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Publicis, Google reveal digital advertising cooperation

PARIS (Reuters) - France’s Publicis and Web search engine giant Google Inc on Tuesday revealed they were combining their expertise to expand in the fast-growing digital advertising market.

A Google search page is seen through the spectacles of a computer user in Leicester, central England July 20, 2007. France's Publicis and Web search engine giant Google Inc on Tuesday revealed they were combining their expertise to expand in the fast-growing digital advertising market. REUTERS/Darren Staples

However, the pair did not wish to give details just yet. They would only say that Google would exchange its technological know-how for Publicis’s analytical and media planning expertise.

Eric Schmidt, Chairman and CEO of Google, and Maurice Levy, Chairman of Publicis, told journalists the two companies had been cooperating for more than a year.

Maurice Levy said the collaboration would allow Publicis to “grow the business of our clients through better use of the Internet, sending the right message at the right time.”

The news comes one year after Publicis, the world’s fourth largest advertising group, scooped up Internet ad agency Digitas for $1.3 billion.

“We are telling the market we are being very serious about digital advertising,” Levy said.

It also follows a buying spree last year which saw Internet and technology powerhouses such as Google, Yahoo or Microsoft snap up several leading Internet ad agencies.

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Collaboration with Google also reflects Levy’s view of Internet heavyweights such as Google as partners, a view that diverges from some other industry ad executives.

“Google is not a short-term friend and a long-term enemy. It’s a real partner,” Levy said.

When Google bought online advertising ad agency DoubleClick, Sir Martin Sorrell, the head of British ad group WPP had described it as “a short-term friend and a long-time enemy”.

Schmidt told journalists on Tuesday: “Google will never become an advertising agency”.

Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; editing by Elaine Hardcastle

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