Paris, June 25, 2008 — Publicis Groupe today announced the launch of VivaKi, a new strategic initiative designed to significantly improve the performance of advertisers’ marketing investments as well as boost Publicis Groupe’s growth in the context of rapidly expanding digital markets. VivaKi will be led by Managing Partners Jack Klues and David Kenny, both members of Publicis Groupe’s Management Board.
VivaKi will take advantage of the combined scale of the autonomous operations of Digitas, Starcom MediaVest, Denuo and ZenithOptimedia to develop new services, new tools, and new partnerships. The strategic move reflects Publicis Groupe’s conviction that a totally new and more integrated organization of the media, interactive, analog and digital universes is necessary in order to leverage scale and technological innovation, the key determinants of future success.
Maurice Levy, Chairman and CEO of Publicis Groupe, commented: “The explosion of digital over the last ten years has led to a revolution without precedent in economic history — in terms of the incredible speed of change, its geographical reach and its depth (the world today has at least 1.7 billion Internet users). Our societies are being transformed before our very eyes: the way people are educated, gather information, entertain themselves, meet each other, dialogue and do business is being profoundly influenced around the planet by the digital, interactive and mobile phone environments. Our business is undergoing equally vast changes. We are witnessing the creation of new global giants (such as Microsoft, Google and Yahoo) as well as a redefinition of our business models thanks to the blurring of boundaries: geographic, professional, as well as between content and distribution or roles regarding content generation.
In order to help our clients rethink their marketing and improve the performance of their media investments in this new world, we have built a leadership position by integrating digital capabilities in all our agencies, by acquiring Digitas and through striking innovative partnerships with new players such as Google.
We are today taking a decisive and transformational step by profoundly modifying the Groupe’s organization, by redirecting investments toward digital and by instituting a significant change in our professional approach. All these changes will make our agencies and networks even more competitive and will help our clients build better connections with their audiences by increasing the efficiency and productivity of their marketing investments. In reinforcing our leadership in these new areas, we fully intend to benefit from the surge in this sector’s growth and to win substantial new market share.”
The VivaKi Difference
VivaKi is sharply differentiated by four essential elements:
1. Scale – this is a key factor unleashing value for our clients as they face large new actors in the media landscape. Publicis Groupe today has the necessary size for global leadership in its sector. The Groupe is now further leveraging its scale by aligning resources and the power of its operations under VivaKi.
2. Innovation – by building the VivaKi Nerve Center at the heart of the new entity, Publicis Groupe is fulfilling several objectives:
– Creating the world’s largest center for developing the new technologies necessary to our clients’ future growth
– Making the resources of the VivaKi Nerve Center available to all Groupe entities, including our creative agencies
– Bringing our clients the best solutions to improve performance marketing, relations with platforms (MSN, Google, Yahoo) or social networks (MySpace, Facebook, etc), as well as integrated media solutions and the optimization of data analysis and return on investments.
3. Technology – the approach of Publicis Groupe rests on Open Source systems giving it access to all available innovations and solutions. Proprietary tools will however be developed, such as Navigator® and Insight Factory®. Links will be developed with digital platforms, cable operators, telcos and media supports to improve exchanges and to benefit form leveraging scale.
4. Talents – with the shaking up of our industry, new more flexible and more diversified talents – liquid talents – will be critical. Finding and developing such talent will be a core competency of VivaKi, through the new training and career development programs offered by its Talent Development Platform.
The different entities (Digitas, Starcom MediaVest, Denuo and ZenithOptimedia) will continue to develop solutions specific to each of their clients, in a totally independent way – all supported by the VivaKi Nerve Center and the Talent Development Platform.
The VivaKi Management Teams
Jack Klues and David Kenny are Managing Partners of VivaKi, functions which reflect a shift from a traditional hierarchical management approach.
Within VivaKi, David Kenny will focus on identifying advantages linked to scale (VivaKi Nerve Center, Talent Development Platform and Technology); Jack Klues will be responsible for growing and developing brand-specific solutions.
According to David Kenny: “VivaKi’s scale creates unparalleled advantages for our clients. It allows us to invest in training and developing the best talent, to sustain the strongest open-source technology platform, and to provide strong and impactful solutions to our media partners.”
Laura Lang is promoted CEO of Digitas replacing David Kenny.
Starcom MediaVest, ZenithOptimedia and Denuo will continue to be led by their current CEO’s — Laura Desmond, Steve King, and Rishad Tobaccowala.
Curt Hecht will lead the VivaKi Nerve Center.
Renetta McCann will organize and activate the Talent Development Platform.
Said Jack Klues: “Starcom MediaVest Groupe, ZenithOptimedia and Digitas will take what they need from VivaKi to strengthen their existing operations. They will continue to operate in a completely independent way, developing customized solutions for clients. At the same time, these clients will benefit from VivaKi’s ability to deliver proprietary tools as well as advantages of scale — helping clients reinforce links to consumers in a more cost effective way.”
The VivaKi Name
The name VivaKi is derived from the word “viva” which means life, and “ki” (or Qi) which is often translated as energy flow. According to Lévy, the Groupe sought a name that signified a new frontier – a new lead solution in the digital era.