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Publicis Unveils Plan for Burnett

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BOSTON Publicis Groupe today said Leo Burnett would adopt "a new, highly flexible model" allowing the Chicago agency to better leverage the talent and resources of siblings Starcom MediaVest Group and Digitas.

The goal, according to Publicis, is to "permit fluid collaboration across these agencies based on client needs and opportunities." The new model debuts in the first quarter.

A group called The Insight Factory, representing all three shops (plus Burnett's Arc marketing-services operation), will serve as the central hub. The individual agencies will remain independent.

Jack Klues, chairman of Publicis Groupe Media, will chair the new entity's board, which includes Tom Bernardin, Renetta McCann and David Kenny, the CEOs of Burnett, SMG and Digitas, respectively.

General Motors' Pontiac-Buick-GMC presently uses the services of all three shops.

Maurice Lévy, chairman and CEO of Publicis Groupe, explained the move in a statement: "In today's opt-out world of consumer choice and control, clients need deeper, more measurable and more actionable insights to engage individuals at the right time and place, with the right content. Human insights elevate the creative product, and when that product is infused with digital expertise and delivered through state-of-the-art production, the results will be outstanding."

He added that Burnett "will be adding to this offering unparalleled data and analytics to give clients an ability to predict as well as measure results, all while giving them customized service teams they can access through a single source."

This marks the second major realignment for Burnett and Arc in a year. Last December, both brands consolidated under one P&L in the U.S. (the companies already operated that way overseas) and created new and expanded assignments for several key executives.