Publicis Worldwide : advertising & marketing profile

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Publicis Worldwide is the name of the biggest advertising network within the much-expanded Publicis Groupe, sitting alongside the Saatchi & Saatchi and Leo Burnett networks. Originally founded just after the Second World War by entrepreneur Marcel Bleustein, the agency was one of the first in France to diversify into areas such as market research and multimedia. It began to establish an international presence in the 1970s, and steadily climbed the worldwide rankings over the next four decades through a series of canny acquisitions, and by absorbing several important outposts in the former D'Arcy Worldwide network. Despite occasionally brilliant work from its flagship outpost in Paris, the rest of the Publicis Worldwide network arguably follows a more straightforward creative path than the other major networks within the wider Publicis Groupe.

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Recent stories from Adbrands Weekly Update:

Adbrands Weekly Update 22nd Nov 2018: Ads of the Week "The Gifts of Christmas". At last, the truth about Christmas. For French mobile giant Orange, Publicis Conseil tells it how it is with an enormously entertaining catalogue of Yuletide catastrophes. And all set to one of those relentlessly jolly American seasonal jingles. Perhaps not everyone's end of the year holidays are quite like this, but we've all been there at some point or other. And we're not sure a new phone at the end of it makes up for all the suffering! Joyeux Noel tout le monde!

Adbrands Social Media 18th Sep 2018: "SwissSkills: Forester". Can it really be true? An ad in which bankers actually make fun of themselves? The Swiss outpost of Publicis has launched a new campaign for the country's biggest bank UBS designed to show that bankers can (sometimes) be good at banking, but probably aren't so good at a lot of other important jobs. It's designed to promote UBS's industrial apprenticeship programme SwissSkills. 

Adbrands Social Media 28th Aug 2018: "Unlimited Calls". There's no better excuse than a phone call to let you get out of those annoying everyday inconveniences. That's the concept behind the latest campaign from Publicis Brussels for Orange Belgium, highlighting the mobile carrier's new unlimited calls plan. This couple seem to have that trick nailed - it's just a question of who gets there first. 

Adbrands Weekly Update 19th Jul 2018: Ads of the Week "The Thread". Publicis Conseil delivers another excellent campaign for local mobile giant Orange, demonstrating the power of a mobile connection to resolve any temporary hiccups in any relationship. It's a cute way to illustrate the idea. How much better would it have been if this couple had added a tin can at either end of the thread to talk through? (Not better at all, actually). Lovely luminous photography, too, in what look like a variety of different countries but were probably all the same one with the help of clever set dressing. 

Adbrands Weekly Update 29th Mar 2018: Heineken was the latest advertiser to fall into the trap of accidental racism in a (pretty awful) global campaign by Publicis for its new Heineken Light beer, marketed under the slogan "Sometimes, lighter is better". There are several versions of the main ad, but all show a bartender spotting a thirsty customer who is declining the offer of a high-calorie beverage such as wine or a cocktail. Instead he slides a Heineken Light beer to the customer down an impossibly long counter. The problem? In the main version, the beer passes by three different, and very dark-skinned, black customers before it reaches the light-skinned Asian girl for whom it is intended. "Lighter is better"? What were they thinking? Chance the Rapper was the first African-American to call out the ad for its implications, though his initial take was that the slur was intentional to get people talking about the ad. That overly paranoid suggestion is ridiculous of course. No one with any sense believes the ad was deliberately racist, but the oversight resurrects once again the arguments voiced over Unilever's digital ad for Dove last October which showed a black girl removing her sweater to reveal a white girl underneath. Any black creative director would have recognised the unfortunate implication in the juxtaposition of the visuals and the tagline. But there are so few black creative directors in the industry that mistakes like this keep being made. Heineken for its part quickly withdrew the campaign and apologised for any misunderstanding.

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Free for all users | see full profile for current activities: [see Publicis Group profile for more history]. The French advertising agency took its first steps outside its home country in 1957, opening a New York office. Always one to stay ahead of the competition, Publicis created France's first TV commercial in 1968 (for Boursin cheese), and formed multimedia company SGIP (later Publicis Technology) in 1973. During the 1970s the company set about building up a network of agencies throughout Europe, acquiring Dutch group Intermarco from Philips in 1972 and Switzerland's Farner Group the following year. The two companies were merged as Intermarco/Farner in 1974. In 1978, the group acquired UK agency McCormick (becoming McCormick Intermarco-Farner). Finally all the group's agencies were rebranded as Publicis in 1984. That year Maurice Levy became chairman of the group's Paris flagship, Publicis Conseil. Also in 1988, Publicis's policy of international expansion peaked with a wide-ranging alliance with US agency Foote Cone & Belding, later dissolved. In 1991 Publicis bolstered its UK operation with the buyout of local agency Geers Gross.

In 1995, the agency formed a strategic alliance with newly formed UK agency M&C Saatchi, serving as the international network for the British agency's newly captured British Airways account. The following year, Publicis embarked on a round of global acquisition, buying agencies in Canada, Mexico and Brazil; then in 1997 in Singapore, the Philippines, Indonesia, Korea, Israel, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. In 1998, outposts were established in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Argentina and Chile, bringing the group's total coverage to 64 countries. Most importantly for Publicis, however, it acquired two important US agencies - Hal Riney with billings of some $700m, and the Evans Group, worth some $350m in billings per annum.

In 2000, Publicis finally established a Japanese base by forging a strategic affiliation with Hakuhodo. The Japanese agency turned down Publicis's offer to acquire an equity stake but was more than happy to take on the the local Renault account which transferred out of Dentsu as soon as the Publicis deal was confirmed. (That arrangement was later rescinded following the link-up with Dentsu via Bcom3). The deals carried on into 2001 as Publicis announced the acquisition of Triangle, the UK's biggest independent marketing communications group, and US Hispanic agency Sanchez & Levitan as well as two regional offices belonging to Siboney.

The dismantling of the D'Arcy network in 2003 enhanced Publicis Worldwide's standing in several markets. In Italy the local outpost of Publicis was merged with BGS D'Arcy, while Publicis New York tripled its size with contributions from D'Arcy as well as the former Publicis Chicago office. There were also significant benefits from merger with D'Arcy in China, Taiwan, India, the Philippines and Brazil.

There was a change of senior management at Publicis Worldwide in 2011. Richard Pinder had headed the network since 2006, with the title of chief operating officer rather than CEO, presumably to differentiate him from Publicis Groupe CEO Maurice Levy. In 2009, he took over full responsibility for the advertising network when Olivier Fleurot, previously executive chairman of Publicis Worldwide, transferred to the group's PR and event management divisions. However Pinder too moved on in Spring 2011. In his place, Jean-Yves Naouri, also group chief operating officer, was named as the network's new executive chairman. However, the rising power within the agency has been Arthur Sadoun. He was poached from TBWA in 2006 to become chairman of the main Publicis Conseil agency in Paris, replacing Christophe Lambert who had quit the group to set up an independent agency with creative duo Fred & Farid. Sadoun took over control of the rest of the Publicis network in France in 2009 following the resignation of Philippe Lentschener. Two years later, he was named as worldwide president, reporting to newly appointed executive chairman Jean-Yves Naouri, and was finally appointed as global CEO in 2013.

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