Internal Memo: Who Wants to Do a Twitter Q&A with Arthur Sadoun?

By Patrick Coffee 

So, are you tired of hearing about Cannes and Publicis and Marcel? If you happen to have made the trip to France this year, are you ready to come home and wash the rose-flavored puke off your shoes?

Well get ready, because Monday is gonna be interesting. In what appears to be an all-staff memo sent out late last night, Arthur Sadoun committed to clearing the air in the best possible way: with an open-forum Twitter Q&A.

You’ve almost definitely heard about this already, but here’s the full memo (which Publicis PR kindly provided to a few select “trade journalists”):

Cannes is coming to an end, and I think you’ll agree that it has been an eventful week!
I wanted to come back to all of you and hopefully bring a bit of clarity from all of the noise.
But before that, I want to personally congratulate the teams whose incredible work has been celebrated so far. We already have several grand prix and campaigns that have had a real impact for our clients thanks to the exceptional talent behind them.
Of course, one of the biggest pieces of news from this week was our announcement of Marcel, the world’s first professional assistant powered by AI and machine learning. I know from many of you that there are a lot of questions, so I didn’t want the week to end without answering some of the big ones.
First, let me be clear: at Publicis Groupe we stand for great work. The Marcel platform is being created to make that work even better, by developing new types of collaboration that will lead to creativity without borders and without limits. Creativity is our raison d’être and Marcel will allow us to climb higher.
Second, to build this extremely powerful tool, which will allow each and every one of you to fuel our best creative work, we need to focus 100% on making it a reality.
That’s why we’re shifting our promotional budget to reinvest in our people and the future of our company. So, we are taking a pause from awards shows, festivals and industry events for 365 days. But make no mistake, when that time is done, we will be back stronger than ever before.
Third, I know many of you are asking how our clients are reacting. I’m excited to tell you that their early feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. And it’s not just our clients. Other partners have expressed not only their support, but also their belief that this has the power to be transformational. Earlier this week, I was speaking with Twitter CEO and co-founder Jack Dorsey who called our initiative “ambitious and disruptive.” He said, “without a doubt, Publicis Groupe’s Marcel platform will be a game-changer for the industry.”
Finally, nothing great comes easy and we didn’t take this decision lightly. But I’m convinced that this is the right move. The only thing that will derail us is a lack of communication. And that’s my responsibility. Which is why in the next days and weeks we will provide all of you with more information, Q&A’s, updates and opportunities to get involved.
As a first step, starting Monday I will be on Twitter to answer all of your questions – the good, the bad and the ugly – openly and transparently. Be as candid as possible; use a pseudonym, use a friend’s account, or get in touch personally … Whatever you’re most comfortable with, I want to hear from you.
Voilà, I can’t wait to continue the conversation with all of you.


You know what? We kind of have to admire this move. Social media Q&As are notoriously difficult, especially on the troll den we call Twitter. Just ask JP Morgan. Or E.L. James. Or R. Kelly. Or Layne Bryant. Or any number of ill-fated brands like that of the current president of the United States.

The main questions we have at the moment are: is Sadoun really going to answer every question? Is that possible? And how will he do so, given that he has no personal Twitter account?

In case you missed it, someone has already set up a couple of Marcel spoofs. From the LinkedIn page, whose creator has yet to step up and win a bottle of shitty rose:

I’m here to break silos, bring people together from around the world with the intention to help make Publicis a new Publicis. You ready to join me for this change?

I might not be as bold as a lion or as sharp as a gold pencil, but still, I’m breaking silos and I’m here to help solve all you and your clients needs. Ask me anything and I’ll suggest ideas in an interesting voice. And no, I’m not Siri’s brother.

The Marcel spoof Twitter feed also has some things to share. And he/she is quite impressed with Adweek’s story about how Wieden+Kennedy considered skipping Cannes last year but decided against it in order to avoid pissing off its own employees.

This quick edit was also pretty funny.

Monday should be pretty interesting, no?

[Image via FT]