'Will Marcel replace creatives?': Sadoun faces deluge of questions from Publicis staff and clients

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Here are a few of the more interesting (and entertaining) questions asked and answered that day:

Will you be using Marcel to build out creative campaigns and replace creative?
Sadoun: Our only value, true value, lies in our ability to bring emotion to justify price. The creativity we have in us is the only thing that will protect us. So, of course, AI won't replace creative. But I do feel, and I think that, AI and technology can make creative better. Way better.

Will Marcel be used to optimise headcount? 
Sadoun: I believe we have a huge responsibility as chief executives of agencies today. Of course it will optimize the way we work but we want to get he best out of our people. Not to optimize headcount but to make sure we bring the future to our people. And to our clients what they need, which is diversity. If you think a U.S. client will only survive with American people… that is a mistake. Look at Publicis, what other kind of company has such diverse profile in so many countries doing so many different things with so many clients? If we use [our diversity] we will be the best company in the world

What advice do you have for clients to take full advantage of the platform?
Sadoun: What I love about the difficulties we are all in… we have changed the relationship between clients and agencies. When we truly work as partners we both win. And when we don't, we usually lose the client. We need to reinvent the industry together.

Will this only be used by the front office? How does this affect Publicis' back office?
Sadoun: Marcel will connect all 80,000 of us. At its heart, we are breaking the barrier between talent and opportunity regardless of role or department. It is critical to understand that Marcel will be connected to enterprise software like HR, though the full suite of back office connections are still to be determined.

If Marcel advises and you disagree, who has the authority to overrun Marcel? Is marcel in charge? 
Sadoun: It's not Marcel who is in charge of Publicis. It's Maurice.

Seriously though, Marcel is a platform to connect people, it's at the service of our people. Yes, it will break barriers and it will break hierarchy. But it is a platform and it's there to work for us.

How does all the data get into the system?  What is it based on? LinkedIn? And what do you expect from employees in terms of input?
Dawn Winchester chief digital officer, North America at Publicis: The 'today' answer is that we have a lot of distributed systems, client data, people data, and work. We are furiously on the back end connecting as much as possible. What we have shown today is what already exists.

Tomorrow, we're doing a lot of work to bring all that data together so that the AI can grasp it and use it. We'll have a lot of behavior on the app itself and the platform itself. What we're interested in is what people do and don't want to share. What are they really interested in today that they weren't yesterday

We've done modelling. We have 80,000 people. Even if we only have half of them on the platform we will be able to power all of these things in a really interesting way.

How will Marcel verify the level of expertise of each people?
Winchester: I can't tell you how many hours we've spent on this. We're not done. We've built a best-guess algorithm that's based on a combination of LinkedIn data, reported data and guidance from our HR professionals. Our belief is when we see people using the platform… I kind of think that everyone on the platform is an authority. Every time they share something it's a vote on the positive

And when they ignore it, it's a negative. Everyone on the platform is essentially a useful expert.

Could you give us a broad figure for how much you've saved from not participating in awards?
Sadoun: Of course not. I will say that it had to be done. If you don't decide to burn the way back you'll always find something more important to do.

It's clear that Marcel is geared towards the creative side of the business. On the media side of the business, do you see the applicability?
Sadoun: You don't win a media pitch without a creative approach. Whatever we do we need to fast track creativity in every dimension. The growth will come from our ability to deliver creative that adds value.

This story first appeared on campaignlive.co.uk.

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