Maurice Lévy, chairman and chief executive of advertising giant Publicis, has some sober words of the state of the economy: “Recession is no longer at the door. It is already in the house.” The Paris-based CEO, in an interview with Telegraph.co.uk, says he doesn’t see things improving much in advertising until 2010 – but, while he doesn’t rule out redundancies, he is not predicting job cuts among the company’s 45,000 staff across its agencies like Saatchi & Saatchi and Fallon.
In meeting the company’s goal of achieving 25 percent of revenues from online by 2010, Lévy is clear that “Google (NSDQ: GOOG) is not a threat“. The company is more than two years into developing an advertising deal with Google involving behavioural targeting, first announced in January (via Reuters.com) and an update is expected in January. Lévy says: “It has to do with better targeted advertising, making it more sophisticated … We will advertise to people through their habits.” In the first nine months of 2008 Publicis made 18.9 percent of ad revenue from online, compared to 13.6 in 2007. But overall revenues were down 1.5 percent to