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Publicis axes 100 at Razorfish – is the agency itself next?

A razorfish is a tasty long-shaped clam but Publicis Groupe seems to have lost its appetite for the agency of the same name it bought from Microsoft for $530m in 2009. In its latest manifestation Razorfish, once reckoned to be one of the pioneers of digital advertising, is joined with Publicis’ big consultancy Sapient in SapientRazorfish, flagged as a “digital transformation” agency. But it’s being transformed to a degree itself, with about 100 people in the US being made redundant.

Some bits of the agency are said to be doing well, including its big back end operation in India which employs thousands, but others have missed targets.

And it might be argued that Publicis’ ‘Power of One’ mantra only has room for one big digital operation anyway, Publicis.Sapient, SapientNitro as was before Publicis bought it for $4m.

Publicis has spent billions on digital operations – another biggie was Digitas – but they seem to wax then wane. Sapient is the biggest gamble, key to Publicis boss Arthur Sadoun’s ambition to compete with the big consultancies.

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