Pivotal Research Group senior analyst Brian Wieser wrote in a research note that though holding companies claim full transparency with clients, “Our conversations with suppliers and clients convey to us that many clients may not fully understand specific arrangements that are in place between suppliers and agencies.”
Wieser added that he expects more noise on the topic.
Indeed, Publicis suffered through some of it when it held its earnings call. Afterward, in an interview with EuroBusiness Media, Lévy adamantly declined to enter the debate.
“We have a clear contract with our clients, and we are absolutely rigorous in respecting transparency and the contracts,” he told the magazine, claiming that all its clients have the opportunity of auditing their numbers and that when Publicis participates in those audits, “nothing has been found.”
“Publicis is extremely rigorous in the way we are handling the contracts of our clients,” he added. “We feel responsible for them, and we are committed to transparency.”
In earnings news, Publicis saw a 31.7% YoY uptick in Q1 revenue, up to $2.3 billion from $1.7 billion. It benefited from positive exchange rates and from including its Sapient acquisition on its balance sheets. Publicis’ digital efforts also grew 4.7% and now account for 50.2% of total revenue.
Publicis is still recovering from a lousy 2014, and the fallout from that year will likely impact the holding company through Q2.
Omnicom’s revenue was negatively impacted by foreign exchange rates, causing a 1% YoY decline, from $3.5 billion to $3.47 billion.
However, Omnicom saw 5% organic growth YoY (Publicis, by contrast, saw 1% organic growth). A small amount of that growth - $40 million YoY – came from Omnicom’s programmatic trading efforts. That business grew 10% sequentially.