As the coronavirus pandemic worsens, companies around the world are being forced to re-evaluate their business strategies and make difficult decisions, including pay cuts and staff reductions. Over the last few weeks, the advertising industry has seen several agencies going through layoffs, such as Anomaly and Giant Spoon.
Publicis Groupe, however, which was whispered to be having job cuts in the next few days, told Campaign US that the gossip is false.
"We can confirm that the rumors you are hearing about layoffs next week are completely unfounded," said a Publicis Groupe spokesperson.
The holding company added that its "only two priorities" are the health and wellness of its people and its client commitments.
Publicis Groupe chairman and chief executive Arthur Sadoun has been sending internal videos to staffers globally to keep them informed as events unfold. In the first video last weekend, Sadoun subtly discussed how adland will have to evolve to meet clients’ needs due to the COVID-19 outbreak, according to a previous report from Campaign UK.
The latest video to employees on Sunday gives details about what initiatives Publicis Groupe has been taking, such as fact that 95 percent of its people are already connected and working from home. It also stressed the message: Don’t go outside.
"As we want everyone to be able to work from home, if home for some of them is not where they work, Publicis will pay for their tickets to be reunited with their families. In this moment, we care not only about the health, but also the wellbeing of our people," said a Publicis Groupe spokesperson.
On Thursday and Friday last week, Publisic Groupe held 10 interactive 90-minute video confercence alls, with more than 3,000 leaders across the company, to take all of their questions.
"It’s gone down well internally and we will repeat them every two weeks. Now more than ever we need to keep communication flowing," the spokesperson added.
In Sunday’s video, Arthur also talks about how Publicis Groupe will protect its business and talent during an economic turndown, including exclusively leveraging all Publicis resources and not looking outside the holding company. This is made possible, he says in the film, because of the group not having P&L silos between agencies, which allows employees to move from one agency to another depending on local needs.
Sadoun ends the video on a positive note, confirming that some of Publicis Groupe’s agencies in China are reopening. When it comes to Italy, which has been hit extremely hard by the coronavirus, he said the holding company’s teams are continuing to work with clients, pitch for accounts and even win new business via video conference.