Havas

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Havas is the new name for the global network known until September 2012 as Euro RSCG and more recently as Havas Worldwide. (The "worldwide" tag was dropped in 2016). It is one of France's two leading home-grown advertising brands, and has a network which extends across 75 countries. After a turbulent few years, the agency returned to strength in 2006 under a new management team, and was rewarded with the accolade of Agency of the Year from leading trade publications in both the US and UK. However global performance has been mercurial since then, and major multi-national account wins few and far between. Havas Worldwide is the main advertising brand within the Havas group, and the core network is supported by a broad marketing services offering. The agency is partnered within the group by second-string creative network Arnold Worldwide and planner/buyer Havas Media. Euro RSCG's former flagship outpost in Paris has developed a separate identity of its own under the group umbrella as BETC.

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Adbrands Company Profiles provide a detailed analysis of the history and current operations of leading advertisers, agencies and brands worldwide, and include a critical summary which identifies key strengths and weaknesses. Adbrands Account Assignments tracks account management for the world's leading brands and companies, including details of which advertising agency handles which accounts in which countries for major markets. Subscribers may access the following website links:

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Recent stories from Adbrands Weekly Update:

Adbrands Weekly Update 10th Nov 2016: Havas continues to develop its global presence by snapping up the few morsels that haven't yet been gobbled up by larger rivals. Following on from the bolt-on of digital group Fullsix, the group's Dutch agency Havas Boondoggle is to merge with admired indie Lemz. The latter captured global acclaim in 2014 with its "Sweetie" campaign for charity Terre des Hommes, targeting online child abuse. The merged agency will adopt the name Havas Lemz, and will be led by the latter's CEO Willem van der Schoot.

Adbrands Weekly Update 21st Jul 2016: Havas Worldwide's hold on Reckitt Benckiser's brand portfolio weakened further with the appointment of McCann Worldgroup to take over global creative for anti-bacterial cleaner Dettol / Lysol, the group's single biggest brand by sales. However, at the same time RB reaffirmed its continuing relationship with Havas, with a new but slightly vague brief as lead agency for "new strategic initiatives".

Adbrands Weekly Update 14th Jan 2016: Proving Germany's reputation as one of Europe's most volatile advertising industries in personnel terms, the two most senior executives at the local outpost of DDB have jumped ship to take up regional roles at Havas. CEO Thomas Funk and chief creative officer Eric Schoeffler become managing director and executive creative director respectively for Havas Worldwide Europe, reporting to regional chief Chris Hirst.

Adbrands Weekly Update 12th Feb 2015: Havas Worldwide has scored a significant personnel coup, poaching Grey London's CEO Chris Hirst to become group chief executive of Havas Creative Group UK & Europe. Hirst will oversee all the network's UK offices, as well as the main Havas Worldwide outposts in Europe (but not BETC). Havas ousted UK chief executive Russ Lidstone last month after a dismal new business performance.

Adbrands Weekly Update 15th May 2014: The new business teams at Havas Worldwide must have a tough job getting to sleep every night. There's certainly plenty to think about. It was another one of those weeks, with cracks in one key account offset by an important big win. Reckitt Benckiser concluded its account review of selected brands, adding three new major agencies to its roster. The Mucinex and Delsym accounts, previously managed inhouse, transfer to McCann. However, Wieden & Kennedy joins the line-up to handle global Finish dishcare, while Droga5 was awarded the Air Wick and Clearasil business. Those accounts were handled previously by Havas, which remains RB's agency of record for all other creative business. However, the new appointments set a worrying precedent. Droga5 and especially Wieden have a knack of making themselves at home with new clients, quickly expanding their relationship beyond the initial assignment. Creatively, the incumbent certainly has plenty to fear. However Havas could console itself with a morale-boosting big win as well. Experience working for Charles Schwab (an account recently lost) will come in handy for the newly won TD Ameritrade account, worth around $195m in annual billings.


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Background

Free for all users | see full profile for current activities: Euro RSCG Worldwide was formed from the 1991 merger of French agency groups Eurocom and Roux Seguela Cayzac Goudard. The advertising operation of French media group Havas, Eurocom was already France's biggest agency by the 1990s, and also had an extensive worldwide presence as a result of a series of deals - not all of them entirely successful - with international partners. Yet while Eurocom was big, it lacked the entrepreneurial and creative skill of new agencies which had burst onto the market in the 1970s and 1980s. One of these was Roux Seguela Cayzac Goudard.

Jacques Seguela was a political journalist for Paris Match and the France Soir newspaper, who had discovered in the mid-1960s that he preferred advertising to journalism. In 1968, he teamed up with art director Bernard Roux to form a small agency, but they struggled to make a name for themselves until they caused a scandal with a campaign for a manufacturer of outboard motors in news magazine L'Express. The ad was illustrated with a paparazzi photograph of French president George Pompidou driving a motor boat powered by their client's product. Pompidou, however, was outraged and demanded the ad be withdrawn despite the fact that it was already in print. Over the next three days, Seguela and Roux were obliged to tear the offending page by hand out of 600,000 copies of the magazine. The incident was so absurd that it generated headlines, spreading a reputation for the new agency as creative and rebellious.

Subsequently Seguela and Roux recruited two further partners. Alain Cayzac, a former product manager from P&G, joined in 1972, followed by Jean-Michel Goudard, another P&G graduate, in 1978. It was politics once again which put the enlarged agency firmly on the map in the 1980s. Seguela was charged with masterminding the 1981 election campaign for Francois Mitterand, which swept the Socialist Party to power in France for the first time in 40 years. RSCG repeated this triumph in 1988, securing Mitterand a second term in office with a landslide victory. This and a series of other account wins had propelled the group into a position as one of France's top three agencies by the end of the decade.

But success went quickly to RSCG's head and despite a general slowdown in the global advertising market, the agency went on an ambitious international acquisition spree. In the latter half of the 1980s, the company took stakes in a series of agencies including Colman & Partners, Kingsland Lloyd Petersen and Madell Wilmost Pringle in the UK; and US agencies O'Rielly O'Brien Clow and Messner Vetere Berger Carey Schmetterer in New York and Tatham-Laird & Kudner in Chicago. By 1990, RSCG had accumulated almost $220m in debt as a result of its purchases, and was reporting heavy losses. Facing further losses for 1991, the agency was in danger of bankruptcy unless it could find a rescuer.

RSCG's unlikely saviour was Havas-owned Eurocom, a fierce rival itself in the process of rapid international expansion. The deal cost Eurocom around $300m, but secured its position as France's biggest agency network by far. The newly combined Euro RSCG then continued to expand rapidly throughout Europe, North America and the Asia Pacific. In 1995, the first offices were established in South America. In most cases, individual agencies were formed as a partnership between Euro RSCG and local managers. This generated strongly entrepreneurial local businesses; however it also had a downside when big clients began to consolidate their various global brands into global networks during the 1990s. Although Euro's network was certainly wide-reaching, it was not perceived to have the same unified strength as rivals. Mainly for this reason, Euro RSCG's Tatham agency in Chicago was dropped in 1999 from Procter & Gamble's US agency roster, eliminating more than $100m in billings. Shortly afterwards, the agency began a new campaign to coordinate its global network, beefing up international communications between local offices. A key step forward was the creation of The Sales Machine in 1999, grouping more than 70 separate below-the-line agencies around the world to form what was (in name at least) a unified marketing services network. A couple of years later, the group's collection of recruitment agencies were realigned to form a separate specialist network under the banner of HR Gardens.

In 2002, Euro RSCG made one of its biggest ever new business wins, capturing the largest part of Reckitt Benckiser's global account worth an estimated $300m in billings. However the network encountered some difficulty in adding further such wins. In 2003, in a further drive to cut costs while also improving its worldwide efficiency, it began rolling out its Power of One strategy, consolidating regional operations under a single local management team. Spain was the first market to benefit, followed by the UK and the Netherlands. France too came under the "Power of One" towards the end of the year. That also led to the dismantling of HR Gardens after little more than a year, with its bigger constituent parts merged into the local outposts of Euro RSCG Partners.

Euro RSCG 4D was created in 2004 from the combination of the Euro RSCG Marketing Services portfolio with digital specialist Euro RSCG Interaction, collecting together virtually all of the group's numerous below-the-line agencies into a single reporting structure. Previously these agencies had been aligned with the local above-the-line agency in each country. Yet while it may have looked like a single global entity it didn't really think like one. From the start was still divided into four units: Euro RSCG Direct for direct marketing and CRM; Euro RSCG Digital for interactive services; Euro RSCG Drive for experiential and shopper marketing; and Euro RSCG Data for modelling and analysis. As a result, from 2007 onwards the 4D units in several countries were integrated back into the local advertising agency, creating far greater consistency at international level.

In 2004, the agency's senior management team was overhauled when Bob Schmetterer retired as chairman & CEO, replaced by Jim Heekin, previously head of McCann-Erickson Worldgroup. Yet Heekin's tenure was comparatively short-lived, marked by the loss of the Intel account as well as the hostile takeover of the group by Vincent Bolloré. Heekin announced his departure from the group a year and a half later to become the new head of Grey. The arrival of new CEO David Jones in 2005 marked the beginning of a revival in the agency's fortunes. A key development was the capture of the consolidated Reckitt Benckiser account the following year. See full profile for current activities


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