Monday Routine: Ben Royce, SVP Director of Search

Ben Royce

Monday Routine is a blog series highlighting people and roles throughout the Publicis North America office. Ben Royce is the SVP, Director of Search for Publicis North America.

I started my advertising/marketing career while studying at the University of Wisconsin, when I landed a part time job running in Milwaukee. Yup, pet strollers. We sold millions.

Then I took a job running the digital marketing operations for a group of ecommerce sites in London, UK where I learned firsthand the complexities of multilingual and multicurrency businesses. With my visa about to run out, I moved to New York to work for Alacra, which built anti-money laundering products for banks and I ran an ecommerce site for financial research. That was my big exposure to large scale sites and the effects of search engine changes.

I was introduced by SapientNitro to help run and build out their organic search offering. Using some of the tactical approaches I learned in ecommerce, I applied them to larger operations beyond ecommerce. Around the time Sapient was acquired by Publicis I joined Publicis Worldwide as the SVP, Director of Search in North America.


First thing is Amazon Echo/Alexa reads the daily news from NPR while I mix Emergen-C with sparkling water. Basically it is vitamin-laden homemade Orangina. Then I scan Reddit for anything interesting in technology news. Some of my favorite subreddits include: /r/dataisbeautiful and /r/futurology.

I try to keep my commute as varied as possible and living in Brooklyn means I have many train options. If it is a nice day I’ll walk over the Manhattan bridge, but either way it involves answering emails in short form or replying with a smiley and “TLDR, just Slack it,” watching YouTube channels like Smarter Everyday, or listening to the Freakonomics and A16Z Podcasts. An unhealthy obsession with an app called Exit Strategy allows me to obsess over which train car will be most efficient given my exit point in the station. This is a constant battle for optimization that has no real tangible benefit other than 5-6 steps per day. My fitbit doesn’t even notice the difference.

I usually arrive around 9:30am and head into the scheduled meetings with a strong coffee from Bibble & Sip on 51st street, or our in house cafe.


Being a department head is a shift from my analyst and manager days. During meetings I have to balance the direction of the work we do for clients, ensure some time for team members to tinker and research new approaches, and maintain profitability.

I am perpetually 6 minutes late to every meeting. I have no excuse for this, nor a solution. I just accept it as I do the weather.

I meet with team members often and prefer walking meetings outside so I’ll head west down to the Hudson River and back. I avoid Times Square as much as possible, I find some of the costumed street performers a bit creepy.

When I have nothing scheduled, I spend time in our Data Immersion Lab on the 27th floor where I can run tests on our client data and experiment with visualization technologies.

At the end of the day I’ll play Xbox in our game room with our analysts and strategists. Forza and Rocket League are the top picks. The HTC Vive is also a popular virtual reality experience.


One-on-one meetings in the Search & Data Science team are in three flavors: breakfast, walk ‘n talk, or drinks. So sometimes I’ll unwind with a team member over a Blue Point Toasted Lager and then head home.

Most nights there are some events between Columbia University, General Assembly or that I attend. Otherwise it’s a healthy dose of Grand Theft Auto and reading parody accounts on Twitter: @BoredElonMusk and @adweak.

Bienvenue To Our Publicis Summer Interns!

You’ve seen every season of Mad Men but it’s only left you wondering: what is it like to work at a modern day advertising agency? Over the course of 9 weeks this summer, 26 bright-eyed interns from across the country will be joining the Publicis family to learn all about what we do in the ad industry.

These shining talents are assigned to departments and brands throughout the company. At the frontlines of our agency, they will learn everything from what a day in the life of a producer looks like to the intricacies of data science and search. At the end of the summer, they’ll show off everything they’ve learned by putting together and pitching a complete campaign to both clients and senior executives from the Publicis team.

Two weeks before our group of interns joined us, we asked them to start thinking about one of the basic building blocks of our industry: understanding and building a brand. To help them think about what it means to brand a client, we asked them to create 90 second branding videos for themselves that told us quickly and concisely who they are in both broad strokes and subtle nuances.

Here are a few of the fantastic results we got:






Stay tuned for more updates from our interns this summer!

Big Ideas: Finding the Right Sound

Publicis New York Music Producer Theresa Notartomaso talks about finding the right music for an ad

As a music producer, what kind of projects do you work on?
I lead all things music for the agency, whether it’s licensing music, negotiating music rights or original music production. I oversee it all. Read More ››

What Americans Really Watched on Super Bowl Sunday

Jesse Samberg, Ciara Murphy & Tim Rich look at the Super Bowl's impact on social media

Super Bowl Word CloudWell, the Super Bowl happened. Despite not being particularly exciting for anyone other than fans of the Broncos, Beyonce or Bruno Mars, per AdAge, “CBS’ coverage of Sunday night’s comedy of errors now stands as the fifth highest-rated Super Bowl in the last 30 years.” With an average of nearly 119 million viewers, one-third of America tuned in as expected and online conversation around the game dominated social media, generating 20x more mentions than non-Super Bowl-related posts. During the game, peak conversation was around the halftime show and the announcement of Broncos linebacker as the game’s MVP. Read More ››

What Americans Really Watch on Super Bowl Sunday

Publicis New York's Jesse Samberg talks alternative programming

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The most recent United States Census estimates the American population at more than 322 million. And America’s biggest annual TV event, the Super Bowl, sees just over a third of the country tune in. This audience is glued to screens in their living rooms and bars for more than five hours when you factor in the extended halftime show – practically every brand marketer’s wet dream. In fact, a large number of brands have either already released their Super Bowl spots (Skittles, Mountain Dew, Kia) or have teased what’s coming (Bud Light, Taco Bell, Butterfinger) not only to tee up this transfixed audience, but also as part of a larger, web- or social-based ecosystem with easily accessible and relevant content available whenever consumers want it. In this way, brands are betting the value of their Super Bowl spot is a part of their total marketing universe, but will play the most crucial role in creating buzz and conversation, generating leads, and ultimately, driving purchase consideration.

But what about the two thirds or nearly 200 million Americans that don’t plan to watch the Super Bowl? Read More ››

Carla Serrano Named CEO of Publicis New York

Blog Post Banner Image-CarlaPublicis New York’s Chief Strategy Officer Carla Serrano has been promoted to CEO of Publicis New York. Serrano joined Publicis Worldwide North America in 2014 as Chief Strategy Officer, and is a member of the Publicis Worldwide Comex leadership team. In her new role, she will report directly to Publicis North America CEO Andrew Bruce, who has held the position, along with CEO North America, for the past two years. Read More ››

The Connected Home: Capital Before Connectivity

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by Tim Rich, Director of Data Science Publicis New York

Tim Rich
Director of Data Science
Publicis New York

Walking through the connected home portion of CES I was struck at the steps being made to make our home more efficient and responsive to human habitation. Light bulbs that not only connect to a user’s phone but also to centralized home automation hubs. Vents that regulate the air flow understanding when people are in the room and shuting off to save heat when people are not. There were also whole home automation systems built by the biggest names in home remodeling and DIY construction.

While the growth in this sector has been incredible and no doubt these automated and web connected devices will help us live with more resource efficiency, to this data scientist we are still missing a key component: a centralized communication protocol between platforms and new technologies, as well as guidelines for hardware. Read More ››

Publicis New York and Citi Win Big at 2015 Midas Awards

midas header Publicis New York and client Citi took home an outstanding 9 awards and 6 certificates at the 2015 Midas Awards, which honor the best in financial marketing and advertising. This year’s wins include two gold and five silver awards for “#incredouble,” an earned media campaign that imagined and celebrated great 2-in-1 combos for the launch of Citi’s Double Cash Card. The team also took home two silver awards and four Midas certificates for a social activation that leveraged Citi’s existing “An Out of Wallet Experience” campaign to promote the new Citi + Apple Pay feature. Read More ››

Big Ideas: Data and Creativity

Publicis New York’s Director of Data Science Tim Rich discusses the interplay of data science and creativity in advertising.

Does data replace creativity?

In a creative agency setting there is a little bit of tension inherent in this, but the question for me is: how can we use data to spur creativity? I don’t think either of these things exist in silos. A lot of times data and data science is put at the back of the funnel, so it becomes a function of analytics. One of the things we really focus on at Publicis is moving data science forward in the funnel, into the creative process. So when we get a brief, and the brief might say something like, “we have this storied car brand and we want to bring it to a younger generation where it’s really going to land, because it’s a phenomenal vehicle,” we go to the data science part of it and we say “okay, how can we use data to help understand what people are thinking about this brand?” Are there certain words that are being used? Are there certain ideas that are being used? And we help surface and inject this creative potential. Read More ››

Duncan Bruce Promoted to President and CEO of Publicis Canada


Duncan Bruce, Publicis Canada’s current President & Chief Creative Officer has been promoted to Canadian President & CEO, effective immediately, according to Andrew Bruce, CEO Publicis North America and Yves Gougoux, Chairman Publicis Canada. His promotion comes as a direct result of the agency’s marketing transformation and the growth it continues to drive. Seismic shifts in consumer behavior and the empowerment that underpins it has informed the vision set by Duncan and his team in Toronto and Montreal. The result is a diverse and dynamic agency that today sits atop the country’s innovative industry leaders. Read More ››