Taking it to the bank
Then, just last week Publicis’ Zenith picked up Lloyds Banking Group in the U.K., which includes Lloyds Bank, Halifax, the Bank of Scotland, Scottish Widows and MBNA. The account was valued by Campaign at $108 million—and it was also won from WPP's Mediacom unit, where it has been housed for 12 years.
Publicis also is said to also be in the hunt for Eli Lilly & Co.’s U.S. media account, which is estimated to be worth upwards of $600 million, and French luxury goods marketer Kering Group, owner of Gucci, St. Laurent and other high-end brands. And Publicis is in the hunt for one of perhaps the most prestigious account reviews of the year: the soon-to-be decided pitch for Coca-Cola Co.
Of course, Publicis has had some losses, too, including getting beat in September by Omnicom for the Mercedes-Benz account spanning more than 40 countries.
'Power of One'
Publicis Groupe would not comment for this story, but people close to the company say it credits Marcel, the artificial intelligence engine it built in part to create pitch teams; the data capabilities it brings to bear with Epsilon and Publicis.Sapient; and its “Power of One” strategy.
Though several of these Publicis wins seem to come at the expense of WPP, consultancy R3, which publishes new business tallies for agencies, still ranks the British holding company well in the lead.
The league list
The R3 global New Business League list for January-July 2021 is topped by WPP, with total estimated year-to-date win revenue of $425.4 million, broken down into $270 million for creative and $155.4 million for media. The tally was built from a total of 1,368 wins. Publicis came in second with $344.4 million in estimated year-to-date win revenue, composed of $110.9 million in creative and $233.5 million in media. Its total came from 413 wins recorded in the period.
However, when the U.S. is broken out, R3's calculations for October 2021 show Publicis Groupe leading in wins over WPP. This ranking puts the French holding company at No. 1 with a total of $195.4 million in estimated overall year-to-date win revenue ($155.8 million of that in media accounts) based on 36 wins. WPP, at No. 2, came in with $147.0 million in estimated overall year-to-date win revenue based on 76 wins.
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Investors have taken notice of Publicis Groupe’s strong performance. Its stock has risen more than 50% from its pre-pandemic level two years ago, second only to Interpublic Group of Cos. (up 63%) among the biggest agency holding companies. (Stagwell, formerly MDC Partners, a smaller agency company, is up 208% over that period.) Publicis shares in October reached their highest point since 2018.
—Contributing: Bradley Johnson