In a packed theater along the beaches of Cannes on Tuesday afternoon, three Publicis Groupe C-suite executives assured an eager crowd that their decision to boycott the festival of creativity this year was a sacrifice and not a PR stunt.
"We have had difficulty defining our value," said Publicis CEO Arthur Sadoun. "We haven’t changed enough...and that’s what we’ve done with Marcel."
The AI platform was the topic of discussion at last year’s festival, and this week, Sadoun, chief creative officer Nick Law, and chief strategy officer Carla Serrano formally introduced Marcel to the Cannes Lions audience.
A concept video with cohesive color coding and snappy music helped the group understand how Marcel could connect brands with creatives through by posting open briefs for which they could apply. The executives said Marcel can improve opportunity, connectivity, knowledge, and productivity within the Publicis network.
Publicis recognized the natural biases in the way the holding company hires employees, and it hopes to eliminate those issues holding back marginalized groups of individuals.
The company also claims Marcel can stimulate engagement through its "daily digest" interface.
"We know that we need a feature that not just inspires, [but] stimulates engagement," said Serrano.
This feature uses Marcel’s machine learning to aggregate news, potential new networks, available positions, and tasks to create six personalized "cards" for each professional in the morning, and another six cards for the afternoon.
As University of Georgia advertising and public relations students who are quickly approaching graduation and (fingers crossed) employment, we found the concept of Marcel riveting. However, a single platform that could create a fluid access to information, while also allowing creatives direct access to brands and markets that wouldn’t normally be available to them sounds almost too conceptual.
Though the virtual one-on-one connections that individuals can make around the world will contribute to global communication within the network, the face-to-face network formed between a company and its agency still seems important for relationship building.
"AI is our connection engine," said Law. But could AI redefine social norms and interactions, potentially crippling humanity’s future physical interactions? Probably not, but we still think those face-to-face engagements are important in our creative business.
A future with Marcel as an ever-present resource is a future that interests us.
Birdie Jackson is a PR major and Taylor Lee is an advertising major at the University of Georgia.