Havas USA : 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 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. 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 still provides the official global HQ for the entire network. Yet local creative output has been little more than 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 Worldwide, whose performance has been grim since 2016. Paul Marobella is now CEO of Havas Creative USA. AdAge estimated revenues of $412m in 2017. The creative agency 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 CRM, Havas Formula PR, Havas Edge, Havas Impact and so on) as well as separately branded creative agency Camp + King and corporate communications unit Abernathy MacGregor. Affiliated content shop Victors & Spoils closed its doors in 2018.

Capsule checked 5th October 2018

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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.

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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".

Adbrands Weekly Update 30th Aug 2018: Havas Media's US office took a heavy blow with the loss of LVMH's local business to a newly created entity within Dentsu Aegis Network. With annual billings of around $400m on brands including Dior Parfums, Louis Vuitton, Hennessy and Bulgari, it has been one of Havas Media's top three or four local accounts. Havas Media continues to work for the luxury giant in other markets. There was some minor consolation for Havas with the capture of creative duties for pharmacy chain Rite-Aid, though billings there are considerably lower; and also consolidation of Telefonica O2's UK media business to include standalone brand Giff Gaff.

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.

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