Publicis Groupe’s Arthur Sadoun was put on the hot seat on Tuesday when he joined his first-ever Advertising Week New York fireside with Wall Street Journal Advertising Editor Suzanne Vranica. The Publicis chairman and CEO was pressed on everything from the holding company’s steady decline in organic revenue (it did post a tepid 0.1 percent organic growth for the recent second quarter), to its ability to effectively integrate Epsilon (the data marketing firm it acquired for $4.4 billion) into the network, considering its struggle to do so with Sapient.
“Change is hard,” Sadoun said, while trying to divert the conversation to Publicis’ focus on what’s “most important … dynamic creativity.”
On Epsilon, he said “it was a big move for us” but he and the rest of the board “decided to do it for one reason, to help our clients take back control of their customer” from the platform giants like Facebook and Google. When asked if he really thinks Publicis can compete with the likes of Google and Facebook on data and the ability to use it to target consumers, Sadoun argued, “I know for sure” it can.