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Member Spotlight: Publicis

In the first in our Spotlight interviews, Helen Sundaram talks to Publicis’ Group HR Director – UK & Nordics, Philomena Gray, to find out a little more about the group and what she thinks about working in the Quarter.

As I walk into the open plan reception of the newly refurbished Publicis building at 82 Baker Street, I know I’ve arrived at the offices of a leading player in advertising and media. Greeted by a massive media display, showing interviews and show reels of work, I can’t help but be impressed by the giant Publicis lion that adorns the wall, made with 12,000 bronze angled, individually crafted ‘pegs’, no less. I’m lead to the über-cool seating area, with its chilled music and tantalising array of designer furniture, where I’m met by Philomena, who takes me into the café, another triumph in chic and minimal design.

With their head office in Paris, Publicis has been here some 20 years, with a break of just over 2 years for its recent refurbishment, and, whilst it’s brimming with accolades and awards – ranked 5th most awarded creative agency in The Gunn Report 2015 and named in the top five most awarded agencies at the Cannes Lions Advertising Festival 2014 – it’s not only the massive multinationals, like Nestle, P&G and Garnier, that Publicis attracts, it also serves many flourishing start-ups and smaller businesses, whom Publicis strives to help become “unique, irreplaceable and to lead the change within their market”.

How would you describe Publicis?
We’re one of the UK’s top ten creative advertising agencies and, over our six floors here at Baker Street, our teams deliver services across the whole spectrum, literally. We’ve five brands, with specialisms in each, from digital advertising and social media through to content marketing and from TV advertising through to shop ecrm’s (promotional shop fittings). Our worldwide vision is to be the preferred creative partner for our clients’ marketing transformation and this drives through everything internally, without which we couldn’t deliver. And you can see from the space here that we’re trying to recreate creativity on a daily basis.

Tell us two facts about Publicis that we might not know
Publicis UK is made up of five specialist award-winning agencies: Publicis London (creative), POKE (digital), Publicis Chemistry (brand activation), Publicis Blueprint (Content Publishers) and Vivid (Shopper Marketing). We all work together and under the same roof here at 82 Baker Street.

So far this year we have won seven D&AD pencils, been nominated for six British Arrows as well as being shortlisted for 16 Creative Circle Awards with Oral B, The Pilion Trust, UBS, Depaul UK and Tourism Ireland. Our work for Depaul has been named as some of the most awarded work in our recent history, with our work ranked 14th in Warc’s 100 ‘World’s Best Marketing Campaigns’.

How does Publicis benefit from membership of BakerStreetQ?
The environment and what you’ve done on the outside in terms of smartening up the area. It’s always been nice but it now feels much safer and cleaner, and that’s important for our staff getting to and from work. Also I like the proactivity and the focus. We’ve always recycled here but the fact that you’ve got a larger, area-wide scheme (Smarter Recycling) we’ve been happy to jump in – you’ve saved us having to look for it. There’s also the CSR and good ethical codes that you encourage and facilitate. We definitely like being more involved in the community – our staff donated their lunch money from one of the bank holidays – your Smarter Giveathon gave us that focus and helped us make it happen.

What do you like about the Quarter?
I love the mix of restaurants, bars and services on our doorstep, and in a nice environment, it’s easy to nip out at lunchtime to get what you need.

What would you like to see here in the future?
What you’re doing is working so keep going! It’s such a nice area, keep the focus on the area and bring about continuing improvement. I’d really like to make the most of your networking events – I think it’s really valuable meeting other members, sharing ideas or identifying common issues.

Where’s your go-to local eatery and what’s your favourite dish?
I like Galvin Bistrot de Luxe – it’s great for client entertaining or a birthday and I always take my Parisian bosses there. In terms of a favourite dish, really anything without garlic – the service there is so great because I’ve told them and whenever I go in they bring me a separate menu without garlic – that’s the attention to detail isn’t it? I also like Strada for a nice, quick lunch with colleagues, and Natural Kitchen. We used to go regularly to The Beehive for a quick drink after work – it’s lovely and the staff are really nice so we’re looking forward to it re-opening. And the Barley Mow – I think that is probably the Publicis pub!

How do you like to spend your free time?
I love going on holiday and visiting new places, I’m not bothered if I’m in the UK or overseas, I just like going to different places. I have a place in the south east of Spain so I get there quite a bit. I love Spanish food and the Spanish culture, the way they live their lives. And the sun helps!

Publicis is a member of BakerStreetQ.

Oxford House
82 Baker Street

Tel: 020 7935 4426
Twitter: @PublicisLondon

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