Havas North America advertising & marketing assignments

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The Havas network's operations in the US have undergone a long but steady process of integration as numerous separate units have gradually been amalgamated into a single operating company. For several years, the global network then known as Euro RSCG operated two entirely separate marketing groups in America, headquartered in New York and Chicago respectively. This was not just confusing but also somewhat inefficient, with both divisions competing for shared resources and even occasionally clients. The appointment of a single North American management team in 2007 and the absorption of direct and digital arm Euro RSCG 4D finally led to the creation of a single integrated business. Euro RSCG became Havas Worldwide in 2012; the "Worldwide" tag was dropped four years later. Like other outposts around the globe, the offices in New York and Chicago have been consolidated as marketing "Villages" with all services under a single roof, even though the separate units comprising each village retain their own sub-brands. There are smaller villages in Boston, Miami and San Francisco. Despite Havas's French ownership, New York still provides the official global HQ for the entire network. Yet local creative output has often been uninspiring for several years (with a handful of exceptions, notably for Dos Equis beer), and the group's weakness in new business has contributed to further steady consolidation of the group's local assets and the departure of several key managers. Another big worry has been second-string agency Arnold, whose performance has been severely challenged since 2016. AdAge estimated revenues of $378m for Havas Creative in 2019. North America chairman & CEO Paul Marobella announced his departure in 2020 after 8 years in that role, and was not directly replaced. Instead, chief client officer Stephanie Nerlich added an additional title of executive managing partner. Havas Creative is partnered by the US arm of Havas Media - which has suffered its own slow attrition of local clients - and healthcare group Havas Health & You, as well as a collection of marketing services satellites (Havas Helia for CRM, Havas Formula for promotions, Red Havas for PR, Havas Edge for direct response marketing, and so on) as well as separately branded creative agency Camp + King (wholly acquired by the group in 2020) and corporate communications unit Abernathy MacGregor. A new addition to the fold is Havas CX, launched in 2020 as a global customer experience network. It is represented in North America primarily by Havas Helia.

Capsule checked 16th October 2020

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Adbrands Daily Update 16th Jul 2020: Paul Marobella, chairman & CEO of Havas North America, is to depart after eight years with the agency. He will not be directly replaced. Instead, chief client officer Stephanie Nerlich adds the additional title of executive managing partner, and will be the agency's senior manager, reporting to global CEO Chris Hirst.

Adbrands Daily Update 17th Jun 2020: "Join The Goodness". We'll forgive the over-familiar "super-heroes save humanity" storyline because the visual imagination displayed by this new global campaign for Babybel cheeses is top-notch. As is so often the case, it's the villains - an army of evil jelly cats - who really stand out here, as well as the hyper-stylised CGI-enhanced version of modern-day Bangkok where the film was shot. For some reason, the agency credit goes to Havas Chicago, though all the development team involved are based in Paris, from the creative team from BETC to director Herve de Crecy, prodco Solab and post-production and CG house Platige Image.

Adbrands Daily Update 12th Mar 2020: Havas has ordered all staff in the US and Canada to work remotely from home this week in order to test feasibility. "This test is to ensure that our businesses are prepped in the event of a regional or national quarantine," said an internal memo obtained by Campaign US. "We'll be testing for business continuity and capacity of our systems and tools in the event that we need to move to a remote work situation with immediacy." Several of Havas's offices will also undergo professional cleaning.

Adbrands Daily Update 20th Jun 2019: Havas expanded its presence in the US with the purchase of a majority stake in admired Los Angeles creative shop Battery, which has featured on AdAge's Small Agency of the Year shortlist every year for the past three years. The agency changed its name to Battery Annex, joining a loose grouping of non-traditional creative, social and experiential agencies under the Havas umbrella, mostly in the US. They include Annex88 in New York and Annex Experience in Chicago.

Adbrands Weekly Update 15th Nov 2018: Jason Peterson, chief creative officer of Havas North America, has resigned following reports that he fostered a "toxic work environment" at Havas Chicago where he was based. That follows weeks of growing internal strife. Last month, Peterson addressed a string of negative anonymous comments about the agency on industry forum Fishbowl by building an art installation in the agency's reception area under the banner "All of us work here some of us fucking love it". The Fishbowl complaints were printed and framed under a sign reading 'Employee of the Month', and Peterson posted a video of the installation on social media under the caption 'Your hate is my anthem'. Havas Chicago managers claimed the installation was an anti-bullying exhibit. Earlier, a user had posted a video to Fishbowl of an internal meeting where Peterson and Havas Creative CEO Paul Marobella characterised rivals Leo Burnett, FCB and BBDO as "shitty agencies". AdAge last week investigated the growing discord at Havas Chicago by interviewing past and present employees who "described a polarising environment where some thrive and others feel isolated outside an inner circle." One former employee told AdAge "I've never felt so belittled or bullied. I've never experienced politics like I have at that place. I never once felt invested in as an employee." Yet Havas Chicago managers defended their approach. "We structured our agency to be different," president and chief client officer Tatia Torrey told AdAge. Havas Media president Lisa Evia told AdAge "We're never going to be vanilla about our approach to a conversation. It's just part to how we operate. It's in our ethos." A day after the story was published, Peterson was out "by mutual arrangement".

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