Congratulations to Maurice Levy, the smooth-talking CEO of Publicis Groupe, who aced WPP’s Martin Sorrell in odwyerpr.com’s tally of “with whom would you like to share a cup of Christmas cheer.” [Some readers complained about the lack of a “none of the above” or a “pox on all of them” choice. My apologies for that omission.]
In a slap to American pride, the Europeans--who are hardly kissing cousins—made mincemeat of the U.S. duo, Interpublic’s Michael Roth and Omnicom’s John Wren.
Timing may have played a big part in the dreary performance of Roth, the dream companion of 18 percent of respondents, and Wren -- only 14 percent want to hoist one with the pride of Brooklyn’s Red Hook. Roth and Wren did their best Scrooge-like imitation, announcing thousands of layoffs just prior to Christmas. Merry Christmas, indeed.
Even hardcore Sorrell, who has publicly said layoffs are in the works, had the good grace to wait until the New Year before saying where the heads are going to roll. Good luck to the gang at Ogilvy & Mather, which has been speculated as the WPP shop leading off the carnage. Sir Martin got a big thumbs-up from an impressive 27 percent of odwyerpr.com voters.
The suave Frenchman though is hands-down the most preferred drinking partner. More that four-in-ten (41 percent) voters cite Levy as their guy. In a Dec. 16 interview with the U.K.’s Telegraph,Levy said “recession is already in the house,” but he does not see widespread layoffs. He is a realist however. General Motors, Renault, Toyota and Fiat are big Publicis accounts. There will be ups and downs in '09, Levy told the paper.
Silver-tongued Maurice, whom the Telegraph called the "French god of persuasion," even put a positive spin on troubles in adland. Recession means more people staying home so good advertising can cheer up those newly unemployed who are watching TV, according to Levy. He also noted that sexual relations increase during a recession. That is the “make lemonade out of lemons” can-do spirit that earned Maurice top dog status on the survey.
Maurice, I will order the Kronenbourgs. The choice: a New Year’s salute at O’Dwyer’s Madison Ave. worldwide headquarters that look directly into the bus-fumed stained windows of another dreary office building across the street, or a toast on the balcony of your Paris penthouse office, a stone’s throw from the Arc de Triomphe.