Havas’ MPG rolls out Mobext mobile ad service in Asia as new boss David Jones pushes further into digital

Newly-annointed Havas CEO David Jones has said that he wants social media and digital to be the heart of everything the company does from now on whilst reminding the world in a Sunday Times interview that he’s a lot younger than rivals Sir Martin Sorrell at WPP, Maurice Levy at Publicis Groupe and John Wren at Omnicom, all of whom are grappling with their 60s.

So expect a slew of youthful announcements.

Here’s one: its media agency MPG (formerly Media Planning Group) is pushing the launch of its Mobext mobile advertising media business in Asia.

This is a report from India’s exchange4media.com.

MPG, the flagship brand of Havas Media, has announced the launch of its mobile marketing arm, Mobext, in Asia with India being one of the first markets where it is rolled out. Within this year, the brand is slated to be launched in China, Indonesia and the Philippines.

Mobext, a network brand of Havas Media specialising in mobile marketing, is currently present in eight markets globally. The new brand is expected to strengthen the digital offerings of Havas Media, which currently has a digital media agency brand in Media Contacts.

Mobext will offer comprehensive services, which includes messaging services like SMS and download; mobile Internet services like WAP consulting and development, mobile display, mobile search; proximity based services, including LBS and mapping. It will also offer integration through reporting and analytics by Havas Digital’s campaign management platform.

The network agency currently handles a host of blue chip clients in different parts of the world, including Nike, Coca Cola, McDonalds, Fanta, Kia, Volvo, BMW, Peugeot, Citroen, BNP Paribas, Credit Suisse, BBC, Dell, and Sears, among others.

Commenting on the launch of Mobext, Vishnu Mohan, CEO, MPG and Havas Media, Asia Pacific, said, “Asia presents an enormous potential in the mobile space with high levels of penetration, installed base and growth rates. All our clients have needs in this space and we want to ensure that as a media agency we are not neglecting such an important medium and one that will gain even more prominence in the future. Mobext brand has been doing very well in other markets and we have been waiting for the right time and the right people to launch it in Asia. What better market to launch than India, which has whopping 790 million mobile users currently and is also a key market for the group in Asia Pacific region.”

He added, “As a personal device which is all pervasive, mobile offers the best combinations of reach and engagement. This is what advertisers will increasingly look for as Internet access on mobile may outstrip others in many markets. We want to be ready for it.”

“Mobile offers advertisers an interesting media to reach their audience on a more engaged basis and the launch of Mobext will fulfill this need. We are looking to launch the brand in China, Indonesia and the Philippines within the year and will look at both greenfield as well as partnership entry strategies,” he further said.

The agency has made three senior appointments as part of the launch. Arnav Neel Ghosh joins Mobext as General Manager for South Asia; Ashutosh S Srivastava takes on the role of Business Director, while Rahul Shinde joins as Senior Business Executive. The team in India is likely to be expanded in the next few months.

Anita Nayyar, CEO, MPG & Havas Media, South Asia, added here, “We want to be ahead of the curve in tapping the medium of the future. Mobile marketing is gathering steam and it is the right time for us to offer specialised mobile marketing expertise to help our clients leverage this platform. Investments in mobile will pay off in the long run. In Arnav and Ashutosh, we have identified the right candidates to take charge of Mobext. Arnav’s experience in successfully launching and managing agencies will be invaluable for us, while Ashutosh’s hands-on experience with cutting edge mobile campaigns will be a real asset for our clients.”

Arnav Neel Ghosh was most recently the Executive Vice-President of Digital at Iris Nation and has previously worked in senior roles at Publicis Modem and Active Media Technology, a UK-based mobile marketing company. Ashutosh S Srivastava was most recently the Associate Director of Mobile Marketing at ACL Wireless and has had stints at Mobile2Win and ConnectTurf.

All interesting stuff but Jones still needs to buy another advertising agency to add to Euro RSCG and Arnold, despite the excitements of digital media.

But who will it be?

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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.