Publicis stops entering awards to 'shift focus' to investment in AI platform Marcel

PR agencies MSLGroup and CNC - alongside various other marcoms firms owned by Publicis Groupe - will not be entering industry awards over the next 12 months, its CEO has announced.

Sadoun (centre) announces Marcel with senior colleagues including Tutssel (far left)
Sadoun (centre) announces Marcel with senior colleagues including Tutssel (far left)

The French group's newly installed CEO Arthur Sadoun yesterday announced that it would begin development of a new platform called Marcel.

Marcel is a "professional assistant platform powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning, that connects 80,000 employees across 200 disciplines in 130 countries", a Publicis announcement said.

In order to free up resources and budget to develop Marcel and launch it next year, Sadoun said in a video statement that the group would make a "shift in focus on our promotional budget in the year to come".

"For the next 12 months, we will make Marcel a priority in terms of investment. Because we need to choose our battles, we will pause our investment in festivals, award shows and industry events," he said.

Mark Tutssel, creative chairman of Publicis Communications, said on camera: "Make no mistake, we won't be giving up our award-winning standards during this period."

A written statement confirms: "In order to develop and deploy the platform, Publicis Groupe will shift its promotional budget from industry events to focus its investment. In June 2018, Publicis Groupe plans to launch Marcel exclusively at Viva Technology, the world’s leading event for technology and innovation, in Paris. Publicis Groupe will resume its participation in industry events in September 2018."

The statement says Marcel "will give Publicis Groupe newfound opportunities to connect diverse and extreme skillsets seamlessly"

Sadoun said: "We want to tap into our best talent... we want to celebrate the brilliant minds that actually create what we stand for, big ideas which change the business of our clients. Together, we can change the way we work and by the way, change the way the industry works."

Marcel is named after Publicis founder Marcel Bleustein Blanchet. Sadoun joked in the video that the name was chosen "after Maurice said no". It was announced in January that Sadoun would succeed Maurice Lévy as Publicis CEO.

Publicis' main PR agency MSLGroup won a Bronze Lion at the PR Lions ceremony in Cannes on Monday. The group's #LikeAGirl campaign for feminine products brand Always was the PR Lions Grand Prix winner in 2015, and has triumphed in several awards schemes since.

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