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Cannes Lions 2008: I am satisfied with India, but we can still do better: Maurice Levy

23-June-2008
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Cannes Lions 2008:  I am satisfied with India, but we can still do better: Maurice Levy

The Publicis Groupe has taken some significant steps in India in the last few years, including the consolidation of its media buying units to create the India Media Exchange (IMX) and then to bring the Digitas banner in India through a merger with the Solutions brand here that reinforces its presence in the digital medium. While IMX clearly makes Publicis Groupe very strong in the media agency side of the business, the creative agencies are still seeing a lot of varied kind of action.

Saatchi & Saatchi in India would soon be a wholly owned Publicis Groupe unit. The Publicis agencies – Publicis India and Ambience Publicis – have been busy getting their act right in India, and Leo Burnett India, too, is in the midst of a lot of action. Recently, the backend of these agencies had been unified to make the operations side of the businesses simpler. In addition to this, Publicis worldwide has seen revamping of sorts and Maurice Levy, Chairman and CEO, Publicis Groupe, believes that all this has had a positive impact on India.

He said, “The changes that have happened in Publicis, Saatchi and Leo Burnett are proving to be very good. There has been a formidable growth with Solutions, which has now moved to digital under the banner of Digitas. You know that in media, we are growing very fast over there. To grow Asia is excellent, and the changes that India has seen have brought some very positive results for the Groupe.”

“When it comes to business, I am never satisfied, because if you are satisfied, you would be complacent. And we fight complacency to be sure that what we do is right everywhere and we get a good market share. In India, we are very pleased with our development. If I was not that demanding, I would be more than satisfied with India. I think we can still do better because it is a huge country,” Levy added.

exchange4media had caught up with Levy at Cannes during the 55th Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival, where he spoke on his thoughts on the global trends in advertising and media industry. During the seminar, Levy spoke on various subjects that ranged from the importance of creativity to the current popularity of the digital medium. He spoke on the manner in which the lines between the various advertising disciplines were blurring and that this only meant more challenges and opportunities for the advertising professionals. He added, “Being creative is a lot more important today than it was ever before. Creativity is no longer about 30 seconds – there is shopper marketing, retail, experiential, digital. Advertising professionals have to think differently, every time they think.”

Levy also spoke on the compensation in the medium and the fact that more often than not, the advertising agencies were not getting a fair deal. He said, “The most important part of our business is people, but after that nothing is as monumental as the brand. And how are brands created. It is the advertising agencies that help clients to navigate their way in the changing consumer age and be able to build brands. Advertising agencies hence, are not just partners, but should be given the position of esteemed partners.”

Levy raised questions on some of the practices today that included the by-hour fee compensation model, which he didn’t see as an effective model. He also reiterated the need to focus on digital, saying that the medium was poised to contribute 25 per cent of advertising revenues by 2010.

Levy’s seminar was one of the few at the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival 2008 where the discussion was bold but the audience was given enough reasons to laugh and cheer.

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