x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Publicis plans bigger presence in Middle East

Publicis, the world's fourth-largest advertising company, is planning to expand its presence in the Middle East

Publicis, the world's fourth-largest advertising company and parent of agencies such as Saatchi & Saatchi and Leo Burnett, is planning to expand its presence in the Middle East, its chief executive says. Maurice Levy, who has run Publicis since 1987, said the MENA region's high rate of economic growth had led his company to plan for expanding its operations in the Middle East, or increasing its share in its partnerships in the region.

"We don't believe that campaigns should be decided in Paris or London, but the concept should be decided by the client and then, if we want to be relevant to the market, we have to develop local campaigns which are relevant to the people of the country," Mr Levy said. "Our Middle East operations are really strong at doing this so we are really pleased with them, and we expect to invest more in the region and to grow our footprint in the region."

In January, Simon Francis, the chief executive of Saatchi & Saatchi for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, said the company was planning to expand in the region and focus more on wholly owned offices, rather than partnerships with local companies. In the past few months, Saatchi & Saatchi's partner companies in Beirut and Kuwait have pulled out of the network. Mr Levy called the MENA region the "land of opportunity", saying its natural resources and young population set it up to be a key player in the global economy.

He was speaking at the Abu Dhabi Media Summit, which was organised by PublicisLive, the advertising giant's event planning division that has a seven-year deal for the World Economic Forum conference in Davos, and produced the Monaco Media Forum last year. In many ways, the Monaco media summit was a precursor to the Abu Dhabi event. Both are organised around Formula One circuits and bring together top media executives from around the world.

But Mr Levy said that while the Monaco forum focused on new ventures, Abu Dhabi would become known as the place for the largest media companies to gather. "What we are expecting from the Abu Dhabi summit is a media summit with the very big operations, in order to make it the most global media summit in the world," he said. @Email:khagey@thenational.ae