Are Publicis’ internal ‘Cannes Do’ awards a smokescreen to cover job cuts?

It’s interesting observing Publicis Groupe in the coronavirus crisis: go-go CEO Arthur Sadoun is making quite touchy feely videos weekly to inspire the troops while the number of said troops seems to be reducing rapidly.

But thinning the ranks seems to be the job of the agency’s (relatively) newly-appointed country managers and others. Long-serving BBH chairman Jon Peppiatt is among the latest to go. Who did the deed, BBH group CEO Neil Munn or Publicis UK country manager Annette King?

Sadoun, meanwhile, has announced that Publicis will hold its own internal (and presumably virtual) “Cannes Do” awards” later this year, celebrating the best work and the biggest ideas produced by Publicis in the last 12 months. Voting closes on June 14. The top ten will be revealed on Publicis’ internal Marcel tool on June 26. Cannes Lions, proper, has, of course, been cancelled.

Nobody would claim that managing in such circumstances is easy (unless sadism is your thing) but it’s important to strike a balance between grandstanding for the benefit of others and doing the right thing by your people. Let’s hope Arthur has the balance right.

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