Publicis says ‘I told you so’ as AI tool Marcel celebrates 6th birthday at Cannes

Remember Cannes 2017 when Publicis Groupe dropped out? It was just after Arthur Sadoun took over as chairman and CEO, and the money was to be spent on developing an AI tool called Marcel instead.

Marcel was subsequently the butt of many jokes, dismissed widely as a “glorified intranet.” A lonely, unloved Marcel was even ridiculed in Publicis’ 2019 Christmas film.

But in AI-fuelled 2023, Publicis is back to say “I told you so” with a campaign plastered all over the Croisette on the first day of the Cannes festival.

Carla Serrano, Publicis Groupe CSO, boasts: “Six years ago, AI was laughed at and criticized. Fast forward, and you see that every company at Cannes is keenly announcing its latest AI partnership. AI is a tool that has long sat at the centre of our model: across Sapient for enhanced customer experience; at Epsilon to enrich and activate in real-time our first-party data; in media and critically in creativity, where it enhances dynamic creativity while optimizing, accelerating and simplifying production processes.”

If you look back at the original launch video for Marcel, Serrano talks about AI right from the off. This not-so-gentle reminder was clearly too hard for Publicis to resist.

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