Ever-optimistic Arthur Sadoun praises ‘red hot’ Publicis

Publicis Groupe CEO Arthur Sadoun (below) is arguably the most interesting character among the big ad holding companies head honchos and, fan or not, you have to say that he’s an enthusiastic and skilful communicator.

Adweek’s Agency Spy has come across his latest internal memo to the troops, hymning a good year for new business (Arthur probably isn’t sorry it came into their hands.)

It goes on a bit but it’s an interesting insight into the energetic Sadoun and his plans for the currently struggling (in terms of reported financials anyway) holding company.

Bonjour,

After a red hot summer of wins, including BT, LVMH, Novartis, Mondelez and Disney, things haven’t cooled off in the fall.

As you may have already heard, last week, AXA named us as its global creative partner in 30 markets and its media partner to put our integrated model in place in 4 of their biggest markets: the UK, Germany, Hong-Kong and Italy. We were one of the incumbents in this pitch, competing against WPP, Omnicom, Havas and Dentsu. It was a 10-month battle, involving many of you in our countries, brilliantly led by Jérôme, Anne, Gautier and Agathe who seamlessly brought together her huge responsibilities in France and the international leadership needed for this win.

If that wasn’t enough, we have also been appointed as the agency partner for NIVEA, for every market globally. After a 4-month pitch against WPP, Omnicom and Accenture, once again we demonstrated that our model connecting data, creativity and technology makes the difference. To run an account that has been led for decades by IPG, we will build a bespoke agency called ONE TOUCH, led from Germany. This victory is again the result of the incredible work and efforts of many of you, but it is above all thanks to the outstanding drive of Justin. Not only did he build the breakthrough model and offer, he also showed through the work he is doing with Daimler that the future of marketing exists today, in Germany. Justin, a big merci to you and your teams.

These are major global wins, led by France and Germany respectively, with outstanding support from the rest of the Groupe around the world, so thank you all for that. We’re seeing the clear demonstration of the power of having an end-to-end country model that is also capable of working seamlessly with our best talent globally. Make no mistake: when we take our unique model to our clients, and bring it to life through our organisation, we win.

This is also the case locally, as we’ve had a lot of good news on this front too, most recently with Danone in China, where Jane and the teams won what was one of the most competitive pitches in the region this year.

But our work can’t stop here. If 2019 is the year where we’ve outperformed the market in terms of new business success, 2020 has to be the year where we transform that into organic growth. While new business is often run by a tight team, organic growth is in the hands of everyone, and we’re expecting everyone to deliver.

Voilà, sorry for this long email. Actually, let’s be honest. I’m not sorry at all! This is the exactly the kind of news we should be celebrating as a Groupe and I’m sure there’ll be more to come soon.

Amitiés,

Arthur

The rub, of course , is in “transform that into organic growth” (Publicis’ last quarterly figures showed an organic decrease of 2.7 per cent.) It blamed this on problems in the US mainly, especially big established clients cutting back (is that you P&G?)

Presumably this should reverse with these wins although Publicis is only promising the same again for the end of the year. Critics say this indicates taking on business at low prices.

As for the ‘Power of One’ country model – the country model seems to be pretty well the Power of One, Publicis has as many networks today as it ever did – the jury’s out on that too.

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About Stephen Foster

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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.

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