One of the ad industry's enduring myths - that creativity is the sole province of small startup shops - is about to be put to the test by French advertising conglomerate Publicis Groupe.
Eyeing the aura surrounding independents such as Crispin Porter + Bogusky in the USA, Sra Rushmore in Spain and Mother in the UK, Publicis has launched readymade hotshop Marcel, complete with a staff of up to thirty and a dozen accounts.
Among the clientele are Nestlé, Heineken and Allied Domecq - although the remnants of the latter may not be worth a brownbacked dollar after Allied has been picked to pieces by a feeding frenzy of bidders [WAMN: 29-Apr-05].
Heading the new shop are two industry veterans with impeccable creative credentials, Frederic Raillard and Farid Mokart. According to the latter, Marcel won't be competing with other agencies, instead slugging it out with entertainment sources such as TV.
Which seems to imply that Publicis is backing the latest flavor-of-the-month ad techniques: product placement and sponsored programming.
Publicis and outdoor giant J C Decaux on Tuesday announced a review of their various European joint ventures. This will focus on the respective investments each group holds in the others' activities in France and The Netherlands.
The principal media sectors under the microscope are the duo's raft of bus-shelter and subway advertising franchises.
Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online and Publicis website; additional content by WARC staff