Epsilon shields Publicis from worst excesses of outbreak

publicisPublicis Groupe has hailed the performance of data-driven marketing division Epsilon for providing a major buffer against the Covid-19 pandemic, which has wreaked so much havoc in agency-land.

According to the French-owned group’s latest figures, global organic revenue fell 13% year on year over the second quarter of the year, with a 23.5% drop in European markets, while net revenue for the group grew 2.6% to €2.3bn (£2bn) but declined 23.1% to €510m in Europe.

However, net revenue in North America was up by +30.1% in H1, including what the group called “the positive impact of the Epsilon acquisition”. On an organic basis, the region posted a decline in net revenue of -3.6% in H1.

Publicis Groupe chairman and CEO Arthur Sadoun said: “The results demonstrate that Publicis has strong fundamentals to weather the crisis. As anticipated, we have been hit in Q2 by the first economic consequences of the coronavirus crisis. But thanks to our unique offer combining seamlessly creative, media, data and technology, to our unmatched backbone of shared services and our strong balance sheet, we have been able to reduce its impact.

“Our reported net revenue was up 9.7% in H1 with the contribution of Epsilon. There is no doubt that we will all have to live with the virus and its economic and social consequences for a while, but Publicis is well armed to weather this crisis.

“We have the products and services that our clients need. Over the last few weeks, we have seen an increased demand for all the capabilities that drove our strategy in the last few years: first-party data, breakthrough creativity, digital-first media and technology.  We are uniquely positioned to help our clients take back control over their customer relationship, deliver personalised experiences at scale and reduce their cost while increasing their sales.”

Epsilon is now at the heart of many of Publicis’ new initiatives, including its “Power of One” philosophy. In April, the group launched a new service through Epsilon which offers brand owners a full refund of their fees and media spend if their marketing activity fails to deliver against agreed targets.

The agency group paid $4.4bn (£3.4bn) for Epsilon last year. At the time, Sadoun claimed the deal, which also included digital marketing specialist Conversant, was “one of the most important” in the company’s 93 year history.

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