Google and Publicis Spill the Beans on Their Tie-Up

24 September 2008

NEW YORK: Google and Publicis have revealed further details of an agreement first announced in January, and are to work together to improve efficiency and revenues, and to simplify the process of buying and selling online ads.

David Kenny of Publicis digital shop VivaKi, spoke at the Interactive Advertising Bureau's MIXX Conference alongside Google's president of North American advertising and commerce, Tim Armstrong.

According to Kenny, the holding group's 44,000 staff currently produce $5 billion (€3.3bn; £2.7bn) in revenue, but many agency employees spend as much as 40% of their time doing basic tasks.

He argued that using Google's various platforms could greatly simplify much of this activity, and free up agency teams to spontaneously update campaigns and meet the broader needs of clients.

"The market has shifted to digital faster than the talent has shifted," he said, adding that Publicis was "looking at this partnership as part of the reinvention of our company."

One possible direction this might take is agency employees adopting a more "numbers-driven" approach to creative strategy, and also working in line with the sort of risk management techniques that are employed on Wall Street [God help adland!].

Armstrong revealed that Google has been stream-lining its own operations via a program called Project Spaghetti, and agencies that do the same will have more time to develop their service and strategy plans.

He said: "The challenges we were having internally are the same everyone was having externally."

Google will assess the value of the relationship in terms of the extra revenues it generates from Publicis agencies, as well as through feedback it receives about how it is meeting agencies' needs.

The two companies have already worked together on a project that placed mobile ads on YouTube videos, with five of the eight advertisers taking part in the trial being Publicis Groupe clients.

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff