Skip to main content

Publicis CEO: Europe 'world's sick child'

By Ramy Inocencio, for CNN
updated 12:10 AM EST, Fri February 15, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Publicis CEO: 2012 ad revenue growth not great, 2013 may be harder
  • French ad firm to focus more on digital, emerging markets for revenue
  • CEO Maurice Levy: 'Europe is sick child of world'
  • Levy: 'Good growth only to come in 2015'

(CNN) -- The London Summer Olympics may have been the most-watched event in television history but advertising revenue from the 2012 Games surprisingly disappointed French advertising group Publicis, as did revenue from last year's highly-watched European football championships.

But the lackluster revenues from such sporting events' ad purchases illustrate a disturbingly larger trend -- last year's revenue was worse than expected. And Publicis expects this year to be even harder.

In 2012, the European advertising network saw its "organic revenue" -- a key measure of growth and a barometer in the advertising industry -- grow less than 3%. Matching, let alone surpassing, that number in 2013 will be even tougher, said Maurice Levy, Publicis' CEO to CNN's Nina dos Santos. To push back, he says his company will shift toward "fast-growing markets" in digital and emerging economies while its home base of Europe recovers from its problems.

"I call Europe the sick child of the world nowadays because there are so many issues that have to be addressed -- starting with budget deficits (and) public spending -- that need to be addressed quite seriously," said Levy. "And this will probably lead to very little growth, if any."

Solving the European jobs crisis
Sorrell on UK economy, referendum
Sorrell: Europe in decade of slow growth

Publicis' pivot to digital and emerging markets echoes a similar strategy that WPP's CEO Martin Sorrell outlined in 2011. He said his firm's focus would include new markets and new media for better revenues over the next decade.

"I think there are three things," said Sorrell. "Our strategy is new markets, which are the BRICs and next 11 (emerging economies); new media, which is running from PC, through mobile to video content, to social networking and then...consumer insight, which is about data analytics and application of technology."

But while the euro recently hit a 13-month high, which makes eurozone exports more expensive and less competitive when sold overseas, Publicis' Levy said the currency exchange issue is not as big a concern as the operating challenges that European companies face.

"When you look at the current situation, we are loaded with a lot of costs, charges, taxes, which are making the competitiveness of this company much more difficult. We have to take this down if we want to solve our problem for the long term."

"I don't see the European market growing in 2013," said Levy. "I believe that it will start to recover a little bit in 2014, and the good growth will come only in 2015."

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 12:34 PM EDT, Wed July 16, 2014
With cyberattacks on the rise and here to stay, it's a modern-day challenge for people and businesses to get smarter about preventing them.
updated 11:24 AM EDT, Sun July 20, 2014
Evidence points to pro-Russian separatists as perpetrators of the attack and Vladimir Putin is facing uncomfortable questions, David Clark writes.
updated 5:02 AM EDT, Thu July 3, 2014
Macau has overtaken Switzerland in the wealth stakes, being named the world's fourth richest territory by the World Bank.
updated 10:47 AM EDT, Fri July 18, 2014
Saudi Arabian Bateel brand is best known for its delectable dates but it now has more than a dozen cafes and a new bakery in the works.
updated 7:00 AM EDT, Thu July 17, 2014
A British nanotech company has created what it says is the world's darkest material. It is so dark the human eye can't discern its shape and form.
updated 12:02 PM EDT, Wed July 16, 2014
Jibo robot is designed to be an organizer, educator and assist family members. CNN's Maggie Lake met him and says she was impressed with his skills.
updated 5:09 PM EDT, Fri July 18, 2014
American burger joints have sprung up all over London, but how to know which ones are best? CNN's Jim Boulden investigates.
updated 8:22 AM EDT, Wed June 18, 2014
Sandwiched in between Iraq and Syria, Jordan's destiny seems to be one of a constant struggle for survival. John Defterios explains.
updated 11:02 AM EDT, Wed June 18, 2014
At the last football World Cup, it was all about 3D. This time around, it's nothing less than 4K.
updated 6:58 AM EDT, Wed July 16, 2014
Bob Mazzer has photographed inside London's Tube network for 40 years. He's captured history.
updated 1:12 PM EDT, Fri July 18, 2014
Exotic animals are becoming a profitable business opportunity for Nicaraguan entrepreneurs. CNN's Rafael Romo reports.
updated 11:29 AM EDT, Fri June 13, 2014
Iraq produces 3.3 million barrels per day and has the world's fourth-largest oil reserves. But the current crisis is putting all this in danger.
updated 8:22 AM EDT, Wed June 18, 2014
Sandwiched in between Iraq and Syria, Jordan's destiny seems to be one of a constant struggle for survival. John Defterios explains.
updated 9:14 AM EDT, Mon June 16, 2014
The gas standoff between Russia and Ukraine could have a knock-on effect on Europe. Explore this map to find out why is the EU nervous.
updated 6:58 AM EDT, Wed July 16, 2014
Bob Mazzer has photographed inside London's Tube network for 40 years. He's captured history.
updated 8:06 AM EDT, Tue June 17, 2014
The UK capital promotes its tech stars and shows it can compete with Silicon Valley. Here are five companies that pitch to make it big.
ADVERTISEMENT