Advertising giant Publicis Groupe has bought sustainability consultancy Act Now and renamed it Saatchi & Saatchi S. Adam Werbach, a past president of the Sierra Club, launched Act Now in 1998 and has been named CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi S, which will work alongside the shopper and retail marketing group Saatchi & Saatchi X.
Werbach made some waves among environmentalists when Act Now began working with Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart’s relationship with Werbach, if it continues under the Saatchi & Saatchi S banner, gives Publicis instant clout as a sustainability consultancy. It also gives Publicis a bigger role at Wal-Mart – Saatchi & Saatchi X is Wal-Mart’s agency of record for shopper, in-store and associate communications. In addition, Publicis Groupe SA’s MediaVest oversees the retailers media buying and planning duties, according to Reuters.
But the acquisition of a top sustainability consultancy by one of the world’s top advertising agencies, might not sit well with environmentalists, who already feel that corporate marketing plays too big a role in corporate environmental initiatives.
Other Act Now clients, according to the company’s site, include Allianz, Cisco Systems, Columbia Records, General Mills, and Procter & Gamble.
Saatchi & Saatchi S will integrate with other Saatchi & Saatchi services including brand navigation, planning, creative, media and brand philosophy. Saatchi & Saatchi S will offer sustainability services including analysis and strategic advisory, employee engagement, product and brand innovation, and consumer retail communication.
The organization currently has offices in San Francisco and Boulder and plans to open in New York, London, Beijing, Chicago, and Fayetteville, Arkansas (just down the road from Wal-Mart’s headquarters in Bentonville).
“Saatchi & Saatchi S is where world changing global communications meets deep sustainability expertise and passion. This is about taking the vision, mission and passion of the people of Act Now to the talents, process, scale, impact and creativity of the people of Saatchi & Saatchi,’” said Werbach.