigh-Durham office, handling duties including brand/digital/social strategy, engagement planning, CRM and analytics for clients ranging from P&G to Citi to Nestle.

Along with Publicis Kaplan Thaler, Holden, a 20-plus year ad vet who’s also a published author, worked for decade on the account planning side at McKinney. No word on immediate plans to replace.

Atlanta Agency ASO Mocks Omnicom/Publicis Merger with Parody Pitch Video

For the last few weeks, all we ever think about during our waking hours is the Omnicom/Publicis merger and how lucky we are to be living in a time where something this momentous happens. Truly, we wake up now with a new sense of purpose and self-worth knowing that two giant holding companies merged to make the biggest holding company.

However, not everyone shares our enthusiasm, chief among them Atlanta-based indie shop Ames Scullin O’Haire. They made the above video to convince us that the merger wasn’t a good thing and doesn’t really benefit anyone beyond the rich people in charge of the agency networks who are now richer. “Bigger isn’t always better” says ASO, who is small and would totally say something like that to besmirch the good name of Publicis-Omnicom Groupe.

Will all of Atlanta’s biggest businesses pull their money from large agencies and invest in ASO after seeing this video? To be honest, yes. Definitely.