Blog Post

Publicis Forms ‘Open Source’ Ad Network; Partners With AOL, Google, Yahoo, Microsoft

imageParis-based ad holding company Publicis Groupe has formed an ad network relying on all four of the major ad serving systems run by Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT), Google/DoubleClick, Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) and AOL’s Platform-A (NYSE: TWX). While not that unusual, since most agencies work with those systems anyway, Publicis wants to formally identify the relationships it has with these companies and how it plans to tightly coordinate its campaigns across these platforms.

New digital hub: VivaKi: The “open source ad network,” as Publicis describes it, will work out of its new VivaKi Nerve Center, which is grouping together services from Publicis’ interactive shop Digitas, along with its traditional agency units Starcom MediaVest, Denuo and ZenithOptimedia. VivaKi will be headed up by managing partners Jack Klues and David Kenny, both members of Publicis Groupe’s Management Board. Starcom MediaVest Group’s Chief Digital Officer Curt Hecht will also serve as president of VivaKi. Lots more about the deal after the jump.

No “frenemys” or “froes” here: In the announcement, Publicis offers more of a conciliatory assessment of tech companies who have moved into the ad space, as opposed to the increasingly jaundiced view WPP CEO Sir Martin Sorrell has of Google (NSDQ: GOOG). Publicis’ Kenny, who came over as CEO of Digitas and was named Publicis’ chief digital strategy officer last year: “We don