Don’t call the concept of wellness a here-today, gone-tomorrow phenomenon, at least not around anyone from Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness (SSW). “It’s now a way of life that all brands — let alone health-oriented brands — strive to participate in and meaningfully contribute to,” says SSW managing director J.D. Cassidy.

The numbers back up this statement. The wellness industry grew almost 11% in 2016, to more than $3.7 trillion, the firm reports.

Clearly the rise of the wellness mindset played a major role in the October 2017 integration of Publicis sibling Publicis LifeBrands Medicus (PLBM) into SSW. “For us, this notion of wellness intelligence and delivering within this wellness culture is paramount for brand success in today’s business environment,” Cassidy notes.

In the past year, Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness saw growth from existing clients such as Ipsen and Amgen, and won Alcon’s vision-care portfolio in a competitive pitch. The integration with PLBM led to SSW being named AOR for Procter & Gamble’s oral-care division.

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In the wake of the merger, overall staff size declined from 400 (MM&M’s 2017 estimates of the SSW and PLBM staff sizes) to 320. Former PLBM GM Linda Bennett was among the execs who moved into SSW’s Park Avenue digs in New York.

The staff reshuffling also afforded SSW a chance to reassess how teams and departments engage with one another. “The integration gave us an opportunity to reinfuse the notion of doing things a little differently in the office.”

Along with the granular, logistical adjustments, SSW management had to consider integrating cultures, Cassidy says. “How do you bring two agencies together, get people working together on different problems, and start to create a new, cohesive agency culture that takes advantage of what both agencies bring to the table? That’s a fun challenge.”

SSW 2.0 has experienced few hiccups so far on the client side, Cassidy adds. “Both sets of clients appreciated what we’re doing and why we’re doing it,” he says, adding SSW splits its business roughly 50-50 between digital and traditional advertising and comms. “For SSW, it created more depth on the professional marketing side. For PLBM’ clients, infusing those teams with some consumer expertise has allowed us to grow our footprint.”