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Lévy Attributes Slow Q3 To Failed Omnicom Merger And Razorfish Losses

publicisPublicis Groupe reported a meager 1% organic growth rate for 2014’s Q3 on Thursday, with the displeased CEO Maurice Lévy blaming key account losses at Razorfish and lingering “distraction” on the failed Omnicom fusion. Publicis’ revenue in Q3 grew 4% YoY to reach $2.21 billion.

“We have been too much focused on [the merger] and not enough on short term issues and growth,” Lévy told investors during the call, “and we are paying the price for that.” Despite Lévy’s assertions, Omnicom Group reported organic growth of 6% in its Q3 and made little mention of the fiasco with Publicis.

Certainly key account losses at digital agency Razorfish – as well as clients like Blackberry trimming back their advertising budgets – had a more tangible negative effect on Publicis. 

Consequently, Publicis restructured the agency as Razorfish Global to include assets from Nurun and Rosetta.

In a statement, Lévy said the company is nearing the end of a negative growth cycle and expressed confidence in Publicis’ vitality. Strong growth in digital is one indicator of an impending uptick, said Lévy, and digital now accounts for 42% of Publicis’ revenue and is growing by more than 9%. He anticipated new client wins, such as Samsung, will also help bring about a better financial forecast by year’s end, he added.


Q3: IPG Says Marketers Fear Programmatic’s Black Box

IPGInterpublic Group (IPG) reported Q3 revenue of $1.84 billion, an 8.3% increase YoY and an organic increase of 6.3%.

IPG Chairman and CEO Michael Roth attributed the solid quarter to strategic digital developments and to the competitiveness of its agencies. IPG’s media agencies are housed in its Mediabrands entity and include Initiative, BPN, ID Media and Orion Holdings.

Roth provided only a rough estimate on the holding company’s programmatic investments, saying it’s about 7% of overall media spend globally and about 10% in the US.

“We continue to believe one of the biggest issues of programmatic buying is the issue of distrust by the clients, because they don’t really understand what’s going into this ‘black box,’” said Roth, adding some clients, though not a huge amount, are taking their practices in-house.

“We’re going to have to watch this very carefully,” he said. “But if we’re doing our job right in terms of delivering on an efficient basis and delivering the returns through our trading, then there shouldn’t be any need for clients to take it internally.”

Roth didn’t see any novelty in this decision, saying IPG has often witnessed clients take their marketing disciplines in-house and that it doesn’t tend to work well, especially for smaller clients unable to field the talent, technology and resources.


Q3: Omnicom Reveals How It Fares On Programmatic

omnicom-wrenOmnicom Group's programmatic buying discipline is still in its early days, the agency holding company emphasized during its Q3 2014 earnings call Tuesday.

Programmatic buying constitutes just south of 2% of the company’s overall revenue, which reached $3.75 billion during the quarter, up 7.4% YoY. Most of the growth came from the North America region, which was up 8.9% YoY (compared to the low single-digit growth of other regions).

Omnicom CEO John Wren attributed North America’s increase partially to growth in programmatic buying – as well as other factors like fewer losses and new client wins.

Omnicom, he said, saw a significant uptick in programmatic toward the end of Q3 2013 and throughout Q4 2013 and Wren projected at least double-digit growth for programmatic into Q4 and throughout 2015.

However, he added a caveat, saying it’s still “early days.”

Havas CEO On Algorithms, The (French) Family Business And Creativity’s Part in Programmatic

YannickYannick Bolloré, the newly appointed chairman and CEO of Havas, took to the Times Center stage Wednesday at Advertising Week to talk about changes at the French agency holding company in the wake of last year's restructuring.

Bolloré, a family-owned investment group steered by Yannick’s father and famed French investor Vincent Bolloré, owns a 37% stake in the global communications company that named the younger Bolloré its leader this winter. The appointment came just one year after Havas rolled its MPG and Media Contacts brands into an umbrella unit dubbed Havas Media Group.

As part of the restructure, a number of MPG assets including mobile marketing agency Mobext, data management platform Artemis and the Affiperf agency trading desk were consolidated under the jurisdiction of Havas Media.

Affiperf now calls itself a “Meta DSP,” a designation meant to emphasize its scale across all exchanges, publishers and a range of DSPs.

After all, Bollore acknowledged, a competitor’s DSP “may be more right for one campaign” than Affiperf, even.


Programmatic Video The Basis Of (Expanded) Publicis, AOL Deal

PalsWhile AOL and Publicis Groupe have been programmatic cohorts since last July, the media giant and the holding company took their partnership to another level by adding video and linear TV to the mix Monday at Advertising Week.

The move will link Publicis' digital arm VivaKi with AOL Platforms, which will become Publicis' preferred partner for programmatic video.

Through the deal, all Publicis agencies will get access to premium reserved and non-reserved inventory through ONE by AOL, as well as the tools to build private marketplaces.

Toby Gabriner, head of and ONE by AOL, told AdExchanger that AOL forged 50 new private marketplaces in the first half of the year alone. With digital video ad spend expected to skyrocket from $7.77 billion in 2015 to $12.71 billion in 2018, agencies are stepping up their investment in the format.

Although it's unclear how Publicis clients using other video platforms for their buys will be affected by the partnership, AOL touts its openness, claiming brands and agencies can use either their own tech or AOL's. More details should emerge when AOL stages tonight its Programmatic Upfront, what's rapidly becoming a fall tradition.


Omnicom Digital Chief Says CRM Deal Is About ‘Following Media Through To Commerce'

JonathanNelsonCloud CRM stalwart and agency holding company Omnicom Group are extending their love affair.

The companies on Tuesday revealed a CRM data-sharing initiative (they’re calling it a customer engagement platform) extending across Omnicom. This means will pipe data from email, sales transactions, call center/service requests and mobile data into Annalect’s data-management platform.

Previous partnerships set the stage. Last summer, Omnicom revealed it would roll out’s social advertising tool agencywide along with social publishing and listening tools Buddy Media and Radian6.

The goal is to bring first and third party data together to enable more precise messaging, Jonathan Nelson, CEO of Omnicom Digital told AdExchanger: “We wanted to then follow that through to commerce, and then post-purchase in social media through what they say after they buy. It’s sort of a recursive loop.”


Digital Stars Rise At Publicis Groupe, VivaKi Bifurcated

stephan-rishadThe first half of 2014 was sobering, to put it mildly, for Publicis Groupe and its CEO, Maurice Levy.

In the wake of the holding company's failed megamerger with Omnicom Group and its weak second-quarter earnings report, Levy needs to show digital strength. Some structural changes announced Tuesday may help it do that.

Among the key changes: VivaKi has formalized a divided structure with two CEOs, digital agency Rosetta has been absorbed into the Razorfish brand and Rishad Tobaccowala, who once led strategy for VivaKi, has ascended to become chief strategy officer of the global Publicis organization. (Press release)

And Maurice Levy will postpone retirement until 2017, at which point he will be 75 years old.

Below is a rundown of the most important changes pertaining to data-driven media.

VivaKi In Two Pieces

VivaKi now has two divisions, with two CEOs. VivaKi Exchange reports to Simon Pardon and focuses on media trading, negotiation and execution. This arm is dedicated to leveraging the media investment clout spread across all of Publicis' media agencies to get favorable rates and placements.


Wunderman’s Data Services Unit Constructs In-House Marketing Hub

Caroline Worbys kbmKBM Group, a data services business and division of Wunderman, revealed its partnership Wednesday with Provenir, a move designed to improve the predictive targeting capabilities of the former’s IMPACT 360 Customer Engagement Platform.

The partnership, the companies hope, will enable brands to consolidate interactions that occur across numerous channels like mobile, social, display and more traditional touches like contact center and search.

“For all of these types of interactions we record the identity of the consumer, the campaign that drove the interaction, what message or content was presented and the result of the interaction,” said Caroline Worboys, SVP of customer intelligence at KBM Group. “In this way we create a longitudinal memory of the building relationship between the brand and the consumer to create and continually enrich an actionable profile for the consumer.”

According to Mark Smith, president of Provenir’s customer engagement business, the company partners with four out of five of the largest global agencies, which predominantly service data-rich verticals such as travel, CPG, airline and retail clients.


Hearst’s ICrossing Brings Kenshoo Into The Fold – But Don’t Say It’s Giving Up On Its Own Tech

kenshoo icrossingICrossing, a digital marketing agency owned by publishing giant Hearst, unveiled Wednesday the beginning phases of a long-term partnership with marketing software provider Kenshoo.

ICrossing will integrate its Connected Marketing Platform (CMP) with Kenshoo’s tools that automate and add intelligence to bids in paid search campaigns. The ability to automate campaign functions is a key reason behind the partnership.

“One of the KPIs will be how much time we can give iCrossing back to invest in other areas of their business on behalf of their clients,” said Aaron Goldman, Kenshoo’s CMO. “The other is performance improvements of the campaigns themselves, through the science and algorithms embedded in the Kenshoo platform. Are we being more efficient? If we can deliver on both those things, we can agree the partnership has been successful.”

The CMP is an overarching term iCrossing uses to describe its tool set, built around managing cookie-level data, merging it with campaign and audience data, and making the entire collection available for marketing or advertising decisions.

Much of that data’s value comes from iCrossing’s affiliation with Hearst. So just as iCrossing hopes to benefit from Kenshoo automating certain campaign processes, Kenshoo hopes to benefit by accessing data pumped through iCrossing.

“Given our access to the premium audience data at Hearst and other data sources we can access at the cookie level, we can bring unique intelligence to the Kenshoo experience,” said iCrossing CTO Peter Randazzo.

Publicis Chooses Adobe To Support A Data Layer Across Its Agencies

AdobePublicisPublicis Groupe will make Adobe Marketing Cloud technology available to clients across its agency portfolio, the companies revealed Wednesday.

Under the deal, the Paris-based holding company's agencies will package Adobe MediaOptimizer and Adobe AudienceManager as part of a solution with the name Publicis Groupe Always-On Platform.

It’s not the first time the companies have worked together on a large technology integration. Publicis-owned Razorfish is one of Adobe's top two agency partners globally (the other is Sapient Nitro), and DigitasLBi also uses elements of its stack.

The latest agreement puts Adobe's digital marketing products in the hands of many others across the network, including Starcom MediaVest Group, VivaKi, ZenithOptimedia, BBH, Leo Burnett, Publicis Worldwide, Rosetta and Saatchi & Saatchi.

Brad Rencher, SVP and GM of Adobe’s Digital Marketing business unit, told AdExchanger that Wednesday's alliance is a broad strategic deal where Publicis will essentially create a common data layer across its agencies.

“There are multiple facets to this, but it is a stepping up and increased usage of Adobe Marketing Cloud,” Rencher said during a sitdown at DMEXCO. “They’ve licensed AudienceManager to be the DMP [data-management platform] across all of their agencies and can extend that to all of their customers.”