Publicis and Microsoft form strategic alliance

PARIS - Publicis Groupe and Microsoft have formed a strategic alliance in order to provide digital advertisers with better value for money and greater impact across three areas -- content, performance and audience.

The advertising group and technology giant have formed three dedicated teams.

The content team will be responsible for the creation, production and distribution of digital programming capabilities, tools and services.

The Publicis-owned studio PBJS and its Vivaki strategic planning unit will collaborate with Microsoft to form a Content Studio.

This will provide advertisers with programming opportunities.

The new venture's performance team will develop technologies and methods to improve performance across areas including search and ad serving.

As part of this, Vivaki and Microsoft will continue to develop The Pool -- a research initiative that tests online video formats and new digital ad models.

The Pool's current phase of testing is focused on online video. Plans are in place to add new "lanes" to The Pool, focusing on short form video content, and eventually mobile, advanced television and social marketing.

Finally, the audience team's objective is to enable advertisers to better target audiences based on defined criteria.

It is developing a customised VivaKi ad exchange for television advertising using Admira, a planning and buying technology developed by Microsoft's Navic subsidiary.

As a result of the Publicis-Microsoft deal, Starcom MediaVest Group, Zenith Optimedia and Digitas will become the first agency network to use Admira when it goes live in the fourth quarter.

David Kenny, managing partner of Vivaki, said: "By partnering with Microsoft and focusing on three critical components of content, performance and audience, we are a stronger partner to our clients and can bring them solutions ahead of the marketplace.

"Given the pace of change in today's consumer landscape, collaboration is the smartest approach to keep marketers ahead of the curve."

The agreement reinforces Publicis's commitment to improving its digital capabilities.

Last summer, Publicis announced a partnership between VivaKi and Google, Yahoo, AOL and Microsoft to boost clients' ability to reach online users.

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