Marketing Digitas

Digitas drops LBi from its name as it moves closer to Publicis Groupe’s media business


By Cameron Clarke, Editor

March 12, 2018 | 5 min read

DigitasLBi will now be known simply as Digitas as part of a rebrand and reorganisation of the digital agency which will see it sit closer to parent company Publicis Groupe's media buying business.


So long, LBi: Digitas's new brand identity

Along with the name change, which takes effect across the agency’s 28 offices around the world today, Digitas has already been moved out of Publicis’s technology arm, PublicisSapient, and into its Publicis Media division to enhance and “clarify” its proposition to clients.

The agency was formed five years ago when Publicis Groupe acquired Amsterdam based LBi (Lost Boys International) and merged it with Digitas to create an almost 6,000-strong global digital network.

But although that partnership of “like minds and complementary services” has succeeded, according to UK chief executive Michael Islip, the agency’s proposition to the market has been in need of some refinement.

“One of the challenges we’ve had is that we haven’t been clear and as simple as we could be in terms of how we go to market,” Islip told The Drum.

“Michael Kahn, our new global brand president, is very clear that he wants us to have a single, consistent global story. [The new name] is clear and it just means we will be consistent wherever we are in the world as Digitas.”

Islip explained that Digitas’s move from the technology arm into the media division is to help distinguish PublicisSapient’s broader “digital business transformation” mission from Publicis Media’s focus on “marketing transformation” more specifically.

The move comes with an added incentive for Digitas, which is taking over the Sky direct marketing business from former stablemate agency SapientRazorfish as a result. And the proximity to the media planning and buying function will give the agency, and in turn its clients, access to greater resources, according to Islip.

“We are partnering very closely with the other media brands in the UK and we are in the process of figuring out how we share some of their amazing capabilities, how we tap into some of the brilliant things Publicis Media has developed over the last couple of years from a performance perspective, trading perspective [and] data perspective,” Islip said. “They’ve also got a complementary content offer.”

The changes come at a time when the chief marketer for one of the world’s biggest advertisers, Procter & Gamble’s Marc Pritchard, is keeping the pressure on agencies to review their processes and demanding greater assurances that digital spend is not being wasted.

Asked whether that had played a part in the changes at Digitas and Publicis Groupe, Islip said: “The group’s been through a large number of audits and passed them all in terms of working practices and transparency.

“That notwithstanding, it is absolutely front of mind for us and I think that’s why we are, as all agencies are, thinking about our business models and thinking about how we ensure the things that we are doing are really adding value.”

As to how Digitas will do that, Islip said: "There’s a lot of people who are saying that certain channels, certain things are dead. ‘It’s the end of whatever'. That’s not our perspective on the world. For a smart, modern marketing approach, you need to consider all of the channels that are available.

“One of the big things you can expect from us is much clearer thinking about what that customer journey needs to be. And how brands can be relevant through that journey."

Digitas's rebrand represents the latest in a string of changes within the marketing services landscape as agencies simplify their services and consolidate their offerings.

Since the turn of the year, CHI&Partners has rebranded as The&Partnership London and five branding agencies have been merged under the new moniker Superunion at WPP, whose chief executive Sir Martin Sorrell has promised more "simplification" of its agency structure is on the way this year.

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