Publicis Groupe appoints Microsoft to develop AI platform

Arvind Hickman
By Arvind Hickman | 31 January 2018
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and Publicis Groupe CEO Arthur Sadoun.

Publicis Groupe has appointed Microsoft to develop and roll out its internal AI platform Marcel.

Publicis Sapient will lead the architecture and design of the platform, including the user experience and Microsoft will build it. The new technology will be unveiled at Viva Technology in Paris in May.

Marcel, named after founder of the business Marcel Bleustein-Blanchet, will use machine learning and artificial intelligence to help Publicis Groupe better organise its 80,000 employees around the world.

It aims to do this by identifying and connecting staff with complimentary skills that may be suitable for shared projects including pitches.

The platform will also help collate, organise and curate collective knowledge as well as enable employees to participate in work beyond their immediate role and geographical boundaries.

Publicis Groupe says it has been testing new ‘collaborative models’ that are ‘driving results for some of its major global clients’.

“Marcel is a crucial step in Publicis Groupe’s commitment to radically change our industry, for the good of our clients and our people,” Publicis Groupe chairman and CEO Arthur Sadoun says.

“It’s why we’re thrilled to be able to draw on Microsoft’s ground-breaking talent, capabilities and resources in artificial intelligence, to build the platform of the future, today.”

Two Marcels?

Not be confused with Publicis-owned creative agency of the same name, Marcel, the AI platform is an entirely separate entity. However, AdNews understands Marcel staff globally are not thrilled about the clash of names, given it will add to market confusion about its offering.

Marcel (the agency) has previously been more of an unknown quantity in Australia, but in Europe it’s a well-known hot shop. With five offices − in Paris, New York, Mexico City, Sau Paulo and Sydney − it is one of Publicis Groupe’s offbeat creative gems.

The Sydney office officially opened its doors in March 2016 and was born out of a number of circumstances coming together in December the year before. At the crux was the fall of Droga5 and Publicis Mojo. Check out our interview with Marcel, 'pirates with principle' here.

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