Guillaume Pannaud, who heads TBWA Paris, has named Philippe Simonet vice-president of the agency, alongside Anne Vincent. Here he uses the occasion to explain his vision of the integration of the Web at the heart of communications agencies.
Le Figaro: Why did you make a digital specialist your right hand man?
Guillaume Pannaud: It springs from the absolute and essential metamorphosis of our industry. Philippe Simonet is one of the pioneers of the digital sector, yet this is the first time in France that a talent from that area has joined the management team of a large agency. It’s an upheaval – there will be a ‘before’ and an ‘after’. Fifty years ago, agencies were trying to integrate television into their offering; today it’s the turn of the Web. This process must be carried out at every level of the agency – and not via external growth or complex agreements. In that respect, two different visions are confronting one another in the market.
You’re subscribing to a logic that has already been adopted by TBWA at a global level.
GP: Branches of the group worldwide have recruited digital specialists and that has borne fruit, as TBWA now handles the interactive accounts of Pepsi, Visa and Adidas internationally.
Why not create a separate digital entity, like TBWA Interactive was before?
GP: That agency was founded within our marketing services arm, Tequila, two years ago. But today interactive must be anchored in a permanent and strategic manner at the heart of agencies. As for production tools, they can be externalized or outsourced – as is the case with regular audiovisual production – or indeed integrated. These are tactical or secondary choices that will be driven by the evolution the market. But TBWA certainly doesn’t want to get involved in a digital agency acquisition spree. That results in a juxtaposition of businesses and, inevitably, in the departure of talented people. On the contrary, TBWA wants to integrate them.
How do you explain the scarcity of digital talents in such a vibrant sector?
GP: You can count on the fingers of one hand the pure digital agencies whose breadth and savoir-faire are compatible with our mission as brand advisers. Their managers are sought-after by the entire market, because there’s such a huge need for them. And the talent battle has only just begun, because it’s not the production tools that count – they’re available to everyone – but the genuine advertising talents who are capable of responding to the new challenges of communication.
Read the full interview in Le Figaro or click HERE.
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