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Publicis Groupe Reforms to Focus on Digital, Teams Up With Yahoo

publicis.jpgWhile the continuing online stumbling of the BDAs (Big Dumb Agencies) is always amusing, it does my heart good to know that they still can read the writing on the wall from time to time. Yesterday, French ad giant Publicis Groupe announced they'd be starting a new digital arm, VivaKi. From the press release:

VivaKi will take advantage of the combined scale of the autonomous operations of Digitas, Starcom MediaVest, Denuo and ZenithOptimedia to develop new services, new tools, and new partnerships. The strategic move reflects Publicis Groupe's conviction that a totally new and more integrated organization of the media, interactive, analog and digital universes is necessary in order to leverage scale and technological innovation, the key determinants of future success.
But that's not the only move Publicis made in the online market place. On the same day, they also announced, via a separate press release, a partnership with Yahoo to figure out how to make mobile advertising work:
The two companies' mobile initiative is the initial showcase for a relationship focusing on technology integration and openness to help brands tailor their messaging and make it possible for them to reach their target customers on both the PC and the mobile telephone.

Phonevalley, Publicis Groupe's mobile marketing agency, will be the first global agency to integrate Blueprint, Yahoo!'s leading-edge mobile developer platform language, as a tool to help its clients scale brand messages globally, speed their time to market and remove traditional barriers of scarce development resources and high costs.

This partnership almost has to be seen as a better deal for Yahoo. As Yahoo and Google battle it out to see who will have the best ad platform, one of the major draws for leery publishers looking to cash in on their traffic is who has better relationships with the agencies. This deal (possibly, maybe) could be a good step for Yahoo in showing that they can direct agency dollars to publishers, especially in the nascent field of mobile advertising. Less comforting for Jerry Yang and Co. is that Publicis already announced a similar deal with Google back in January of this year.
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