Memo From Publicis CEO Arthur Sadoun: ‘I Don’t Know Why IPG Lost’ Chrysler Media Account

By Patrick Coffee Comment

This week’s big news on the account front saw Publicis Groupe’s Starcom score a major victory in the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles media review, taking the business across North America after an extended six-month review.

Adweek first broke the news yesterday afternoon.

This marked a significant loss for IPG as UM had been incumbent on the account for nearly a decade. It was the network’s largest single client.

In a note included in AdAge’s subsequent report, UM global CEO Daryl Lee wrote that his agency did not lose “based on our product, our people, our pricing or our proposal for the NAFTA region,” adding that the client simply wanted a change.

Multiple parties close to the review, however, say that FCA did ask the three finalists (UM, Starcom and Hearts & Science) to make some concessions, and that part of the final deal involved Publicis reducing its fees for the Fiat business.

Extended payment terms were also an issue at play. AdAge’s report states that sources said FCA pushed for 120-day periods, and parties close to the matter also told us that the number discussed was as high as 240, meaning the winning agencies would not get paid for up to eight months.

This morning, Publicis CEO Arthur Sadoun sent a memo to staff congratulating them on the win and summarizing Publicis Media’s performance in 2018 under the subject line “A great journey.”

After noting that Starcom and SapientRazorfish (which will reportedly soon be known as Publicis.Sapient) share the account, he wrote, “This win would have not been possible without the Power of One.”

He then added that the Publicis team had “the best offer in terms of innovation and effectiveness because we are able to connect the media firepower of Starcom with the tech capabilities of Sapient” while citing its history of delivering “great value in Europe and APAC after winning FCA’s business in these regions 18 months ago.”

Addressing Lee’s own memo, Sadoun continued, “I don’t know why IPG lost, but we won because we had a unique combination of marketing and business transformation skills, linked by data, that no one else in the market can compete with.”

An FCA representative clarified that the deal concerned only the NAFTA region and declined to comment on specifics of the contract. A Publicis Media spokesperson declined to comment.

The memo in full:

Bonjour,

As you may have read in the press already, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has just announced that Starcom and SapientRazorfish have won their media and social account for the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

I would like to deeply thank everyone who has participated in what was the biggest pitch in North America this year, against the three other holding companies, for more than 6 months.

This win would have not been possible without the Power of One. We had the best offer in terms of innovation and effectiveness because we are able to connect the media firepower of Starcom with the tech capabilities of Sapient. We were credible because we have already delivered great value in Europe and APAC after winning FCA’s business in these regions 18 months ago. We were able to gain FCA’s confidence by assembling a best-in-class team of diverse expertise, working seamlessly together. So special congratulations to the teams and especially to Gina, Kathy, LisaAnn, Kristina, Dave, Adam, Charles, Tim, Sean, Boris, Lou, Nelson, Albert, Alan, Bobby, Steve and Ray for all of their efforts.

An internal memo went to the press yesterday from IPG, the incumbent agency, saying that they “didn’t lose it based on our product, our people, our pricing or our proposal for the NAFTA region.” I don’t know why IPG lost, but we won because we had a unique combination of marketing and business transformation skills, linked by data, that no one else in the market can compete with. So I want to deeply thank FCA for their trust and their vision for what the future of the industry is all about.

Voilà, we started the year with a bang, winning Carrefour, Daimler and Marriott. We continued with Cathay Pacific and Smucker’s, among others. And in the last weeks we have won the biggest global pitch of the year with GSK and now the biggest pitch in North America with FCA.

So I think we deserve to take the time today to celebrate these great achievements. They are the clear result of all of your outstanding work.

Merci, merci, merci!

Amitiés,

Arthur

[Pic via Getty Images]

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