Marcel has been the derrière of countless industry jokes and snark since Publicis Groupe announced at Cannes last summer it would be forgoing award shows for a year to fund the new AI program.
A holiday video from the French holding company acknowledges that the ribbing hasn't been easy on Marcel, which was introduced in May. The AI tool helps with tasks such as locating people within the company who have experience with certain clients or product sectors, and it allows employees all over the world to pitch ideas for creative work. Marcel will be gradually rolled out to Publicis' global workforce, and the holding company aims for it to reach 90 percent of its employees by 2020.
The video went out to employees Wednesday morning.
"If what I've read online is true, most of you don't like me," says Marcel, who has a French accent and takes the form of a rather adorable face on a tablet, which wheels around in the video on a robot body with wheels.
As he wheels around the halls of an agency office (saying "Salut!"), other employees turn the other way, while one shouts, "Marcel, you suck!"
At one moment, someone tries to put him in a closet as he protests that he is not a broom. He gives himself a bathroom pep talk ("You can do this, Marcel, you can do this!")
The video seems to acknowledge hesitation from the inside, as Marcel asks, "Why create me if no one wants me?"
"I'm actually a pretty nice AI once you get to know me. I connect you with experts at any Publicis shop, and I'll do your timesheets. What's not to love?"
"The whole Cannes thing!" someone shouts offscreen.
He pauses, then wishes employees happy holidays and thanks them for a great year — then implores them to "Take it easy on Fishbowl."
Comments, it should be noted, are muted on the YouTube video. But a company spokeswoman said the reaction to the video has so far been positive.
Joyeux Noël, Marcel.