Havas USA

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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 division. For several years, the global network then known as Euro RSCG operated two separate marketing groups in this market, headquartered in New York and Chicago respectively. This was not just confusing but also somewhat inefficient, with both divisions competing for shared resources. 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. Despite Havas's French ownership, New York also provides the official global HQ for the entire network.

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Recent stories from Adbrands Weekly Update:

Adbrands Weekly Update 22nd Feb 2018: Ads of the Week: "Open Sesame". Havas picked up one of its biggest new US accounts for several years, with duties for twin burger restaurants Carl's Jr and Hardee's. These two chains will also be given their own separate identities for the first time, rather than share the same marketing. The account is being managed out of the Chicago office. And if you're not salivating uncontrollably by the end of the agency's debut campaign, well then, dear reader, you've a stronger constitution than we do here at Adbrands. It's a campaign that looks custom-built for social media, lean and loose and very much in your face, and benefiting from a typically ramped-up voiceover from Matthew McConaughey. It's not quite as off the wall as his Wolf Of Wall Street chant, but getting close. Judging by his recent activities he now seems to have quit the movie industry in favour of a life as marketing guru and brand ambassador, chomping on a Carl's while swigging Wild Turkey in the back of his new Lincoln Continental... 

Adbrands Weekly Update 21st Sep 2017: Havas New York absorbed social media and digital shop The 88, appointing its founder Harry Bernstein as the combined agency's chief creative officer. That role has been vacant since the departure of Toygar Bazarkaya in April. All of The 88's staff will join Havas, and the smaller brand will be phased out.

Adbrands Weekly Update 16th Mar 2017: There was another big shake-up at Havas USA. A large number of senior managers have left Havas Creative Group in the US including chief creative officer Toygar Bazarkaya and CMO Matt Weiss. Chicago CEO Paul Marobella was named as CEO of Havas USA, reporting to Yannick Bolloré. Jason Peterson is creative chairman. At the same time, responsibility for all consumer healthcare units within the old Havas Creative Group in the US will transfer to an expanded Havas Health division. This adopts the new name of Havas Health & You, and will continue to be led by CEO Donna Murphy, reporting directly to Bolloré. The specialist professional healthcare agencies Havas Health and Health4Brands will be joined by Havas Tonic, Havas Adrenaline and Havas San Francisco, previously part of the creative group, and their 1,000 or so staff.

Adbrands Weekly Update 15th Oct 2015: Weight Watchers has selected Havas Worldwide to become its new AOR in the US, taking over from Wieden & Kennedy and interim supplier DiMassimo Goldstein. Billings are estimated at around $100m a year.

Adbrands Weekly Update 5th Feb 2015: Havas Worldwide CEO Andrew Benett abandoned plans to appoint an outsider to take over his duties as CEO of Havas New York and has instead promoted three existing managers to the role of joint managing partners. Tim Maleeny (also chief strategy officer), Sean Lyons (also global chief digital officer) and Matt Weiss (also global chief marketing officer) will share responsibility for the New York office between them.


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Background

Free to all users | see full profile for current activities: Chicago was in fact the first landing spot in North America for the agency formerly known as Euro RSCG. What is now Havas Chicago was originally founded in 1946 by Art Tatham and Ken Laird, and later became Tatham-Laird & Kudner. Art Tatham retired in 1973, and the agency's fortunes declined significantly over the next few years. They were revived by Charlotte Beers, an executive recruited from JWT in 1979. In 1982 she was appointed as CEO, making history as the first female head of a US agency, and six years later, she negotiated the sale of Tatham to Roux Seguela Cayzac Goudard, a fast-growing French agency looking for a presence in the US market.

Meanwhile, in New York, Tom Messner, Barry Vetere and Ron Berger had all jumped ship in 1986 from another agency, Ally & Gargano, to form their own business along with fourth partner Walter Carey. As if it wasn't enough to saddle their agency with the name Messner Vetere Berger Carey, they expanded the team further in 1988 to include Bob Schmetterer, who had until then been running the US-side of HCM, an ill-fated joint venture between Young & Rubicam and another French agency, Eurocom. In 1989, Schmetterer added his name to the shingle, replacing Carey. The same year, Messner Vetere Berger Schmetterer was also acquired by Roux Seguela Cayzac Goudard. 

In 1991 Eurocom and RSCG themselves merged to create Euro RSCG. A year later, RSCG's New York agency absorbed Eurocom's Della Femina McNamee following the acrimonious departure of notable industry figure Jerry Della Femina. The merged entity was then blessed with the mouthful Messner Vetere Berger McNamee Schmetterer Euro RSCG. In 2002 the company even went so far as to offer a $1,000 prize to the employee who could come up with the best joke about its name. The winner was the agency's receptionist who suggested: "Messner Vetere Berger McNamee Schmetterer Euro RSCG. Is that a business card in your pocket or are you just pleased to see me?" 

Back in Chicago, Tatham was also adding names above its door. The agency had long counted Procter & Gamble among its clients, but as a wave of account consolidation swept through the global industry during the 1990s, Euro RSCG Tatham's hold on this business began to weaken significantly. Despite a collection of strong local agencies, Euro RSCG's international network was still weak. In 1999, the agency was dropped from P&G's international roster, cutting its billings by about a third. To strengthen its business, Tatham absorbed local boutique McConnaughy Stein Schmidt Brown, subsequently rebranding as Euro RSCG McConnaughy Tatham. Later that year it also acquired marketing services shop Impact Group, which became Euro RSCG Impact.

In 2002, Euro RSCG's parent group Havas unveiled a full restructuring of all of its by now numerous US subsidiaries, splitting the territory between Euro RSCG MVBMS and Euro RSCG Tatham. Each agency absorbed a string of other US marketing services shops to round out their overall offering. MVBMS took control of direct response TV agency Tyee MCM and interactive outfit Circle, while Tatham absorbed smaller advertising agency Euro RSCG DSW Partners in Salt Lake City. The remaining assets, which included direct marketer Euro RSCG Devon Direct and management consultancy Euro RSCG Meridian, were split between the two main agencies.

However several account reviews and staff defections at the start of 2004 led a further restructuring of Tatham under the new name Euro RSCG Chicago, and the alphabet soup of the Euro RSCG MVBMS brand was simplified into Euro RSCG New York. For a while it looked as if Chicago would be demoted to become a regular branch office of a newly consolidated Euro RSCG USA business group. However new CEO Ron Bess, a former vice chairman of Y&R, was installed in 2004 with a brief to boost the agency's profile and business. At the same time, most of the group's below-the-line units were shifted into a separate standalone business Euro RSCG 4D. PR unit Euro RSCG Magnet was created from the merger of the former Middleberg Euro RSCG with Magnet Communications, which had previously been affiliated with Havas stablemate Arnold Worldwide. A second office in San Francisco, Black Rocket Euro RSCG, was sold to management in 2005 following the loss of key account Yahoo.

In 2007, the group appointed Esther Lee, formerly chief creative officer of Coca-Cola, as its first North American CEO and president of global brands. She subsequently recruited Jose Cabaco to be chief creative officer across all US outposts. That proved an ill-fated pair of appointments. In September 2008, Lee quit after what was described by Advertising Age as "a clash of egos in the C-suite". Cabaco also left the agency two months later and the role of chief creative officer, North America, was eliminated.

Those apparent conflicts reflected the firm control established over Euro RSCG's North American operations by Ron Bess and Ron Berger, respectively the long-serving heads of the agency's Chicago and New York/San Francisco agencies. Around a year after Lee's departure, Ron Bess was formally named as her replacement in the role of North American president, while Ron Berger was promoted to executive chairman of Euro RSCG North America.... See full profile for current activities


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