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Omnicom

Maurice Lévy Returns, Now with Balloons in Tow, for Publicis Groupe’s 2014 Greeting

publicis-groupe2014

Maurice Lévy is back this year for the new Publicis Groupe New Year’s greeting. After toying with YouTube’s functionality last year,  the holding company, with the aid of their DigitasLBi France unit, has once again found a new way to make their greeting interactive.


This year, Publicis built their message around the theme of #TheMoretheMerrier in honor of their expected merger with Omnicom. To accomplish this, they’ve made it so “The more people that join in during the video, the merrier it will become.” So, what does that mean exactly? Well, if you watch the video alone, nothing special happens. But if you watch with a friend, Maurice Lévy will deliver his speech in a confetti storm. Adding more people to the mix will result in “gospel singers, cheerleaders, Chinese dragons and a few other surprises.” It’s a pretty cool concept, managing to be interactive in an intriguing new way.

 

To accomplish this, Publicis’ tech team developed “a fancy facial detection algorithm that allows a webcam to count how many people are actually watching the video together.” The facial recognition software was conceived by “a 21 year old Russian math genius” working for DigitasLBi France. The software is the “first of its kind to detect up to ten faces simultaneously” while the video plays. “The More the Merrier” is the first video to count the number of viewers, rather than views, on YouTube. That’s a lot of technological firsts for a New Year’s greeting. By the way, in case you were wondering, it takes 1,487 balloons to cover Maurice Lévy.

Credits after the jump. Read more

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Ad Guys Just Talking, Part II: Does the Omnicom-Publicis Merger Make Sense?

And so, the conversation continues between PSFK CEO Piers Fawkes, MEC’s Scott Schwartz and Huge creative director Ross Maupin, who follow up yesterday’s chat about the importance of Advertising Week by discussing the elephant in the room that is the Omnicom/Publicis Groupe merger. Is it good or bad for the industry? Does it make sense? Well, let’s let the lads weigh in. Note: The overall conversation between our participants actually lasted well over 30 minutes, but seeing as it’s all short attention span theater nowadays, we’re offering up quick soundbites for now. Who knows, maybe we’ll have extended versions to come as they had plenty to say, but for now, on with the show.

 

Atlanta Agency ASO Mocks Omnicom/Publicis Merger with Parody Pitch Video

For the last few weeks, all we ever think about during our waking hours is the Omnicom/Publicis merger and how lucky we are to be living in a time where something this momentous happens. Truly, we wake up now with a new sense of purpose and self-worth knowing that two giant holding companies merged to make the biggest holding company.

However, not everyone shares our enthusiasm, chief among them Atlanta-based indie shop Ames Scullin O’Haire. They made the above video to convince us that the merger wasn’t a good thing and doesn’t really benefit anyone beyond the rich people in charge of the agency networks who are now richer. “Bigger isn’t always better” says ASO, who is small and would totally say something like that to besmirch the good name of Publicis-Omnicom Groupe.

Will all of Atlanta’s biggest businesses pull their money from large agencies and invest in ASO after seeing this video? To be honest, yes. Definitely.

IPG Top Brass Weighs in on Publicis-Omnicom Alliance

And so it continues with the industry reaction to Publicom Omnicis Prime or whatever the new entity is called nowadays. We’ve just obtained separate memos to staff sent this morning from IPG chairman/CEO Michael Roth and IPG Mediabrands CEO Matt Seiler regarding their competitors’ merger. The former prefaces his lengthy note with the headline “Too Big to Fail?” while the latter offers a few reasons why IPG is dandy along with a little hint of some good news to come very soon on the UM front. We’ll just leave you with this Seiler tidbit below and let you read Roth’s perspective after the jump.

Says the Mediabrands chief exec, “Later today, we will announce another new business win, this time for UM.  In the words of the newest IPG Mediabrands client, ‘scale matters, up to a point’…IPGMB is ‘big enough’  & then it’s about tailored service, which is where you rise above the rest.…”I think that says it all.” Read on what Roth has to say including IPG’s thoughts on major M&A efforts. We say it’s an interesting read.

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What Does the Publicis/Omnicom Merger Mean for the Industry?

As one might imagine, the announcement (and Vine video) of the biggest merger in advertising history is causing quite a reaction from those in the industry. Above, Keith Hunt, managing partner of M&A consulting firm Results International, hypothesizes about the implications the newly formed Publicis Omnicom Group will have.

As Hunt notes, the merger means the company will be able to buy media very cheaply, leapfrogging WPP in the process. But, Hunt wonders, how far can you push down prices? At one point do vendors draw the line?

Also, Hunt says, there’s the issue of who’s in charge. Co-chief execs, John Wren (Omnicom) and Maurice Levy (Publicis)  are elder statesmen. Levy, the older of the two at 71, is now on the hot seat in terms of naming a successor, that is, if the balance of power between Publicis and Omnicom remains a priority. As WPP’s Martin Sorrell said in an interview today, “It’s a nil-premium merger — effectively a takeover of Publicis by Omnicom [without exchange of money].”

Finally, says Hunt, there’s the matter of positioning. It benefits the new company to frame the merger as one that hinges around new technologies and emerging markets, allowing Publicis Omnicom Group to compete against tech companies outside advertising agencies like Adobe. “Exciting times,” he adds before staring into the camera wistfully. It’s only the beginning.

Check out Wren and Levy bonding after the jump.

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Publicis, Omnicom Group Merge to Become World’s Biggest Advertising Company

In a somewhat surprising weekend move that’s now been broadcast everywhere, French advertising network Publicis and New York-based Omnicom Group announced today that they are merging, supplanting London’s WPP to become to world’s largest advertising firm.

The news comes as a bit of a shock, especially considering the announcement was made on a summer weekend. Reports of merger negotiations first happened on Friday afternoon, followed by more concrete details on the merger coming out yesterday via a report from Bloomberg. The newly christened Publicis Omnicom Group will be led by Omnicom CEO John Wren and Publicis CEO Maurice Levy, who will acts as co-chief executives.

The merger is sending shockwaves throughout the industry, with reaction to news quite mixed. While many agree that shareholders will benefit from the news, looming doubts remain about how the new company will strike a balance of power with its bases split between continents, as well as how Publicis Omnicom Group will go about solving the many client conflicts as competing brands (Coca-Cola and Pepsi, McDonald’s and Taco Bell) are brought under one roof.

Omnicom (whose properties include BBDO, DDB, and TBWA) and Publicis (whose properties include Leo Burnett, DigitasLBi, Saatchi & Saatchi and media giant Starcom) have a combined annual revenue of $23 billion. We’ve heard that Levy has sent out a network-wide email about the merger.

GM Taps GS&P + McCann to Lead Global Chevy Biz

Odd, but interesting turn of events as rival holding companies Omnicom and IPG earlier joined forces to create “Commonwealth,” which will now serve as global AOR for Chevrolet. Specifically, the Chevy business will be jointly handled by Goodby and McCann Erickson and based in Detroit. Guess our tip from yesterday afternoon stating verbatim that “GSP is going to win the Chevy business” was pretty spot-on.

GM’s VP, global CMO Joel Ewanick explains in a statement, saying, “This is the first time that two large marketing communications holding companies have come together to form a single company. Commonwealth will be based right here in Detroit, and its only focus will be on strengthening and growing Chevrolet into an iconic global brand.” The four creative execs at Commonwealth will consist of creative chairman/GS&P namesake Jeff Goodby, Washington Olivetto, McCann London/New York CCO Linus Karlsson and Prasoon Joshi.

We suppose the alignment of two major agencies, following a six-month review, shouldn’t be too far-fetched considering Goodby has been working on domestic advertising while McCann has handled a fair amount of global work. Responsibility for global efforts, according to the announce, will be transitioned by Commonwealth, save for China, India and Uzbekistan, which will continue handling regional efforts assigned to their specific agencies. We’ve been told China and India were not part of the RFP, though McCann has been leading the ad accounts for Chevrolet in said countries.

 

Blue Cross/Blue Shield FL Taps a Handful of Omnicom Shops

It looks like 67-year-old Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida went all in with Omnicom as the Jacksonville-based healthcare organization has appointed five shops from the umbrella corp to handle future brand/marketing communication work. It looks like BCBS FL is staying local for the most part as the agencies on its new roster include BBDO Atlanta, which will handle brand advertising and Fort Lauderdale-based Zimmerman, which will take on retail advertising and media buying/planning. Rounding out the list are Footsteps (African-American advertising), Alma (Hispanic) and TPG (digital/direct).

Regarding the new agency relationship, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida’s VP of brand development/marketing comms Mark S. Lee says in a statement, “It embraces the emerging trend of other best-of-class marketers to employ an open-source agency model amongst its partner agencies. And it provides us with the focused specialization we require to meet the marketing challenges we face in our multi-dimensional Florida market.”

The incumbent on the BCBS FL account was Draftfcb Chicago, which was one of the seven finalists in the review that took place over the summer.

 

Tuesday Odds and Ends

-Campbell Mithun hired M&C Saatchi/Carat alum Giles Martin as director of analytics and marketing accountability. link

-Starbucks introduces Blonde Roast. link

-Vitro folks get down and dirty to help the Wounded Warrior Project (above).

-Mullen has teamed up with Boston restaurants to help UNICEF’s famine relief efforts in East Africa with the launch of the Good Belly Project. link

-Mediacom alum Eric Hanna was named as CEO of Grey Group Middle East and Africa.

-Motorola is resurrecting the RAZR. Ah, the pre-iPhone memories. link

-Here’s a tribute to the abandoned umbrellas of NYC, in haiku form. link

-Commercial director Nicolai Fuglsig is set to make his feature-film debut with Brass Monkey. link

-A USA Today poll says Facebook’s new features are still unpopular. link

-Meet Simon Fleming-Wood, Pandora’s first CMO. link

 

Omnicom Had a Favorable Q3

It’s that time of year again and results are in from Omnicom, which announced that its net income for the third quarter of 2011 increased 16.7 percent to $203.7 million from $174.6 million in the same period last year. If you’re still in the mood to compare this year to last, Omnicom’s worldwide revenue increased 12.9 percent to $3,380.9 million, which yet again, is up from $2,994.6 million in the third quarter of 2010.

Among other things during today’s conference call, Omnicom chief John Wren said, “We’re very pleased with the operating performance of our business and the progress we’re making towards our strategic priorities. Looking forward, our performance will clearly be affected by a number of external factors: the ability of European leaders to deal with the region’s sovereign debt problems, Washington’s ability to foster economic growth and the role of that rapidly growing economies in Asia and other parts of the world will play, not only economically, but politically.”

Check out the rest of the transcript here.

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