Publicis Groupe Takes Majority Stake in Social Agency Big Fuel Social Marketing Company to Serve as Strategic Social Media Center for VivaKi Agencies

PARIS, July 18, 2011 /PRNewswire/ --


Publicis Groupe [Euronext Paris: FR0000130577] today announced that it has acquired an equity stake in Big Fuel, the New York-based social media agency. According to the terms of the agreement, Publicis Groupe immediately acquires 51% of the new agency, and has the possibility of increasing its participation to 100% from 2014. Big Fuel will be aligned under the VivaKi organization and serve as a strategic social media "center" for the VivaKi agencies Digitas, Razorfish, Starcom MediaVest Group and Zenith Optimedia, complementing their existing teams.  

With more than 170 employees, Big Fuel is one of the only pure-play social media agencies in the industry, with all employees dedicated to providing clients with social media services including strategic, creative, distribution, management and analytics. The company has grown from 30 employees in early 2010, and its 2011 revenue is expected to reach nearly $30M, a 500% increase year-on-year. It has been named social media agency of record for some major marketers, including GM and T-Mobile. Big Fuel also works with Colgate-Palmolive, Microsoft, Clorox, Children's Place, Gore-Tex and Philips.

Big Fuel is headed by Jon Bond, CEO, who assumed the role in January of 2011. Bond runs the agency in partnership with Avi Savar, founding partner and Chief Creative Officer, and Mike McGraw, managing partner and COO.  Big Fuel will report into the VivaKi organization through Laura Lang, global CEO of Digitas and member of the VivaKi Board of Directors.  

"Big Fuel is a dynamic social media agency with a scalable model that encompasses social tools, process, a content studio and a distribution network. As a result, it will extend the creative and content resourcing of Digitas and Razorfish,"said Laura Lang.  "They specialize in taking brands from content to commerce, and their social media operating system has earned them Social AOR status with some of the world's most powerful marketers.  Sitting inside VivaKi, with its powerful media and digital agency networks, Big Fuel gives us unprecedented Paid, Owned and Earned capabilities, further enhancing the social media strategies of its sister agencies."

Jon Bond, CEO of Big Fuel, says the deal will help support Big Fuel's rapid organic growth. "Big Fuel's founder Avi Savar had the vision to create one of the first full-service social media agencies," said Bond.  "Now that social is revolutionizing global marketing, this partnership gives the agency and its clients scale, impact, and a network around the world."

According to Research company eMarketer, worldwide spending on social networks will reach almost $6 billion this year, amounting to $3.1 billion in the US and $2.9 billion in international markets.

About Publicis Groupe:

Publicis Groupe [listed on the Euronext Paris Exchange - FR0000130577 - and part of the CAC 40 index] is the world's third largest communications group. With activities spanning 104 countries, Publicis Groupe employs approximately 50,000 professionals and offers local and international clients a complete range of advertising services through three global networks: Leo Burnett, Publicis, Saatchi & Saatchi, and numerous agencies including Fallon, 49%-owned Bartle Bogle Hegarty, and Kaplan Thaler Group. VivaKi combines digital and media expertise, allowing clients to connect with consumers in a holistic way, with Starcom MediaVest Group and ZenithOptimedia worldwide media networks; and interactive and digital marketing led by Digitas and Razorfish networks.Rosetta is an autonomous consulting and digital marketing  agency. Publicis Groupe offers healthcare communications with Publicis Healthcare Communications Group (PHCG, the first global network in healthcare communications). And with MSLGROUP, one of the world's top five PR and Events networks, also provides expertise in corporate and financial communications, public affairs, branding, and social media marketing.

Website: http://www.publicisgroupe.com | Twitter: @PublicisGroupe | Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/publicisgroupe

About Big Fuel:

Big Fuel is a social media agency based in New York. It takes brands from Content to Commerce, a unique approach that bridges "people stories" to "product stories" through social media and branded content. Big Fuel is one part marketing agency, building brands through consumer insight; one part entertainment company, creating content that people love; and one part distribution company, driving guaranteed results by delivering content to and growing targeted audiences. The company works with major brands, leading agencies, publishers and platforms to help marketers achieve true consumer engagement. Visit Big Fuel at http://www.bigfuel.com.


CONTACTS

Publicis Groupe
Peggy Nahmany, Corporate Communications               +33(0)1-44-43-72-83
Martine Hue, Investor Relations                       +33(0)1-44-43-65-00

Big Fuel
Christine Perez-O'Rourke                                  +1-212-966-9525

Digitas
Jill Kelly, Global Communications                         +1-646-735-7330

VivaKi
Cheri Carpenter, Global Communications                    +1-312-220-6218


SOURCE Publicis Groupe



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