Why Publicis Groupe Will Move Ahead With Facebook

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Publicis Groupe's (PUBGY) futuristic partnership with Facebook  (FB) -- an agreement that achieved closure after several months of meticulous planning and discussion -- signals the French public relations conglomerate's rise from the vestiges of its recent breakup with British bellwether Omnicom (OMC).

The deal, announced with much jubilance on Monday, is a resonance of the Paris-based ad giant's fresh optimism toward a technologically refined society, where campaigns that offer the highest returns on investment are, more often than not, those that involve the coordinated contributions of multiple and multi-device communication channels. Those campaigns involve making compelling, device-friendly ads and placing them in front of the right people.

The partnership between the two media players is an extension of Publicis Groupe's explicit focus on thought leadership, social media outreach and digital branding over the past year. In this context, many Publicis Groupe agencies have been leveraging interactive multimedia content, including slideshows, and social media-based video narratives as tools that would drive and shape conversations between organizations, brands, influencers and audiences.

MSLGROUP, a Publicis Groupe agency that specializes in strategic communications and creative consultations, has already launched People's Lab, a proprietary crowd-sourcing platform that involves planned experiments on social data, industry insights, white label communities and digital storytelling. The People's Lab initiative, which was launched through an exploratory survey towards the latter half of last year, is now in full swing in France and markets across Shanghai, Singapore, Hong Kong and India.

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An evolving need to absorb how audiences consume information from the vast sea of data spread out across the virtual universe was the crux of the Publicis-Facebook collaboration, which was orchestrated by Starcom MediaVest Group, Publicis Groupe's digital and media specialist agency in the U.S.

"It (the partnership) focuses on critical areas of the future -- visual storytelling, online videos and data access -- and allows us to reach precision audiences at scale, enabling us to shape that tomorrow with infrastructure, creativity and rigor," said Laura Desmond, CEO of Starcom MediaVest Group.

The value of the deal is expected to be approximately $500 million, roping in global investments from Publicis media networks Starcom MediaVest Group, Zenith Optimedia and other large digital group agencies, including Razorfish, Digitas and Rosetta.

Starcom MediaVest Group emphasizes that spending isn't the main component of this agreement. Instead, it's all about innovative communication channels that successfully deliver product-level messages to target audiences.

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