Publicis London, Poke and Arc merge into single integrated agency

New unit is called Publicis.Poke.

Farnhill: now chief executive of Publicis.Poke
Farnhill: now chief executive of Publicis.Poke

Publicis Worldwide UK is merging three of its agencies, Publicis London, Poke and Arc, into a single integrated shop.

The new agency, called Publicis.Poke and with a combined 245 staff, is the latest move by Publicis Groupe to break down siloes within and between agencies as per the mandate of chief executive Arthur Sadoun.

The three agencies will remain housed at 82 Baker Street in London, but are being restructured internally around an "audience-centric" approach in which a wider range of disciplines can be offered to existing and prospective clients.

Nick Farnhill, who was promoted to Publicis Worldwide UK chief executive at the start of this year, will lead the agency as chief executive of Publicis.Poke.

Farnhill, who was former chief executive of creative agency Publicis London and co-founder and chief executive of digital shop Poke, has taken on some of the responsibilities previously held by Guy Wieynk, who departed in 2018.

He said: "Planning and creating Publicis.Poke has been like starting over with all the excitement and opportunity that comes with launching a new business. We’re tech optimists passionate about building future-fit brands that strive to deliver living ideas in a connected world.

"Bringing together the diverse and specialist talent we have across our current businesses into a single new creative company will transform the way we operate, execute ideas and grow." 

Publicis London executive creative director Dave Monk becomes executive creative director of Publicis.Poke and has been charged with leading the combined agency’s creative department. 

Publicis.Poke has appointed Poke co-founder and executive creative director Nicolas Roope as creative chair. He will support Monk to deliver the agency’s integrated offering.

Trent Patterson, currently managing director of Publicis London, will expand his role as managing director of the new agency. 

Monk, Roope and Patterson will all report to Farnhill and work closely with him. 

Publicis London’s chief strategy officer, Dom Boyd, exited the agency last month and is not being replaced. Sol Ghafoor, head of strategy at Poke, becomes head of strategy at Publicis.Poke.

The agency said the integrated structure has already proven successful for the Heineken and EE accounts and, as a newly formed single team, it will be able to scale this collaborative approach.

Publicis Worldwide handles the digital and creative accounts for Heineken and its "World’s most shared moments" won three IPA Effectiveness Awards (The Tim Broadbent Prize for Best International, Best Multi-Market and a silver) last year. 

EE works with Poke and Arc on digital and retail respectively and a joint team from the two agencies has been working together on activation briefs.

Arc, the shopper agency, became part of Publicis Worldwide and merged with Vivid Brand in 2017. It had previously been part of Publicis Groupe stablemate Leo Burnett’s network. 

Publicis acquired Poke, founded in 2001 by Farnhill and Roope alongside Peter Beech and Tom Hostler, from Mother Holdings and its founding partners in 2013.

Publicis Worldwide UK headquarters

August, the content agency bought by Publicis Worldwide in 2015, will continue under its own brand with Farnhill as chief executive.

Annette King, chief executive of Publicis Groupe UK, added: "This is a significant moment that sees our Publicis Groupe strategy manifest into a new kind of agency, which combines specialist talent and skills to better service our clients.

"Publicis.Poke is a desiloed agency that brings fluidity to all the places that a brand can exist and one that recognises technology has created a continuous world for consumers."

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