Publicis Modem and Publicis Dialog were formerly the main digital and direct marketing units within the Publicis Worldwide network, but have been gradually phased out as a global network since 2010. Local units were either absorbed into the main Publicis agency, merged with acquired businesses, such as Nurun, or supplanted by the expanding Digitas and Razorfish networks. A handful of Publicis Dialog and Publicis Modem offices remain in smaller markets like, for example, Switzerland and Bulgaria.
The Publicis Group spun out its first direct marketing subsidiary in France in 1989, followed by the rebranding other European outposts. Several of these were originally branded as FCB Direct, but were acquired from True North following the dissolution of the FCB/Publicis European network (see Publicis Group profile for details). They were rebranded as Publicis Dialog in 1996. In 1998, the group established a US outpost with the acquisition of EvansGroup, followed by the purchase and merger of local agencies Gramercy Group and Lobsenz/Stevens a year later. In 2000 the network absorbed Publicis's Global Event System event planning and management agency. In 2001, these were joined by corporate and investor relations consulting firms, Geltzer & Co, Fabianne Gershon Associates and The Hudson Stone Group, all of which bolstered the group's investor relations offering. In Switzerland, the Publicis Dialog office was merged with leading local DM agency Fisch Meier Direkt.
The group added a Japanese outpost with the acquisition of Japanese firm Gravitas in early 2002, as well as three agencies in France - Media Publics, an agency specialized in incentive programs; Sales Story, a relationship marketing agency; and ECA 2 in events communication. Property marketing company Infracom was acquired in 2005. In 2006, the Publicis Group acquired China-based marketing services company Betterway, which offers a wide range of services from creative development and sales promotion to sampling, trade activation, direct marketing and events in more than 50 cities across the country. The company was aligned with Publicis Dialog.
Also in 2002, Publicis Dialog absorbed the interactive teams formerly operating separately under the Publicis Networks brand. Originally known as Publicis.Net, it was established as a separate division in 2000 to combine existing non-US digital businesses under a single umbrella. The intention was ultimately to float the business, but this plan was later dropped as the internet boom turned to bust. After that local interactive businesses were either closed down or absorbed into Publicis Dialog.
In 2007, following the parent group's acquisition of digital agency Modem Media, the interactive marketing departments of each Publicis Dialog outpost adopted the new name Publicis Modem. Former Publicis Dialog CEO Colin Hearn left the company, and was replaced by Modem Media's Martin Reidy. After that the two agency brands worked side-by-side, usually out of the same offices.
Four months later, the group acquired highly regarded French digital agency Wcube, which became the Parisian outpost of Publicis Modem. In 2009, Reidy left the company, and was replaced as CEO by Jean-Philippe Maheu. Further acquisitions swelled the reach of Publicis Modem. In 2010, for example, the network acquired Brazilian digital agency AG2, which was merged with the local Modem office to form AG2 Publicis Modem. From that year onwards, though, most existing Publicis Modem and Publicis Dialog outposts began to be reabsorbed into local offices of Publicis Worldwide. The last major global outpost of Publicis Dialog, in Paris, was absorbed into Leo Burnett in 2016. Publicis Modem Paris - the former Wcube - was discontinued in 2015 after being absorbed into what became Nurun Paris. Belgian agency Duval Guillaume adopted the Modem tag for a while following its acquisition by Publicis, but it was later dropped.
Another important office was traditionally Germany, where the local arm of Modem was known for many years as P//MOD. It finally adopted the Publicis Modem name in 2010. In 2012, the group agreed terms for the acquisition of local digital independent Pixelpark, which also owned the Elephant Seven and Yellow Tomato brands. These agencies were merged with existing operations under the name Publicis Pixelpark. The UK presence for the Publicis Dialog brand was terminated in 2011 following the acquisition of local independent Chemistry, which absorbed the local operations of both Dialog and Modem.
Last full revision 8th February 2017
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