Publicis Groupe heads to China again – this time to snap up two experiential agencies for MSL

Publicis Groupe COO and China boss Jean-Yves Naouri (pictured) has been uncorking his cheque book again, this time buying two ‘experiential’ marketing agencies King Harvests and Luminous.

King Harvest operates in a number of mainland China locations and its 100 or so staff work for Bosch, Haier, Sanyo and Siemens among others. Luminous has offices in Hong Kong, Macau and Singapore and its clients include Cathay Pacific, PWC and Prudential.

Agency bosses Laura Lee (King Harvests) and Antony Spanbrook are staying on and the companies will work within PG’s Emotion operation, headed by Isabelle Chouvet. Emotion is the high-end part of PG’s MSL operation which seems to be morphing from a PR-based company into events and forms of non-media advertising.

Chouvet (left) says: “People today want the chance to experience a brand’s promises for themselves. Experiential is a huge growth area globally and by bringing King Harvests and Luminous into the fold we can offer more of what our clients are increasingly asking for in Asia.”

PG has expanded rapidly in China in recent years and says it wants to double its business there. The company has run into one or two as yet unresolved local difficulties in both its VivaKi media company and Betterway field marketing operation.

Last month WPP’s Sir Martin Sorrell wrote to his PG counterpart Maurice Levy advising him not to have anything to do with the specialist China car agency O&R that Levy is planning to buy. It’s safe to say that Levy will probably ignore this piece of doubtless well-intentioned advice.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.