Publicis Groupe ‘takes its own medicine’ and pays for Super Bowl slot to air new Cancer Pledge film

A Super Bowl ad is a big statement for any brand, which makes it all the more remarkable that Publicis Groupe has paid for its own air time in (probably) the world’s most expensive media space.

But CEO Arthur Sadoun, himself recovering from cancer, wants his Cancer Pledge initiative to change lives.

The campaign’s aim is to erase the stigma of cancer and change workplace culture for the better. Carla Serrano, CSO for Publicis Groupe and CEO of Publicis New York, said: “We chose the Super Bowl because we wanted a moment that would galvanise everybody. We wanted to do this properly and to create a cultural accelerant – this is a case of us taking our own medicine, following the advice we give to clients.”

The film is mainly the creation of Marco Venturelli, chief creative officer of Publicis France, whom Sadoun personally tasked with the project. Venturelli said: “This was by far the most intense film I’ve ever produced, not only because Arthur was the client, but also because cancer is such an incredibly universal thing that touches everyone.”

He added: “I wanted to really give a glimpse of the kind of odyssey people who have cancer go through. I didn’t want to sugar coat it – the film needed to be tough – because once you’ve been touched by cancer it never leaves completely.”

Sadoun intends for the campaign to be ongoing, and after the first wave, to pass the baton to another organisation to take it forwards. Publicis Groupe has already signed up an impressive list of supporters, including many of the world’s largest companies, but is aiming high with a target of 1,000 signatories.

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