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Posts Tagged ‘Maurice Levy’

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

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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

Publicis Groupe Forms New ‘Mega Region’

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We can’t say that the term “mega region” is embedded in our lexicon, but that’s what they’re calling Publicis North America, the new entity that combines Publicis USA and Publicis Canada to create the largest Publicis Groupe region outside of the holding company’s hub in France.

Eleven-year Publicis vet and Publicis USA boss Susan Gianinno has now assumed the role of chairman of the newly expanded region, focusing on global/regional clients and “priority global initiatives” while working in tandem with recently appointed Publicis Worldwide CEO, Arthur Sadoun. Along with her new chairman role, Gianinno will also be heading to Harvard next for a one-year fellowship. Meanwhile, Andrew Bruce, who has spent the last 15 years at Publicis Canada, where he most recently served as president/CEO, will now take on the CEO post of the newly formed Publicis North America.

Regarding the new moves, Publicis Groupe chief Maurice Levy says in a statement, “This is a wonderful and very prestigious appointment for Susan and for us. I am personally very proud of her and expect that she will bring even more to our people and clients during, and after, this experience. I am sure that under this new team leadership, Susan and Andrew, this new mega region will generate great work for our clients and formidable growth.”

 

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.

Wednesday Morning Stir

-The Cannes Lions crew will be honoring Lee Clow with the Lion of St. Mark award at this year’s festivities.

-The Grand Effie jury has been announced for the 45th annual North American Effie Awards. link

-Boston-based Businesses for Innovative Climate and Energy Policy, or BICEP, has named hometown marketing/filmmaking company Captains of Industry as their first agency of record. In turn, the latter has crafted a “Climate Declaration,” which has been signed by 33 major companies including Adidas, Intel, Nike and Starbucks.

-TBWA\Hunt\Lascaris plays the ultimate game of fetch in a spot for Jungle Energy Bars (above).

-New York-based agency sparks & honey has appointed Publicis Kaplan Thaler alum Sarah Davanzo as chief cultural strategy officer.

-Maurice Levy shares plenty of thoughts with Campaign during Publicis Groupe’s Investor Day on items including a possible merger with IPG and eventually stepping down from his post. link

Catch NY Nabs And1 Biz

According to those in the know, it is indeed true that NYC-based agency Catch, which last we recall was named agency of record for Loews Hotels last fall, has now picked up AOR duties for And1, the basketball apparel brand that has brought awareness to some of the best street hoops players ever. If you’re not aware, check out the compilation clip above featuring the likes of legendary street ballers-turned-NBA players such as Rafer “Skip to My Lou” Alston.

Anyhow, we’ve been told that And1 brand manager Maurice Levy (different guy, of course) and Catch New York managing partner Joe Perello and partner/CCO Doug Spitzer were the ones who sealed the deal on the account, which calls for the agency to handle its new client’s branding, marketing and media strategy, advertising, creative, digital, mobile, media planning and buying as well as the development of a long-term marketing growth plan.

Sources familiar with the matter add that Catch is replacing Portland, OR-based Frank Creative on the And1 business.

Publicis Groupe Buys Up Rokkan

Well, this is a pretty notable item as we wind down for the holidays. Twelve-year-old, New York-based digital agency Rokkan, which works with clients ranging from Stoli to Sharp to Caesars to JetBlue (and was NOT for sale as of last summer) has been acquired by Publicis Groupe. Despite the 100 percent purchase, Rokkan (Japanese for “sixth sense”) will operate autonomously within the Publicis Groupe network and its co-founders, CEO John Noe, chief experience officer Chung Ng, and CCO Charles Bae, will continue to lead the agency.

In a joint statement, the co-founders say, “This is a major stepping stone that will take Rokkan to the next level and beyond. We’ve seen a number of potential buyers over the years, but it wasn’t until we met with the folks at Publicis Groupe that we found a partnership we truly believed in. Joining Publicis Groupe gives Rokkan access to resources, capabilities and knowledge to better scale, grow and service our multinational clients. Furthermore, it will help support Rokkan’s aggressive plans for domestic and global growth. We’re thrilled to be joining a company that believes in our culture, people and vision.”

No word on financials yet, but the Rokkan acquisition marks just one of a handful made by YouTube manipulator/Publicis Groupe chief Maurice Levy & Co. within the last month alone including the purchase of luxury/fashion-focused agency AR New York and a couple of shops in India. We’ve been told that staff count at Rokkan will not be affected by this move.

Publicis Groupe’s Maurice Lévy Hacks YouTube’s Functionality in This Year’s Holiday Greeting

Snow flurries are starting. Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer is on network TV. Eggnog is once again a thing. And Publicis Groupe’s CEO Maurice Lévy is back with another holiday greeting. Christmas is coming, you guys!

Now, the press release we got about this is a little, well, apologetic. “His speech has been a little on the long side in the past,” it admits. “So, this year he made a superhuman effort to keep it short and to allow viewers to enjoy this video on their own terms.” What the hell does the mean? Well, I don’t want to spoil too much of the surprise, but if you watch it on YouTube, your natural tendencies to skip forward, pause, or play with the volume of the video will be greatly rewarded with disapproval from Lévy. He knows what you did. You may not listen to the man in charge’s talk, but you can play with the way it’s delivered.

Unfortunately, Digitas France has not provided an embeddable version of  the greeting, no doubt because YouTube magic can only go so far (unlike Christmas magic). However, you can still link to it from the above video. Credits after the jump.

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VivaKi to Spin Off into Separate Business Unit

Don’t worry, Publicis Groupe’s four-year-old VivaKi division, which includes Digitas, Razorfish, Starcom MediaVest Group ZenithOptimedia and most recently LBi, will remain within the fold but not so attached at the hip. The world’s third-largest agency holding company has announced that VivaKi will become a separate business unit, still reporting to Publicis Groupe boss Maurice Levy, but one that will now be opened to all PG agencies, in turn extending the offerings of the Nerve Center, including AOD and the Pool, to clients of Publicis Groupe and ultimately to clients outside of the Groupe.

Says Levy in a statement, “The Nerve Center has been one of the most successful accomplishments of VivaKi. Still the only operation of its kind in our industry, it brings strategic innovations to life by leveraging the collective influence of its agencies. It allows us to create world class offerings in the Center rather than building duplicate capabilities inside each agency.  Efficient innovation is its hallmark.  All CEOs and leaders will immediately engage VivaKi to leverage its products and services, and to create blueprints for new tools and technologies that will make us stronger, more efficient and more imaginative partners to our clients.”

As far as leadership goes, VivaKi CEO Jack Klues is phasing out of his position at the agency after 35 years as he plans to retire at the end of this year (can’t blame him), though he will stay on through the first half of 2013 to ease the transition. The new VivaKi unit’s executive will consist of SMG CEO Laura Desmond, Razorfish CEO Bob Lord, current VivaKi CFO Frank Voris and ZenithOptimedia’s chief exec, Steve King.

Publicis Groupe Buys Up LBi

The tips have come in fast and furious over the last couple of hours including this: “Publicis Groupe S.A. and LBi International N.V. Agreement on Intended Recommended Public Cash Offer.” Well, now according to Reuters, it is indeed true as the holding company has agreed to acquire Dutch ad agency LBI International NV in a deal valued at nearly $540 million. While not quite the $600 million figure some predicted a few months ago, Publicis Groupe’s latest purchase does near the price that WPP paid for AKQA.

In a statement, Publicis Groupe chairman/CEO Maurice Levy says, “The acquisition of LBi is another step forward in further strengthening our digital operations. Within the global advertising landscape, LBi is a well known partner for extraordinary digital customer experiences, based on a blend of creativity and expertise in technology, strategy and social media. The integration of LBi will further enhance our capabilities and, through a wider pool of resources and talent, help deliver innovative and best-in-class services to our clients, which is our relentless focus. Furthermore, this acquisition has a positive impact on our EPS in the first year post acquisition.”

According to the official announce, LBi’s management/supervisory board was basically in full support of the acquisition, saying the “transaction is in the best interests of the company and its stakeholders including its clients, shareholders, partners and employees.”

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