Publicis Groupe chairman and chief executive Arthur Sadoun has hinted at ways that advertising agencies will need to evolve to support clients facing the negative consequences of the coronavirus pandemic in a video message to colleagues.
"I would like to thank you all for your time, patience and solidarity," Sadoun said. "Of course, we are far from alone in facing this difficult situation.
"In the past week since Covid-19 was announced as a pandemic, the global stock market has plunged. Now, more than ever, we need to stay close to our clients and their business, even if we can’t be with them in person.
"I know the incredible efforts you are already making to accompany them in this challenging time. As we all navigate this unprecedented situation together, and actually discover new ways of working, our role is to help them monitor events, to take the right strategy decisions, maximise their investment for short-term goals and prepare for a pivot, once the crisis is over.
"No-one can say where it will end – but rest assured that at Publicis we have the solid foundations and agile structure to adapt to the challenges we are facing together."
Many sectors of the economy stand to take a hit from reduced economic activity and consumer spending over the coming months, but businesses in areas such as travel, tourism and live entertainment could be especially at risk from plunging demand.
Sadoun opened his video by stressing that the welfare of his staff was the absolute priority – a theme he returned to at the end. He called on colleagues to make use of a dedicated information service set up to answer questions about the impact of coronavirus.
"Our dedicated team will continue to respond online, real time, 24/7, to help you keep informed," he said. "There is no big or small question – anything we can help to let you know, please come to us."
He said that while Publicis strongly recommended that staff in highly affected areas, or with existing health concerns, worked from home, most offices would remain open for those who needed to use them.