Publicis, now the No. 2 holding company, posts 7.1% first-quarter organic growth

“We have never been in the No. 2 position, so it’s a big thing for us,” Publicis CEO Arthur Sadoun said in an interview.

For the first quarter of 2023, Publicis’ $3.7 billion in revenue also clocked in higher than Omnicom’s $3.4 billion.

New business activity for the quarter is “definitely higher” than it was last year, but lower than activity in 2021, Sadoun said. Some key wins for the holding company in the quarter include Walgreens media business and creative business for Dunkin’ and Steak ‘n Shake.

Tech and data

Sadoun credits the company’s growth to its revenue mix, noting that one-third of its business comes from data and technology. He is also bullish on the use of AI, which has been a point of emphasis for the holding company since its 2018 partnership with Microsoft to help build its AI platform Marcel.

“We have not waited for ChatGPT to put AI at the core of our operating system, but also at the service of our clients,” Sadoun said. “But it doesn’t stop there. We have done that also in other entities for all of our clients. So when you look at Publicis Sapient, the core of what they’re building, which is innovative customer experience that is based on products and solutions, it’s AI-based and it’s actually helping in project management. … The biggest strength driving Epsilon is our AI model that allows us to have real-time data that we can enrich and activate in the nanosecond.”

Sadoun also noted that the company’s creative collective Le Truc is using OpenAI tools to create more personalized content rather than for the ideation of creative. “We’re going to make sure that the machine doesn’t replace the talent, that the talent gets better by mastering the machine and being more creative quicker and bolder in what we do,” he said.

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