Publicis Groupe Metaverse Ecommerce

Publicis now has 1,000 staff working exclusively on metaverse projects


By Jennifer Faull, Deputy Editor

June 16, 2022 | 5 min read

Publicis has revealed it now has over 1,000 employees dedicated to developing metaverse projects for clients, including a new chief metaverse officer – a digital avatar called Leon.


Publicis has doubled down on the metaverse with the introduction of Leon the lion

The announcement of the ‘role‘ was made at the ad group’s annual Viva Tech conference, where the metaverse and all things web3 have been dominant themes among the brands in attendance.

Publicis said clients, and its own staff, are increasingly in need of a single point of reference for the work they’re doing in this space. To that end, Leon will help both clients and employees understand the “meta jungle” and showcase the best examples of the work it’s doing from across the Groupe.

“The metaverse isn’t a destination, it’s a real-time learning moment for all. It requires interrogation, education and experimentation,” said Arthur Sadoun, Publicis Groupe’s chief executive.

“We are committed to being on that journey with our clients, to help them understand what it means for their business and to bring them the existing web3 capabilities in the group across data, media and technology. Leon embodies that as an avatar and will help our clients navigate this new channel and progress every step of the way.”

It chose an avatar over a real person as the digital interface is able to move between the various iterations of the metaverse, from Fortnite to Roblox, as well as the decentralized platforms.

By connecting with Leon on LinkedIn, marketers can request case studies relating to the Group‘s metaverse projects for clients, which to date include work for brands such as Heineken and Carrefour.

Leon will also offer tutorials and advice to staff via the platform.

Doubling down

Publicis said the metaverse is fast becoming a vital business proposition for the Groupe. A new report from McKinsey suggested the metaverse could be worth $5tn by 2030. The e-commerce potential alone is worth an estimated $2.6tn, while advertising is on track to bring in $206bn within the next eight years.

Board advisor and former chief executive Maurice Levy told The Drum he had some doubts on how quickly it would achieve these kinds of numbers, saying clients – so far – have expressed an interest in “experimenting,” but are yet to spend any kind of significant advertising budget.

But Levy’s uncertainty hasn’t stopped Publicis from massively investing in the space. The group said it now has over 1,000 staff around the world working exclusively on metaverse projects, including specialists in creative production and legal, via the Publicis Media, Content and Innovation division.

“It’s increasing really fast. [Our metaverse team] will be at least double by the end of the year,” said Agathe Bousquet, president of Publicis Groupe in France.

“If we expect 25% of e-commerce to happen in the metaverse then I don’t know ... maybe 25% of the Groupe will be metaverse specialists.”

Bousquet went on to stress that clients looking to work with Publicis on metaverse campaigns must accept they will not work with the agency in the usual way.

“The relationship needs to change. We work in an advertising world we have mastered – we know if you put that amount of money into that kind of media you will reach these kinds of people and get this kind of engagement. When a client asks for something, we reach those KPIs,“ she said.

“But in this new ecosystem we cannot have this relationship where they ask for something and expect an ROI. Because we don‘t know what we‘re doing. This is part of the journey, part of the game. We need clients not to look at us [and say], ‘You‘ve not mastered it? You don‘t know what you‘re doing?‘ I really believe this is where we’ll build the best stories – if there is a balance between the client and agency.“

Publicis Groupe Metaverse Ecommerce

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