Publicis Buys AR New York

Fashion-forward agency now part of global luxury offering

Publicis has acquired a 100 percent stake in luxury advertising agency AR New York, the holding company announced today. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

AR New York, founded in 1996, employs 50 staffers, and does most of its work for fashion and beauty brands. It is the lead agency for Banana Republic, and also counts Revlon, Brioni, and Jimmy Choo among its largest clients, according to AR CEO Dianne desRoches. Fifty percent of its work is print, 30 percent is in TV, and 20 percent is digital, she estimated. Founding partner Alex Gonzalez is also a consulting creative director for Marie Claire, and was previously creative director for W Magazine.

AR approached Publicis about a deal as it sought to grow by expanding its international reach, desRoches said. “All our clients are global, but we only have a New York office. We had opportunities to pitch work where one of the pre-requisites would be to have a global network,” she added. "We couldn’t pitch them because we were not part of a global network."

Other holding companies had approached the agency, desRoches said, declining to name which ones. “We felt that Publicis Groupe, from a creative and cultural point of view, was the best fit for us… They really valued what our competencies [in creating] aspirational and inspirational campaigns [are]” in the “luxury or accessible luxury market across categories.”

The agency will work closely with Publicis 133 and Publicis Et Nous in Paris, as well as Publicis Shanghai. Combined they make up what the holding company is billing as an network aimed at serving the global luxury market. 

"The luxury market is an advertising segment ripe with investment opportunity,” said Jean-Yves Naouri, chief operating officer of holding company Publicis Groupe and executive chairman of agency network Publicis Worldwide, in a statement. “It is forecast to grow by up to 7 percent in 2012, defying global turmoil and breaking into new markets."

Co-founder Raul Martinez will remain the agency’s chief creative officer. Desroches, who joined the agency as a partner in 2000, will stay on as its CEO. Both will report to Naouri.

@GabrielBeltrone Gabriel Beltrone is a frequent contributor to Adweek.