With digital no longer special, InVentiv merges four agencies into two

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InVentiv is merging two of its digital agencies into two full-service shops: GSW, Fueled by Blue Diesel and Ignite + Palio.

The GSW/BlueDiesel merger forms an agency to rival behemoths like Ogilvy CommonHealth, CDM and AbelsonTaylor in scale. The combined network will be called GSW, Fueled by Blue Diesel, and will boast 700-some employees serving 50 clients and 90 brands worldwide. It will be headquartered out of GSW's Columbus office.

GSW also has an office in Manhattan, along with 26 international offices. BlueDiesel has offices in Columbus and Newton, PA. All will be maintained, both to better service clients and to fence off potential conflicts—though CEO Joe Daley said conflicting accounts are few, since Blue Diesel's portfolio is more project-based and interactive focused than GSW's. With roots in the early days of digital marketing, Blue Diesel, which brings a little over a hundred employees to the merger, specializes in tablets and interactive visual aids, but has been looking to play more in the broader healthcare advertising arena of late. GSW, with nearly 600 employees and a roster studded with top-10 pharma agency-of-record assignments, is coming from the opposite direction, working to build up its digital expertise.

“This is a reflection of the convergence happening across the industry,” said Daley. “These two organizations have started marching in the same direction together.”

Similarly, the Palio/Ignite marriage brings together a digital shop with a full-service sibling, though one more evenly matched in terms of size—each has a little over a hundred employees. Palio, based in Saratoga Springs, NY, handles numerous AOR assignments, while Ignite Health, with offices in Irvine, CA and Manhattan, specializes in interactive work.

“As a full-service agency, we'd been growing into digital work,” said Palio's Mike Myers, who will lead the combined agency as president of Palio + Ignite. “With this, we're capable of leapfrogging our competition,” he said, noting that the move gives the company an office with which to service Palio's West Coast clients. As with GSW, Fueled by Blue Diesel, Palio + Ignite plans to hold on to all three offices and to focus on growing its Manhattan office, currently the smallest.

Ignite Health's Fabio Gratton and Guy Mastrion will stay on in senior leadership roles, said Myers. Similarly, Daley, who came from the GSW side, said Blue Diesel's Paul Miller and Andy Crawford are sticking around.

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