Maurice Lévy calls for agencies to return to the Mad Men days, reports Gabriella Griffith. Just no one offer him a mille-feuille pastry

Maurice Lévy calls for agencies to return to the Mad Men days, reports Gabriella Griffith. Just no one offer him a mille-feuille pastry

The advertising industry may be working hard to put the 1960s Mad Men days behind it, but Publicis boss Maurice Lévy wants us to go back there, he tells Advertising Week Europe.

So what is it about the time of Don Draper and Roger Sterling that Lévy finds so desirable? It was the golden age of the advertising agency that did everything.

‘In the Mad Men days of the 1960s, you had full-service agencies with everyone all under one happy roof,’ he explains.

‘In the 1980s this started to separate out – the media, the PR, the creative all became separate, and that was right at the time.

‘Now when you look at the complexity of clients, they need a full-service operation.’

When trying to bring back the heyday of the full-service agency, ‘The question is how do you get people to work together and not in silos,’ explains Lévy.

The septuagenarian wasn’t short on advice in this area. ‘How can you adjust this? Well, we should avoid meetings and remove layers – the mille-feuille I call it; this is a French pastry, it’s all of the layers and the cream.’

This sort of omnichannel working aside, Lévy sees constant innovation and transformation as the way forward for agencies.

‘We have a lot of challenges; the most important is transformation and evolution,’ he says.

‘What we call the Uberisation of business – we need to transform to stay relevant to our customers.’

The industry knows how it must change to stay ahead of the curve, but advertisers also need to be aware of the pressures clients are under.

‘They are facing pressure in costs and pressure from newcomers,’ he says. ‘Uber, Airbnb, Expedia – there are tons of newcomers who could put established companies out of business pretty quickly.’

The discovery of the right formula could help to save the day. ‘You need to have IQ, EQ, TQ and BQ,’ he says.

That’s intelligence quotient, emotional quotient technology quotient and bloody quick.