PARIS: Publicis Groupe reported first quarter revenue for 2008 of $1.59 billion, up 8.2% compared with the year-earlier period and excluding currency rate changes.
The company did not provide a breakdown for PR results, but Mark Hass, global CEO of Manning Selvage & Lee, says growth at the firm was consistent with the overall Publicis results. Publicis' $1.9 billion in net new business for the quarter included new PR and corporate communications clients Bouygues, Groupama, Jardiland, Morgan, Saison Culturelle, all in France; and EBSCO in the US.
New healthcare communications clients included Medicus and Solvay/Zolip in the US.
Company-wide, revenue in North America totaled about $726 million, up 8.8%; Europe $628 million, up 6.1%; Asia-Pacific close to $181 million, up 12.7%; Latin America $81 million, up 6.3 %; and Africa and the Middle East $37 million, up 14.3%.
Publicis said it has focused on expanding its digital business as well as its presence in emerging markets, with digital accounts producing 18.4% of total revenue, compared with 12.8% the year before, and emerging markets generating 21.6% of overall revenue, up from 19.5%."[The digital practice] continues to grow 30% year-on-year," said Hass, speaking about MS&L. "Asia grew more than 25% the first quarter."
Hass attributes strong digital results to influencer marketing and CSR work.
"We talk about influencer marketing [and] using digital to manage the influencer space," he said. "[In] the CSR space, being smart about how you use digital is really a key part of whatever you're going to do."
That focus is “producing very positive results that should continue and even improve over the next two to three years,” Publicis Groupe Chairman and CEO Maurice Levy said in a statement.