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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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:


Havas New York Havas Chicago
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Recent stories from Adbrands Weekly Update:

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.

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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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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