‘Peacemaker’ Publicis Groupe buys Zoom in Palestine hard on the heels of Israel deal

Publicis Groupe’s Maurice Levy is a key player in the French political cum business establishment and he now seems to be intent on doing his bit in the rather more volatile environment of the Middle East.

Today the French-owned marcoms giant announced the purchase of an equity stake in Ramallah-based Zoom Advertising, a subsidiary of Massar International, “an unprecedented entry for a publicly-listed international communications group into the Palestinian market,” according to the company’s announcement. Zoom will be renamed Publicis Zoom as part of the Publicis Worldwide global network.

According to Levy:”Today’s transaction is important on several levels. One key element, of course, is Publicis’ desire to serve our clients wherever they work. But the impact of this operation extends much further than that. Symbolically, this speaks to every man’s dream of seeing peace in the Middle East and between the Palestinian and Israeli peoples. Moreover, it is also a call to French and international companies to set up in the region and to contribute to creating the economic development without which there can be no durable peace.”

Levy was accompanied on his trip to Palestine to meet Zoom boss Bashar Masri by PG COO and Publicis Worldwide boss Jean-Yves Naouri and Consul General of France Frédéric Desagneaux, no less.

Just yesterday PG bought its long-time partner BBR Group in Israel, creating a group with over 400 employees in 23 offices including the Saatchi & Saatchi, ZenithOptimedia, Leo Burnett and Publicis Worldwide networks.

“The time is right for us to get even closer and cement our partnership through ownership which makes us one of the leaders in Israel,” said Levy yesterday.

PG-owned Saatchi & Saatchi has done its bit for Israeli/Palestinian relations recently with its ‘Impossible Brief’ challenge, launched at Cannes three years ago, which resulted in the creation of a blood donor facility which was used by both Israelis and Palestinians who had lost relatives in the seemingly endless conflict between the two peoples.

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