Although it maintains a lower profile than some of its peers, Publicis developed a reputation as one London's foremost agencies in the 1990s. The local office remains one of the Publicis Worldwide network's main hubs, and a key contributor to global new business pitches. However, performance within the main agency has been quite mercurial since the mid 2000s, partly the result of the continuing consolidation of the parent Groupe's various agency networks. Certainly Publicis London sought to bolster its wider offering through a string of acquisitions in the 2010s including CRM agency Chemistry, digital shop Poke, shopper unit Vivid and content developer August Media. Yet the consolidation process has soldiered on since then. Chemistry was merged into the local arm of Digitas in 2017, and Vivid into a Groupe-wide activation unit under the Arc banner. At the same time, the growing importance of the wider Publicis Communications umbrella over subsidiary agency brands prompted some management turbulence. Local group CEO Guy Wienyk and chairman Karen Buchanan both departed in 2018 and were not replaced, removing a management layer between Publicis London chief executive (and Poke co-founder) Nick Farnhill and Groupe UK country manager Annette King. As had seemed increasingly inevitable, both Poke and Arc were merged into the main Publicis London agency mid 2019 to create a single unit, now known as Publicis.Poke, overseen by Poke's Farnhill. (August Media was sold). His co-founder Nik Roope was initially named as creative chairman but announced his departure soon after the merger, along with several other executives. Nick Farnhill remained CEO of Publicis.Poke until 2021; his successor is John Hadfield. Dave Monk is ECD. However several accounts, including all the agency's P&G business, have transferred to other Groupe units, dragging down billings. Nielsen (for Campaign) estimated billings of £102m in 2020, down by a quarter on the year before, and placing Publicis London as the UK's #16 agency. Legal entity Publicis Ltd reported revenues of £28.6m for 2019 and a net loss of £0.9m.
Capsule checked 4th May 2021
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Historical profile information for Publicis London
Adbrands Daily Update 7th Jul 2021: "Make Life A Little Softer". Fresh from Cannes Lions glory for their femcare range, Essity have launched a new push in Europe for their less well-known babycare range. Publicis.Poke is the long-established second-line agency on the Essity roster behind AMV BBDO, but they too deliver consistently fine creative work for this client. The best advertising is about truth, and anyone with children will recognise this situation instantly. I'm not sure that Lotus nappies do much to help this hard-pressed Dad, but the baby is certainly having a great time. Definitely a star in the making.
Adbrands Daily Update 21st Jun 2021: "Make Good Things Happen". No chance of boredom in Publicis.Poke's hyperactive campaign for UK supermarket Morrisons. What was that? 30 different set-ups in 60 seconds? Plus a healthy serving of digital wizardry. A great spot for the UK's too often overlooked #4 supermarket.
Marketer Moves 17th Jun 2021: New CEO at Publicis.Poke. See Marketer Moves (members only).
Adbrands Daily Update 9th Nov 2019: "30 Years in the Making: The French Exchange". If we're honest, Renault's UK-specific advertising has for at least a decade tended towards the purely functional. There's not been much that's been worth a second look since those great Va Va Voom ads from the early 2000s with Thierry Henry, and before them the long-running Nicole and Papa series in the 1990s. How things change. This gorgeous film from newly combined Publicis.Poke is like a bolt from the blue, demonstrating that Renault UK and its long-serving agency seem themselves to have rediscovered, well, let's say a different sort of Va Va Voom. We won't give away the unexpected twist that comes halfway, but the end result is a wonderfully warm and emotionally satisifying tale. Needless to say it has very little to do with the specific product it's advertising - the revamped Clio - other than to reflect the combination of French spirit and English reserve, and how well they seem to go together.
Adbrands Daily Update 9th Jun 2019: The rolling consolidation of the various agencies under Publicis Groupe's global umbrella continued, with the merger of Publicis London with its activation satellite Arc and digital agency Poke. The latter's management team retain the upper hand in the resulting combination: Poke's Nick Farnhill remains CEO of the newly created Publicis.Poke, with co-founder Nik Roope as creative chairman. Dave Monk remains ECD in the enlarged agency.
Adbrands Weekly Update 15th Nov 2018: Publicis Worldwide announced the departure of UK and Western Europe CEO Guy Wienyk after four years at the network. He will not be directly replaced. The gradual consolidation of Publicis Groupe is eliminating many of the boundaries between individual networks, so Publicis London's chief executive Nick Fairhill will now report to Publicis Groupe UK country manager Annette King.
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