• 12.17.13

Publicis CEO Maurice Levy Is Back With Another Holiday YouTube Hack

This video uses facial recognition technology to count viewers instead of views.

The holiday season is upon us and that means Publicis has trotted out CEO Maurice Lévy in a YouTube project to impress and delight us all.


Last year, the agency network seemed to hack YouTube functionality by making video functions a bit more human. Now it’s teamed with DigitasLBi France to create a facial recognition algorithm that the company says is the first of its kind to be able to detect up to 10 faces while a YouTube video is playing.

The video is called “The More the Merrier,” in a not-so subtle reference to the company’s behemoth merger earlier this year with Omnicom. If you watch the video by yourself you won’t notice anything out of the ordinary, but if you add a friend Lévy will get hit with a confetti storm (see it on YouTube here). Add a few more friends and things get merrier with gospel singers, cheerleaders, Chinese dragons, and a few other surprises.

Shot entirely in-camera, with no green screen or elaborate post-production, the company says nine times out of 10 they went with the first take to keep their fearless leader’s first reaction.

About the author

Jeff Beer is a staff editor at Fast Company, covering advertising, marketing, and brand creativity. He lives in Toronto.