SapientNitro Sets Integration

Eight months after interactive specialist Sapient bought creative shop Nitro, the company is officially bringing the two together as a single brand.
SapientNitro will operate as an integrated agency with combined leadership and P&L, headed by Gaston Legorburu and Chris Clarke as co-executive directors and co-chief creative officers. The company will no longer use Sapient Interactive as a brand. As an initial step, the agencies are combining their offices in New York and London.
“The idea of a digital agency has a shelf life,” said Legorburu. “We felt we should drop the interactive out of our name.”
In the aftermath of acquiring Nitro, Sapient operated two brands. SapientNitro became the name of the Nitro business, while Sapient Interactive was its digital arm. The arrangement was a short-term necessity, according to Legorburu, as they gauged the market’s readiness for a combined offering.
“We always wanted to operate together,” he said. “That was the idea.”
The company saw immediate success in selling interactive services to Nitro clients, but struggled to interest Sapient clients in above-the-line services, according to Legorburu. He said that’s been changing as clients look to limit their agency rosters. SapientNitro does through-the-line work for companies like Mars, Celebrity Cruises and Foot Locker.
This allows the best of both worlds, Clarke said, combining Nitro’s brand expertise with Sapient’s technical chops.
“If Apple was just about design and creativity and vision and didn’t have technology capability, it would just be a shallow company,” he said. “If they just had the technology capability, they’d be Microsoft.”
SapientNitro will continue to operate as an interactive specialist, competing for digital assignments with the likes of R/GA, AKQA and Razorfish.
As for the shared leadership structure, Clarke called Legorburu his “partner in crime.” The two leaders will share bonus compensation, giving them added incentive to make the arrangement succeed.
“It’s important for us to be in partnership and joined at the hip,” Clarke said.
SapientNitro will operate as a unit of Sapient Corp., which includes risk-management and government consulting businesses.