Maurice Lévy Returns, Now with Balloons in Tow, for Publicis Groupe’s 2014 Greeting

By Erik Oster 

Maurice Lévy is back this year for the new Publicis Groupe New Year’s greeting. After toying with YouTube’s functionality last year,  the holding company, with the aid of their DigitasLBi France unit, has once again found a new way to make their greeting interactive.


This year, Publicis built their message around the theme of #TheMoretheMerrier in honor of their expected merger with Omnicom. To accomplish this, they’ve made it so “The more people that join in during the video, the merrier it will become.” So, what does that mean exactly? Well, if you watch the video alone, nothing special happens. But if you watch with a friend, Maurice Lévy will deliver his speech in a confetti storm. Adding more people to the mix will result in “gospel singers, cheerleaders, Chinese dragons and a few other surprises.” It’s a pretty cool concept, managing to be interactive in an intriguing new way.


To accomplish this, Publicis’ tech team developed “a fancy facial detection algorithm that allows a webcam to count how many people are actually watching the video together.” The facial recognition software was conceived by “a 21 year old Russian math genius” working for DigitasLBi France. The software is the “first of its kind to detect up to ten faces simultaneously” while the video plays. “The More the Merrier” is the first video to count the number of viewers, rather than views, on YouTube. That’s a lot of technological firsts for a New Year’s greeting. By the way, in case you were wondering, it takes 1,487 balloons to cover Maurice Lévy.

Credits after the jump.Credits:

DigitasLBi France
President: Mathieu Morgensztern
Chief Creative Officer: Bridget Jung
Creative Director: Nicolas Thiboutot
Creatives: Frederick Lung & Philippe Pinel
Art Director: Chisato Tchisuya
Graphic Designer: Aline Kesting, Manu Azouvi
Creative Producer: Amélie Cruchet
Project Director: Alexandre Gallais
Motion: Jeremy Vissio
Creative Technology Producer: Brice d’Annoville
Creative Technology Manager: Philippe Bordachar
Creative Coder: Loup-Rodolphe Thibault
Creative Technologist: Julien Terraz
Creative Coder: Damien Pitard
Special thanks to Nolwenn De la Pintière & Sarah Coutin.

President: Pierre Marcus
Producer: Thierry Delesalle
Director: François Nemeta
Production Officer: Charlène Plozner
Music: Audio Networks & Patrick Sigwalt

Publicis Groupe
VP, Communications Director: Peggy Nahmany
Communications Coordinator: Sabrina Pittea
Communications Officer: Lindsay McCallum