Clients of Publicis Groupe have weighed in on the company’s decision to not enter any award shows in 2018, with one describing it as “a mistake”.
The decision was announced earlier this week by recently-hired company CEO Arthur Sadoun in a bid to rein in spending, and affects all Publicis networks, including Leo Burnett, Publicis Worldwide and Saatchi & Saatchi.
Syl Saller, global chief marketing and innovation officer at Diageo (who happens to use Leo Burnett here in Australia), told Ad Age that the decision is set to be “really problematic”.
“I do think it’s a mistake because creatives in agencies do value awards, and one of the reasons we value awards is we have seen enough data that awards for creativity do lead to better results,” she said.
Mark Sandys, global head of beer and Baileys at Diageo, said the alcohol giant uses the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity as a chance to find out more about potential agency partners.
“Some of the agencies I’ve met, big and small, I come away from the dinners or meetings thinking, ‘Wow those are great people to work with, we should be thinking about them next time something comes up for a pitch’,” he told Ad Age.
“And that’s something Publicis is just not going to be in the conversation in.”
Meanwhile, Chevrolet global chief marketing officer Tim Mahoney believes the move won’t negatively affect the holding group overall, but noted the importance of the creativity that Cannes offers the car manufacturer.
“It creates an incentive [for agencies] to do better work and, as a result of it, it’s good for them too because it can attract better talent,” he said.
“If you are working for an agency that is really delivering excellence, I think that’s a really good thing.”
Unilever chief marketing officer Keith Weed said the absence of Publicis Groupe from awards shows like Cannes will make these types of events “a little less efficient”, according to Ad Age.
“The one thing that we do at CES is that we meet all of our partners, and then at Cannes we’re also able to meet there and monitor progress, he said.
“And then of course we meet in between.”
“I know some people feel that Cannes has become too big, too busy, too complex, too expensive, and I think that’s something for Cannes to reflect on. People vote with their feet and their wallets.
“Cannes has worked really well for us, but it will be interesting to see how this develops.”