In a presentation that ultimately did not add anymore detail to Marcel’s launch event back in May, Publicis Groupe’s Chairman Arthur Sadoun, Chief Strategy Officer Carla Serrano and Chief Creative Officer Nick Law took to the Lumiere Stage at Cannes on Tuesday to answer tough questions from the creative community.
“We’re missing you guys”, Sadoun opened the session by tiptoeing around the number one question on everyone’s mind: why are they in Cannes after the public boycott?
“Actually there’s been a sacrifice. Some have said that we did it for PR reasons. Believe me, you don’t want this kind of PR.” Sadoun continued by keeping to the script of cost cutting in order to deliver Marcel.
“Is it a stupid idea? Is it a visionary idea? Too early to say”, he said.
After showcasing a condensed version of its May launch deck, the trio answered a number of pre-recorded video questions from their fellow industry friends.
From Jimmy Smith, Chairman-CEO and CCO of Amusement Park Entertainment: “Yo seriously, why should I give a flying rat’s butt about Marcel?”
“I don’t think you should. I don’t actually think that everybody has to love Marcel. Or see the benefits of Marcel,” answered Serrano. “If you’re into the idea of extending opportunities to people, you should give Marcel a chance.”
Tor Myhren – VP Marketing Communications, Apple, asked: “So hold on, let me get this straight. So you’re at Cannes, speaking about why you’re not at Cannes, to a group of people there wondering why you’re not at Cannes, watching you at the main stage at Cannes?” which prompted laughter and applause from the crowd.
“Don’t blame me, I was invited here to be on the jury”, deadpanned Law, who answered in an earlier question about whether there’s such a thing as artificial creativity with “I have no formal education, like I was raised by dingoes”.
“We love meta and irony, apparently,” added Serrano.
From Tham Khai Meng, Worldwide Chief Creative Officer & Co-Chairman at Ogilvy & Mather: “Is Marcel real or is it a great case study?”
“It’s both. It’s going to be a great case study, and it’s real. When we launched Marcel last year, we made a real brand,” answered Serrano. “It’s a real commitment, it’s a real journey, we’ve got real people on it, it takes real money… We will be launching globally starting January next year”.
And two of the toughest questions from Gerry Graf, Founder/Chief Creative Officer of Barton F. Graf 9000, LLC.
The first one being: “How do you pronounce Publicis?”
“You say whatever you want, as long as you (a client) join that’s fine”, joked Sadoun.
And secondly, to much of the audience’s delight: “Are you not entering Cannes because you don’t believe creativity plays a role in advertising anymore? Or Cannes does not play a role in creativity anymore?”.
“My feeling with Cannes is that it is extremely important for two reasons. The first is that our work needs to be judged,” answered Sadoun. “The other thing is inspiration. I came to Cannes for 20 years and I remember sitting all day looking at the 40-second commercials expecting to see things that would give me ideas for the year to come.
“I feel that Cannes had lost a bit of this and I am extremely happy to see that it is coming back.” Sadoun then reassured that Publicis will return to Cannes in 2019.
The session closed with other light-hearted questions, such as “is Marcel a cat meme generator?”, “is Marcel going to tell me ‘come on, that’s been done before’?” and “what’s your next stupid idea?”. The final question to which Sadoun answered: “No more stupid ideas. We’re back in the trenches, trying to solve problems and trying to help our clients.”