Publicis Groupe issued an intriguing two-paragraph release today, saying that CEO Maurice Levy huddled with Google chief Eric Schmidt at the ad/PR combine’s Paris headquarters. Levy is much too humble.
The upshot of the talks: a blockbuster deal in which Google may install hundreds of its people in Publicis’ offices throughout the world to bolster its digital advertising efforts.
For its part, technical savvy Google will see how the creative process works at Publicis. It’s portrayed as a win-win for both sides.
You got to hand it to Maurice. The guy is staking a claim to the role as the interactive leader among the ad/PR combines. The Google splash follows last year’s $1.3B acquisition of Digitas, one of the smartest digital ad shops.
Google is not exactly the favorite company of Publicis rival WPP Group even though its CEO Martin Sorrell admits that the various entities of his combine do a ton of business with the search engine giant.
Sorrell famously referred to Google as a “short-term friend and a long-term enemy” following its $3B acquisition of DoubleClick. He coined the terms “frenemy” and “froe” to describe the ad industry’s relationship with Google.
Schmidt has emphasized that his deal with Publicis is not an “exclusive” arrangement. Google’s match with Publicis happened because the two share “similar corporate cultures.”
Does the hard-driving Sorrell make a nice fit with the Google guys whose mission is to make the world a better place by organizing all of its information? Will Sorrell allow the frenemy into WPP's tent? Can he afford not to?