Publicis Buys Unilever CRM Platform

In an unusual move designed to boost its broader digital strategy, Paris-based holding company Publicis Groupe said it has acquired Pour Tout Vous Dire, the French customer relationship management program of key client Unilever.

Unilever’s own brands use the platform to reach more than 5 million households, and the packaged-goods giant has signed a five-year licensing deal with Publicis to keep its products represented.

The venue was launched 12 years ago as a consumer magazine, but has since morphed into a Web-focused portal designed to help build and strengthen relationships between mainly female consumers and various Unilever brands.

According to the Paris-based holding company: “The goal here is to build a benchmark e-CRM platform for the group’s clients that showcases brands and fosters interactions with consumers.” The plan moving forward is to operate the property on an open architecture basis, allowing clients of all stripes to quickly tailor programs and messages.

Financial details were not disclosed.

Nicolas Zunz has been named chairman and Muriel Hayat, a former CMR manager at Unilever, will serve as CEO.

Publicis has been especially aggressive in the digital space in recent years. Beginning with its early-2007 acquisition of Boston-based i-shop Digitas, the firm has added and expanded its interactive marketing resources worldwide. Most recently, it bought digital agency Razorfish from Microsoft in a deal valued at $530 million.

Battered by the economy, Publicis suffered a 6.6 percent organic revenue drop in the first half. Even so, the company said that its digital strategy is already paying off, pointing to a 5.7 percent first-half improvement in digital activities, which account for more than 20 percent of the company’s total revenue. The firm is banking on that new-media acumen to help propel its fortunes once the recovery arrives.

Nielsen Business Media