ABR 2011: SapientNitro

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Alan Herrick
Alan Herrick

Principal: Alan Herrick, President and CEO
Ownership: Independent
Offices: 35 wholly owned globally; 17 in US
Revenue: Global: $515 million; US: $350 million


SapientNitro is benefiting from a business model that took shape after interactive specialist Sapient bought creative shop Nitro in mid-2009, uniting the two entities into a single, integrated agency. “We increasingly get the question, ‘Are you an agency, a consultancy or IT services company?'” explains Alan Herrick, president and CEO. “To build a brand in this day and age, you need a firm that has real strength in strategy, great creative and is a powerhouse technologically.”


A healthy portion of the firm's growth — 28% — is from existing clients. “For us, that really tells us our model is working,” says Herrick. Last year, long-time client Coca-Cola named the agency its digital partner for its 2012 Olympic sponsorship. While it lost the Twix brand as part of global consolidation at Mars Foods, the company did hand the agency new brands, including Dove Chocolate. SapientNitro also won digital work for Chrysler Group, multichannel design and marketing for American Airlines and e-commerce work for Target.


SapientNitro hired two new creative directors, Alan Pafenbach, formerly executive creative director at Arnold, and Bill Pauls, former ECD at BBDO Atlanta. It has 1,690 US staff across 17 offices.


Global revenues last year surpassed $500 million, up from $405 million in 2009, leaving Herrick at the helm of a rapidly growing agency. The agency also earned itself significant industry buzz by pulling off jobs like the iPhone app it created for AutoTrader UK and the “Best Job in the World” campaign for Tourism Queensland, both of which performed well on the awards circuit.


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