Sapient broadens offerings with Nitro acquisition

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Digital agency Sapient Corp. will add traditional advertising experience to its offering when it completes its acquisition of Nitro Group LLC in July.

The acquisition, worth approximately $50 million, will create a new division of Sapient called Sapient/Nitro, which will specialize in fully integrated campaigns that include digital commerce, marketing technology, traditional advertising and social media. Sapient Interactive will remain a pure play digital agency.

“Clients have been asking for more tightly integrated digital and traditional marketing services offering,” explained Gail Scibelli, VP of corporate communications, Sapient. “Clients from Sapient have been asking for more traditional work, and some Nitro clients wanted more digital service offerings, so this move is being driven by client demand; they wanted a traditional and a digital creative director in the room at the same time when they started their planning and strategy.”

She added that Nitro was a good fit because the agency is “known for having fantastic, world-class creative and big ideas that go beyond traditional advertising. Together we can offer a tightly integrated marketing services portfolio that spans digital and traditional marketing and advertising services.”  

The acquisition is also expected to benefit Sapient's client roster, which, with the addition of Nitro clients like Mars, ConAgra and Healthy Choice, should significantly grow Sapient's footprint in the consumer goods sector. Other marquee Nitro clients include Volvo, Nike and Foot Locker.

Nitro CEO Chris Clarke will run the Sapient/Nitro agency. Scibelli said no layoffs had been planned for the new agency, but a full integration plan will not be completed until July. In the meantime, Kate Howe, who was managing director at Nitro, has been named president of Draftfcb London.

Nitro has seven offices spanning North America, Europe, Australia and China. Nitro's recent “Best Job in the World” campaign for the Queensland Tourist Commission won Best of Show at The One Show.

Sapient Interactive clients include Celebrity Cruises, Sony Electronics and Times Online. Sapient Consulting clients include BP, Hilton International and Verizon. The agency's offices are in 20 major cities throughout North America, Europe and Asia.

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