You read the headline correctly.
Publicis Groupe says it is foregoing Cannes and various other awards shows and industry events over the next year to focus on the development of its newly announced Marcel AI platform, which will formally unveil at the Viva Technology show next June.
Industry types chatted up at Cannes, however, are doubtful the French holding company would forego the most important and prestigious awards festival the industry puts on — especially one deemed important to the French economy!
"It's an odd statement for a French-based company to make this decision in Cannes. It is almost disrespectful," said one industry executive at the show. “Pulling out of Cannes can only hurt the Groupe's reputation in its home country.”
Who knows what kind of creative year the Groupe will have, but if they come up with the next “Fearless Girl” or “Dumb Ways To Die,” a multiple Grand Prix winner from a few years back, you can bet your bottom euro they’ll play very hard in Cannes next year.
Marcel may be artificially intelligent, but Groupe CEO Arthur Sadoun has lots of real smarts. He’s not going to give up an opportunity to reap potentially revenue-enhancing recognition for creativity.
And there are other practical—business practical, that is—reasons to participate.
Many big clients attend Cannes and guess who’s going to be chatting them up pretty aggressively if their own agencies aren’t in attendance? “Out of sight, out of mind,” as one Cannes agency attendee put it. Of course, Pub would miss the opportunity to sow seeds with potential prospects, wondering if their own agency rosters could use a little retooling.
Another attendee laughs at the Groupe's attempt to link this conference boycott with the new AI technology tool. The correlation is "pathetic" and "unnecessary." Why does one lead to the other?
Others agreed and expressed bemusement at this so-called revolutionary platform Marcel. "It is basically a database," said one skeptical source.