From a business standpoint, 2012 was a “difficult year” and 2013 won’t be any easier. That was how Publicis Groupe CEO Maurice Levy summed up the current
situation in his annual year-end address to company employees which was posted on YouTube.
The video address mixed a serious business message with some humorous elements for the YouTube audience. Levy noted that some staffers thought his annual address had been “a little on the long side” in previous years and that some had even “skipped certain parts.”
In the year’s address, if the user skips a part, Levy gives an exasperated look at the camera and says, “Okay, I’ll skip that and that -- really too bad, it was so good.” If the user rewinds after skipping, he responds, “Okay, make up your mind.” Hit the pause button, and Levy replies, “take your time,” and he begins fiddling with his smartphone.
On a more serious note, Levy said, “We made it,” referring to the company’s ability to navigate through the economic turbulence of the past year. He noted that “the economic crisis put considerable pressure on all of us.” He said the Groupe focused on two of its “strong growth pillars” during 2012, including digital and fast-growing markets. The company strengthened its digital asset portfolio with the acquisitions of Pixelpark in Germany and Amsterdam-based LBi.
The company also expanded operations in China, Russia, India and Brazil, said Levy. And a “creative milestone was reached” when the company bought control of creative shop BBH and its Brazilian affiliate Neogama/BBH. Previously, the company had minority stake in the London-based agency.
Levy also touched briefly on international politics. Referring to stakes the company bought this year in both Israeli and Palestinian agencies, Levy said the deals “remind us of the passionate dream that so many of us share of peace in the Middle East.”