French creatives set up Publicis hotshop in Paris

Publicis Groupe hires Fred and Farid in a bid to make Paris a creative hub.

Publicis Groupe has hired the award-winning creatives Fred Raillard and Farid Mokart to set up a Paris-based hotshop, dedicated to winning international business.

Its establishment is in line with the personal mission of Maurice Levy, the Publicis chairman, to have Paris rival London and Amsterdam as a source of Europe's best creative ideas.

The agency, to be called Marcel, is also a response from the fourth-largest communications group in the world to the success of smaller shops such as Mother and Clemmow Hornby Inge in the UK. It is intended to capture substantial global business.

As a signal that creativity will be at the heart of the Marcel offering, Raillard and Mokart wil be the joint presidents of the agency. They will report directly to Levy.

The 20-strong start-up will be able to draw on Publicis Groupe resources and has already been given assignments from Publicis clients such as Allied Domecq, Nestle and Krups kitchen appliances.

Raillard and Mokart, both of whom have known Levy for some years, leave Goodby Silverstein & Partners in San Francisco to return to their native France.

They joined the US shop in September 2002 from Bartle Bogle Hegarty, where they won a Cannes gold award for their Xbox "mosquito" ad.

Marcel claims to be the first international shop to be established in Paris for 20 years. It will focus on creatively attuned clients prepared to consider running international work out of Paris when previously they might have turned to London or Amsterdam.

"Paris doesn't have a lot of agencies like ours right now, but it should have," Raillard commented.

Raillard and Mokart say they want to draw on Paris' rich culture and to work closely with the French movie industry, Europe's largest.

One idea being pursued is for the agency to establish strategic partnerships with French cinema under which Marcel would write scenes allowing brands to be promoted in films.

The pair are famous for creating the promotional video for the Robbie Williams hit Rock DJ. "That video is a good example of how we'd like to work with other media," Mokart said.

Raillard added: "Advertising in general is boring. If we're going to capture people's attention, we have to find new ways to tell a story."