Croisette kings on creativity: Maurice Lévy

Maurice Lévy, chief executive, Publicis Groupe: Advertising will never be led by technology
Maurice Lévy, chief executive, Publicis Groupe: Advertising will never be led by technology

As the great and the good of the advertising world descend on the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, we ask the leaders of the big six holding companies what this means to them.

What does creativity mean to you?
Creativity is basically the original sparkle, no less important than heartbeats or blood flowing through our bodies. It is the trade wind that blows across all our operations, spearheading and enhancing our vision. This is the reason why advertising and communications companies will never be led by technology. Mastering technological breakthroughs is key, yet creativity is not technology-soluble.

How important is creativity to Publicis’ growth? What can you, as a network leader, do to nurture it?
To cut a long story short: paramount. As Publicis leads the way of the business and marketing transformation, it has to foster creativity across the board. This will fuel our clients’ successful transformation, allow them to gain market shares and, ultimately, pave the way for growth. Concomitantly, this will also power our own transformation and superior growth.

There is no magic word on the creativity front: to nurture it is to secure a collaborative and inspiring haven,a suitable environment so that teams can surpass themselves by way of creativity. I know for a fact that you can’t tell the best creative minds to be creative. However, you can inspire to deliver the best work. This is our motto.

How do you persuade clients of the importance of creativity?
I believe there are three key elements to get a client to embrace a campaign: conviction, conviction and conviction. You don’t really have to persuade a client of the importance of creativity; all are convinced already. Yet each will have its own opinion of creativity and it takes some conviction to be in harmony. I rather think that clients need to be persuaded that you remain true to yourself and that you don’t bargain over creativity. It’s a matter of dream, uprightness and freshness out of difference.

What’s the most creative thing you own?
My pen. I am aware that, nowadays, creativity usually reminds people of digital, DNA or the paintbrush. I made my choice a few years back: a fountain pen from the good old days. Never underestimate the pen. As Miguel de Cervantes put it, the pen is the tongue of the mind – and a bloody sharp friend of creativity, in my view.

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