by Johanna McDowell (@jomcdowell) NEW YORK CITY: Starting off day three of the AdForum Worldwide Summit NYC, 24–28 April 2017, at Publicis Worldwide with, Arthur Sadoun, the Publicis Groupe CEO shared the intentions of the group in terms of business transformation. His stance is that transformation starts with the clients and, when they transform, the agency can transform.

There are three issues affecting agencies and clients:

  • Topline growth is low
  • Effectiveness of campaigns is key
  • Brand trust is vital

Publicis’s mission is “to be our clients’ indispensable creative partner in their own marketing transformation”. Publicis also intends to move from being a holding company to a platform, with a range of external partners to deliver exclusive solutions and innovations to clients. Data and its operating system are at the core of the group. Sadoun went on to tell us that, with 90% of the data in the world not being organised, Publicis has created a system which could help clients to leverage their data for the sake of their brands.

Publicis Groupe is retaining all of its “agency brands”; they are important for the different cultures of clients. The agencies, however, work together on an increasing basis in order to maximise and optimise the talents within the group as a whole. Publicis sees its role and positioning increasingly as a “management consultant”, providing in-depth business services for which clients will be paying more.

Currently, as a world group, Publicis employs 90 000 people.

A Hewlett Packard case study was shown which demonstrated its in-depth and versatile offering.

McCann Worldgroup

McCann Worldgroup was our next port of call and it was interesting to hear its update, especially as it’s been practicing integration since the ’90s, according to Harris Diamond, global CEO. Part of the IPG group of companies, McCann advised us that its business is structured as follows:

  • 50% in North America
  • 8% Latin America
  • 30% EMEA — with lots of growth in particular in this region
  • 12% in Asia

It likes its agencies to have 60% local business and 40% global in their respective regions. Forty two out of 50 of its top clients are serviced with multidisciplines in the McCann World Group.

Recent accolades in 2016 were being positioned as the second-most creative network in the world and second-most digital network in the world.

Diversity is a key driver for it and it has far more women at ECD level than ever before, as well as encouraging more and more people of colour to join the network. It believes it does its best work on some of the world’s biggest and often most-difficult brands, and it demonstrated this through its excellent case studies. Despite being such a large network, McCann prides itself on having connected and flexible operating models which are able to service a huge variety of clients.


We first met this agency not long after it started, when it presented to us in New York some nine years ago. At that time, 72andSunny had offices in LA and Amsterdam. It has since expanded its footprint to include New York City, Sydney and Singapore. By its own admission, it is “results-obsessed” and its greatest pride is having been awarded more Gold Effies than any other agency in the world during 2016.

Case studies for Coors Light, Axe, Samsung and Adidas were shown to us, demonstrating its highly iterative approach with go-to- market thinking. When it is at its best, 72andSunny act as the global or regional strategic lead for brands of ambitious clients of any size. It has modernised the briefing system and is also able to provide activation support across many markets.

Its offices under Brooklyn Bridge are some of the best we saw in New York in terms of light and space — extraordinary achievements over a relatively short space of time. It was a foggy evening but we still managed to eat dinner on the terrace while admiring the view of three bridges over the Hudson. A special time.

See also


Johanna McDowellJohanna McDowell (@jomcdowell) is managing director of the Independent Agency Search and Selection Company (IAS), which is partnered with the AAR Group in the UK. Johanna is one of the few experts driving this mediation and advisory service in SA and globally. Twice a year she attends AdForum Worldwide Summits as an international consultant, which helps her lead the SA advertising industry forward, keep in line with international trends and remain competitive. She runs the IAS Marketers Masterclass, a programme consisting of masterclasses held in Cape Town and in Johannesburg.

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