|April 30, 2009|
|Publicis Maestro Levy Makes Silk Purse From Sow's Ear|
|By Kevin McCauley|
|French ad/PR maestro Maurice Levy is making a silk purse out of a sow's ear during these troubled times. |
[All due respect to the image conscious National Pork Board -- which apparently pressured the Obama Administration to stop calling the impending global pandemic the "swine flu" because everyone knows it's really "H1N1 flu" that destroyed Mexico’s economy and is getting kids in New York City sick. Anyone up for a BLT?]
Levy, the irrepressible Commander of the French Legion and winner of the exalted O’Dwyer’s best CEO drinking buddy award, says Publicis Groupe’s 4.4 percent decline in first-quarter revenues isn’t that bad.
“Our main competitors have published numbers with a decline between 5.6 percent and 6.6 percent, clearly showing that Publicis Groupe is gaining market share,” said Levy in a statement accompanying the ad/PR combine’s financials.
Take that Sir Martin of WPP Group, which reported a 5.8 percent dip in revenues.
It’s not clear whether silver-haired and tongued Levy considers the “pride of America” much competition these days. Both Omnicom and Interpublic suffered revenue drops beyond the sophisticated Frenchman’s bracket of decline. John Wren presided over a 14 percent dip at OMC, while Michael Roth took a 10.8 percent nosedive at IPG.
Suave Maurice plays up Publicis' ranking by Nomura Securities as the top dog in '08 new business wins, a cool $1.7B number. That No. 1 standing carried into '09's first quarter and the far-from-bashful Maurice boasts: "We have an even bigger lead and everything indicates that we should maintain this advantage over our competitors in the month of April."
Is there any place safe for WPP, OMC and IPG to hide to escape the wrath of the rampaging Frenchman?
Levy does admit to one possible speed-bump in his quest to crush opponents like a bug. Publicis has to weather the "low point" of the depression, which the haughty one expects to occur during the summer. Of course, WPP, OMC and IPG will face that same bump.
Much fun is expected from the epic PR battle between sprightly Sir Martin and wily Maurice, a true master of putting lipstick on a pig of a quarter.
(Image via CharlieRose.com)
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