Publicis is merging media agency networks Spark and Blue 449

Publicis Groupe makes moves to simplify

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Publicis Media is merging its Spark Foundry and Blue 449 media networks, bringing both under the leadership of Spark's global brand president Chris Boothe.

The change comes as Publicis Groupe makes moves to simplify—the holding company's CEO Arthur Sadoun told Ad Age last month the company is "making sure there's less structure," some of which has meant bringing agencies under one roof in cities and killing profit-and-loss statement silos to simplify reporting.

Publicis Groupe launched Blue 449 as a media network in early 2015. The holding company bought London-based Walker Media in late 2013 and rebranded the agency as the first office of the new international media network.

The holding company's Starcom MediaVest Group spun out Spark as an agency network in 2012. The agency network rebranded from "Mediavest Spark" to "Spark Foundry" in July 2017.

While Spark Foundry had a strong 2018, winning media work for Marriott, Lenovo and Southwest Airlines, Blue 449 lost major accounts including global work for Puma and U.S. work for Nintendo.

Publicis Media said in a statement that the Spark Foundry and Blue 449 brands would be retained and work together closely in the France, U.S. and U.K. markets, with Blue 449 predominantly working with domestic clients and Spark focusing on global clients.

In global markets including Australia, China, Canada and others, Blue 449 talent and clients will move over to the Spark Foundry brand.

A company spokesman said where any client conflicts exist, the merged companies are "working to develop a solution that's going to best serve the clients and the talent that we have."

Phil Georgiadis, the global chairman of Blue 449 and Publicis Media U.K. is leaving the company after co-founding Walker Media in the U.K. in 1998. Chris Boothe will lead the expanded global network. In the markets where Blue 449 will continue to operate as a domestic agency, Simon Davis will serve as CEO of Blue 449 U.K.; David Ehlers will be CEO of Blue 449 U.S.; and Pascal Crifo will be CEO of Blue 449 France.

The news of the merger was first reported by Adweek.

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