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The Agency Model with Publicis Media chief exec Steve King

The Agency Model with Publicis Media chief exec Steve King

On the morning of day two of the Festival Media Global in Rome, C Squared chairman Charlie Crowe sat down with Publicis Media chief executive Steve King to discuss the company’s recent reshuffle, plus macroeconomics that are currently affecting the industry.

King started off by reminiscing about his doubts that Donald Trump would win the Republican presidential candidacy. “Every single US broadcast leads with nothing else between [Hillary] Clinton and Trump and what’s going to happen,” he added.

He also commented that contemplating ‘Brexit’ felt unimaginable until recent times, describing it as the “biggest cloud now on spending”. Despite polls leaning towards staying in at 55%, he said that the people with an older mind set felt that separation may be a good thing whilst citing the trouble of persuading young people to vote at all.

In a poll of his key clients, King said he was yet to find one that believes that Brexit would be anything but damaging for them.

Looking at ad spend, King referred to how internet spend currently is ahead of television, which is hard to imagine compared to discussions held at Festival of Media Global 10 years prior.

“There was a question as to whether digital and internet would change our business model – it unquestionably has,” he added.

Commenting on the threat to business posed by Google, he said he thought it was minimal compared to other competitive threats, viewing Google as a tech and data partner. “The fact that they are so dominant is obviously a challenge,” he added. “They are in a very dominant position that I think will grow and not weaken.”

King felt Publicis sat as an “independent neutral consultant”, describing the recent transformation of the group as an answer for challenges to come, through simplicity, fluidity, integration and clarity.

“The pain of losing a client is far greater than joy and satisfaction of gaining one,” he added. “People are far more cognisant of what is deliverable and believable and I think you stand by your reputation, you’re only as good as your reputation.

“Clients today need to find a way of connecting with the data analyst technology – that’s the dominating view of clients.”