Spark Foundry is the #3 media network within Publicis Groupe, formed from the demerger of Mediavest from the old Starcom Mediavest business and its combination with what was previously another separate unit within the wider group, Spark Communications. COMvergence estimated billings of $8.1bn for 2019. That year, Spark Foundry also absorbed most of the global outposts of sister network Blue 449. Three offices of Blue 449 remain in the US, UK and France, reporting into the Spark Foundry network. The combined billings from Spark Foundry and Blue 449 would push the merged business back into the Top Ten. AdAge estimated combined global revenues of $615m in 2018. Chris Boothe is global president. Spark Foundry traces its roots back to 1999, and the creation of Starlink as a Chicago-based satellite to the main Starcom media division within Leo Burnett. Its original aim was to serve as a media partner to smaller agencies also under the Burnett umbrella. A year later, the merger of Leo Burnett and D'Arcy led to the combination of their own respective media units as Starcom MediaVest, and in 2003 Starlink began offering its services directly to smaller clients who would have been swamped within the main agency. In 2007 it rebranded as Spark Communications, specialising in digital media, still mainly for smaller clients. It was relaunched yet again in 2012 as a standalone network in its own right, operating as a third media brand alongside Starcom and MediaVest, which had remained separate units in the US and a handful of other markets as a result of client conflicts. The "Mediapalooza" review frenzy of 2015 created a new opportunity for the business. MediaVest was one of the agencies most badly damaged by that sweeping overhaul of traditional planning and buying relationships, losing its two key US clients Coca-Cola and P&G. As a result, Publicis took the decision to overhaul its media structure, and phase out its two weaker brands of MediaVest and Optimedia (then part of ZenithOptimedia). MediaVest's remaining standalone operations merged with Spark to create MediaVest Spark. In 2017, the MediaVest name was dumped altogether.
Capsule checked 16th August 2019
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Account assignments & selected contact information
Adbrands Account Assignments tracks account management for the world's leading brands and companies, including details of which advertising agency handles which accounts in which countries for major markets.
Adbrands Weekly Update 19th Jul 2018: Publicis Groupe captured global media for Lenovo computers and mobile devices (including the Moto brand). A new dedicated entity is being created under the banner of Publicis One Media, to be underpinned by Spark Foundry and data unit Performics. The account was previously split between several different agencies including MullenLowe Mediahub in the US, indie Total Media in most of Europe and Mediaplus in Germany.
Adbrands Weekly Update 15th Mar 2018: It took a few months but Arthur Sadoun's reinvigoration of Publicis Groupe is now delivering consistent results, forcing sceptics - and we were among them - to eat their doubts. Mondelez appointed the Groupe's Spark Foundry network to take charge of North American media, with support on digital from VaynerMedia. The business represents a substantial loss for incumbent Carat. The rest of Mondelez' global media account is still in review.
Adbrands Weekly Update 8th Mar 2018: WPP's newly merged Wavemaker media network has had an abysmal first few months of existence. In the latest client defection, hotel giant Marriott International is moving its entire global media account to Publicis Groupe. Billings across Marriott's 30 or so brands - among them Sheraton, W, Le Meridien, Ritz-Carlton - are around $250m. Publicis is creating a new dedicated unit, Marriott One Media, as a joint venture between Spark Foundry and SapientRazorfish.
Adbrands Weekly Update 13th Jul 2017: It's hard to keep up with all the changes at Publicis Groupe, where almost everything has been in a state of continuous flux for three years. It must all be quite confusing for staff to know which company they actually work for (but a great moneyspinner for whoever prints their business cards). The latest development is yet another reinvention of one of the group's second-string media networks. Following on from the break-up of Starcom MediaVest last year, the latter brand was split out and combined with smaller network Spark to form MediaVest Spark. Now it's all change again with the elimination of the MediaVest name and that network's relaunch as Spark Foundry. US CEO Chris Boothe trotted out the usual platitudes about 'evolving our brand' and 'meeting marketplace needs'. "By extending our startup spirit and powerhouse soul across the globe and simplifying our name," he said, "we're sharing the heat that has fuelled our growth for the past five years. This is sure to benefit our clients and talent."
Adbrands Weekly Update 12th Jan 2017: There was proof once again that, in the media buying business, today's joy can quickly turn into tomorrow's misery. Publicis Media's end-of-2016 gains of Fiat Chrysler and a greater share of global Mars were all but obliterated by two beginning-of-2017 losses. American Honda reversed a decision made three years ago to move media for the Honda and Acura brands from indie RPA to what is now MediaVest Spark. That $600m account will now move back to RPA. Meanwhile Starcom will surrender media for Coca-Cola Company in China to a newly created unit of Dentsu Aegis Network, to be baptised Dentsu Coca-Cola Community.
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