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Havas boss Bolloré brings back the full service agency

It’s taken a while (Saatchi’s Zenith was formed in 1988 in what was described as a shed in London’s Paddington) but it looks as though “full service” has finally returned. It has at Yannick Bolloré’s Havas anyway.

From now on Havas Creative Group and Havas Media Group will operate under one entity (sited within Havas’ “villages” around the round – new London one below)) with one boss called chairman – Chris Hirst in the UK and Bollore himself (above) in the US and France. Havas Media Group’s Dominque Delport is appointed global managing director and chief client officer, which sounds like a COO job.

Bolloré says: “As the world moves faster and grows more complex, we believe we need to transcend traditional definitions of creative and media to better deliver for our clients. The move will enable Havas Group to better share talent and resources on behalf of our clients, as well as create cross-channel learning and development opportunities for our people.” And, no doubt, remove swathes of duplicated jobs but that’s the world these days.

All of which seems to make perfectly good sense. Will it be duplicated by the other big marcoms companies? Havas is nowhere near as big as the likes of WPP or Omnicom (it’s about a tenth of WPP’s size), neither is (or was) Havas Media Group as huge a quasi-autonomous empire as WPP’s GroupM or Omnicom’s OMG. But Havas is going further than even French rival Publicis Groupe in bringing things together and this may resonate with clients who find the range of agency offerings unduly bewildering. In most big groups you’ve now got the crazy situation of creative agencies and media agencies scrapping over client strategy. Wouldn’t it be easier to put them together, reasonably adjacent to the same hymn sheet?

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It’s hard not see the hand of Vincent Bolloré in all this. Yannick must be fed up reading this but paterfamilias Vincent, now that it’s effectively his money, clearly wants a simplified and more economical structure at Havas. All round though it seems to make sense and could give Havas, whose growth slowed last year to 3.3 per cent, a useful competitive advantage.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.
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