Publicis CEO: Marcel Is Trying To Reinvent The Industry

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Arthur Sadoun,Publicis Chief Executive Officer
Arthur Sadoun,Publicis Chief Executive Officer

Marcel, the AI-powered employee platform, is helping Publicis retain staff and signalling a bright creative future for them, according to CEO Arthur Sadoun.

Speaking at dmexco, he acknowledged interviewer Michael Kassan’s suggestion that there had been some initial suspicions internally at the agency. “But once it’s working everyone thinks it’s brilliant,” Sadoun reported.

The idea of Marcel, he explained, was to build a platform to connect employees and enable them “to learn more, to share more, to do more”.

It’s an ambitious project – and one funded by the company diverting spending from festivals and awards – but some clients have been willing to “play the game”, he added, singling out Walmart among the agency’s early partners who were happy to give Marcel a brief and see what emerged.

“We used Marcel and we worked with 50 teams around the world to get the right idea,” he said, adding that the one taken forward enthusiastically by the US retailer was developed by a young team working in Spain.

“They had never been in the US, they had never been in a Walmart store,” he said. “What does that say about our business, when we bring people new thinking, new ways of seeing and use technology to leverage that?”

And the benefit is not only to clients. When it comes to recruiting talent, Sadoun argued that “talent magnets” have to be brought in at the top of an organisation while at the other end Marcel allows younger talent to more easily break constricting geographical barriers.

With the example of the young Spanish team, he said, “the signal you are sending to the market, to the young talent of tomorrow, is that you can be something, that you don’t need any of those big platforms.

“You can bring an idea that will have an impact on your planning future. You can exist by your creativity and what you bring.”

The importance of Marcel, Sadoun suggested, is less what it is than what it represents. “It’s trying to reinvent our industry. I think that hopefully [by 2020] Marcel [can help] to initiate the kind of change we need to see in our industry and at Publicis.”

Credit: WARC

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