Founding partner at the holding company’s far-reaching collective speaks to LBB’s Addison Capper about a need for “fresh thinking” versus new agencies
When Publicis Groupe launched Le Truc in February 2021, the holding company dubbed it "a New York City-based centre of creative excellence for clients" that converged over 600 creatives, producers, and creative strategists from Publicis Groupe New York agencies into "one dynamic, collaborative space.”
In practice, Le Truc was a response to workplace and world shifts brought on by the pandemic, a tight-knit, skilled crew within Publicis Groupe that would allow all of its agencies to operate more nimbly for its clients.
Le Truc has played an important role in key pitch wins and campaign work, such as the TikTok win that led to the 'You Have to See It' campaign, work for Samsung's launch of the Galaxy S22, and the winning of the Planet Fitness account. The most recent example is a 360 brand platform for Four Seasons, created in collaboration with fellow Groupe agencies Starcom, Publicis Canada and Hawkeye.
Andy Bird is a founding partner and CCO of Le Truc. LBB's Addison Capper chatted with him.
LBB> Le Truc is the French translation of “the thingamajig, the knack, the way.” What does that say about what you are doing and how you operate at Le Truc?
Andy> When I was a kid, we called the TV remote ‘the thingy’. I suppose the naming of Le Truc has the same origins – it’s this tool that we use to change things up, to unlock new experiences, and that everyone seems to want (pardon the clunky metaphor). It’s ambiguous, but that’s by design really – every brief is different, so we change shape to meet the unique needs of the task at hand.
We curate and integrate the right skills, teams and models to meet challenges, and put our creative collective into action to make big ideals real.
LBB> You're a founding member of Le Truc. Can you tell us more about the thinking behind launching it and what Publicis Groupe was trying to achieve with it?
Andy> I spent the first 20+ years of my career working in creative departments in the UK – obviously smaller than the US, and often these had more flexible and flatter structures, mainly because of their size. I guess I just tried to replicate some of that ethos.
With Le Truc, our approach is similar, we work in a nimble, fluid collective. So less waste, and [it] allows us to create work quicker.
LBB> Le Truc is dubbed a "New York-based collective of 600 creatives, strategists and producers" - what is the meaning behind that word "collective"? Why is Le Truc different from just another agency within Publicis Groupe?
Andy> The industry doesn’t need another agency (I know… everyone says that). But we do need new approaches and fresh thinking to solve the problems that clients have today. Hopefully, Le Truc is the answer to that. We’re staffed completely differently than an agency – we’re a creatively focused group of people that work across all clients and projects in the Groupe. We bring in the right people for the brief, rather than forcing briefs that aren’t a good fit for certain talented teams. We give wider experiences to our creatives across all disciplines and categories. And as a result, the clients get different perspectives and approaches to address their challenges. That’s got to be a good thing, right?
LBB> Le Truc has played a key role in a lot of big Publicis Groupe pitches, like Samsung and TikTok. Tell me more about Le Truc's role in pitching for Publicis Groupe - do you also work with other Publicis Groupe agencies who are engaged in pitches?
Andy> Yes, we partner with all of the Groupe’s agencies – that’s really important to me. We have some incredibly talented lovely people in those agencies and it’s a pleasure to work alongside them, whether leading pitches or working in close conjunction with them.
The latest example of this is the Four Seasons work we just launched. It’s a great example of the ‘Power of One’ in action. Le Truc led the brand re-launch creative, working closely with Starcom, Publicis Canada, and Hawkeye to develop a full 360 platform for the brand. We helped modernise the Four Seasons brand in a creative way, and we think it’s best-in-class work within the category.
LBB> Which other projects that you've been involved in do you feel best represent what Le Truc does and why?
Andy> There’s been more than a few that we’re really proud of, but I think the work we created with Saatchi and Daniel Lobaton [chief creative officer, Saatchi & Saatchi] for TikTok is a good representation of what Le Truc can do. It was great to see how people reacted to that work, and it has been exciting to see how that relationship has continued to grow.
LBB> You've been in operation for about 18 months now - how has the mission and process changed and evolved (if at all) over that time? And why?
Andy> When we launched, we had a hunch that Le Truc would be a success – watching it start to work in exactly the way we had envisioned has been really rewarding. The very nature of the model is flexibility, adaptation, and morphing into something new for every brief, so we will undoubtedly continue to evolve in the months and years to come. Our hope is that we will continue to add more diverse, interesting talent and create even more game-changing work for clients. We’re excited about the future.
LBB> And with that time in hand now, why do you believe this model of working is so fruitful for a company like Publicis Groupe in 2022?
Andy> The post-pandemic world is a little chaotic, and the workplace will never be the same. As I mentioned, we made a big bet with Le Truc - we designed for the future, and now we’re set up to be able to meet the changing expectations and needs of clients, the way pitches are structured, and the different experiences that our talent requires in order to grow and thrive. And we also just have some really amazing people working at Le Truc – that always helps.