Publicis Lands Carrefour's Global Business Account

Agency Won Without a Pitch Following Presentation to New CEO Olofsson

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Publicis Groupe won the $1 billion global business for Carrefour without a pitch after Chairman-CEO Maurice Levy led a presentation to a former client, Lars Olofsson, who joined Carrefour this month as the supermarket giant's new group CEO. The account was handled mostly by Havas' Euro RSCG network, though Havas Media will continue as the media unit.

Lars Olofsson
Lars Olofsson
Mr. Olofsson was named to the top Carrefour job after the board fired his predecessor, Jose Luis Duran, in November. Mr. Olofsson was previously exec VP responsible for strategic business units, marketing sand sales on a global level at Nestle, one of Publicis' biggest clients for decades.

"We are going to build a dedicated ad-hoc structure that will be fully dedicated to the account and will not work on any other business," said a Publicis executive. "It will be independent from all of the networks of Publicis and based in France, and it will be working with different operations worldwide."

Carrefour is the world's largest retailer after Walmart.

Working globally
Another Publicis executive said the business will mainly be run through staffers from Publicis Consultants and agency network Publicis Worldwide, although in a few countries, agency staffers from Leo Burnett or Saatchi & Saatchi will be in charge.

According to Publicis, the agency will be working in 35 countries and on all of Carrefour's brands, handling traditional advertising, marketing services, digital, corporate communications and direct. Carrefour's businesses include "hypermarkets" using the name Carrefour and Atacadao, a Brazilian chain Carrefour bought in 2007 for more than $1 billion; supermarkets under the Carrefour Express and Champion brands; discount stores such as Brazil's Dia and France's Ed; and convenience-store chains Shopi, Smile Market and Marche Plus.

A Carrefour executive said Publicis wasn't chosen just on the basis of the Nestle connection with Mr. Olofsson, a Swede who spent most of his career at the company.

"I would say it's something more than just his prior relationship with Publicis," the executive said. "He trusts the company and knows their way of working but his prior relationship with them is not the reason why we chose them." He added: "Each country was choosing its own agency locally and the idea here is to choose an international network able of working with us in a global sense."

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