PARIS: Publicis Groupe on Wednesday launched a plan designed to strengthen its two flagging global agency networks - Saatchi & Saatchi and Fallon.

The resuscitation will focus on the shops' US and UK operations - their home (and largest) markets - in which, paradoxically, each agency is stronger on the other's home patch.

With archetypal Gallic gallimaufry Publicis chairman/ceo Maurice Lévy has effectively merged the managements of the two networks, creating a new umbrella brand: The SSF Group.

It will be led in Zaphod Beeblebrox-style by Saatchi's current global ceo Kevin Roberts; while Fallon Worldwide's founder Pat Fallon has seemingly been put out to grass as chairman emeritus. Fallon London's boss Robert Senior will run SSF in the UK, reporting to Roberts.

Publicis insists the restructuring is not a merger but "a new alliance" in which both agencies will continue to operate separately and as stand-alone brands.

Says Levy: "This new group is a unique partnership of two of the most acclaimed creative agencies in the entire industry and enables both networks to maximize the potential of their creative resources at a global level."

In a ritual exchange of eulogies Roberts said: "I've admired Fallon since I got into this business. Fallon is an iconic brand full of irreverence, courage and smarts. I'm honoured to have the chance to work with Fallon's leadership on taking the brand forward."

Harmonized Pat Fallon: "The creation of this alliance acknowledges our admiration for Kevin Roberts and the success of the Saatchi & Saatchi organization."

The major clients of both networks - among them Orange, Procter & Gamble and Skoda - have conferred their blessing on the relationship.

Data sourced from multiple origins; additional content by WARC staff